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?

Monday, March 3, 2014

February in the books

February is always a busy month for us, but I read seven books.  I really loved a couple of these.  Here are my top five.

Lions of Little Rock, Kristin Levine
I LOVED this book.  I found it at the library and I am so glad I decided to pick it up.  Two girls separated by race form a friendship during these uncertain times in their lives.  I cannot recommend this book enough, I thought it was fantastic.  It's based in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958, the year after the Little Rock Nine happened.  If you don't know about the Little Rock Nine, pick up this book - and maybe Warriors Don't Cry too, it is a true account of integration in Little Rock in 1957.  The Lions of Little Rock is a young adult fiction, so it's a great recommendation to youth too.

I started this book in January and finished it this month.  It was recommended to me by a friend.  I have really enjoyed it.  I highlighted a lot of parts I loved.  I recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about  how the priesthood can take a role in your life.

This was a fun read about the continuing story of Georgiana Darcy.  I enjoyed the diary and look forward to some of her other books.  It was also free on my kindle, I think her other books are free or pretty cheap too - so that doesn't hurt!  It filled my craving for a regency romance this month.

Heart of the Ocean, Heather B. Moore
I got this book as part of a collection of books on my kindle.  It was a fun read and had some romance and  mystery involved.  

When Life Gets Hard, Meg Johnson
This was another fantastic library find.  I loved it!  Meg Johnson fell from a cliff in southern Utah and left her quadriplegic.  This is a very inspiration read and you might need a box of tissues too.  If you are having a tough time, or someone you know - take a look at this book.  It's really short and a quick read that can really help you find perspective and direction.

The other books that I read this month were, "If Life Where Easy, It Wouldn't Be Hard by Sheri Dew and Masquerade by Janette Rallison.  Both were good books - The Sheri Dew book I thought was good and offered some great advice.  The Rallison book was a fun fluff read.  

Saturday, February 1, 2014

{January in the books}

I read 12 books in January.  I've found that my local library has a great collection of the "Time Out Classics" series and have really enjoyed reading through them on Sunday's this month.  They are short books and make great mini devotionals.

After looking back at my book list from this month, I picked my top six books:

As You Are, Sarah M. Eden
Sarah is my new favorite author and I have loved reading her books.  This  is the fourth book about the Joquil brothers.  I enjoy how they are connected, but not necessarily a series.  I hope there are more to come!

Longing for Home, Sarah M. Eden
I was saving this book to read this month because the second book would be coming up shortly after I read it.  I really enjoyed this book!  It is much longer than Sarah's other books and not regency, but I did find it kept my interest the whole time.  I couldn't wait for the second book as soon as I finished it!

Longing for Home, Hope Springs, Sarah M. Eden
I don't think this book has been released yet, but I was able to attend a book signing that Sarah did and got a copy to take home!  I was so excited!  I think I loved this book more than the first, which I think is a hard thing to do in a series.  I was very happy with the ending, but I do hope that Sarah writes some more books with some of the characters!

I have now read every book by Sarah M. Eden, with the exception of some of the Romance Anthology collections.  (Although I did read the Regency one and enjoyed it).  Those are fun books and I might have to read all of those sometime this year too.

Here we are at the book signing.  Wade had some work to do that night with his Dad and brother, so in a moment of weakness, I lost my mind and thought taking 5 kids would be easy.  Lucy was a compete mess. She is staring Sarah down in this picture.  She was ready for bed and couldn't figure out the hype. She wanted me to let her down so she could crawl all over the store and make a mess.  It was worth it to get a copy of the book though.  But next time I am going to leave the kids at home!

Head Mistress of Rosemere, Sarah E. Ladd
I read the first book by Sarah Ladd late last year and was very excited when I found out that she was releasing another one at the beginning of this year.  This book was a good clean romance.  I think they are interesting and not completely fluff like some regency romance.  I hope that she continues writing, I would love to read more books by her!

