Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

News...

Well, I got back from vacation on Saturday night and, yes, I had a good time! However, Sunday night I started getting sick...again. Fever, chills, body aches. I noticed that a small sore I had on my left shin was looking pretty red. By the time Monday night came, I was deathly sick and feverish and my leg and foot was swelled up and red and black. My mom took me to the ER and I found out I have Cellulitis--a severe infection of my leg and foot. I'm going to my doctor today to follow-up and I'm pretty sure she is going to hospitalize me because it's not getting any better and it seems to be spreading. This is probably one of the worst experiences of my life. Not only am I weak, but the pain is so severe that I can barely walk. Ugh!

So I'm probably going to be MIA for several days. I'm not sure if I can get on the internet at the hospital.  Sorry to anyone that has been commenting on my reviews, etc.  I will try to respond when I'm back on my feet again.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Book review--Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You—Dr. Susan Biali, M.D.

Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You—Dr. Susan Biali, M.D.

Book description from Goodreads:

The promise of Live A Life You Love is simple: being true to your most authentic self and following essential principles of wellness will make you happy, healthy, and passionately in love with life.

With insights drawn from her own personal transformation from a depressed medical doctor to a joyful and fulfilled flamenco dancer, writer, speaker, and life coach, Dr. Susan Biali’s seven-step plan will help you discover (or re-discover) the hopes, passions, and talents that make up the real you.

Even if your dreams have faded, or you worry they are unrealistic, Dr. Biali will teach you how to reach that creative, hopeful place and work towards making those dreams a reality. Along the way, you’ll also learn how to maximize your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

You will learn how to:

•Begin making YOU a priority
•Understand your body’s language
•Choose foods that slow aging, boost health, and improve energy
•Improve your most important relationships
•Balance your life and find time for what counts
•Turn this knowledge into action today

My thoughts:

Susan Biali really knows her stuff. This book is a great tool for a person's journey to changing their life. It encourages you to not be afraid of change. If something is not working in your life, find a way to make a change. Biali talks about finding out who you are, learning to love yourself, following your dreams—among other things. On your way to finding these things and dreaming, she teaches you to honor your body through healthy eating and to take care of yourself and not worry so much all the time about others and their needs. She also brings the spiritual side of things in for those who find that aspect important. She includes a sample healthy diet plan in the back of the book and her website, http://www.susanbiali.com/ has a printable workbook that you can use as a tool with the book (I'm going to do that next).

There is a memorable section of the book I want to share with you about the importance of finding and being the real you:

“That's why I chose to begin this book by emphasizing how important it is to start being the real you, no matter how impractical that might seem. There will never be another you. If you spend your life denying that real you, and focus on being like everyone else, that unique you, who is meant to be here, who is here, will never make it out into the daylight. And whatever it is that you were supposed to do, or experience, will die with you. I believe that you need to honor every wonderful, silly, “inappropriate” part of you, because your unique personality contains the road map for your best life.”

I recommend this book to anyone who feels like they need, or want, to change their life. I know it has given me some insight to focus on a new direction in my life. I will continue to use it as a tool as I embark on my new life's journey.
This book qualifies me for the following challenges (check my challenge progress here):

New Authors Challenge
Pages Read Challenge
ARC Challenge
Countdown Challenge 2010
100+ Reading Challenge
Monthly Mixer Mele



FTC disclosure:  I received this book from OnlinePublicist for review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for reading and reviewing it.

Book review--Cardboard by Fiona Place

Cardboard: A woman left for dead--Fiona Place

Book description from Goodreads:

Cardboard: A woman left for dead is recognized as one of the most compelling portraits of an eating disorder and an outstanding example of its genre. It is also winner of the National Book Council's Award for New Writers.

When we first meet Lucy she cannot understand what is wrong with her. Ashen, thin and with a thready heartbeat, she is finding it increasingly difficult to eat. The tour leader, on a tight schedule, decides she is merely homesick. And lying on her bed she is left to fend for herself.

Alone in her tiny hotel room, Lucy wonders what she should do? Is she really sick or just homesick? Reluctantly, she decides to fly to an English speaking country. And to her embarrassment is taken off the plane in a wheelchair.

Admitted to intensive care, Lucy is now a 'patient'. And undergoing a range of advised treatments - some harsh and ineffective, others intelligent and insightful - unknowingly enters into a dynamic and powerful struggle over the ownership of her identity, her life story.

