Jessica's books

The One and Only Ivan
Revolutionary War on Wednesday
Leprechaun in Late Winter
Ella Enchanted
The Courage of Sarah Noble
Plain Murder
Gone-Away Lake
Circling the Sun
Maggie and Max
The Haunting of Sunshine Girl
The Night Sister
Tuck Everlasting
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Bedknob and Broomstick
Mister Monday
Alice Through the Looking Glass
The Birchbark House
The Hobbit
The Witch's Daughter

Jessica's favorite books »

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Blog Hop Friday 10/1/10

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING!  The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!

This week's question comes from Tina who blogs at Book Couture.
"How do you spread the word about your blog?
(e.g. Social Networking sites, Book Blog Directories, comments on other blogs...)"
My Answer:  Mostly through meme's such as the blog hop!  I post my reviews on Goodreads and I have a Twitter account.  I'm also a member of Books Blog Ning.  I think by leaving comments on other blogs that I follow has really helped as well.  I'm still working at it but I'm pretty happy with my following so far!

Versatile Blog Award

I just received The Versatile Blogger award from Mandy's Escape!  So, a HUGE thank you to her for brightening my day!  I love to get awards and know that people are looking at my blog!

So, here's the drill for all award winners:

a) Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
b) Share 7 things about yourself.
c) Pass the award along to 10 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic.
d) Contact the bloggers you've picked and let them know about the award.

AND SO... seven things about me:
1.  I live in an extremely small town in Washington State.  So small that we have a K-8 school and a church.  That's it!
2.  I am TERRIFIED of needles!  It took 5 people to hold me down for my first blood draw when I was pregnant with my oldest son.
3.  I don't know how to swim.
4.  I'm legally blind without contacts or glasses.
5.  I always said I would never marry a cop (my dad was a cop) and guess what?  I married a cop!  :)
6.  My favorite month is October.  I love the fall!
7.  My dream is to adopt a baby from Russia, Romania or Ethiopia.

So now, I am happy to pass this award on!

1.  Books Are A Girl's Best Friend
2.  Book Hooked Blog
3.  BookHounds
4.  Down the Rabbit Hole
5.  Must Love Books
6.  Reading the Best of the Best
7.  Steph Su Reads
8.  Squeaky Books
9.  The Book Scout
10.  Reading With Tequila

Book Review: The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Lulu and Merry’s childhood was never ideal, but on the day before Lulu’s tenth birthday their father drives them into a nightmare. He’s always hungered for the love of the girl’s self-obsessed mother; after she throws him out, their troubles turn deadly.

Lulu’s mother warned her to never let him in, but when he shows up, he’s impossible to ignore. He bullies his way past ten-year-old Lulu, who obeys her father’s instructions to open the door, then listens in horror as her parents struggle. She runs for help and discovers upon her return that he’s murdered her mother, stabbed her sister, and tried to kill himself.

For thirty years, the sisters try to make sense of what happened. Their imprisoned father is a specter in both their lives, shadowing every choice they make. Though one spends her life pretending he’s dead, while the other feels compelled to help him, both fear that someday their imprisoned father’s attempts to win parole may meet success.

My Thoughts:  This book was so full of emotion!  I loved the alternating views of Lulu and Merry.  Lulu and I felt a quick connection to both.  These characters were so real that I feel like I am missing them now that I have finished the book. 

With the opening sentence "I wasn't surprised when Mama asked me to save her life" you have no choice to be drawn into the story immediately.  From there it flies by with heartwrenching stories of the Lulu and Merry and how the domestic violence has changed them both.  Lulu grows up with a wall around her.  She is very strong and independent and leans on no one while Merry seeks the love and approval of everyone, including her father. 

This book deals with dometic violence at it's worst, grief, guilt and a little forgiveness.  It tells how to young girls grow up, the different ways they each deal with what happened and how they finally accept it and deal with the closure.  A must read for anyone!  There was not a slow moment in the book.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Happy Homemaker Monday 9/27/10

The weather in my neck of the woods:
It depends on what time it is!  This morning when I left for school it was only 54 degrees.  Now it's 73 degrees and sunny.

Things that make me happy:
My daughter receiving the first Star Student award at school this year!

Book I'm reading:
The Murder's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

What's on my TV today:
Too much!  The new season of Criminal Minds, Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory, The Amazing Race, House, Law & Order:  SVU, Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice (to name a few)

On the menu for dinner:
Not sure yet...something that makes a lot and is easy as I have daycare kids here and hubby is having Monday Night Football here....yikes!

