Tuesday, September 30, 2014

{September in the books}

I read 9 books in September.  I skimmed one other book, which would have made my total 10, but I really didn't like it (that is why I skimmed it) and I really don't think I can count it as reading it. It's not even worth mentioning.  It looked so good on the cover at the library...guess you can't judge a book by it's cover.

Anyway - 9 books is still great progress towards my goal and I feel like they were overall nine really great books.


Sense & Sensibility, Rebecca Jamison
This is a cute, clean modern day version of Sense and Sensibility.  I know Jamison has a couple other books, and I am looking forward to reading them.

For Elise, Sarah M. Eden
I was SO excited for this book!  Her last book came out in January and it seemed like it would be forever until this book was released, but it finally was September and the book launch.  I really wanted to go to one of the book signings, but it didn't work out this time.  Last time I took all 5 kids and it ended up in a minor disaster that gave me a headache, and so this time I just decided it would be worth my sanity to just go get the book and skip the signing.

Anyway - I loved this book.  No surprise there!  For Elise introduces Miles and Elise as new characters, but we see a couple older characters from some of her other books as well.  Miles and Elise were childhood friends until she mysteriously disappeared.  As adults they meet again, and the story continues.  There is romance and mystery.

I really love all of Sarah's books and recommend this book to anyone who loves regency romance.

The Good Life for Less, Amy Allen Clark
I was not familiar with her blog, but I found this book at the library and decided to try it.  I loved it!  She has lots of good ideas and the book includes some pretty good recipes.  It was easy to read and I've started following her blog too. If you like mommy blogs, check out her blog and her book too.

The Nonrunner's Marathon Guide for Women, Dawn Dais

This was another library find and I ended up thinking it was so hilarious!  I don't think it would help me run or train for a marathon, but it did make me laugh out loud.  If you are a runner, serious one or not, I think this is a pretty entertaining read.

Rare Bird, Anna Whiston-Donaldson

I saw this book recommended on a blog a couple weeks before it was released and it looked interesting.  It's a memoir of the authors son, who was swept away in flood waters in their neighborhood.  This was a heartbreaking book, but a good book to read at the same time.  I am not sure how I would survive the loss of a child.  This book describes how Anna found light.  I think it was well written and I recommend it, even though it is a heavier topic.  There is some language, if you are sensitive to that.  But honestly, if I had just lost my son in an accident, I would probably have some language too.

Missing Lily, Annette K. Larsen
I read Annette's other book, Just Ella a few months ago and really loved it. A friend told me that she had another book out and I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book!  Missing Lily is about one of Ella's sisters. I don't know if this is a series, but I love when books are connected and some of the lesser characters get their own stories.  The story starts out in the middle of action and sucks you in immediately.  If you love princess stories, if you have a tween or teen who loves princess stories, I think both of these books would be great recommendations!

Reaper, Lindsay Hiller

I saw this book recommended on Goodreads, or facebook, I'm not sure.  It looked intriguing and it's a local Utah author so I thought I would give it a shot.  Reapers are girls who have powers to take away or erase bad memories from you, and keep them for themselves, but in this society they are looked down on.  Jenna, the main character, has been shunned because she is a reaper, but she wants to make a new life for herself.  There is a little romance, a king, a prince and some action.  It's such an interesting book, and so hard to describe! I am really anxious to read more of this story in the second book.  It will be released in the sometime this winter.

The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton
I downloaded a sample of this book a couple months ago and was not that interested after the first chapter. Then my sister handed me her copy and said she had the same problem, she had tried to read it before and couldn't get interested, but then picked it up again and got sucked in.  She thought I should give it another try.

Honestly, maybe the the first half/first third really did not grab my interest, but I kept on reading because my sister said the ending was really good.  About halfway through I could not put the book down.  The ending made it all worth it. I don't even know how to describe the book without giving it all away.  There were some twists and turns that I didn't see coming and I really enjoyed the way this book turned out.  I'll have to keep Kate Morton on my list of authors to try again.

