Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Forgotten Carols

The Forgotten Carols
5 Stars
Michael McLean
What's not to love about a good story by Michael McLean? I hadn't read this book in quite a while so I picked it up one night for a quick read. It's very easy to fall in love with the characters and the storyline. Since we play the music from this book often during the month of December it's hard not to read this and hear the songs in my head throughout the whole thing.
Love the music, and love the book. It's a great Christmas read!

The Christmas Shoes

The Christmas Shoes
Donna VanLiere
4 Stars
I picked this book up for a quick read at the library during December and I was pretty happy with the outcome. The story is based on a song, The Christmas Shoes, which I love to hear each Christmas season. It was a short easy to read story which helped me remember a few things that are truly important at Christmas.
While it wasn't my favorite Christmas book, I find it hard not to like any Christmas story. Totally worth an afternoon read.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Postscript from Pemberley

Postscript from Pemberley
Rebecca Ann Collins
5 Stars

Ms. Collins has done it again! The seventh book in the series, Postscript from Pemberley, was all I was expecting, and then some. The story follows two Darcy's as they find love and fall into it; Julian Darcy, and young Darcy Gardiner.

Kate O'Hare, a new character in this chapter of the series is introduced to Darcy Gardiner and their relationship unfolds. I found myself in love with Kate and her new views and opinions that she brought to the family and series. She really was like a breath of fresh air and I was thrilled that Darcy was able to find love with her.

As Ms. Collins stated in an authors note at the beginning of the book, Julina Darcy couldn't be left out in the cold, thus he was brought back in this book and was able to find love himself as well. I was particularly happy for this, I always felt that while he did seem to work so much, I pitied him when his wife Josie left. I felt that Jessica was such a perfect fit and I loved the love letters that they wrote back and forth, it was such a tactful way to have him fall in love and build a solid relationship once more.

Postscript from Pemberley was a fantastic installment in this series, it offered love, mystery, a little action as well as some twists and turns I didn't expect. I have always thoroughly loved every book in this series and continue to rave about it any possible chance I get.

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn
Stephenie Meyer
4 Stars
Short and sweeter than the first time around.
This book is still a little bit out there for more me. I liked it a tad more this time around than the first but it still just isn't my favorite out of the series. I really would be just fine if the series ended with the 3rd book - Jacob leaving, Bella choosing Edward, everyone happy.
I reread it and I'm glad I did. I hope that by the time they get to this movie it will be pretty fun to watch. My lenghier first time review of the book can be read (here) and I still feel a lot of the same way, just less bothered this time around, maybe because I knew exactly how everything was going to turn out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Stephenie Meyer
5 Stars
I finished Eclipse this week for the 3rd (maybe 4th?) time. What else is there to say, I enjoyed it more this time. I typically lean towards New Moon being my favorite out of the whole saga, but this time I have really enjoyed Eclipse. The chapter, Fire and Ice, near the end of the book when Edward lets Jacob know some of his thoughts remains my favorite chapter. I (gasp) have never read the rendition that Stephenie Meyers wrote in Edwards point of view. I might be persuaded to do so now. On to Breaking Dawn. Now that I know how everything is going to end maybe I will enjoy it more this time.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

New Moon - 4th Time

New Moon
Stephenie Meyer
5 Stars

This is my favorite book out of the whole series. I know, for most people this is their least favorite and I can see why, but if you don't already know what team I'm on, I just love Jacob Black.

I know all the arguments, he is immature, he is goofy, but I think he is fun, warm and tries so hard to please Bella and I really just love cheering for the underdog. I've read the whole series, I know who wins in the end. But I still love him, plus he he sounds just so cute to me. If I were casting the movie - I am still set on this is the person I could cast... click on the picture for the story....

I am looking forward to the movie later this month. No, unfortunately I am not going to be standing in line at midnight..instead I get to leave my kiddos and go on a residency retreat with my husband that weekend! However, I am opting for the good company of going with one of my sisters a week later. I can't wait, the trailers look promising.

Twilight - 4th Time


Stephenie Meyer

5 Stars

I'm re-reading the Twilight series in preparation for the release of the New Moon movie. I am so excited. This is the fourth time I've read Twilight and it never loses it's spark. I love reading into it more and more each time.

Parts I loved this time around:

page 14 when Bella arrives at school for her first day she thinks to herself before getting out of the truck, "I stuck everything in my bag, slung the straps over my shoulder, and sucked in a huge breath. I can do this, I lied to myself feebly. No one was going to bite me."

Page 232 and 233 when Edward is talking to Bella about twilight for the first time. Bella says to him, "I like the night, without the dark, we'd never see the stars."

Page 307 when Edward and Bella are discussing why a vampire would resist humans in the first place he says to her, "Just because we've been...dealt a certain doesn't mean that we can't choose to rise conquer the boundaries of a destiny that none of us wanted..."

I had to laugh at certain parts of the book now that the movie has come out. I wasn't a huge fan of the movie, it was good but certainly not as good as the book. Jasper cracked me up and now I have a hard time taking him seriously in the book. The spoilers are great fun - this one had me laughing out loud when I got to the part in the book where Edward and Bella are in the meadow. Click HERE for the link. The end gets a little weird, but there are parts that are so funny!

Postscript From Pemberley

Less than a month till Postscripts From Pemberley by Rebecca Ann Collins comes out - it's release date is December 1st! I was sent an advance copy of this book and I love it. Mr. Darcy's grandson, Darcy Gardiner is one of the main characters and the new characters introduced are perfect. I can't wait to share more on this story in December!