On my To Do List:

Finish all the Laundry
Get my kids' supplemental homework packets done
Mop my kitchen floor

New Recipe I tried or want to try soon:
Pumpkin cheesecake bars
In the craft basket:
Still scrapbooks

Looking forward to this week:
Then end of the's been a long one!

Tips and Tricks:
Yeah, I got nothing!

My favorite blog post this week:
There's too many to pick just one....maybe the blog over at Debbie's Book Bag where I won a 5 book series!  Talk about excited!

Blog Hopping (a new discovered blog you would like to share with the readers):
Saving SAHM Sanity  Great blog about coupons, saving money, crafts for your kids and being a SAHM!  While I'm not a 100% SAHM, I am a 90% one so I loved all these ideas!

No words needed (favorite photo or picture, yours or others you want to share):

Lesson learned the past few days:

Be careful what you say to people.  There are those out there that turn it into something totally different!

On my mind:
Still struggling with the homeschooling dilema...I think we are going to do it though....

Devotionals, Scripture Reading, Key Verses:
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up...Comfort teh discouraged, help the weak, be patient with everyone."

I Thessalonians 5:11, 14

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Top Five "Can't Wait to Read" Books of 2011

Princess Bookie is hosting a Contest Craze on her site and this is one of the mini-challenges.  The winner will receive an ARC prize pack! 

So here is my list of Top 5 books I cannot wait to read in 2011! 

Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton.
The synopsis of this book sounds amazing!  It has everything you need...ghosts, danger, mystery and New Orleans! 

  City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
 I love this series!  I want to know what
 happens to Clary and Jace and Co. after
 The City of Glass!  I don't know if I can
 wait until it's release!

Awakened by P.C. & Kristin Cast
Another favorite series of mine!  I have to know what happens with Stevie Rae and Rephaim, Zoey and Stark and Neferet. 

The title of this one caught my attention right away!  Plus, the cover is cute. It sounds like it mixes paranormal, mystery, romance and humor in one book and that is right up my alley!

The Gathering by Kelly Armstrong
What can I say?  I love paranormal books!  This one looks so good and while it has the same general theme (I believe that theme is werewolves) it has the twist of a small medical research experiment gone wrong?  I can't wait to find out!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Beginnings on Friday is a meme hosted by Becky at Page Turners. Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

"I wasn't surprised when Mama asked me to save her life."

Okay, so how could this not grab your attention?  It immediately got me hooked on the book!

More Great Giveaways

Recently I read Coraline by Neil Gaimen for the first time and LOVED it!  I read it in two hours!  Over at Little Squeed, Heather is giving away a copy of Coraline with a Coraline doll!  Head on over and sign up for this giveaway.  This is a book you have to read!

Another amazing giveway from Must Love Books ends tomorrow!  She is giving away: 
*A signed copy of Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
*A signed copy of Jealousy by Lili St.Crow
*Signed bookmark from Stacey Kade (Author of Ghost and the Goth)
*Signed bookmark/postcard from Lisa Schroeder
*A Mockingjay bookmark

SO worth going to check out!  I really want to win this one :)

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is hosted by Storytime with Tonya :

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.
  "He would have filled the place up.  The tiny kitchen had a miniature table covered with an overscrubbed piece of red oilcloth, an ancient fridge and a stove that looked like it should be in the Brooklyn museum."


Blog Hop 9/24/20

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!  And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added!

This weeks question:  When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

My Answer:  I wait until I have read the entire book.  I can't review a book as I am reading them.  I like to have a sense of the whole book to do my review.  I do have to write my review as soon as I have finished the book though so it is still fresh in my mind.

I'm a winner...again!!

I entered two giveaways (well, actually 3) over at Debbie's Book Bag and guess what?  I won 2 of them!  I'm so excited so I decided to take my chances and enter her newest giveaways as well. 

Her latest giveaway is a copy of Mr. Darcy's Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson.  Mr. Darcy's Little Sister is a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice.  I loved Pride & Prejudice and I love historical fiction so I would be thrilled to win this giveaway as well!

Anyways, head on over to Debbie's blog and check out her guest post from C. Allyn Pierson and enter her fabulous giveaways!  She has numerous to choose from!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tag...You're It!

This is an international game of tag and I've been tagged by Books are like People.   I must answer some questions about myself so you can get to know me better and then I tag four other bloggers so we can learn about them.