Hands Free Mama, Rachel Macy Stafford
I have mixed feelings about this book.  I was really excited to read it.  I think she has some great points and some great ideas.  I need to be better at putting down my phone and enjoying the moment with my kids.  I know that.  But this book made feel guilty for everything.  I don't need more mommy guilt in my life.  The author has two kids.  It's great she can lay down with each child individually every night at bedtime and spend 30 minutes with each one talking about their day.  But if I did that bedtime would take 2 1/2 hours to get everyone to sleep. That's a bit ridiculous.  Maybe that is an exaggerated point, but I think when you have 5 kids you have to be pretty good at balancing your time.  At least I think I am pretty good at balancing my time.  (maybe I'm wrong?) But sometimes I have to make phone calls for church while waiting in the school parking lot, instead of reading a book to my 4 year old.  I still find time to read to him.  Sometimes the older kids like to read to him.  Then it's like bonus points because the big kids are reading and the younger kidsa are getting read too.  Sometimes the kids have to watch tv so I can work out.  or take a nap.  Sometimes I read a book (like this one) while they play and make a huge messes in the playroom.  And I tell them that I am reading and that they can play on their own.  I am a horrible mom. I don't think it's bad that I am not there every second of every hour of every day.  Our phones don't come to the dinner table.  Either do the legos.  We spend a lot of time playing outside.  We have weeks where we go unplugged and don't watch tv. We turn our phones completely off every week for church.  But I am not perfect.  Eli always likes to tell me to put my phone down and look at him.  I look at facebook and instagram too often, I don't need a book to tell me this.

The other thing that bothered me about this book is that it was all directed towards her kids.  I think we could read this same book and apply it to ANY relationship. Our spouses, our parents, our siblings, our kids.

Again, I think the book had some good ideas.  It is set up in a format so you can read it over a year and it has exercises you can work on every month.  I think it's a good idea and maybe a book worth reading if you are struggling coming up with ideas to help you go hands free.

Maybe I just feel so much guilt because I know I could do better at this.  But I can always do better at everything.  geez.  anyway, maybe someone else can read it and love it and write a better review for me:)


Nine books down this month.  
The total for the year is 74.  
That kinda makes me want to go read a book right now since it's technically still september and make the total 75.  
(but it's tuesday.  the busiest day of the week for me and that is just NOT going to happen)

Three more months to go, hopefully I can make it to 100 books!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

{August in the books}

August was the month I decided to kick it in gear.  
13 books!
Besides, if I am going to make my goal I have to get cracking!  
Plus, when the boys were all gone on the hunt it was so quiet around here, that I was able to read 5 books that weekend alone.  

Wade and I redboxed the movie at the beginning of the month and it made me want to re-read the books.  I still love them in order, 1,2 and then 3.  I really don't like Allegiant much at all.  It seems to be like that with most trilogies, the first book is awesome, the 2nd so-so and the 3rd is kinda a let down.

I bought this to read to the kids, and then read it myself first.  I thought it was good, but not as good as I hoped it would be.  The kids have really love it so far.  And it really helps them calm down at bedtime and they have really got into the story.  We'll have to see if they want to read the second one when we finish, it does end in a cliff hanger.

This is a short little novela/book/chapter that goes along with the Wonder book.  I loved Wonder.  It is still one of my favorite books.  The Julian Chapter explained a lot and it was good.  I was glad that we got to read part of his story.

My sister in law wanted me to read this book. It is a non-fiction, true story. It tells the story of a woman who suffers from bi-polar disorder and her journey through medications and then finding a vitamin that works for her.  (My sister in law sells this vitamin, EMPowerplus Q 96).  I am not a doctor, or a scientist and I have really am not sure if this supplement/vitamin can cure everything that it says it can, but reading this book made me very grateful that I don't suffer from bi-polar disorder.

I think this was a fun book to read.  It made me want to keep running and he was pretty entertaining.  If you are a runner, or a beginning runner, or want to start running this might be a book you want to look up.  

I really love Money Saving Mom blog.  I was really interested in reading this book too, but I was a little disappointed that so much of the book was focused on couponing.  Maybe I was disappointed because I don't coupon? ha!  If you want to start couponing than this is an awesome resource you might want to look for.  I think she does have great ideas in that area.  I just don't think I can wrap my head around couponing at this point in my life.

My dad read this book and really enjoyed it, so he sent us a copy.  Wade is reading it too and really finds it interesting.  I don't think I thought it was as interesting as my dad, but it was interesting. (if that makes sense?)  If you are interested in history you would really enjoy this book.  It really made me think and I learned a lot.

I saw this book and thought it might be a good book to read and eventually have around as a reference book.  I was disappointed in it.  It really didn't have much advice targeted just towards women.  It seemed pretty dated too.  If you want a good running book, read the other one I read this month, or the running books I read in July.

My sister loaned me this book on my kindle and she thought it was good.  I thought it was really fun book and it totally sucked  me into the story.  Although, describing it is a little challenging...it is about a magician who uses paper.  Exactly that.  But it's so much more!  It even is a little bit of a love story too.  The author's website really cracks me up too.  I am looking forward to some of the other books coming out by her soon.  I think if you liked A Great and Terrible Beauty you would like this book, or vice-versa.  I also noticed that it is free on Kindle Unlimited right now too.