Forest Born

Forest Born
Shannon Hale
5 Stars

I think I might have mentioned a time or two in the past couple years how much I love Shannon Hale. In case I haven't, I love her books. I could hug them. Please don't think I am strange.

Forest Born is the fourth book in the Bayren series. Rin, the main character in this book is the youngest sister to Razo (River Secrets). After spending her whole life in the forest with her family she feels something is wrong or "bad" about herself so she leaves with Razo for the city - where she finds herself joining the "fire sisters" on a new adventure.

I think out of all the special powers and main characters that Shannon Hale has created that Rin is one of my favorites. I was drawn to the idea of her abilities and all of us at one point or another in our life really need to dig deep and find out who we really are and what we are about. I am glad that Rin was able to find true self in this book and through her journey.

I know both boys and girls that love these books and while their target audience is for young adult or even pre-teen I think anyone of any age can enjoy the stories, adventures and lessons that Hale shares with us.

I think if I could pick an author I would want to be for a day, it would be Shannon Hale.

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, Fablehaven Book 4

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, Fablehaven Book 4
Brandon Mull
5 Stars

With each book getting better and better book four has put me over the top, I am in love with these series. I was hanging on till the very last sentence in this book.

So many twists and turns - first Kendra, oh Kendra, I've grown to really love her. She has a Hermione Granger feel about her. Seth has grown up a lot in this book and I am anxious to see what more he can become in the next book, he has so much potential and he is just starting to realize it.

I don't really want to write a lot of spoilers, which leaves me with not much to write there are that many twists and turns. I should just say it again that I loved this book. As I was reading the last page and got to the last sentence I closed the book and said "OHHHH NO!" out loud. (Then my husband gave me a funny look.)

I recommend this series to anyone, I even think my little kindergartner would enjoy it if I read it out loud to him. It's got just enough "umph" to it, but not so much it gives nightmares. Perfect!

Catching Fire

Catching Fire
Suzanne Collins
5 Stars

After winning the Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta return to District 12, but much to her dismay she still finds herself the center of attention. After a shocking and scary visit from the President, she joins Peeta on the tour of the Districts and then learns that they will be part of the 75th anniversary games.

I couldn't wait for this book to come out. I had the day marked on my calendar when I could go get it! (Yes, my review is very, very behind, I read this book in September and now it is November) I enjoyed this book just as much as the first in the series. It was fast paced and page turning. Writing this review makes me want to get both the Hunger Games and Catching Fire out and re-read them! I thought a lot of the action would take place during the tour of the districts, but once that was over so fast I was left wondering what would turn the book would take. It took me by surprise that Katniss found herself in the games again.

I finished this book and still didn't want to put it down. I compare these books to the Uglies series, but I enjoy these so much more. My only hope is that the third book doesn't turn in that direction. I cannot wait until the third book to see how things turn out for Katniss, Peeta and all her family.

I am so glad I was introduced to this series, I am in love with Suzanne Collins and her creativity

In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms

In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms
Dr. Laura Schlessinger
5 Stars

I saw this on a friends blog, who also heard about it from a friend and so it goes. I had to check it out. I put it on hold at the library and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I was not disappointed.

This book was so inspirational to me. I might have to look for a copy of this book at my half-price book store or for a used one because I would love to have it around in my own library for future reference on those "bad days."

I never really planned son going back to work after having my first baby, but that first year was a big adjustment to me. Sometimes I just wanted to go back to work and get a paycheck and hear people tell me what a great job I was doing, but deep down I knew I was in the right place, at home.

Fast forward a few years. I now have 3 kids and watch part time another one. Sometimes I wonder if anyone knows that I did in fact graduate college and have a career at one point. Sometimes I get so lost in the day to day grind that I wonder if the little ones care that I stay with them. My husband is a first year medical resident right now so there are weeks that my job is pretty comparable to a single parent job. But I really wouldn't have it any other way.

I was actually sitting on the couch reading this book one night while my husband was working late, I paused and I looked up to see my kitchen - and a sink full of dishes and no dinner waiting for him. I was motivated by Dr. Laura to get up and finish my job, even though I was tired. I know my husband appreciated that dinner when he got home. The house was clean and things were good.

Bringing it back to the book - I loved it and recommend it hands down. It motivates me each time I think of it or passages I read from it to be a better wife and mother.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Please don't go...

Don't give up on me now.

I'm a slacker. I've been busy and with holidays things aren't going to be calming down. I've got 5 different book reviews from the past month to post. I should read, review, read, review. Sometimes the new books sitting on my shelf are so tempting that I just can't help it. I hope to get reviews done and posted tomorrow.

Right now I'm re-reading the Twilight series, I have a post about that coming soon too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Grip of the Shadow Plague, Fablehaven 3

Grip of the Shadow Plague, Fablehaven 3
Brandon Mull
4 Stars

In the third book of Fablehaven Kendra and Seth go through even more action and adventure than the first two. Kendra, who has been invited to become a knight, is lead in a different direction and taken to a reserve in New Mexico for a trip full of action and interesting new characters. Seth - staying back at Fablehaven finds himself in an adventure of his own when a dark plaque starts covering the whole reserve.

I have to insert some thoughts on series. Series books are some of my favorite reads. Sometimes I have a hard time picking a favorite out of the entire series (The Pemberly Chronicles, The Work and the Glory, Goose Girl), sometimes I have obvious favorites(Harry Potter, Twilight) and sometimes I feel the series gets better (Harry Potter, Fablehaven,) - or worse (Uglies) as the series continues.