An astute observer, Lucy invites the reader to make sense of what it means to be 'ill'. To understand why eating has become so impossible. Life so impossible. And as she fleshes out her journey towards a secure, full-bodied and robust recovery demands her distress be understood. Demands it be put into her own words. Her own voice.

Exquisitely written and winningly readable this novel will reach out to everyone who has struggled with the big questions: Who am? What do I want? How dangerous are my desires?

My thoughts:



I'm not going to sugarcoat things here. Cardboard is a difficult read, but it's an important read. Lucy has anorexia and it has debilitated her life. She cannot function in the real world and is in and out of hospital for treatment. The difficult part of reading this book is deciphering Lucy's thought patterns as she is going through her ordeal. This book really showed me that anorexia is not just a physical disorder, but very much a mental disorder. Lucy absolutely has a distorted and frightened view of almost everything. She is seeking the love and comfort that she never seemed to receive from her parents. However, her doctor has a very hands off approach in his treatment. The turning point is when Lucy begins to see a new doctor, Tim. Tim's approach to treatment is entirely different. He seems to genuinely care for Lucy and he is able to draw her out. Gradually, things begin to change and Lucy seems to be on the slow road to recovery.

Cardboard is very well-written. Place helps the reader to crawl inside Lucy's mind and experience her thought processes. But it's a hard place to be. And the inclusion of small bits of poetry throughout the text also gives an idea of Lucy's fragmented thoughts, but I found myself largely skimming over them, as they were somewhat distracting. Overall, Cardboard was a good read.

This book qualifies for the following challenges (check my challenge progress here. When I reach 30 followers, I will be giving away a $10 Better World Books gift certificate!):

Countdown Challenge 2010
Pages Read Challenge
New Authors Challenge
ARC Challenge
100+ Reading Challenge
Monthly Mixer Mele
Hogwarts Reading Challenge



FTC Disclosure:  I received this book from the author for review.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for reading and reviewing it.

Book review--The Mark by Jen Nadol

Blog Tour Stop
The Mark--Jen Nadol

Book description from Goodreads:

Cassandra Renfield has always seen the mark—a glow around certain people reminiscent of candlelight. But the one time she mentioned it, it was dismissed as a trick of the light. Until the day she watches a man awash in the mark die. After searching her memories, Cassie realizes she can see a person’s imminent death. Not how or where, only when: today.

Armed with a vague understanding of the light, Cassie begins to explore her “gift,” seeking those marked for death and probing the line between decision and destiny. Though she’s careful to hide her secret—even from her new philosophy-obsessed boyfriend—with each impending death comes the temptation to test fate. But so many questions remain. How does the mark work? Why is she the only one who sees it? And finally, the most important of all: If you know today is someone’s last, should you tell them?

My thoughts:

Cassie knows when someone is about to die. She sees an aura around the person very soon before their time comes. As any person would, she is having a very hard time coming to terms with her “gift”...or is it a curse? She's not sure which. Cassie struggles with the implications of her ability. Should she warn the person and try to save them, even though it will make her look like a crazy person? Or is “The Mark” that person's fate? Her boyfriend believes that she is morally obligated to tell, but he's not standing in Cassie's shoes. What would a person do if they found themselves in possession of this kind of ability? When Cassie finds out the truth about the legacy of “The Mark”, it opens an entirely new set of questions about her origins and how the ability is more than just a fluke.

I really enjoyed this book. It started out a little slow, but it picked up momentum pretty quickly. It's not a very long book and it is a fast-paced read up until the end.

Qualifies for the following challenges (be sure to check out my progress here on my challenge blog--when I reach 30 followers, I'm giving away a $10 gift certificate to Better World Books):

Pages Read Challenge
ARC Challenge
Countdown Challenge 2010
100+ Reading Challenge
New Authors Challenge


FTC disclosure:  This book was received to read for a blog tour and then forwarded on to the next participant.  I did not receive any monetary compensation for reading and reviewing this book.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Wolf Hall and TuesBookTalk on Twitter

It's not too late to join us in the discussion of Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel.  We will be discussing Part II tonight on Twitter at 10:30 pm ET/9:30 pm CT.  Hashtag to follow is #TuesBookTalk.  If you're not already following me on Twitter, my handle is @truebookaddict.  You can check for updates or direct inquiries to me there or here.  Hope to see you there!

Mailbox Monday/It's Monday...what are you reading?

Mailbox Monday is a weekly event hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.

Late...again! I've been told I'll be late for my own funeral.  LOL!