I saw this book at the library one day.  It's a short read and reminds me of the movie 17 again a little bit.  But it was clean and cute and I really liked it.

This could have been my favorite book I read this month..or this summer!  I was laughing out loud the whole time while reading it.  If you love Jim Gaffigan you will totally love this book.  If you have not heard of Jim Gaffigan, you need to look up the hot pocket guy on youtube.  He's a (clean!) comedian who has 5 kids..and lives in NYC in a 2 bedroom apartment.  This book tells mostly about his family and adventures that 5 kids brings.  I seriously loved it and laugh when thinking about it.  I will be re-reading it again and again.


My book count total for the year is now 65.  I need to read 35 more books between now and the end of the year to make my goal!  Eik!  That seems like a lot, I hope I can do this!

Monday, August 4, 2014

{July in the Books}

So, my goal this month was to read 8 books.  That would put me over the halfway mark to 100 and would be about 2 books a week.  That isn't too hard for me...most of the time.  But this month I completely missed my goal mark and read 3 books.  I skimmed through 2 of them.  How bad is that?!?

Summer reading?  What is that?  
I feel like I have been completely-entirely too busy to read lately.
...working 2 jobs, 5 kids, opening a business, church calling...life...maybe those have something to do with it?  

I really enjoyed this book!  It is a regency romance, set mostly on a boat en route from Jamaica to England. The characters are fun and likeable and it is an easy clean read.  I am not sure if this is her first novel or if she has more, but I will be keeping my eye out fore more books by Jennifer Moore.  This was the only book I really read this month!

I saw this book on a list of historical fiction must read books.  I was not impressed.  I skimmed mostly of the second half just because I was annoyed with it, but still wanted to finish it.  I didn't really love any of the characters.  I don't really recommend this book.

I've had this book sitting on my nightstand for a longtime and finally got around to picking it up this last week.  It is very good and has some great ideas.  I really enjoy the suggested ideas at the end of every chapter.  I will admit that I skimmed though parts, but not because I didn't like it.  Great book, good suggestion if you want to read more about finding ways to find joy long the journey.


Update:  I forgot, I read the boys The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe one week at bedtime.  So I'm totally counting that!

Book total count: 52
Just a tiny bit over halfway.

August is going to be a better book month.

I just know it.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

{June in the books}

June was so busy.  I really wanted to read more, but I was in a slump and every night when I would get out my book to read, I would fall asleep.  About halfway through the month I was still reading the first book and I wasn't even sure I would finish it.  Maybe getting up at 4:30 every day for running and work is having it's toll on me...at least it is on my reading.

I managed to read 5 books.  

I've read this book before, so I was re-reading it.  I love it.  If you haven't read this book yet, I highly suggest it.  It's a regency romance and so good.  I could reread it again it's that cute.

I follow the blog MoneySavingMom and she released this book at the beginning of the year.  I really wanted to buy a copy, but it just wasn't in the budget.  I've read the free sample on my kindle a couple times actually, but then I found it at the library this month!  I loved this book!  One of my favorite quotes from the book is "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago.  The second best time is today."

I'm trying to remember that and go for things this month.  

I've started running. I wanted to read something to help motivate me get up every morning and get going.  I really liked this book, the authors both write for Runners World magazine.  I'm not really wanting to run a marathon, but if you did, I would suggest reading this book.  It was very motivational.  I liked that they had numerous quotes from moms in every chapter about different aspects on running.

Another running book.  I thought this book was funny and she had a real-life attitude.  It was easy to read and she had good suggestions.  It did have the f word in it once, which I could have done without.  And my only other problem was that her first run ever she went 3 miles.  It took me forever to work up to 3 miles.  But really - I thought the book was fun and I would suggest it if you are a beginning runner.  It gives a lot of details about her marathons.  I'm not really wanting to run a marathon, but it was fun to read her thoughts of how those went for her.

This was a short, Sunday morning/afternoon book.  I really enjoy finding little short books like this at the library that I can read from start to finish on a lazy Sunday morning or evening.  It's good for me to read a good inspiration book every month.  This book talked a lot about how artist take clay and mold it into creations.  It is hard work and not always a pretty process. Pretty much like life.

Total for the year, 48. 