The Early to Rise Experience, Andy Traub
So I totally know and believe that my days are better when I get up early, but I really struggle. I saw this book on Money Saving Mom blog and she recommended it. I thought I would give it a try.  I have enjoyed reading the small entries every day.  I have not been successful at getting up every day on time, but I think there is some wisdom behind this book.  (But there is also wisdom behind getting some sleep when you are up half the night with a teething baby too!)

Believe, Hilary Weeks
This was one of the Time Out Classic books I found at the library.  It's very short and can easily be read in one sitting.  It felt down to earth and really inspired me, it just left me feeling good.  Each chapter could easily be a short devotional of it's own.  And while I got it at the library, I really want to add it to my own collection someday.

Two other that I enjoyed reading this month - but not my absolute favorites were:
Mrs. Mike, by Benedict Freeman
If you like Bess Streeter Aldrich books then I think you will enjoy Mrs. Mike.

Into the Whirlwind, by Elizabeth Camden
This is the second book I've read by Camden. She has a couple other books out and I look forward to reading them too.  The book was good.  I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book I read by her, but it was far from bad.  I learned a lot about the Chicago fire when reading this book.

I am almost finished with Women and the Priesthood by Sheri Dew.  It is not a book that I can just sit down and read in one setting.  It is something to read and think about and ponder.  I am enjoying it so far.

February is a short (and busy for us) month, I don't know if I will be able to read as many books as I did in January, but we'll see.

What have you read lately that you enjoyed?

2013 in the books

We read a lot in 2013.  Not just me, but we...our whole family.  Wade has really loved reading outloud to the boys at bedtime and this year has been no different.  I am amazed at how many books they have got through this year.  Hopefully I remember them all!

In no certain order:

The Hobbit, J.R. R. Tolkien
The Candy Shop Wars, Brandon Mull
Fablehaven, Brandon Mull
Fablehaven, Rise of the Evening Star, Brandon Mull
Fablehaven, Grip of the Shadow Plaque, Brandon Mull
Fablehaven, Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, Brandon Mull
Fablehaven, Keys to the Demon Prison, Brandon Mull
Percy Jackson, The Lighting Thief, Rick Riordan
The Magians Newphew, C.S. Lewis

Hands down their favorite has been the Fablehaven series.  Noah already wants to read it again.  We just started the Spirit Animals series, since Brandon Mull was part of it.  So far they are really enjoying it too! Wade and I read the Beyonders series too.  I am sure it's just a matter of time before he reads those out loud to the kids too.  I think it's safe to say we are Brandon Mull fans.


I saw this (click to follow the link) post the other day about reading goals on a page I follow on Facebook.  I thought it was great. I haven't made a reading goal in a few years as to how many books I want to read in a year.  But this year I believe I think I should!  I read 57 books last year.  (I remembered two more book last night after I posted 55 on facebook yesterday!)

I have two reading goals for 2014:

1.  I would like to read 65 books in 2014.  I really enjoy reading early in the morning before the kids wake up and I have drastically reduced how much tv I watch at night.  I know that is why I have read so many more books this year, but now that Downton and Sherlock are starting again I might have a rough start.  I think I can reach 65 books though.  I have already finished 2....63 to go!

2.  I also want to start updating My Reading Spot book blog.  It's sadly been neglected for a few years. (I had 3 more babies during those years it's been neglected.  Coincidence?)  I made it private because it was getting spam comments and honestly I was embarrassed at my lack of posting. Recently I have  tried to keep track of the books I read on GoodReads, but I would love to sometime during this year, re-open my book blog.


My top ten 11 (because I wrote them all out and realized there were 11 instead of 10 and I couldn't cut one book from the list) books from 2013.

In no certain order:

Blackmoore, Julianne Donaldson
I loved Edenbrooke.  I was so excited when another book by Julianne Donaldson came out.  This one was excellent too.

Friends and Foes, Sarah M. Eden
I had a hard time picking which one of Sarah Eden's books I wanted to put down for my top 10.  I have enjoyed every one I have read.  This one is the first book about a family of brothers and I have enjoyed the characters.  I love how her books are not series, but the characters mix.  I have read 8 of Sarah's 10 books.

