ARC REVIEW: Urban Watercolor Sketching

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Are you interested in watercolor? Do you sketch? Then check out this awesome book.

I received this book from bloggingforbooks for review, this is my honest opinion.

For those of you who don't know I'm an artist, I work in a graphic design field, but I really prefer to paint and draw. I have been interested in getting into watercolor more, because it's such a difficult medium I have always been a little afraid of it. I own a lot of watercolor supplies, just like book, I also hoard art supplies. I requested this book to get a little inspired and learn more.

I like this book a lot, and it's not the type of book you read front to back and then review. I flipped through it, and read a little here and there. Mostly I looked at the art and go some inspiration, some ideas for what I want to paint. I like the way it's laid out, it's fun and creative. The book offers a lot of information on color, hue, technique and a little bit of history, of paint as well as art itself. Everything in this book is sketched, it really shows that the author is serious about what he does. Also the book itself is a good size, as soon as I opened it I was wowed.  I will definitely keep this book on my table andgo back to it when I need some info. I recommend it anyone who is a painter, and artist, looking for inspiration and education. Go check it out!

If you are interested you can check out my art

 

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REVIEW: Skip, Hop Dragon's on Top!

This is a funny little book for little kids to learn the concept of top and bottom. The illustrations are fun and the animals are cute. My baby liked to thumb through the pages, and she pointed to a few animals. But she's only 15 months so she didn't learn much yet. We'll try again in a couple months and see if she can understand a little more. Overall it's a great little book for kids, the only thing I would change, and I think this comes from the fact that I'm an artist myself, I would add some sort of background behind the animals. Maybe make them play in a meadow, or just add some trees behind them so it looks like they are in a place instead of a white background.

REVIEW: Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

See the characters spread their wings in this Shakespeare verse filled novel. The story is set in a fictional town of Barnwell, where the three sisters, Cordelia, Rose and Bianca, reunite back at home. Not under happy circumstances, their mother has cancer, and they all want to help a little. As well as run away from their problems but have no where else to go but home. From there we see how they struggle to put their lives back together while dealing with their sick mom.

I didn't really like this book, it had a poor plot and characters that I couldn't relate to on any term. I know that not every good book needs to have a climax, but the lack of it in this story really showed. There was nothing to look foreword to, and nothing to get excited about. The ending could have been predicted in the first few chapters. Also, the whole Shakespeare obsession, and their constant mentioning about how they love to read got old very quickly. I don't read Shakespeare, and most of the time I didn't know what the hell they were talking about. I thought I would like a book about book lovers, but they were just flat characters with too much free time.

The story is told from all of their point of views, as well as a narrator, as well as first and third person. It was weird. I don't even know how to explain it. But it was confusing and should not be done, ever.

Over all this story lacked a good story, the characters are developed but not memorable, or interesting. I don't think I will recommend this book to anyone, it's just not the type of story to keep you up at night.

10 Books I never finished reading....Shame....shame.....shame...

top10 Once again I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish, todays topic is “Top ten books that you started but never finished reading”. There are many books that I started to read but never finished, either because it was bad, I wasn't in the mood or I was too confused to try and figure it out. So here is my list. And don’t forget to check out other people’s posts, spread the love. I own 8 of these books, so I will most likely go back to some of them and try again. Sometimes all it is it timing. When you click on the cover images you will be taken to my amazon associates account.

 

 

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Insomnia by Stephen King

After reading The Shining and Bag of Bones when I was 14 I decided to read more of Stephen King, and with this book I stopped, for quite a while. This book seemed boring and it dragged on to get the story started. But I never read far enough to know if it got any better. I still own it and will most likely go back to it one day.

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The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

I like time travel, it's an intriguing topic but this was a little too confusing for me. I couldn't figure out when and where he traveled. I watched the movie instead. Which confused me as well, but I enjoyed it a little bit more than the book.

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12 Years a Slave by  Solomon Northup, Randy Decuir (ghostwriter)

I wanted to read this book as soon as I found out that they were making a movie, but as it turned out the movie was better, for me at least. There were too many big words in this book. I didn't feel like reading it with my dictionary. So I saw the movie instead.

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Modern Prophet Edgar Cayce

To be honest I like the idea of prophecy, but I don't think it exists, I don't think anyone can tell the future. My boyfriend recommended this book to me, but I just couldn't get into it.

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Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I know this is a good book, and I really want to read it, but when I tried a few years ago I just wasn't in that mood. I need to be in a certain mood for this book. And by the way, it's huge.