I think this series is getting better. I didn't love one and two as much as three. I've heard four is even better. I'm glad this series isn't fitting into the getting worse category I do think that kids would love them!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Story Time Monday

Leonardo is a terrible monster and he just wants to scare the tuna-salad out of someone. He might not have been able to scare us, but we have fallen in love with him.

My boys adore this book. I adore this book. They want me to read it to them over and over and it cracks them up every time. We try to act like Leonardo and scare each other. We love Sam, his brother's cockatoo and his poor little tummy. The book is cute, entertaining and has a good message!

Mo Willems books are favorite picks, we love the pigeon books too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


And the winner is:

Kathy - who said:
My favorite character is Anne Elliot from Persuasion. I think partly it is because she is older (as am I) than the other protagonists. She is level-headed, and sensible, and a little more reserved. People don't always get how great she is just by looking on the surface of things, but luckily Captain Wentworth does, and can't forget her over his 8 year absence.


I wish I could send everyone a copy of the books! If anyone wants me to send my copies out and promises to send them back I'm game, just let me know!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

My Cousin Caroline

Win the first book in the series! My Cousin Caroline features Rebecca Ann Collins favorite character, Caroline Gardiner. Leave me a comment telling me your favorite Jane Austen character - and why. Tomorrow night (9-2-09) at 9pm West Coast Time a winner will randomly be selected and receive the first book in this series, The Pemberley Chronicles. (If you already own this book then leave that in the comment as well and I'll send you a copy of My Cousin Caroline instead!)

My Cousin Caroline
Rebecca Ann Collins
5 Stars

The only way this book could be better is if Austen wrote it herself. It was a superb book and made me smile. Without giving everything away in the book, I included some of my favorite parts below.

My Cousin Caroline is the 6th book in the Pemberly Chronicles, but could be taken out of the series and read alone. The timeline of this story starts back at the beginning, Jane and Elizabeth’s wedding. Caroline falls in love with Colonel Fitzwilliam and the story follows their life together. I thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the thoughts of Colonel Fitzwilliam at the beginning of the book. I love the idea of him being secretly in love with Lizzie first, although I am so happy that he finds Caroline.

Since the timeline of this story goes back to the beginning of this series, it’s fascinating reading a different perspective of certain characters, Colonel Fitzwilliam, Emily Gardiner, and Paul Antoine, Mr. and Mrs. Bennett, even Lydia. I was crushed again while reading the account of the unfortunate accident of Edward Fitzwilliam and William Darcy. It was so hard to read the first time and even though I knew it would happen and I was expecting it really was heartbreaking.

In the last book, Mr. Darcy’s Daughter we learned more details about the Gardiners’ business and how Caroline had become very involved. In My Cousin Caroline we were able to read first hand how Robert’s behavior really changed and molded some of Mr. Gardiner final decisions. I think one could draw a parallel to Rose and Robert and their affiliation with the business and how many people act in our time today. At one point in the book Emily says to Caroline, “Don’t be too hard on them, Caroline, both Robert and Rose have grown up rather different to the way we did.” This statement says it all. Just a few lines down we read about how Robert and Rose are full of interests and life, but charity and work are just not one of them. I think this is so true of people in our world today!

Isabella. I love her character, first she is in love, but with a character that might be shady, then she finds love again only to have that shaken too. I just wanted to clap out loud at the end of the book when Mr. Philip Bentley came back and had made a name for himself. I loved that ending!

I could easily say that My Cousin Caroline was my favorite out of the entire Pemberly Series, but then when I sit down and take out each book in the series I am reminded why I love each and one so much. There are few things I love more than reading and enjoying a wholesome book. Not only has Rebecca Ann Collins provided me with a wholesome great book, but a whole series of them that I can enjoy over and over. Each character is though out and well developed and I easily fall in love with them. This book can be read if you are new to the series or in sequence, either way I believe there is no way that My Cousin Caroline will disappoint.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Rebecca Ann Collins from Pemberley Chronicles

I am so excited - this is my first guest blogger, and I absolutely love her books! The sixth book, My Cousin Caroline comes out in stores tomorrow, I can't wait to post my review on it tomorrow as well as tell you how you can win the first book in the series sent to you! I hope you all enjoy reading!

Welcome Rebecca:

Q: Out of the entire series, who is your favourite character?
A: When I first started writing, and creating my own characters, as opposed to Jane Austen’s – it used to be Cassy Darcy. However, as the series progressed and certainly after completing My Cousin Caroline, I find myself drawn to Caroline. I still love Cassy, as I do many of the others, including Jonathan Bingley, who is my favourite male character- bar none, but Caroline has the edge over the rest.

Q: When I first read about the accident of Willaim Darcy and Edward in The Pemberley Chronicles, I was devastated. I knew it was coming in My Cousin Caroline, but it was still hard. Was this accident just as hard for you to revisit and write about in My Cousin Caroline?
A: You are quite right, it was hard, especially because the accident that takes the life of William and Edward is based on a very similar event that devastated our family some years ago and it was very painful to revisit it , but it also helped me both personally and in writing the books.
Personally, to share the deep sorrow of such an experience by expressing it and in the books, it helps to ground the characters in reality. Pemberley is not some Camelot like place where everyone lived happily ever after- it is real and the characters must endure the same sorts of things that afflicted many other families in that era– children died through disease and accidents, as did many adults. Elizabeth and Darcy and the other characters, could not lead some kind of charmed life filled only with love and romance.- it would not have been credible.