This will be my last MM for at least a week, maybe two.  I'm leaving for my vacation on Thursday morning.  My mom and I and the boys are going to Michigan for my niece's high school graduation and we're staying for a week.  I'm taking my computer so I will be checking in, but no mailbox since I'll have no idea what I receive while I'm gone (no...really?)...doh! I'm putting my mail on hold, even though my husband will be here, because he has no clue and I do not want any books left outside or lost!

I had a little mailbox last week, but what I did get was awesome!

In the mail:

For review:

from the author, Christy English...with a personalized autograph and a matching bookmark! Can't wait to read this!

The Queen's Pawn--Christy English

Book description from Goodreads:

Princess Alais of France travels to England to marry Richard the Lionhearted, the son of King Henry II, armed only with her dowry, the valuable Vexin. When Alais arrives in the land of her father’s enemies, she is welcomed by the beautiful and powerful queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor, the richest and most influential woman in Europe, sees a kindred soul in the young French princess. Intrigued by the girl’s strength and fire, Eleanor adopts Alais as her protégée, teaching the girl what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But Eleanor and Alais’ love for each other is threatened when the capricious and imperious King Henry meets the lovely young princess. Fascination with the king draws Alais deep into political intrigue, and she soon discovers what Eleanor is prepared to do to retain her position as queen. Alais, the one-time pawn, takes ruthless action of her own, as the two women become rivals both for the king’s love and the throne of England itself.

Won:

from Historical Tapestry.  Thanks again ladies!

Band of Angels--Julia Gregson

Book description from Amazon:

Growing up in Wales, Catherine Carreg has been allowed to run wild, spending her childhood racing ponies along the beach with her friend Deio, the cattle-driver’s son. But Catherine is consumed by a longing to escape the monotony of village life and runs away to London with Deio’s help. Alone in the unfamiliar city, Catherine secures a position in Florence Nightingale’s home for sick governesses. As the nation is gripped by reports of war in the Crimea, Catherine volunteers as a nurse—and her life changes beyond all recognition. Arriving in Scutari, she is immediately thrown into a living nightmare. Amid the madness and chaos, Catherine is forced to grow up quickly, learning the hardest lessons of love and war.


It's Monday...what are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

Finished last week:

The Mark--Jen Nadol
Cardboard--Fiona Place
Live a Life You Love--Dr. Susan Biali, M.D.

Reviews will be up in the next couple of days...before I go on vacation.

Currently Reading:

Virgin and the Crab--Robert Parry
The Red Door--Charles Todd
Wolf Hall--Hilary Mantel  we are discussing Part II on Twitter (#TuesBookTalk) tomorrow night at 10:30 pm ET/9:30 pm CT.

Up Next:

Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show--Frank Delaney
Under the Dome--Stephen King
Eclipse--Stephenie Meyer
Sense & Sensibility--Jane Austen

Any goodies in your mailbox?  What are you reading lately?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Steampunk Books on my Wishlist (No...I still haven't read these!)

vvb32 is hosting SteamPink Week, June 4-12.  Head over for giveaways, posts, and events.  In honor of the event I am posting four steampunk books I have been really wanting to read, but have STILL not got around to reading.

Leviathan--Scott Westerfeld


Pastworld--Ian Beck


Soulless--Gail Carriger


Changeless--Gail Carriger








Sunday, June 6, 2010

48 Hour Book Challenge--Finish Line

Well, it's over (for me) and I did not do as well as I would have liked.  I didn't set a goal so at least I don't have to deal with that failure...LOL! Still I finally finished a book I needed to finish so there's that.  Here are my final stats:

Title of book(s) read since last update: Cardboard by Fiona Place, started The Red Door by Charles Todd
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read since last update: 193
Running total of pages read since you started: 295
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 14 hours

Since I have nothing else planned for the rest of the night, I'm going to continue reading The Red Door, if I can stay awake, that is!

I still can't believe it took me almost 14 hours to read one book.  I did not think I was THAT slow of a reader.  I still don't think I am.  I just think the book was a difficult read.  I read books like that much slower! Anyway, thanks so much to MotherReader for hosting this awesome event.  Hopefully, next year I'll do a lot better!

48 Hour Book Challenge--Update #3

My read-a-thon performance has been less than stellar because I could not stop falling asleep! I finally finished Cardboard.  It was a difficult read, but it was worth reading.  I'll have my review up some time this week.  Here is my progress report:

Title of book(s) read since last update: Cardboard by Fiona Place
Number of books read since you started: 1
Pages read since last update: 157
Running total of pages read since you started: 259
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 6 hours, 15 minutes
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 12 hours, 15 minutes
Up Next: I've decided to crack open The Red Door by Charles Todd.  Since Cardboard was such a difficult and involved read, I need something more suspenseful and exciting...I hope!