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The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon

I love this series, don't get me wrong, but this book dragged on so much I skipped a lot of pages just to get through the book so I could move on to the next one. I did read most of it, I just skipped a lot. But I still like it, and will read the last one too.

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Paradise Lost by John Milton

Lets just say I want o read it but I'm too stupid. Haha there are so many difficult words in this book as well as the way it's written I know that I would be confused. It's something to read in English class.

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The Devils Cup by Stweart Lee Allen

So this guy is just traveling all over finding out how coffee is made, and blah blah blah. All I wanted to know was a little bit about coffee and then drink some. Wake up and move on. I didn't care for this book.

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The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman

I just couldn't get into this story, there wasn't much of a story, ti was all about the animals. I just had no patience to find out. Maybe some other time.

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The Russian Concubine by Kate Furnivall

I started this book right after I read The Bronze Horseman, so I was in a Russian mode, but since there wasn't a lot of romance like the Bronze Horseman I quickly put it away. I do have the whole trilogy so I will probably give it another try.

REVIEW: Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin

Do you want to know where you go when you die? According to Zevin you go to Elsewhere. This is a delightful story about a teenage girl who to her own disbelief is dead. One day, she wakes up on a ship, her parents aren't with her, and she has no idea where she is headed. Soon enough she realizes she's dead, and her next stop, Elsewhere. This story takes up through her struggle as she tries to cope with the idea of never seeing her family again, and not being able to go back to her old life. She will start a new life though, in 15 years. Because in Elsewhere you age backwards, and once you reach 0 you are basically reincarnated.

THOUGHTS: Although I think Zevin did a good job capturing the spirit of a 15 year old girl whose life just turn upside down, she might have gone a bit too far. No one knows what goes on in a teenagers mind, but I think this one is a little too whiny. I wish we would skip over the whining and see the character when she is 8 or 3 and what her thoughts are like then.

The idea of reincarnation is something I've though of many times, and I don't know if it exists or not, some people claim to have memories of their past lives, others don't believe it because of their religious views. I believe that WE DON'T KNOW. So why argue, I like thinking that it does exist, and that we do get a second or how ever many chances, to do it all over again. To better your spirit, and reach some sort of Nirvana. Hmm maybe I should be Buddhist. This book has nothing to do with God, as far as I know there isn't one. They don't enter heaven through the pearly gates, St. John isn't waiting for them. It's simply a different realm.

But this is a weird interpretation of afterlife. They die, go to elsewhere, age backwards, and are reborn. But there is also a magic well, where you can try to communicate to the living. And when you succeed the sounds are carried through water. And message bottles arrive from the living through the river. I don't have a clue as to how that would work. It's like they are in a parallel universe connected to the real world by this river. It was all a little too much, the reincarnation part I really enjoyed the rest was a little too over the top. And I don't know about the whole romance thing between a 15 year old and a man who is aged backwards, which would make him in his 30's. I think if she omitted the romance part and focused more on the characters this would be a great book for younger audiences.

I still liked this book even though it has some issues, and would still recommend it to young adults. Mature audiences might find this book a little silly.

REVIEW: Where'd You Go Bernadette

Set in a rainy city, this is only the second novel by Maria Semple, who herself escaped California to live in Seattle. She is the former writer of Mad About You tv show, which I used to love oh so much. After Bee announces that her promised reward for getting good grades will be a family trip to Antarctica, Bernadette's agoraphobia intensifies. She already hates people, and being around strangers, not to mention other moms from Bee's school, she has to face being stuck on a boat with people, without an escape. She starts to act odd, even more then she usually does, and the drama between her and some other moms at the school gets a little out of hand when she accidentally destroys property. She hates this city, she hates the people that live here that hate the city, she hates being involved in school activities, even though she is a say at home mom, she claims to not have free time. She doesn't want to talk to anyone, she doesn't even make her own restaurant reservations, or buys groceries, she has service from India for that. Bernadette has issues, big ones, and most of them started when she was an architect a long time ago.

This book is written in epistolary form, ranging from letters to text messages. This is the way Bee, Bernadettes daughter tries to find out what happened to her mom, why she disappeared and where she is. It's supposed to be told from Bee's point of view, but since it is written in letters we get to hear everyones side. And that's not a bad thing. With Bee explaining in between the documents, this makes it easier to follow so many characters and ties everything together. Semple did a great job giving a voice to so many different characters and personalities. It was written well and some of the characters were likable it was even a little funny, but it lacked a big dramatic climax. After Bernadette disappears we only get to see Bee's side of the story and that's when it looses that spark. It was nice to see the characters from different perspectives,  I enjoyed reading about the drama and the gossip but when that changed I felt like it got weaker and didn't move along as quickly anymore.