Q. After reading My Cousin Caroline, I think it could be read as part of the series, but also stand alone. Was it fun to go back and revisit some of the characters from the beginning of the series?
A: Yes it was great fun, particularly to bring back Mr Bennet and Mr Collins. There was also a practical side to it. We had completed five volumes- with Mr. Darcy’s Daughter, we had reached a particular mid- point in the series and it was a convenient and appropriate point at which to pull the threads together and look at the picture before going on again. Caroline’s story afforded me the opportunity to reprise some of the characters and events from the earlier volumes, but to do it while developing more fully two of the minor players from the original novel—Colonel Fitzwilliam and Caroline Gardiner.
I enjoyed very much the chance to track the development of Caroline from almost childhood to maturity, to contrast her character as a romantic young girl, with the shallow silliness of Lydia or the meanness of Caroline Bingley. To watch her become a personable and intelligent woman with a good eye for business and a warm, compassionate heart was a very special pleasure.
Also, I had long felt that Colonel Fitzwilliam deserved better than his fate in Pride and Prejudice—a very promising young gentleman, with excellent qualities, but very little means. It was clear that he would never be able to marry for love.
With a little manipulation of his circumstances—he could be given that chance. I thought Caroline and the Colonel would make a very good couple—and if you will pardon my saying so- I think they do.

Q: Besides Jane Austen, who is your favourite author?
A: In the same period, Charles Dickens and George Elliot. Both know how to tell a good story and Dickens creates so many wonderful characters. They also deal with several of the “difficult issues” that troubled 19th century England.

Q: If you could meet Jane Austen and ask her anything, what would you ask her?
A: I’ve always wondered at her capacity for creating such interesting characters and situations, while sitting in the front room of her father’s country parsonage. I’d love to ask her what set off that creative imagination and energy?

Q: P&P is obviously your favourite Jane Austen novel; besides P&P, which is your next favourite? Would you consider writing a sequel to any other of Jane Austen’s books?
A: Persuasion is the my next favourite. I think it is one of her best; it’s a really deep love story. in which Jane questions the very nature of love and what it involves for us.
I have considered writing a sequel to Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen’s first novel. There are three sisters- all completely different in character and the way story ends suggests some fascinating possibilities.

Q. The next book in the series is Postscript from Pemberley, to be released in the United States in December. Can you tell us a little bit about it?
A: Postscript from Pemberley is mainly the story of four young, attractive characters: Darcy Gardiner, Julian Darcy, Jessica Courtney and a fascinating new comer to the district, Kate O’Hare. Darcy, Julian and Jessica are all of the next generation of characters, each quite different in their attitudes to live, love and family loyalty. Yet they live within the circle of families that have strong links with Pemberley and its great traditions. As such they have certain responsibilities and when they face challenges in life, they are expected to deal with them with strength and courage, as their forebears have done… Whether they are all capable of fulfilling these expectations is explored in the novel. They are interesting and passionate young men and women and have their own secrets; they must come to terms with them as they make their way in the world, fall in and out of love and play their parts in the community in which they live.

Q. Last but not least- do you snack while writing? If so what is your favourite snack?
A: I don’t “snack” as such—not while writing (I am forbidden to have food and drink anywhere near my computer!) but, I usually work for a couple of hours straight and then break for half an hour when I like to have a coffee and ginger biscuits or tea and a slice of cheese toast—away from my desk—preferably sitting out in the garden. It re-energises one and helps to re-focus on the task at hand, although sometimes, it is difficult to return to the computer.
There are times, when I am really absorbed in developing a chapter or a character, when I don’t break at all; then I find when it over, that I am very hungry indeed. And have to put everything aside and cook a special meal.

Thank you so much for hosting me on your blog, Debbi!
Rebecca Ann Collins

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Teaching Your Children Joy

Teaching Your Children Joy
Linda and Richard Eyre
5 Stars
I picked up this book and Teaching Your Children Values (post below) gearing up for a new school year. I have loved being able to teach my children during their preschool years at home and this year I am teaming up with another mom in the neighborhood to do a joint "school" similar to ones outlined in this book. There were so many fun ideas in this book that I can't wait to use with our little 3 year old participants!
Teaching Your Children Joy discusses different 'joys' each child should learn to experience in life and each chapter discusses the joy and gives great examples and stories of how we can teach these as parents. They are fun easy no hassle ideas. I love that they aren't elaborate or hard to accomplish and that I feel like I can easily do and teach this book to my family.
I love this book as well as the Values book by the Eyres and can't wait to start our preschool group this week. I recommend any book by the Eyres, they are inspirational and fantastic!

Teaching Your Children Values

Teaching Your Children Values
Linda and Richard Eyre
5 Stars

I love parenting books. I'm not sure why I'm so addicted to them, but they are always so fun to read. Teaching Your Children Values by the Eyes was a perfect inspirational book to help me get in gear for the upcoming school year.

The book is divided into 12 values that you teach over the time period of a year. Each chapter has age appropriate examples and techniques to use. I really found a lot of these ideas helpful and can't wait to get started using them. I loved reading the stories and antidotes about the authors and their own family.

I recommend this book to anyone with a family or wanting to start a family. It has great ideas and you can find it at your library or on Amazon or a used book store. I got mine for a steal at a half price book store and it already had ideas highlighted for me! :) Loved it!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Big News!