4 Things in my Purse:

4 Things in my Desk:
Picture of my kids

4 Favorite Things in my Bedroom:
My down comforter
my books
picture of my youngest son with my husband
my treadmill

4 Things I Always Wanted to Do (but haven't yet):
go to Ireland
take a cruise
learn to play the piano
ride on an elephant

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much at the Moment:
watching my son play soccer
watching my daughter dance

4 Songs I Can't Get Out of My Head: (only four??)
Dora the Explorer theme song (I just finished teaching preschool)
Secrets (One Republic)
Glitter in the Air (Pink)
Breathe (Anna Nalick)

4 Things you Don't Know About Me:
I suffer from OCD
I hate vegetables (except peas and carrots)
I am addicted to Pepsi
I'm a recovering anorexic

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: 9/21/10

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser:

"I'd take Drew's words to heart.  Live for today, be in the present.  Who cared if it sounded like New Age hoo-ha;  I needed to stop passing on fear and horror, unknowingly or not.  Maybe I'd been subconsciously feeding the girls Zachariah grim fairy tales.  I would retrain myself.  No more watching for bogeymen at the door."

~page 255, The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

Monday, September 20, 2010

Book Review: The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber

Synopsis (taken from Goodreads)
In exchange for a wedding ring, Rachel, hired help in an early-twentieth-century Chicago boardinghouse, agrees to give Isaac, the boardinghouse owner's son, her share of 160 acres from the Homestead Act, and together they stake a claim in the forebodingly beautiful South Dakota Badlands.

But after fourteen years and an especially brutal summer in this unforgiving land, the cattle bellow with thirst, and supplies are dwindling. Pregnant, and struggling to feed her family, Rachel is isolated by more than just geography. She is determined to give her surviving children the life they deserve, but she knows that her husband will never leave his ranch: land means a measure of equality with the white man, and Isaac DuPree is not about to give it up just because times are hard. Somehow Rachel must find the strength to stake another, altogether different claim-for herself, and for her children.

My Thoughts:

This is a story that pulls you in from the first page with the trials and heartache of not only a pioneer woman, but an African-American woman.  From page one you feel as if Rachel DuPree is sitting in your living room telling you her life story.  You feel her pain and her worry all through the book.  I can't say the book was happy or uplifting because it's not.  In fact, it's very bleak but it's about life in the Badlands in the early 1900's.  I'm not sure there was anything uplifting during those times. 

The characters were very real and the details are amazing.  This book is at the top of my list of favorites for 2010.  I highly recommend this book to anyone!

Menu Planning Monday

So, I've kinda dropped the ball on this one but I'm trying to manage my time better so I'm starting this up again!  My husband is gone this week but with my own three kids plus at least 2 others everynight, I figured I'd still do family meals.  So, here is my week's menu:

Homemade Macaroni and Cheese
Green Beans

Scrambled eggs

Toasted Cheese Sandwiches
Tomato Soup
Green Beans

Shepherd's Pie
Green Beans

Spanish Rice
Refried Beans
Fruit cocktail

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup
Homemade sourdough bread

Chicken Enchiladas
Spanish Rice

So there it is...our plan for this week!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fawk You Friday

Okay, so I'm not usually this crude and I apologize in advance if (when) this offends some people out there but after the week I had...this is exactly what I feel like!  A great meme that I found over at Boobies, Babies & A Blog

To play, grab the button and list all the things that have annoyed, irritated or just pissed you off this week!  Isn't this a great way to unload?  LOL!

My List is as follows (watch was a long week!)

  • To people who cannot mind their own business or keep their fat mouths shut!  Get a life and stay out of mine!
  • To people who take advantage of nice people (like me) who are trying to help you get on your feet again.  You are burning bridges here...
  • To insomnia which only allowed me 3 hours of good sleep before getting 4 extra kids today to babysit.  So not cool...
  • To my husband who is leaving me next week to go to training....leaving me with a ton of kids, dance practice, soccer practice, piano lessons and violin lessons.  So not looking forward to that (but love you still honey!)
  • To my medication that makes me dizzy if I forget to take it one day and sick when I remember but take it on an empty stomach.  Really not feeling good right now at all!
  • To Pepsi, which has me totally addicted.  I'm down to my last 6-pack of 24 oz. bottles and already freaking out!
That's it (for this week anyways).  Head on over to Boobies, Babies, & A Blog and/or I'm Just Sayin' to sign up!  I feel better already :)

Great Giveaways!

I found a new blog via the blog hop today and Debbie from Debbie's Book Bag is giving away a copy of Foresight by Sherry D. Ficklin! She posted an interview with the author at her site so check it out and enter the giveaway. It ends Sept. 19 so hurry!