 

I personally didn't like this book too much, I thought I would, at first I did, I liked the drama, kind of reminded me of Desperate Housewives, but then quickly lost it's spark. The climax, if there even was one, was not that interesting.  Since this book is about a middle aged woman who is going through some kind of midlife crisis I couldn't really relate to it, I'm not middle ages nor do I have any crisis. I'm am stuck in the in-between stage, too old for YA and too young for woman's fiction.

I would recommend this book to an older crowd, preferably in their 40's.

Too many books?

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Why do I obsessively buy books?

Is there something wrong with me, or does everyone do this. And by everyone I mean people who love to read. I have a kindle (even though I swore for years i wouldn't get one, but I kind of like it, it reads to me), and books are so much cheeper on it. Also, I have a library card and the library is only blocks from my house. I can get books for free, so why do I NEED to have them on my shelves? Maybe because they are super pretty, I love the way they feel and smell, and it's decorative too. I like to be able to just look into the living room and see all the books I read, and will read. To connect with the characters, be able to say hi. Yea right, like they can hear me. I think I'm just crazy.

But I'm spending A LOT of money on books, and I need to stop. I have enough to read for about 5-7 years, at the rate I'm going now. My main reason to buy is because if I don't I will forget about it and never read it. So when I see a good book I snatch it up, as if a couple years it will cease to exist. Oh what is wrong with me. Someone make me stop buying books. Or at least tell me you do the same so I don't feel like a freak. Should I check into to a recovery center, this is a problem.

REVIEW: We Were Liars

This thrilling new contemporary suspense novel will leave you speechless.

Being a rich kid, and spending your vacations on a private island seems like a dream, but for Candence it's a nightmare. Something happened two years ago, and accident, which left her with memory loss. This is her story, as she tries to peace together the events that took place that summer.

Every summer her and her cousins come to the island to spend the summer. They call themselves The Liars: Cadence, Johnny, Mirren and Gat (Gat isn't blood related). But during summer 15 (they are 15 years old) something happens and Cadence end up in the hospital, with no memory of what happened. Her mom doesn't want to tell her, because it's better if she finds out on her own. Cadence returns to the island and to The Liars on summer 17, and that's when the story starts.

The story is told from Cadence's point of view, ranging in time from summer 8 till current events. The story feels almost like and dark fairy tale, the characters aren't exceptionally realistic, yet they seem to come to life in your imagination. And some of their actions are not that believable, but we also don't get a lot of detail on each character, we don't even get a lot about the main character. That is part of the reason why they don't feel real, because we know very little about them. I think that was part of the plan, make the characters more mysterious, since this is suspense/mystery novel. It's not something you need to really dissect and try to solve the mystery, this is not Nancy Drew, the truth always comes out in the end. So just read it till the end.

I really think this book should be read without knowing anything about it first, as it suggests, I feel like that way you will really have to dig in and find out for yourself what it's all about. I enjoyed it quite a bit, it's not the greatest suspense novel, nor is it very scary and mysterious, it's just the curiosity that wins over. While Cadence is trying to find out what happened, you will try and remember for her as well. I do recommend this book, because it's fun. And will leave you shocked. So read and enjoy and don't forget to Lie when asked how it ends.

 

I want MORE books from these authors!!

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Once again I’m linking up with The Broke and the Bookish, todays topic is “Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More". I own a lot of books, over 500 and have barely read half, probably way less, but I just buy buy buy, and usually when I read a book and like it, I right away buy more books from the author, because if I don't I might forget to do it later and then never read a book that that author again. Yes, I am crazy, here is my list.  And don't forget to check out other people's posts, spread the love.

1. David Nicholls  I read One Day and loved it so much I could't wait to see the movie, which was good too. But now I'm curious about the rest of his books. I already own a couple so that shouldn't be a problem.

2. Katherine Howe I read The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane a few years ago and really enjoyed the idea of witches, and magic.  And I already own Conversion so I will definitely get into this magical world.

3. Douglas Adams It's about aliens, that's all I have to say. Funny aliens and I have all the sequels to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and will read them sometime in the future.