Story Time Monday got put on hold this week, we have had visitors and been busy cramming in every possible fun event before school starts next week. Between all these fun things I've forgot to post about two huge things - one - my library card got taken away! No - I didn't have fines, I'll post the whole story later. I was devastated....still am. But the real exciting news is below:

I am so excited - at the end of the month, August 31, to be exact, My Reading Spot is hosting one of my favorite authors, Rebecca Ann Collins on her blog tour. Her newest book, My Cousin Caroline, will be released on September 1. It is book six in the Pemberly Chronicles series, which I absolutely love and adore! I've read an advance copy of the book and can't wait to post more about it on my blog later this month and feature Rebecca! I've been spending time dreaming up a fun Austen-type giveaway, which I'll also post about later this week. I hope everyone checks out My Reading Spot on August 31!

More of the tour dates and sites:

Rebecca Ann Collins’ My Cousin Caroline Blog Tour

August 25—Staring Fresh
August 31—My Reading Spot
September 1—A Bibliophile’s Bookshelf
September 2—Grace’s Book Blog
September 3—Book Nerd Extraordinaire
September 4—This Book For Free
September 7—Night Owl Romance
September 8—Love Romance Passion
September 9—Romance Reader at Heart’s Novel Thoughts Blog
September 11—The Review From Here/Scribe Vibe
September 14— A Journey of Books
September 16— Everything Victorian

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Actor and the Houswife

The Actor and the Housewife
Shannon Hale
5 Stars

I had read a few reviews that this was not one of Shannon Hale's finest and that it was a lot of fluff, so after being so excited to get my hands on this book, I became a little weary. It has been sitting in my Amazon shopping cart for quite a while. Then I saw it at a local book store and I found myself buying it. (I justified it by saying it was supporting Utah writers and LDS fiction while NOT in Utah.)

I actually loved the book, it was super fun and cute and I can see why some people might find it fluff. I think Shannon Hale is so witty, I am not sure I would say it is my favorite book by her, but I really did enjoy it.

Becky is pregnant with her 4th child when she happens to run into her "dream" Hollywood star man, Felix. They share an elevator ride, a taxi (actually a limo) ride, dinner and dance. Then somehow, although they are both happily married, live in completely opposite worlds, have nothing in common, but become best of friends. They break up as best friends. They make a movie together. Over a span of 10+ years we read about their relationship.

Becky was such a fun character. I have a good friend that I envisioned the entire time reading this book. She is such a witty girl, always has something fun to say and I could see a lot of her in this character. Felix - I was wondering if Shannon Hale was envisioning Colin Firth the entire time? I sure thought he would fit the part. If I had to find one thing that I didn't like about the book, it was when Felix sang "I am a Child of God" in church. It was a sweet gesture, but it just bugged me. Mike. I couldn't believe how great Mike was, he was so trusting and only once did he say things bothered him. I felt bad for him at times and loved him at times. He really was such a great hubby.

The ending had me in tears and then tears some more and then stitches. I really want to elaborate, but don't want to spoil the ending. Let's just say I am very happy with the way it ended.

I really loved the fun and friendly banter. I could have dog-eared many pages with some favorite lines. I'm glad that I wasn't disappointed. In my opinion Shannon Hale has done it again.

Rise of the Evening Star, Fablehaven

Rise of the Evening Star, Fablehaven Book 2
Brandon Mull
4 1/2 Stars
In the Rise of the Evening Star Seth and Kendra find themselves back at Fablehaven helping their grandparents find and protect a hidden artifact that is on the grounds. Their grandparents have brought three specialist, a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper, to Fablehaven to help, but can they trust them?
I really enjoyed this book when in comparison to the first one. I loved how Kendra gained some confidence and I loved her new fairy powers. I was skeptical of Vanessa as soon as she wanted to share secrets. Seth in the cocoon and the "passing" was so gross and hilarious at the same time. So fun and cleaver! The last few chapters were very exciting and kept me turning the pages. It was a little reminiscent of the last few chapters of the first two Harry Potter books...lots of build up and then huge action at the very end.
I'm very excited about this series and can't wait to keep reading the next couple books. I know that they won't disappoint. With each chapter and book that I read I am more and more positive they are perfect for their target audience.

Story Time Monday

Today during school time we did what I like to call an "oldie-but-goodie" activity. I picked 3 books and then let the boys narrow it down from there. Then I read it to them and had them color their favorite part of the book. I think this is such a great activity for a few reasons. It really makes then use their listening skills when listening to a book, they have to pay attention and figure out what is their favorite part, and it helps them with their art skills as well.

Sometimes we (the 5 year old) struggles with the fact pictures aren't 'perfect' or how we imagine them in our heads, so it's good to just listen to a story and then practice drawing things we liked out it without getting upset.
We read Tikki Tikki Tembo. After a rocky morning of 'sibling rivalry' I was a little worried when I saw this picture. However, after asking him to explain it I was relieved to find out that it wasn't the little brother in the bottom of the well that was our favorite part. Apparently he just really wanted to draw a bunch of bricks and color them, or at least that is what he told me!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Story Time Monday

Kindergarten. It's a big subject around our house lately and it starts in 3 weeks. I've been trying to check out books at the library every week that will help my 5 year old prepare. He has a lot of questions and these books are really helpful.

When you go to kindergarten, by James Howe is one of my favorites. The pictures are a little dated, and totally take me back, but they are actual pictures, not illustrations, which I think are helpful. It discusses great topics and allows me to have great discussions with my 5 year old about some of the things he is scared of or excited about.

Rosemary Wells writes some great great books about kindergarten. Two of my favorite books by her are My Kindergarten and Ready to Read. The books are fun and offer learning opportunities at the same time. I like that we can pick them up, read a few pages, put them down and then later continue where we left off. I've always checked these books out at that library, but I have really considered buying them for my collection they are so great!