52 books to go to 100

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

{May in the Books}

I read 6 books in May.  I read most of these all at the beginning of the month, because by the time it got towards the end of the month I fizzled out. I got a little bored with some of the books I was reading, but hopefully June will recharge me.

This is the second book in a series of murder mystery books I've found that I really enjoy.  They are fun and pretty clean...not to gory or descriptive.  I like the recipes that are in each book and I've tried a couple of them.  This book took me a little longer to get into, I'm not sure why, I did like it.

I've had this book on my shelf for a couple months and I haven't got to it till this month.  I loved it.  It had some really great ideas and I found myself underlining and highlighting a lot of passages.  I think it would be a great read for anyone!

This was a short book, Time Out Classic book.  I enjoyed it.  I read it in one sitting and it had some really interesting points about what it means to take upon the yoke of Christ in our lives.

I had seen some good reviews of this book online and heard a couple people talking about it so I decided to give it a try.  I LOVED this book.  I even sent a copy to my dad.  It was really great and had some really great real life experiences that he shared.  I think every member should read this book.

Book 3 in the culinary mystery series, this book was really fun to read.  I have enjoyed reading more about the characters in each book and seeing how some relationships are developing.  

Book four was great!  I really enjoyed this book and the recipes in this book were even my favorite.  I love that I can sit down and read these books pretty fast.  I have taken a little break after this book, I started the 5th book, but decided to read another book in between.  Then life got busy.  I hope to read more culinary mystery books in June.  They will be a great series to finish reading this summer.  The final book comes out this fall, and then it looks like a cook book will be published!

My total for the year is now 43.  Almost halfway to 100!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

{April in the Books}

In April I read 10 books.  I got halfway through the month and felt like I hadn't read anything at all, but looking back, I guess I did alright.  

I read one free about home organization on my kindle.  It was okay...nothing new, so I'm glad it was free. I almost feel like not even counting it.  I'm loving middle grade reader books right now. I've been reading them with some of the kids at school for my job, and getting recommendations from some of them too.  They are fast and easy.

The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate
I read a couple pages of this book with a girl at school and was pretty interested.  It was a fun story.  Told from the point of view of Ivan, the gorilla living in a cage in a strip mall.  I think this book would be fun to read out loud to my kids at some time.  I think they would love it.

Close to Famous, Joan Bauer
I found this fun book at the library and decided to give it a try.  It was a fun story of Foster McFee, a young girl who aspires to be a cooking show host.  It's full of stories from her life and how she makes it through hard times.  It was a pretty charming read, I would recommend it to preteens or young adult readers.

Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
I've had so many people tell me that I should read this book and I finally made time to read it.  My friend and I actually read it at the same time...although we still haven't made time to sit and chat about it yet:)  I loved Stargirl, and loved/hated Leo.  Sadly I could see my high school self being way more like Leo than Stargirl.  I think it's a pretty empowering book for girls to read.  It left me with a lot to think about.

Love, Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
Since I loved Stargirl so much I thought I would go ahead and read the next book, Love, Stargirl.  I wasn't too impressed.  I found myself skimming and skipping around pages.  It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't Stargirl.

Dangerous, Shannon Hale
I think I am a pretty big fan of Shannon Hale. I have really enjoyed a lot of her books.  I was looking forward to this book, but was a little disappointed.  It felt a lot like Stephanie Meyer's book, The Host.  I wasn't a fan of some of the characters.  Without giving everything away, I wasn't  a fan of the boy she ended up with.  I wasn't in love with the end of the book either.  If you like young adult science fiction books you could try this book.

I think this could have been my favorite book I read this month.  I've read it a couple times actually. (it's only 50 or so pages, so it's really short and not hard to read in an hour or so)  I heard Emily Freeman speak at Time Out for Women this month and really enjoyed her perspective.  This book is exactly what I needed.  Everyone always talks about what happens at the end of a trial, but what happens in the middle?  How do you get through?  This short little book offers such great ideas and insights on how to make it through.

Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
I read this book out loud to the 5th graders I read with at school.  I've seen the movie, but I can't remember if I've read the book or not before.  It is great, we laughed out loud at parts and really enjoyed the book.

This is another library find this month.  It's a middle grade reader about a girl named Ollie Love and the mystery she runs into in Binder, Arkansas in 1957.  It's a simple story, but has lessons that everyone can learn from.  I found it at the library, but wouldn't mind buying it for my own collection at some time.  I also am looking forward to reading the other book by Tess Hilmo!