4. Steig Larsson The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo: Book 1 of the Millennium Trilogy (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) This books blew my mind, I already bought the second one, but I need to be in a certain mood to read it. Not a happy book.

5. Neil Gaiman The Ocean at the End of the Lane was so great that I fell in love with Gaiman, and only then discovered that I already own 3 of this other books. 

6. Michael Crichton My boyfriend loves Crichton, and told me to read Jurassic Park, and I did, and I loved it. Then I realized that I have read another book by this author,  Timeline and enjoyed that one as well. And I have about 10 of his books on my shelves and will sure give then a try.

7. Ian McEwan Who didn't love One Day, that was such a sad and beautiful book, I really want to read more of his work.

8. Charles Dickens I love classics, not that I read a ton, just to have them on hand when I'm in a classic mood. The first book by Dickens that I read was The Great Expectations, I didn't understand it at first. But after the story picked up speed I really enjoyed it.

9. E. Lockhart I just finished We Were Liars a few days ago, and loved it, the twist at the end really made this one of my favorites. I don't even know if Lockhart wrote more books but I will look into them.

10. Liane Moriarty I read The Husbands Secret, and although I wasn't too impressed it was a good book, so I already picked up another one. Of course. I have a book buying problem.

Do you live vicariously through books?

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Do any of you ever read a book just so you can escape reality? To live vicariously thought the characters, a life different from your own? Do you wish to be swept up into this imaginary world full of wonder, and not have to focus on dirty dishes or laundry. Well, I do, and I'm pretty sure lot's of people do too, what would be the point of reading otherwise. I guess unless you only read non-fiction to try and better your knowledge, than no you don't want to escape reality. And why do we want an escape, are our lives that crappy that we have to imagine some other life?

Sometimes your life just sucks a little, and all you want to do is read a feel good book, pretend you're the main character, have all these awesome things happen to you, kiss a boy, dance, smile, be happy, travel to another planet and meet aliens. But why? Is it because we're unhappy, that we would want to escape, or is it out of curiosity. I sometimes do it just out of boredom, but other times I'm just curious what world the author created, and yes, when I felt sad I would read a sad book. But why, I guess to know that somewhere out there are people just as sad as me. (Usually I was sad because of my then boyfriend now ex, he would piss me off quite often, hence the ex.)

So why do you read? For pleasure, escape to to learn?

Bras and Broomsticks by Sarah Mlynowski review

Sarah seems like such a fun and nice person, she has written many YA books, ones I have never heard of till now, but I already ordered some more because I just like how simple and fun they are.

As I write this review I am watching Sabrina the Teenage Witch, because I just need to satisfy my younger inner self at the moment, and my weird interest in witchcraft. I loved this show, and this book really reminded me of it, mostly just because of the witch thing. Still, I liked it.

The story follows Rachel (she is about 15-16  years old), who finds out that her mom is a witch as well as her younger sister Miri, but she is NOT. So of course she wants to use her sister to do magic for her. Get her a boyfriend, make her popular, give her some dance moves, all the stuff teenage girls want. Also to get rid of the woman their dad is about to marry, STB as they call her (Soon-To-Be Stepmother), that they don't like very much. In the process of all this magic, she looses her friend, gains some fake friends, but does she learn a lesson? Not really, she is a teenager after all.

I didn't know if I was gonna like this book, it's kind of for 13 year olds, but I dived right in a loved it. You have to think back to when you were young, don't think with your adult brain when reading this. It really reminded me of hight school, and the stress of fitting in and all the drama that comes with those four years of doom. The school dances, boyfriends, cool kids, getting your first kiss, all that fun stuff and more. And this book has it all. Sure Rachel is a little self centered, whiny, and a stereotypical teenager. And how many teenagers do you know that aren't like that at one point. Well unless you were the popular one, then no, you won't know what it's like to be in Rachel's shoes.

You have to keep in mind, she is young, this book is for tweens, so if you don't like YA, don't read this, because you won't like it, and you will rate it one star, which is kind of unfair for the younger generation for whom it was intend for in the first place.

But besides that, this book was good, I liked how fast paced it was, clear to the point and fun. It's a light short read, you won't regret it, and it's a good way to remember all those snobby, popular high school kids. Mlynowski does a terrific job with the characters, for how short the book was, I was really connected with the characters, and felt like they were decently developed. We don't really need to know much about the rest of the characters, Rachel is the main one, and she carries the story well by herself. Sure this idea has been done before, there are a ton of books on witches, and even more of high school teenage girls. So just let this one be a part of that category. There is nothing wrong about having one more book about teenage witches.