This last book I am on the lookout for. Kindergarten Rocks. I want to find it at the library because it looks like such a fun book.

One last book we really love, and isn't necessary about kindergarten, Hey! I'm Reading, by Betty Miles. It's a fun introduction to sounds, processes and reading. I love it because it teaches but doesn't seem like work. We love to look at it and read parts of it and at the end of the book it has a few pages kids can learn to read all on their own.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Story Time Monday

We've read a lot of different chapter books to the kids at bedtime but one of our favorites are The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne.

The boys love them, they have adventure and mystery but aren't too scary either. I like them for numerous reasons. We can finish one in about 3 nights, it helps the boys work on their listening comprehension skills and they learn about history as well. I have a few of these books on CD that I play in the car, which is also a bonus!

Geronimo Stilton and Junie B. Jones rank pretty high up there around our house too, although I know as soon as they find out about Captain Underpants he will rule!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Story Time Monday

We love a good food book at my house. We love reading about making food, playing with food, building with food.

How Are You Peeling is one of our new favorite food books. It's fun to see the crazy faces, but at the same time learn some new vocabulary for emotions and feelings that have from time to time. Each page is filled with crazy fruits or vegetables. Their faces are made from a simple exacto knife, fruits, vegetables and beans or beet juice for the face. I absolutely love seeing the imagination of this artist!

How can we talk about food books and not talk about Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs? This is one of my childhood favorites and now is one of my boys favorite books as well. We laugh and laugh when the giant pancakes land on the school and love finding the noodle-head man in the pictures. My two year old loves to walk around saying "tomato tornado" after each time we read this book. Sine it typically rains a lot where we live I love to joke with the kids and randomly yell, "WATCH OUT for the noodles(pancakes/broccoli/beans, etc.)" when we run to our car or are outside. They love it. The sequel, Pickles to Pittsburgh, is not one of my favorites, but worth a check out at the library.

Each time we talk about food this book, Take Me Out of the Bathtub, is going to get quoted. The book is full of fun silly songs and one of our favorites is Food Fight. Seriously, one of the lines in the song says, "got carrots in my underwear!" Talk about full of giggles! We love it!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summertime Book Swap

I am so excited, because between the last year of my husbands med-school crazy schedule and adding a new baby to our family I wasn't able to participate or hold any swaps, but not that we've settled I am ready to roll!

The Summertime Book Swap!
Who: anyone - blogger or non blogger

What: book swap, new, used, magazine, fiction or non, anything goes! I'm going to make things interesting and say there is a price limit of $15, that way if you find something you really love for $14.95 it can go, but no one goes overboard. Find a used bookstore, I can't wait to visit mine again!

When: Sign up now until July 31

How: Email me: wadeanddebbi (at) gmail (dot) com. Include your mailing address and just for fun little bit about your self

August 1st, I will send you an email you the contact information of the person you will send your swap loot too!

A big THANK YOU to my friend Kristen, who is fantastic and made my blog look cute! I love it, she is so creative! I believe her blog is private, but if you want to leave her a comment, I'm sure she will appreciate it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Story Time Monday

At our house we love story time - whether it be at the library, bedtime, random times on the couch or on our bellies on the living room floor. Each Monday morning I am going to be posting a special Story Time Monday book that we enjoy. I might post ideas or activities that we have used while reading this book, funny stories about reading it or just a family favorite that we can't get enough of.

I hope you enjoy.

Story Time Monday

I'm Not Cute
Jonathan Allen

Baby owl is convinced that he is not cute and that he is not small. He is a huge and scary hunting machine. How much cuter can a book for little toddlers get?

My two year old and I love to cuddle up and read this book together. We like to pretend that we have huge and silent hunting wings. We like to use our hands and make great big see in the dark eyes. And at the end I like to give him a great big hug and pose the question, is he cute, or not cute? He always replies, "No mama, I'm Noah."

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mr. Darcy's Daughter

Mr. Darcy's Daughter
Rebecca Ann Collins
5 Stars

After a few months I am finally able to sit down and write a review for this book, in fact, over the past few months I've read it twice. I love it. The fifth book in this series, Mr. Darcy's Daughter continues by following Cassandra, Cassy, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth's daughter. I love Cassy and her strong personality. She is headstrong, intelligent and dependable.

In the book Cassy is faced with many challenges and comes out the heroine of the book with charm and class. While her brother Julian is struggling with his own family and work Cassy becomes responsible for many of the tasks of running the Pemberly estate. Later in the book she becomes fully responsible for raising Julian's son to become the heir of the estate. Romance is in bloom with Cassy's daughter when the family is introduced to a new young American. Mystery is also involved in this book and Cassy's son Darcy takes part of solving the crime.

I enjoyed the second half of the book and felt it moved fast. The mystery was a new twist to the series and I thought it added a fun addition to the storyline. My only regret is not rereading the previous four books in the series before reading this book so I could be refreshed with many of the characters and families.

I recommend these books to any Jane Austen or Pride and Prejudice lover. This series is hands down the best Pride and Prejudice sequel I have found.

The Choice

The Choice,
Nicholas Sparks
3 Stars

This was not my favorite Nicholas Sparks book. Usually I grab his books when I don't have a lot of time to read and I just want something light and easy. Sure, this book was quick and easy, and as usual, a bit predicable. I was disappointed with the end. I know with Nicholas Sparks how things will end, there will be a happy and sad part - this book was no exception. I want to know the percentage of people who wake up after being in a comatose state for so long? I have a good friend who's mother never did. I wonder what she would think of this book, I would hope she would never read it. I know a book is just a book and we all love happy endings, this one just bothered me. It's probably just me. I'll still read Nicholas Sparks.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Brandon Mull
4 Stars

This series follows Kendra and Seth to their grandfather's estate where they find a magical world full of all sorts of mystical creatures, good and bad.