I'm in the homestretch now! I end at 10:15 pm...let's see if I can finish The Red Door. *fingers crossed*

48 Hour Book Challenge--Update #2

I'm back and getting started reading again.  Mom and I had a great time today.  We went to eat and she bought the boys some summer clothes.  We also had movie night tonight so I'm late getting home.  We watched Nine...not what I expected and I wasn't that impressed although Daniel Day-Lewis was great, as usual...and Halloween II...one word, GORY! Anyway, off topic here. 

Official start back time is 2:30 am
Picking up Cardboard by Fiona Place (on page 208) and finishing it!
Next up:  Virgin and The Crab by Robert Parry

I'm really tired so we'll see how this goes!  =O)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

48 Hour Book Challenge--Update #1

Well, I've had a less than stellar reading experience so far.  I started at 10:15 pm last night and as time wore on, I kept falling asleep.  And I did not get much reading done.  I'm either an extremely slow reader or I'm just dragging my feet on what I'm reading.  While I'm interested in Cardboard, it's not a fast read like other books.  So here are my pathetic stats:

Title of book(s) read since last update: Cardboard by Fiona Place
Number of books read since you started: Still reading the first one.  =O(
Pages read since last update: 103  =O(
Running total of pages read since you started: 103
Amount of time spent reading since last update: 6 hours
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 6 hours
Up Next: Virgin and The Crab by Robert Parry

I'm off for my day with mom.  I'll be back late tonight to start reading again.  I'll be reading until 10:15 pm Sunday night so maybe, just maybe, I'll do better.  I hope so!

Friday, June 4, 2010

48 Hour Book Challenge--Official starting line

Well, I had planned to start at 7:00 pm, but a certain two boys (I won't mention names...we know who I'm talking about) kind of threw a wrench in my plans! So I'm starting at 10:15pm which means I will end Sunday at 10:15pm...woooo hooo!

Title of book(s) read since last update: I'm starting with Cardboard by Fiona Place
Number of books read since you started: I’ve started 1.
Pages read since last update: n/a
Running total of pages read since you started: n/a
Amount of time spent reading since last update: Just starting
Running total of time spent reading since you started: (keep track of this one to be eligible for a prize!)- Just starting
Up Next: Virgin and The Crab by Robert Parry

And here I go....

48 Hour Book Challenge

So...I'm doing another read-a-thon this weekend! The Fifth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge hosted by MotherReader is this weekend.  I'm not going to be able to read for the entire 48 hours, but I'm planning on starting tonight at 7:00 pm and ending on Sunday at 7:00 pm. 

Here's my list of planned reads:

Cardboard by Fiona Place (finish)
Virgin and The Crab by Robert Parry (finish)
Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney
The Red Door by Charles Todd
Under the Dome by Stephen King (I really hope I can finish all the others so I can start this one...finally!)

Are you joining the festivities this weekend? 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Cat Thursday

It's that time again...Cat Thursday! Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy!

This LOL cat pic represents me in my quest to do some reading on a mega scale this summer.  I'm doing the 48 hour Book Challenge this weekend (give or take some hours) and I'm going to do Lori's (Pure Imagination) Once Upon a Read-a-Thon on July 12-14...plus I'm going on vacation next Thursday to Michigan.  It's my niece's high school graduation and we're staying for a little over a week.  My sister has to work during the week so my mom and I will have a lot of free time to read...woo hoo! So...



Join in on the fun and add your post to Mr. Linky. =O)



4 Mini-Reviews...A Catch-Up on Reviews

Queen of the Damned--Anne Rice (audio--abridged)

Book description from Fantastic Fiction:

After 6000 years of stillness, Akasha, mother of vampires and Queen of the Damned has risen from her sleep. Her monstrous plan of ruling the worlds of the living and the undead must be stopped. The challenge is left to the vampire Lestat, for it was he who woke her from her sleep.

My thoughts:

Anyone who knows me knows that this is my favorite book.  This was my fourth reading of it.  Let me give you some advice.  NEVER listen to an abridged version of your favorite book! If this version would have been the way and extent that it was originally written, I would not have even liked it.  All the elements that made it my favorite in the first place are gone.  In the original, it is not just the paranormal element that draws you in.  It has a strong historical element that appealed to my historical sensibilities.  In this book, we learn the history and origin of the vampires and anyone who is familiar with Rice knows that she is very detailed.  Well, not in this version kiddos! All the detail and ancient legacy are stripped away.  People always say, "never judge a book by its movie."  I say never judge a book by its abridged audio version!