And I already ordered the nest 3 books in the series. Because I just liked it that much. And I'm sure I would have liked it even more if I read it freshman year. Because I wasn't far from Rachel myself.

I give it 4 stars not 5 because it's just a fun read, no one actually learns anything deeply meaningful from it, it's not a must read. It's just for fun. I could have been expanded a little bit more, but that's why it has a sequal.

Happy reading :)

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

This is such an extraordinary book, so much emotion and hurt, yet it's so beautiful and full of love. Ruta Sepetys you did a wonderful job creating these characters! Based on true events (the history, not the actual characters) this novel follows a 15 year old Lina and her family as they are torn out of their home in Lithuania by the Soviets during WWII and taken to labor camps. This is not a happy story, if you are looking for romance and the bright side of the war, this is NOT it. This is dark, sad, depressing and heart wrenching, as well as so beautiful that I wish everyone reads it, because only by sharing these stories can we inspire other to strive to be better. I learned a lot from this book, about the war as well as humankind. How even in the most brutal situations, the is always hope, and sometimes even a little bit of happiness.What those people went though is awful, and to know that everyone in the world knew about it, but decided to do nothing, just pissed me off. I read many books on WWII, but always from the Russian or American point of view. I never even knew that the Soviets did this to Lithuania. It's just so sad.

The story is told from Lina's point of view, so you can really see how a 15 year old girl views the world. Some may say that she is annoying, and stupid, but you have to understand she's still a kid. Some even argue that this isn't as horrifying nor as emotional as Holocaust sotries, it is worse. These people were basically slaves for years, some up to 20 yeas. Tell me how that is not sad, how that doesn't deserve to be out there. These people were taken out of their homes, just like the Jews. They were put on trains and takes out of their cities. They were beaten and mistreated, even killed. But unlikes the Jews, they didn't die right away in gas chambers. They were slowly starved for decades, living on rotten potatoes in Siberia. What is wrong with people.

Well now I'm rambling. I loved this book, it was so much different than any other book about the war, it showed a side I personally never read about, or even heard about. Maybe I'm not that world rounded as others. What ever. This book is great, awesome characters and plot. I felt like I was part of the story, like I was there with her, suffering and starving. I felt so bad and angry. I will never forget this book, it will definitely stay with me forever, and hopefully make me a better person, and treat others better.

That's all i have to say.

READ IT, LOVE IT, LEARN FROM IT...

Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez review

I had no idea what this book was going to be about when I bought it. I just kept seeing it everywhere I went, so I determined that it must be good if all the stores are selling it. I didn't even know it was about slavery, I thought it was about some servant girl. But beside the point, I didn't enjoy it as much as I should have, maybe it was really good, but I just couldn't get into it. I like reading about war, slavery and other historical topics, because I know I will get a tearjerker and a resonant story. But this book didn't have that spark, the characters were poorly developed, if not at all, and the story just lacked in many places. I did not enjoy it.

For any of you that are as unaware of what this book is about, it's about slavery, but not just any kind of slavery, it's about a group of black women, slaves, who are more than just slaves to their masters, they are basically sex slaves, black mistresses. The men take these slaves to go with them to a resort in Ohio every year, without their wives, imagine what goes on there, Yah. That was just so disturbing to read, every few pages someone was essentially raped by their master. It was a little over the top for me. I couldn't focus on the story, it was confusing and I lost interest very quickly. The main character Lizzie, was not as interesting as the other characters in the book. To be honest, at first I thought Mawu was the main character, until Lizzie stepped in with her boring story. Mawu wanted to run away, make a difference, live. Lizzie was in love with her master. She lacked character, and spirit, she was confusing and unpredictable, I didn't know what was going on in her mind, and my the end of the book I was even more confused.

There was no climax, no resolution, just a slave who doesn't know what love it. I listened to most of this book on audio, and I got to say, there were many many moments where I just tuned out. It didn't hold my attention at all. I don't think I recommend this book either. Seems like all but one of the books I chose for the book-a-thon were bad. Oh well. Better luck next time.