I've been meaning to get to this series for a while and finally got around to reading it. I think it was a fun series, perfect for younger readers. One of my 10 year old nephews is reading the series right now and he loves it - something I would totally expect after finishing this first book.

While the last 50 pages of the book were really interesting and hard to put down, there were parts of the middle that were a little slow for me and I skimmed a lot more than I usually do.

I have to admit that when I finished the book and read the preview for the second book I couldn't wait to get my copy and start reading. I'm hoping the second book will not let me down.

I don't rank this book above Harry Potter, A Great and Terrible Beauty, or even Twilight, but I do think is was a fun magical book and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Each Little Bird That Sings

Each Little Bird That Sings
Deborah Wiles
5 Stars

A dear friend sent me this book when I had my baby a few months ago. She said that she loved this book - along with all other books by Deborah Wiles, and that when I got time she knew I would enjoy it too. I finally got to it and she was so right, I loved it!

Comfort Snowberger is ten years old and her family owns the town funeral home, she attends each and every funeral, so she thinks she knows everything there is to know about death. The story is a pre-teen book (9-12 year olds) and full of ten year old wit and wisdom. I loved it and laughed out loud at parts!

The plot of the story revolves around the funeral of Comforts Great-great-aunt Florentine. Comfort is asked to help with her younger and very annoying cousin Peach all while she is having trouble with her best friend Declaration.

The book takes a turn at the very end and Comfort learns a lesson on what is really important to her, who she is and her family. I believe one of my favorite parts of the entire book is the passage below. In a world like we live in now - this turned into a great message for pre-teens, or any age, to read.

"You did the right thing even when, somewhere deep inside you, you didn't want to. Because you knew, somewhere even deeper, that it was the right thing to do."

Sunday, April 26, 2009

That's Faith

That's Faith
Timothy Carver
5 Stars

The book, That's Faith was developed from a question asked by a youth about how one could measure faith. Brother Carver, a seminary teacher, developed a 10 part lesson for his class, which he then shared with many other classes, at firesides, and now a book.

The ten topics discussed in the book include: honesty, prayer, scripture study, media, music, family, friends, dating, modesty, chastity, sabbath, tithing, priesthood, missions, service and the word of wisdom. Each chapter is only a few short pages long, they all begin with a quote, or scripture, some sort of analogy discussing the topic and then the author shares a personal story about each topic. The final page in each chapter consists of a short "worksheet" where a few questions are asked and readers can rate their faith with a score of 0-10 (10 being highest). There is also a goal listed at the end of each section that readers can think about and work on.

I really enjoyed the analogies at the beginning of the chapters and a few of the short stories. My favorite was about a lesson on modesty that one of the author's friends shared with the young women in her ward. She had brought fresh doughnuts on fast Sunday, all the girls could see and smell but not taste, because of their fasting. The object lesson showed the young women how dressing immodesty can tempt young men.

I thought this book was really though provoking and really appropriate for it's teen-age audience. It was the right length, and touched on very important doctrine without going over the heads of teenagers or losing their attention. I have both a niece and nephew graduating from high school this year and think this would be a great gift to give to them. I found many aspects of my life where I can work on improving my faith. Because of the length I can read this book in just one afternoon, so I look forward to reading and rereading this book again in the future.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Hunger Games

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins
5 Stars
I finished this book late last night and all I have to say is I can't wait until September for the second book! How sad! I loved it and want to read more.
Set in the ruins of what used to be our present day North America is the country of Panem, which is made up of the capital (who controls the country) and 12 districts. Each year the capital builds an arena and hosts what are called The Hunger Games, a reality tv type show that is to the death. Katniss, the main character of the story volunteers when her younger sister is selected to be part of the games.
Survival kicks in and Katniss has to face a lot of different challenges, including love. I really enjoyed the book and could have finished it in one day if I would have had the time. I also think it might make an interesting kind of movie.
This is a young adult book, my sister recommended it to me and she had her 10 year old boy read it, who also enjoyed it. If you are looking for a lot of blood and guts, surprisingly by the description, this isn't the book for you. But trust me, it's a good and interesting read. I also think if you liked Twilight, or the Uglies you would like this book. Check it out.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Winds of Hope

Winds of Hope
Anita Stansfield
4 Stars

The Winds of Hope is the third chapter of the Jayson Wolfe story - and I believe the final book. I was eager to see what happened after the second book, so I read this book fairly fast and loved it.

I loved certain parts of this book, the way that Jayson was introduced to the gospel and the building of his testimony. I loved little Trevin when he told his mom that he needed a copy of the Book of Mormon to give to a friend, it was too cute not to love!

I'm glad that Jayson and Elizabeth were finally able to make it work out and get together - of course I knew that they would eventually get together, it's an Anita Stansfield and they have to get together for it to be a good book by her! I'm also glad that we got to have everything out in the air between the two of them, it felt like such a relief.

There were some parts I didn't expect, the entire ending part with Jayson's family I didn't see coming, but I felt glad that it was part of the book. Macy came back too! I was almost certain that this would happen, but I am so glad it did. I knew that Macy would most likely join the church as well, but I didn't expect it to happen at the same time. I also didn't see her and Aaron together forever, but then again, this made it a happy ending all the way around. I enjoyed the part about when Aaron found out who Jayson was - including the part about believing in forever.