She also has another giveaway for 5 (yes 5!) Susan Hill books!  This one ends 9/23 so sign up for this one too!

To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool...that is the question...

I live in a small, rural area. I mean, REALLY small! We have a church and a K-8 school and that is it! Everything else is 20 min. away. This means all sports and dance lessons are 20 minutes away....luckily my music teacher comes to us.

This year I have been struggling with the question of whether or not I should homeschool. Like I said, our school is very small. 76-ish kids in K-8. The student/teacher ratio is great. The grades are blended (K/1, 2/3, 4/5/6 & 7/8). My two kids that are in school are very advanced. I have no issues with the school as I think they are doing a great job. But, I still have this nagging question in the back of my mind of whether I am doing the right thing sending them to school or if I should homeschool.

Has anyone had their kids established in a public school and then pulled them out? Did they do well? My kids have a ton of friends so I do worry about this but at the same time, they do so many extra-curricular activities that I know they will have no problems with social skills or being lonely.

When I was growing up there was a certain stigma with homeschooled children. They were weird, had no social skills, etc., etc. but as I look back now as an adult, there were plenty of "weird" kids with no social skills in publick schools as well. Is there still that stigma in general?

I'm just debating this issue so much. We have quite a few friends who homeschool and love it! I don't want to be limited by being in a public school. I want my kids to have religion in their lessons but obviously don't get that at school. I get tired of all the politics in a public school not to mention what my kids come home saying or doing that they learned from other kids.

So, I'm looking for advice out there! I would love to hear your opinions on homeschooling, what curriculum(s) you use, the pros and cons, etc.

More Fun Blog Hops I Found!

Here are some more fun blog hops I found through Must Read Faster.  I'm a mom of 3 beautiful children (ages 7, 5 & 2) plus I teach preschool and do daycare so I'm always looking for ideas on crafts, great kid friendly recipes and just ways to keep my sanity!  There are some great blogs at these hops that help or just share in the joys and trials of being a parent!


Yay for Friday and Blog Hops!

All I can say is Thank Goodness it's Friday!  What a week!  Friday is my favorite day blogging though because I love to spend an hour (or 2 or 3) checking out new blogs!  The first one is Book Blogger Hop hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy-For-Books.  Head over to her site and link up and then check out some amazing blogs!

For today:  In honor of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, let's take time this week to honor our favorite book bloggers and why we love them!

My answer:  There are SO many blogs that I enjoy reading!  Here are only a few because otherwise it would take forever to read my answer :)

PhotobucketI enjoy A Cozy Reader's Corner Reviews for several reasons!  We like a lot of the same genres and I have put several books on my TBR list that she reviewed.  I love that she also reviews children's books since I not only have three children but also do daycare and teach preschool.  I love getting new books to read to my kids!

I also really enjoy Sarah Reads Too Much!  Her blog describes me perfectly (just insert *Jessica* instead of *Sarah*) and she also reviews some great books that have been put on my TBR list.  She is super friendly and just has a great and fun blog!

Follow Me Friday is a hop hosted by Parajunkee's View.  She is featuring Bailey from Bailey's Book Review who poses the question:  Favorite YA or do you just stick with adult books? 
My Answer:  Both!  I love YA because it reminds me of all the high school drama and I thank my lucky stars I am over all that!  However, after reading a few YA, I need to get some adult books in there as well.  I just really like to read a variety of different genres!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

One Lovley Blog Award!

So, I am really behind on my reading, posting, reading other blogs...basically behind on everything.  It has just been one of those weeks where nothing goes right and next week doesn't look like it's gonna be any better.  So, I was very pleasantly surprised when I was finally able to check in on my blog (in the pouring down rain, on my iPhone at my son's soccer practice) and saw that Sarah from Sarah Reads Too Much gave me this award!  It sure put a smile on my face (probably the first smile of the day) so I want to say a BIG thank you to Sarah for making my day (and week) brighter! 
So this is how it works:

1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know that they've been chosen.
Now comes the hard part....figuring out only 15 bloggers to send it on too!  Here goes...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: 9/14/10

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers.
My Teasers:

"And now, however bad the pain was, Stefan had to be coldly rational;  he had to keep thinking, not just reacting.  He made a small movement, twisting his neck to the side, looking toward the door of the boardinghouse.  If only Elena would stay inside..."