The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

This story follows many, MANY characters, but mainly Frankie, Iris and Emma. I had to read the first two chapters at least three times, I just couldn't figure out the characters, we are introduced to everyone at once, at least that what it seemed like. The point of view kept changing so quickly and unannounced that I didn't know who was speaking when. And it was especially difficult because I was listening to the audio book, and didn't get to see the little brake between paragraphs to know when one ends and another one begins, which is when the speaker changes. It was confusing. Iris is the Postmistress (postmaster) in Cape Cod, and obsessed with order, even gets a certificate of virginity from her gyno (she is about 40 years old)... What? Yea it happened. She is supposed to be the stable one in the story, the one keeping peace and making people feel safe and comforted by the mail they get from loved ones.

Emma, the talk of the town, is newly married to the town doctor, who decides to go to Europe and help in the war. Emma's life is torn apart when she is left all alone, pregnant and only letters as communication with Will.

Frankie is a radio broadcaster who is currently in London, during the Blitz, she is the one who is right there where the action is, she doesn't just want to be a bystander, she wants to report the real news, to show the people back home what this war is really like. And maybe they will do something to help.

Even though these women are totally different from one another, the war shatters their lives and they all have to face their challenges.

 

I really didn't care much for this book, it was a bit boring, and the characters didn't feel real, they weren't developed all the way. I went into this book with hight expectations, I didn't really read any reviews before I bought it, I just saw it at the store, thought it sounded good and got it. I had the idea that this was gonna be more girly, with letters not being delivered and how that messes with peoples lives. How not getting certain news would affect people, and spiral out of control causing mayhem within the town. Nope, that is not what happens. The secret is pretty obvious, and really doesn't make a great difference in the end.

 

I don't know if I should recommend this book. If you are interested in WWII stories you should read Between Shades of Grey, I just finished it and loved loved it. I will post a review really soon.

The Christmas Wedding review

A 60+ year old woman gets proposed to three times in one night, in a matter of 10 minutes. Yea right, like that ever happens. I bought this book only because it was by James Patterson, one of the most popular mystery writers out there. I did not like this book at all. I thought that since it was by James Patterson it was gonna have a real big mystery and some twists at the end, but no it didn't. it made you think there was gonna be a surprise ending, I even predicted the most obvious ending and you know what? It was worse. Ok, so I'm gonna try and be fair and explain to you what the book is actually about. Gabby, a mother of four, and let me just get it out there her four are adults, with their own kids, so that puts Gabby at about 60-70 years old. She is a widow, her husband died about three years before and she has just been lonely. So the book starts off with her sending a video message to her kids, really? Do old people do that? Ok so in the video she tells her kids that she is getting married, and the groom is a surprise. Hmmm, why would a grandma keep surprises like that, what for, why the big mystery. That's when I thought that there was going to be some big big mystery revealed at the end. Also the wedding is taking place on Christmas day. So everyone drop your plans, mommy's getting married, on the biggest holiday and you all have to be there. How selfish. Than she sends them a few more videos, in one explaining how she got proposed to three times, on the same night. That is just unbelievable. After Gabby runs in the snow barefoot to follow her teenage grandson, so he doesn't get high, on her wedding day, in her white dress, and then has to wear sneakers, I gave up. I still listened to the audio book, but I completely lost interest. I just wanted it to end, and find out who she marries. And it wasn't that impressive.

I don't know if I would recommend this book to anyone. Maybe people like Gabby, older women or just people who are really really bored and have nothing to do but read boring books. Come on James Patterson, I thought you were better. Now I'm a little hesitant to pick up any of his other books. I've been eying The Honeymoon but now I have my doubts.

Where We Belong

I loved this book, and I request a movie please. It would be best on Lifetime Movie Channel, thank you. Emily Giffin is one of my favorite authors since I read Something Borrowed, and related to it 80% of the time. I loved it, and this book sure didn't differ.

This book moved me to tears, it is a touching story about a teenage girl looking for her birth mom. She always new she was adopted, but lately she just feels different from the rest of her family and wants to know if that has anything to do with her real parents. Why they gave her up, who were they, are they alive? All these questions are running through her mind and she wants answers. So she sets off to New York to find her mom. And the adventure begins. We are taken from St. Louis to New York, Chicago and back to St. Louis following Kirby and her story to find out which family she belongs to.

It has happy moments, sad moments, moments that made me cry and not so great moments too. Not all books are perfect, and this one is no exception, but overall  the story was great and I really enjoyed it. I did read it very quickly though, it was part of my boutofbooks read-a-thon, so it only took me a day and a half to read it. So maybe I didn't spend enough time with it to slowly dissect it and get to know the characters a little more. But either way it is a quick and easy read. Something for the beach or a rainy day.  Although I really couldn't relate to any of the characters in this book, I was able to picture them in my mind, and feel what they felt. Giffin does a great job describing the scene and the people, we get just enough detail to know the overall idea, but not enough that we can't imagine the rest for ourselves and what we think it is like. I had the freedom to make the story my own.  I'm not adopted nor did I ever give a baby up for adoption, so I have no clue what that feels like, but I do have a baby, and I can't imagine giving her up, no matter what difficulties arise. I don't know how people do it, and reading about Mirian handing over her baby was heartbreaking.