I thought the whole series was fun to read. It had predictable moments, but also moments I didn't see coming. I'm glad it brought up some real issues, teen pregnancy, abuse, adoption, runaways, depression, drug dependency, divorce, and much more - and that we see through this book that the Atonement takes care of all our pain and suffering, no matter the kind.

I recommend this series to anyone who loves Anita Stansfield or needs a clean romance series to read.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Distant Thunder

A Distant Thunder
Anita Stansfield
4 Stars

Part two of a four part series, I enjoyed A Distant Thunder much more than the first part of the series. Not that the first book was bad, but much more predicable, and I'm glad that this book had some twists that I didn't see coming (there were some predicable parts, just not as many).

If I had to pick one thing that bothered me about this book it would be the best friend relationship that Elizabeth and Jayson continue to have even though they are married to separate people. Neither of their spouses ever became jealous or even skeptical of their relationship and there were points when they called each other several times a week. I think that even the most secure relationships would be strained if that were really the case.

The church is introduced in this book - as Elizabeth, and her Dad, become members after moving to Utah (one of those really predicable parts, she moves to Pleasant Grove, Utah - of course she is going to become a member of the church). Evan though I saw it coming I loved it.

I finished this book in one day. I really enjoyed it and can't read to read the next two.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm back!

Introducing my little distractions. I love to read. I love getting lost in a good book. I've loved reading and being able to share that love on my blog. However, I'm first and foremost a wife and mother. I typically keep my family on my family blog, but here they are! On February 12, my little Avery Ann joined our family. It's been so much fun having a girl to dress up. Newborns take a lot of time and energy, and 3 busy kids 5 and under take a lot more work. We've also been on the move with medical rotations, and in less than 5 weeks my husband will have reached his goal and graduate from medical school! YAY!

My reading has fallen behind, but I'm getting more sleep lately and started reading again. I hope to update this blog more. I have a lot of exciting books stacked up ready to read.

Let's get started!

The Sound of Rain

The Sound of Rain
Anita Stansfield
4 Stars

The Sound of Rain is Anita Stansfield's newest series. I'm a bit of a sucker for a good Anita Stansfield book, they are easy quick books, but just a bit predictable.

The story follows Jayson Wolfe, a talented musician. Of course, there is a girl, Elizabeth, and then there is conflict - they fall in love, then more conflict, sadness and then Stansfield wraps it up and we are left waiting for the next book.

I do like that I can read these romance books without having to worry about what is going to happen on the next page. When Jayson and Elizabeth took their kissing a little far and let their minds wonder, they quickly went home and talked to both their parents. I think a lot more of this should go on in the world today. Jayson is old fashion, and I loved his high-water table emotions. Also, Stansfield is an LDS author. Sometimes her books include a lot of LDS lingo, this series reads much more like any typical Christian romance book. (In fact, I keep waiting for LDS missionaries to knock on one of the character's doors and introduce them to the church!)

I've already bought the next two books in this four part series. I started the second one and can't wait to finish it. The second book has been less predicable than the first, which is nice.

I am a Mother

I Am a Mother

Jane Clayson Johnson

5 stars

Last year for Mother's Day one of my sister's and I went in together and sent my mom this book. It had received good reviews, but I had not read it. I finally got my hands on my mom's copy and took a few days to read it. I LOVED it and can't wait to get my own copy.

Jane Clayson Johnson, a former co-host of the Early Show on CBS addresses the question - how do we stop saying we are just a mother? The book really opened my eyes, I became a mom a little over 5 years ago, and have always been blessed to stay at home with my now 3 little ones. I know this is a blessing, but sometimes I wonder if anyone knows or cares that I once worked a great marketing job, that I did graduate with a Bachelor's degree, that I could still do any number of things and work full time, but I choose to stay at home. This book was exactly the boost that I needed. I am a Mother, I should be proud and I should never be ashamed of my decision to stay at home and be with my children.

I recommend this book to anyone, stay at home moms, working moms, sisters, daughters, even husbands and sons should read this book. It has an inspirational message that is good for all.

Promises to Keep: Diane's Story

Promises to Keep: Diane's Story

Dean Hughes

4 Stars

I was so excited when shopping in a local church book store when I found that this book had just come out! I loved Dean Hughes other series, Children of Promise and Hearts of the Children. I quickly bought this book and took it home and started reading it and couldn't put it down.

This novel is short, and follows the story of Diane after she had left her abusive husband in the Hearts of the Children series. We get to also see what happens to some of her other cousins in the story as well. I only wish that this story were a little longer. I get so swept up in series that I never want them to end. If you have read and enjoyed Dean Hughes other books, I recommend this book - it's easy, quick and a nice follow up.

The Christmas Sweater

The Christmas Sweater

Glenn Beck

5 Stars

I read this book late last year. It was early in December and I was getting so excited for the Christmas season. I was deeply touched by the message in this book. I loved the message and how it was presented. The book stuck with me for many days after I finished it - usually I read a book and can quickly pick up the next one, but this one stuck with me.

It was short - just under 300 pages and I read it easily in one day's time. I look forward to re-reading it every Christmas season.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


If anyone happens upon this blog and wonders....

I have a few books left to review from 2008, and hope to get to that soon. I am having baby number 3 in the next month and also moving 3 times in the next five months as my husband graduates medical school and we start residency. I will try to post, but most likely this blog will be taking a break.

If you have a good book suggestion, I'm open for ideas. My list is getting longer and longer but I'm always ears for ideas and suggestions.