Covenant Motherhood, Stephanie Dibb Sorensen
One of my sisters sent me this book and I really enjoyed it.  I loved that it didn't make me feel guilty for things I do or don't do.  It offered good ideas and made me feel good about the things that I do, do.

Pollyanna, Eleanor H. (Eleanor Hodgman) Porter
This book make me smile and laugh.  And look for the good in each day. I want to read it out loud to my kids.

What Would a Holy Woman Do, Wendy Watson Nelson
This book made me change how I think.  I got it at the library and I would love to add it to my own collection someday. In fact, if I could I would send it to my mom, my sisters, and my girlfriends.  How would you act differently, what would you change if you thought every day - What would a holy woman do?

Caroline Bingley, Jennifer Becton
One of my best friends sent me this book.  Most Pride and Prejudice fans don't like Caroline, but this book was fun and I ended up loving Caroline in the end.

My Own Mr. Darcy, Karey White
A modern day story of Pride and Prejudice.  This was a fun, quick, clean love story that made me laugh and smile.  I read a couple other books by Karey White and this one was by far my favorite.

5 Spiritual Solutions for Everyday Parenting Challenges, Richard and Linda Eyre
I love every book I have read by the Eyre family. They are realistic.  This book was helpful to me.

Divergent, Veronica Roth
I jumped on the bandwagon and read the first two Divergent books earlier this year.  I just finished the 3rd (a little dissapointed!) but the first one I really enjoyed.  It's sitting on Wade's nightstand, he is going to read it next.

In Trying Times, Just Keep Trying, Merrilee Boyack
We've had a doozy of a year this year.  And then I saw this book at the library and had to read it!  Boyack survived breast cancer and a lot of chaos in her life.  She offered inspiring scriptures and quotes.  It was an uplifting read.

Bud, Not Buddy, Christopher Paul  Curtis
I read this book because I am currently reading it at school with a group of 5th graders.  I brought it home the first day we handed it out and read the whole thing.  It is so fun!  I want to read it out loud to my kids.  The kids at school laugh and giggle at parts and really enjoy it too.  It has some teaching moments in there as well.  I look forward to reading some more books by Christopher Paul Curtis this year.


There are my top books from 2013.  Have you read any of these books?  What books did you read in 2013 and enjoy? I've got 63 more books to read this year and I am always looking for suggestions. :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy
Victoria Connelly
5 Stars
352 pages

I haven't read any books by Victoria Connelly before, but I was pleasantly suprised with this book! It was an absolute gem and such a fun book to read.

The story follows two women, Katherine Roberts and Robyn Love meet and become friends at a Regency "Jane Austen" weekend.  Both share a love for Jane Austen and also a love for the regency books by Lorna Warwick.

While away at the conference Katherine finds herself drawn to a man attending the conference, Warwick.  They become friends, and soon grow to more than friends.  But Warwick has a secret he is hiding from Katherine and isn't sure how she will react.

Robyn is attending the conference because of her love for Austen, but also to get a break from her long term boyfriend, who annoyingly keeps showing up at all the wrong times and in all the wrong ways during the weekend.  Trying to get away she ends up meeting another man, Dan, and is torn between her comfortable life and boyfriend and new beginnings and challenges.

In the end I felt this book was fun loving and a cute read.  It would be perfect for a weekend book or vacation or summer read.  I felt that Connelly had a talent for adding romance and passion without being too racy.

I think any Jane Austen fan would love this fun book.  I am already looking forward to Victoria Connelly's Austen Addict books that will be published this summer!  I can't wait!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Legacy of Pemberley

The Legacy of Pemberley
Rebecca Ann Collins
5 Stars
323 pages

I finally finished this book - which concludes the series, and it was such a bitter-sweet ending.  I discovered the first book in this series 3 years ago and over the years I have cherished all 10 books.  This last and final book was no different.  I am so sad it is ending!

Since the end of Pride and Prejudice, these books take Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy through 50 years of marriage.  This book concludes the story of children and grandchildren, cousins and friends. One of the main plots belongs to Caroline, the widow of Colonel Fitzwilliam.  While she finds herself learning to live and adjust to life on her own,she is able to watch her daughter, Rachel begin her own romance and blossom.  I loved the addition of Daniel Faulkner to the characters.