I wish we got to know the rest of Kirby's adoptive family a little more, so we get a sense of what kind of parents she has, because we only see her side, and a rebellious teenager that she is, she doesn't go into detail about her parents, to teenagers all parents are horrible. And her real dad, we get to know hims little, but I didn't feel like it was enough, I wanted a little more emotion from him, maybe a few chapters from his perspective, and how he was dealing with this whole "I have a kid I didn't know I had" thing.

Overall this book was great, quick and to the point, that is what I like about Emily Giffin's books. It is about real people and real life events that happen all over the world every day. No it is not based on a true story, but it has a sense of reality. Yes it has a Lifetime movie feel to it, and I love Lifetime, so sue me. If you like chick lit, than please pick this up right now. It's a great book. Can't wait to read the newest The One and Only.

Hobbies and Babies

babies and books

(even the baby loves her books)

When I got pregnant a couple years ago, instead of being told by others that my life will now be full of joy and happiness and little giggles running around the house, I was mostly told that my life will be over. (And that my plan on an epidural free birth was doomed to fail too because I have no idea the pain I will be in. Well, they were wrong. I did it all natural, and even read a book while in labor, well the first few hours of it anyway. Your can all about that in my birth story.)

They said that nce you have a kid you won't have time for hobbies (mine being reading and painting). All these people don't even have hobbies, what do they know, when they're done with cleaning cooking and caring for the kids they watch tv, or go to sleep. So yea I guess they don't have time for hobbies, they don't have them to begin with. I thought it was absolutely silly, maybe all those people have monster children that don't listen and don't sleep, ever.

baby sleeping with book

Babies are fun, yes they are a lot of work, but that shouldn't come as a shock to people, you have 9 months to prepare and realize that it's gonna be a lot of work. So with that in mind I set off to prove people that I will not be affected by this. Sure my life will change, we won't be able to go to the movies whenever we want to, or out to dinner because of bed times and no available babysitters. But you know what, we are introverts, we don't like parties and clubs and the such. We prefer to stay home and read, watch tv, my boyfriend plays guitar. We had hobbies and you know what we still do.

And I know people who read and do other things as well as have children, so I was out to prove all the haters wrong.

This is how my day goes.

• I wake up at 6am, get ready, wake up the baby at around 7am and get her dressed and in the car by 7:10 and on her way to grandmas.

• At work during lunch I blog, write my posts and reviews.

• I get out of work between 2pm and 2:30pm. So that puts me home with the baby at around 3pm. I listen to books on the way to and from work. Usually she sleeps then, but not always, if she does I put her in the crib when we get home and most of the time she sleep all the way till 5. That gives me a lot of time to clean, prepare dinner, blog, and read. If she's awake I turn on Barney for her and give her some of her books to play with, she loves books. I feed her and then start to prepare dinner if I haven't done so already.

• If it's a day when I go for a run I just prepare the dinner but don't cook it. If I don't plan on running I cook it and we eat anytime between 5:30 and 8:00. If I'm running then I wait till my boyfriend comes home and explain to him how to cook the dinner, or just put in the oven while I go and it's ready when I get back.

• And this is where I'm really lucky, my boyfriend cooks. He loves to cook, I don't have to do all the cooking, I just tell him I'm busy and he is happy to do it. If I go run then I listen to an audio book, if the baby is sleeping I listen to or read a book, If she's awake and playing nicely on her own, I listen to a book while cooking.She does have days when she won't do anything but hold onto my legs and cry while I'm trying to do dishes.That's when I play with her and Sean cooks. But usually she's pretty well behaved.

• When she was smaller I would just put her in a pack and play and have her in the kitchen with me. She can play on her own as long as it's in the same room as me. And you can read while breastfeeding too. Newborn sleep all day long, lots of free time, and the sleep while the baby sleeps never worked for me.

• After dinner it's, play with the baby time for daddy and I finish cleaning and dishes. Or he cleans and I give the baby a bath, feed her and spend some time before I put her to bed.