Lemon Tart, Josi Kilpack
I've seen these series of books around the library and book stores for years and never really picked them up.  I'm not really big into mystery books, but I decided to try it this month.  I thought it was a good clean mystery and really enjoyed it.  I've already started the next book in the series.  I also am looking forward to trying some of the yummy recipes that are included in each book!

My total for the year is now 37!  Wow!

What have you been reading?

Monday, March 31, 2014

{March in the books}

I read 8 books this month.  I had a couple that I really loved.  LOVED.  

Like Wonder.  

I posted this picture on my Instagram feed as soon as I finished it.  I loved it.  I want to buy a hard copy of it sometime in the future.  Such a great book.  More about it below...

Besides these books I also started a couple other different books and for one reason or another I couldn't get past the first couple chapters.  They weren't bad or disappointing, I just wasn't in the mood and will keep them on the back-burner for the future.

My March books were:

The Tutor's Daughter, Julie Klassen
I enjoyed this book.  I spied a girl reading a book by Julie Klassen one day at story time and was attracted to the cover of the book.  Klassen had a couple different books and they all look good to me, but then saw this book on a friends goodreads profile and thought I would start with this one. It had a little mystery and a little romance.  It was very clean and proper.  After finishing this book it was hard not to immediately pick up another book by Klassen.  I am looking forward to reading more by her in the future.

Just Ella, Annette K. Larsen
I keep seeing this book recommended to me by amazon, so I finally decided to try it.  I was not really looking forward to it - I know I shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I kinda did and thought this might be a fluffy type book.  I was really surprised and loved it!  Princess Gabriella - or Ella - doesn't like acting like the normal princess.  This story has a little romance and adventure. Once I started it I was sucked in and couldn't put it down.   It's a cute, clean read and I think a great young adult book too.

We've having some anxiety issues at our house.  I've read a couple anxiety books before, I really have liked Overcoming School Anxiety.   (click for link) It's a good resource and I review different chapters every now and again.  I decided I needed a little more help, so I headed to the library and checked out a couple different books.  This book was the one that I felt had the most useful information for me and our family.  We don't have a lot of major issues, but some minor anxiety that causes stress, makes bedtime hard, was starting to cause stress at school, etc.  This had good helpful ideas.

A friend recommended this book to me as a resource.  So, honestly, the pictures in this book I found really cheesy.  I was really skeptical when I started the book, but as I read it I was really impressed.  I couldn't wait to read this with the kid dealing with anxiety.  I knew this would help him!  It's a good tool to read with kids, it is in a language that they can understand.  We read this together the next day and it clicked with him.  Now we use this book a lot.  We are able to identify what is going on with our fears and we can read the book together and it helps us feel better about things.  

Kira-Kira, Cynthia Kadohata
I saw this book at school on a 6th graders desk one day and though it looked really interesting.  A story about spirit and strength, this book is about a young Japanese-American girl living in Georgia in the 50's.  I really loved this book.  I think if you like historical fiction, you will enjoy this book.  Other books you might enjoy if you like this one are, Bud, not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis, Each Little Bird that Sings, by Deborah Wiles, or Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner.

Wonder, R. J. Palacio
The last couple months I have started to see this around the school in different classrooms, it at the library and in stores.  But after Gage told me that his 4th grade teacher was reading it to their class and that he really loved it I decided it was time to read it.  Plus, I was up at night with a sick baby and couldn't do much but sit and hold her, so I downloaded a copy and could not put it down! I read it all night long. I LOVED this book.  I think everyone should read it.  The book is about a boy, August, who was born with some birth defects that make his face look different.  He has always been home schooled, but this book follows his journey of starting 5th grade in a mainstream school.  Wonder is a story about friendship, growing and love.  I cannot say enough good things about it.  Everyone should read it...really!

I got this book free on my kindle.  There was nothing wrong with it.  I enjoyed it, but it wasn't a favorite.  It's a first book of a series and I might read the next couple books, but I'm not in a huge rush.  It was very clean and had a good Christian base.  It was more a story about a family learning who and how strong they are than a romance.  I would give this book 3, maybe 3 1/2 stars.

This book is on a list of books for a reading competition at the school.  Our kids didn't sign up for Battle of the Books, but we have read a lot of the books on the list this year.  I hadn't read this one so when I saw it at the libary I thought I would check it out.  What a fun read!  Another book that I have loved this month.  It's only 114 pages and an intermediate book so it's easy to pick up and read in an hour or two.  Or read out loud to the kids - which we have done too.  Some parts have left me laughing out loud.  Great little book!

So far my book total for the year is 27 and my goal was 65.  I might challenge myself and change that to 100.  

What have you read this month?