Of course, Collins doesn't leave anyone out and there are many other appearances of many of the other loved characters and friends from the whole series.  For example, I was so sad reading the story of Emily Courtney, but the reading of her will actually made me smile and have a little laugh.  I believe the only person that I would have loved to read more about after finishing the whole series would be Georgiana.  However, I was secretly happy that Virginia got basically what she deserved.

I can't think of high enough praise for this series of books.  They really have been an absolute favorite of mine throughout the last couple years.  I will continue to recommend these books to any Austen fan I meet and hope that Collins continues to write and will look forward to any new projects she holds for us in the futures!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

100 ideas Real Rooms

100 Ideas Real Rooms
Better Homes and Garden Publications
5 Stars
96 pages

Another grocery store check out line find!  I have enjoyed reading, marking and rereading this magazine several times.

I particularly like the kitchen ideas, there were several ideas on how to keep an organized kitchen, and keep your kids involved that I really liked.

Just like it says, the book is just a list of 100 ideas.  There are some directions, but if you are a project person who needs step by step instruction, this might not be the place to start.  If you are looking for something to jump start your brainstorming or creative juices, this is the perfect solution!

100 Decorating ideas under $100

100 Decorating ideas under $100
Better Homes and Garden Publications
5 Stars
96 pages

I love Better Homes and Garden special publication magazines!  This series, 100 Decorating ideas under $100 is hands down one of my favorites out of all their publications.  I pick it up every time I see a new one published (I believe it is once a season).

I tag a lot of the pages in these books.  One of my favorite projects I took on after reading the first one I picked up was painting a dresser for our nursery.  At the time I had a 14 month old girl, but new she would soon start sharing her room with a new baby brother.  I had an old dresser I was going to refurbish white so it would be general neutral, but after reading (and drooling) over a picture in this magazine, I went for it and ended up painting it a color similar to candy apple.  It turned out perfect and I love how how it matches everyone's decor in the room.

I can't wait for the next season to come out, in fact writing this posts makes me feel inspired to go look for it and start a new project!

Secrets of Getting Organized

Secrets of Getting Organized
Better Homes and Garden Publication
5 Stars
112 pages

So, technically this is a magazine, but I still want to post about it.  When I was on my organization/reading kick I found this in the grocery store and was so happy that I picked it up!  I have loved it and find myself picking it up to look through again and again.

One of the main reasons that I loved this book is that it isn't just one expert writing about the subject, but a whole panel of seven experts.  I really enjoyed reading the different opinions as well as got a lot of new book ideas to look for at the library!

I got a lot of useful ideas out of this book and have already started tagging the pages for things I want in our next house (we will be moving in the next year!).

Monday, April 11, 2011

One Year to an Organized Life

One Year to an Organized Life
Regina Leeds
4 Stars
294 pages

I picked this book up at the library.  Perhaps spring cleaning has made me want to get organised, but I am reading a lot of these books lately.  One Year to an Organized Life has so far been one of my favorites.

Obviously, the plan that Leeds gives you follows a year span. During each month, she has weekly sections, that have goals you will accomplish that week, as well as an estimate for the time that you will spend.

I believe one reason that this book appealed to me so much was that the first step that Leeds suggest is to buy a journal.  Each month has journaling prompts.  She firmly believes that through journaling you can truly learn why you clutter, or organize the way that you do - and then find solutions to the problem.  I love journaling, and I really love the prompts that she offers throughout the book.

While I read through this book without doing any of the projects, I have some ideas now that I can't wait to put to use.  When I look back at the contents of this book, I can think of projects from more than half of the 12 months that I want to put in use right now!

Leeds uses a lot of her personal stories and stories she has learned from being a personal organizer.  I love reading the stories about many of her clients.

I think if you are looking for a little help organizing your home, and have a little extra time every month than you should check out this book.  If you are looking for a lot of help organizing your home, then you should probably just hire Leeds herself!