~pg. 27, The Return:  Nightfall by L.J. Smith

Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: Eight Days to Live by Iris Johansen

Synopsis (taken from Goodreads):

Eve Duncan and her adopted daughter, Jane Macguire, are pitted against the members of a secretive cult who have targeted Jane and have decided that she will he their ultimate sacrifice. In eight days they will come for her. In eight days, what Jane fears the most will become a reality. In eight days, she will die. It all begins with a painting that Jane, an artist, displays in her Parisian gallery. The painting is called "Guilt" and Jane has no idea how or why she painted the portrait of the chilling face. But the members of a cult that dates back to the time of Christ believe that Jane's blasphemy means she must die. But first. she will lead them to an ancient treasure whose value is beyond price. This elusive treasure, and Jane's death, are all that they need for their power to come co ultimate fruition. With Eve's help, can Jane escape before the clock stops ticking?

My thoughts:  Where to start?  Reading the Eve Duncan books are like watching the movie 2012 for me.  I loved the movie!  I thought it was thrilling and very fast paced and it kept my attention through the whole movie.  However, throughout the whole movie, my husband and I were saying "yeah, right" and "how lucky  can you get"?  That is exactly how I feel about this book.  It grabbed me from the very first sentence.  I was totally into the book and nothing could distract me once I started reading.  But, through the whole book I am thinking, " lucky can you get" or "how many times can you escape death that closely"?  It was crazy how many times Jane MacGuire almost gets herself killed and at the last moment, escapes.  It's also frusterating to me how spoiled and childish Jane acts (much like Eve Duncan in previous books).  She has no thought for those who care about her.  Everything is her fault and so she is the one (and the ONLY one) who can fix it and so she constantly is putting herself into danger. 

So, while I thought the book was fast paced, exciting and thrilling, I was not impressed with the childishness of the characters and the total unbelievability of the storyline. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blog Hopping Friday!

Book Blog Hopper is hosted by Jennifer over at  It is a fun book party where bloggers can meet other bloggers and share their love of books!  So, head on over, sign up and start hopping!

This weeks question:  Post a link to a favorite post or book review that you have written in the past three months.

My answer:  I haven't been blogging that long so this wasn't really that hard of a choice for me!  My favorite post was my review of Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill.  I really enjoyed the book and gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
I think everyone who likes creepy books should read it, especially since it's getting close to Halloween!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Banned Books Challenge

I am signing up to do the Banned Books challenge over at Steph Su Reads.  If you want to know more about this challenge or join, just read on!
Censorship. A nasty word, a horrible concept, and yet it never goes away, does it? Especially in adolescent literature, authors who dare to write about serious or controversial topics are often slammed, shunned, and criticized. Earlier this month a teen lit festival in Texas disinvited bestselling YA author Ellen Hopkins because a handful of adults felt that she and her books are not appropriate literature for children. Last year I StephSu talked about an English teacher who got under fire because she used YA books as supplementary texts beside the regular English curriculum. Censorship, censorship, it comes and it goes, but it's always there.

Banned Books Week 2010 is coming up soon, between September 25 and October 2. However, we bloggers, lovers, readers, writers, and supporters of YA lit are going to make this bigger and better. Donna at Bites has put together a Ban This! celebration for the months of September and October, encouraging bloggers to link to their reviews of banned or challenged books, or otherwise feature them in some way or another on your blogs.
The Banned Books Reading Challenge 2010

Goals of This Challenge:

To bring attention to books that have been challenged or banned

To support authors whose freedom of expression have been questioned or challenged by buying and reading their books

To increase awareness of censorship
The best way to fight censorship is to do what these challengers rarely do, and that is to READ the books that have been challenged and educate ourselves on their content and impact on our society!
The challenge will run from September 1, 2010 to October 15, 2010.

The challenge is open to any reader with an online blogging platform who'd like to participate.

I personally will devote my attention towards mostly YA literature challenged within the last decade and challenged classics.

I will make it my goal to read at least 4 challenged or banned books (listed below).

1.  Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepherd
2.  The Giver by Lois Lowry
3.  The Color Purple by Alice Walker
4.  The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler


Check out StephSu's page for Signup information here.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Challenged Children's Book List.
This list is divided up into age group, which is definitely convenient.

10 Frequently Challenged Books Everyone Should Read at Paste Magazine

Hit List for Young Adults 2 by Teri Lesesne and Rosemary Chance.
Written for librarians combating censorship but provides a list of 20 titles that may or may not interest you.

The left-hand sidebar of the ALA Frequently Challenged Books site features many ways in which challenged books are broken down by year, decade, type of challenge, etc. Very fascinating to look at.