• At 8pm I put her down and she sleeps, all on her own. So at 8 I begin my day, baby free.

I read, blog, watch tv, do pilates, and sometimes paint (not currently, we are remodeling the room we paint in). What else is there to do, I do the cleaning when she's awake so that I can do other things when she sleeps. Yes I do have time to play with her too. I don't go to sleep till about 11 or even midnight. That gives me 3-4 hours of free time a day. And this isn't how ALL my days look, I don't run everyday, and I don't always read, but I do listen to audio books a little while driving. I don't always cook and clean, if the house is clean I relax. Sometimes I just watch tv and I don't blog every day. But I do manage to squeeze in my hobbies. I would go crazy without them. Just cooking,cleaning and watching kids would drive anyone crazy, I need hobbies, especially books to keep sane.

So to everyone who said that I will never read once I have a baby, I so proved you wrong. I run and read and take care of a baby too. It's possible, so there.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane

This is the first Neil Gaiman book I have ever read, and I am in love. This is such a beautiful book, it is so well written and such a page turner, I felt like a little girl when I was reading it. I have heard many times that this is one of those books that you should dive in without knowing what it's about. And I didn't, I bought it and read it, and loved it. I don't think you're supposed to know what it's about really, it would take all the mystery and imagination out of it.

It is a novel for adults, but it is told from the point of view of a 47 year old man, who goes to his hometown for a family funeral and drives to the ocean at the end of the lane, where his childhood friend Lettie used to live in a farmhouse. When he steps on the land he is filled with the scary and strange memories from the past, and that is where the story begins. We are transferred back to when he was 7 years old, their tenant commits suicide in their white Mini at the end of the lane, which summons some dark forces that follow him home.  I was pleasantly surprised, I didn't know this was a fantasy novel, this is not what I would normally pick up on purpose, but since I didn't know and it came highly recommended I read it. And loved it! It is very simple, magical and just overall great. Neil Gaiman does a great job describing that adults aren't adults, they are children on the inside too. Only on the outside they look like adults and behave differently, but on the inside they think like kids. The book is filled with many little life lessons, as well a mythology and magic and a little bit of imagination. It is a wonderful story that I highly recommend. The writing isn't complicated, it's simple to follow and understand, yet every time you read it you will get something different out of it. It's a great relaxing weekend read.

ROOM By Emma Donoghue

I bought this book some time ago, at least a couple years, but I never felt the urge to read it. I was hesitant, what could possibly be so interesting about one room. Boy was I wrong. This book really took me by surprise, it scared me, it made me shutter and laugh, it was creepy, sad and a little disturbing. Actually, quite disturbing. I mostly listened to the audio book version I got from the library, and here and there I would pick up the hard copy, and the audio was what made it more creepy, I think. I started to listed to it on one of my runs, after about a chapter I was a little scared to continue. When you hear a 5 year old boy saying "he gets some" in the mornings, I was like WHAT THE HELL IS THIS KIND OF BOOK, WHY AM I READING IT. NO NO NO NO!!  But no it's not what you think, this boy has never seen the world outside the 4 walls that he shares with his mom. All day they play games, watches tv, but only for a little while, he likes Dora and he reads books, he can count and even make himself some food. He starts to tell the story in such a light hearted way, that I got a little confused, wasn't this supposed to be a little scary. He spends days and nights in one 12x12 room and is perfectly happy about it. But you really start to figure out the seriousness of this book when at night Jack is hiding in the wardrobe while Old Nick comes in. Before Jack goes to sleep he counts the squeaks of the bed when Old Nick gets on it. Omg! That is when it hits you. What?! Jacks mom decides that he is old enough to know that the world he sees only on tv is actually real, and that's where she came from, from the Outside. It was really interesting to see how a child who doesn't even know that other people exist would handle finding out that he has a family out there, and that the trees are real and that there is an Outside. He has to learn how to see the world all over again.

I really liked this book, I didn't know if I was going to at first, it creeped me out. Donoghue did a wonderful job going into a child's mind and describing the world as he sees it. Jack is the narrator the whole time, and it might get a little getting used to the writing, because it isn't grammatically correct most of the time. Given that 5 year olds don't speak well. But it is really touching and quite the page turner, I was on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what happens next. It can almost be categorized as a thriller. It really makes you think, there are a lot of people who are kept like this and this just tells their side of the story. It's a beautiful book, that will touch you and make you hug your kids a little more. As well as never let them out of your sight because they will be kidnapped.

Highly recommend it.