The Hunger Games--Suzanne Collins (audio--unabridged)

Book description from Fantastic Fiction:

Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, "The Hunger Games." The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat's sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.

My thoughts:

One of the best dystopian novels I have ever read.  Okay, well I've only read a handful, but I stand by my opinion.  The premise was believable.  It showed the reader, without coming out and saying it, why the districts waged war on the Capitol in the first place.  It's obvious that the Capitol is barbaric...I mean anyone that would expect children to fight to the death must have been guilty of some pretty heinous practices to begin with.  So fast forward to years past the war and you have districts that are starving while the Capitol exists in all its lavishness and gluttony.  Then they choose two children to fight to the death in The Hunger Games, they parade them around like celebrities only to watch them kill each other on live teleivision.  It's very scary and very heartbreaking.  Collins has written the most wonderful characters.  Katniss and Peeta are so believable,  it's like seeing your own children in them (or, if you're a teenaged reader, seeing yourself).  The only downside to this book was listening to it on audio...the reader had kind of a grating voice.  I can't wait to read the next book, Catching Fire, but I will definitely be reading the print version!

The Dark Divine--Bree Despain

Book description from Fantastic Fiction:

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

My thoughts:

This is a hard one to review without giving away "the secret", although I'm sure a lot of people have read it and already know.  But I'm not going to be giving anything away so this will be a very basic review.  I loved this book!!! I read it in one day and it was one of those "can't put it down" books.  I enjoyed the mysterious element behind the secret and the history and aspect of the secret were intriguing.  Some great "world building" here, if I can call it that.  It's not really fantasy, but Despain's whole premise is excellent.  I'm impressed that this is her first novel.  I can't wait until the rest of the series!

The Little Stranger--Sarah Waters

Book description from Fantastic Fiction:

In a dusty post-war summer in rural Warwickshire, a doctor is called to see a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the once grand house is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its garden choked with weeds. All around, the world is changing, and the family is struggling to adjust to a society with new values and rules.

Roddie Ayres, who returned from World War II physically and emotionally wounded, is desperate to keep the house and what remains of the estate together for the sake of his mother and his sister, Caroline. Mrs. Ayres is doing her best to hold on to the gracious habits of a gentler era and Caroline seems cheerfully prepared to continue doing the work a team of servants once handled, even if it means having little chance for a life of her own beyond Hundreds.

But as Dr. Faraday becomes increasingly entwined in the Ayreses' lives, signs of a more disturbing nature start to emerge, both within the family and in Hundreds Hall itself. And Faraday begins to wonder if they are all threatened by something more sinister than a dying way of life, something that could subsume them completely.


My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this book.  I could immediately see why it was short listed for the Man Booker Prize of 2009.  Waters's writing is SO good.  She is descriptive without being mundane.  The atmosphere of the book is gothic and Waters brings it across effortlessly.  Dr. Faraday is an uncomfortable character and he has you squirming in your seat, almost experiencing his discomfort vicariously.  As far as the supposed "haunting" goes, it's kind of what you expect when reading the description.  However, you're never quite sure if it's really a ghost or more a psychological form of mass hysteria among the characters.  But that is the beauty of this book.  It's very spooky without being obvious.  The feel of it brings to mind the movie The Others, that whole gothic ghost story feel, but without the shocker ending, of course.  That was what I thought I was disappointed with in this book...the ending.  But, as I've had more time to think about it, Waters left things that way purposely, so you could draw your own conclusion.  Not all endings can be wrapped up in a pretty bow and this ending worked for this book.

These books qualify for the following challenges:

(click here to view challenge progress on my challenge blog and don't forget to follow me there--I'm at 15 followers and I've changed the giveaway goal over there to 30 followers!)

Pages Read Challenge (all four)
100+ Reading Challenge (all four)
Countdown Challenge 2010 (The Hunger Games)
Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge (The Little Stranger)
New Authors Challenge (The Little Stranger, The Hunger Games, The Dark Divine)
Hogwarts Reading Challenge (The Dark Divine)
Take Another Chance Challenge (The Dark Divine)
GLBT Challenge 2010 (The Little Stranger)
Audio Book Challenge (Hunger Games, Queen of the Damned)
1st in a Series (Hunger Games)

- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.TjHz2Px9.dpuf