The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has a great website dedicated to Banned Books Week, the freedom to read, and reviews of banned books.

The Illinois Library Association issues a fantastic bibliography every year noting the books challenged that year. This could help you a lot with more recently challenged books.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas has compiled a shocking list of challenges made in the state.

** Borrowed from StephSu's Page on the Banned Books Challenge**

ARC giveaway ends 9/8!

Hurry over to Babbling Flow to enter a HUGE ARC giveaway!  Some of the titles included are Beautiful Creatures (SIGNED!), Beautiful Darkness Jane, Nightshade, Unidentified and Rot & Ruin!

The contest ends tomorrow, Sept. 8th so hurry over and get your entries in!  This one is TOO good to miss!

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
◦Grab your current read

◦Open to a random page

◦Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

◦BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

◦Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
My Teaser:   She ran to the kitchen, grabbed a butcher knife, and ran toward the elevator.  What the hell was the French version of 911?
~page 18, "Eight Days to Live" by Iris Johansen

Monday, September 6, 2010

Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith

Title:  Back to the Homeplace
Author:  William Leverne Smith
Publisher:  Vision to Action

After the matriarch of the family dies, the extended family must return to the Homeplace as per the will.  The farm, located in the Ozarks, has been in the family for 150 years.  The story takes place in 1987, during the beginning of the AIDS epidemic.  The family members come together and long kept family secrets are exposed and threaten to ruin many lives. 

My Review:

I thought this book had an amazing storyline.  I started reading it and really couldn't put it down.  One of my favorite things about the book was the news blurbs at the beginning of each chapter.  I was only 9 in 1987 so I loved seeing what t.v. shows were on and what music was big!  It brought back a lot of memories from my youth.

The characaters were very real in this book.  The way their lives all twisted together was captivating.  The trials they faced were all very real.  I had a small issue with how everything bad happened all at once to various families.  I also thought the author could have used a less formal speech for the characters.  I sometimes thought the way they spoke was a little unrealistic but nothing that really bothered me. 

All in all, it was a wonderful book with realistic situations and issues.  The characters were well developed and it was an easy read.  I really enjoyed this book.

Disclaimer:  The author sent this book to me free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Happy Homemaker Monday 9/6/10

Weather in my neck of the woods: ok I swear this answer never changes! Slightly overcast and mild!  I love it!

Things that make me happy: My daughter who was so upset today that there was no school!  I am so happy both my older kids love to learn!

Books I am Reading: A book an author sent me for review called Back to the Homeplace.  I'm really liking it!

What is on my tv: 
True Blood (HBO)
The Last Trimester (Lifetime Movies)
The Tenth Circle (Lifetime Movies)

On the menu for dinner:

Leftovers!  We have so many leftovers in our fridge that need eaten!
On my to do list:

Finish the book I'm reading
Plan my weekly menu
Grocery shopping
Getting all my copies ready for my first day of preschool

New recipe I want to try soon: I haven't actually been looking at recipes lately so don't have any :(
In the craft basket: My son's scrapbook and a scrapbook of my cousin's wedding for my aunt

Looking forward to this week: preschool starting tomorrow, taking my boys to the dermatologist to get this super dry skin issue cleared up

Tips & Tricks:

I get my kids' clothes ready for the week and put them all together in a hanging organizer.  Every morning after breakfast they just grab the clothes in the right day and get dressed!

Favorite blog post of the week:  I had fun doing the giveway over at Bookhounds.  There was a trivia question that I enjoyed :)

Blog Hopping: Gosh, I found so many fun new blogs again this week that I'm not too sure.

No words needed, fav photo:

My Father-in-Law and my Dad on my wedding day showing their "empty pockets"

Lesson learned this past week:
It's okay to tell people no

On my mind: My first day of preschool tomorrow, my neighbor who is fighting for her kids
Scriptures, devotionals, thoughts:

Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you;  he will never let the righteous fall.

Psalm 55:22

Fall Into Reading challenge

I am feeling the need to add another challenge to my life apparently :) so I signed up for the Fall into Reading challenge hosted by A Chick Who Reads.  Head on over and join the challenge too!  Here are the details:

Timeline:  September 1 - November 30, 2010

Goal:  Complete 12 reading prompts:

1. Read a book outside your comfort zone
2. Read a "chunky book" 500 + pages.
3. Read a book with the letter "S" for September in either the title or the author's name.
4. Read a book that is part of a series.
5. Re-read a book that you consider an old friend.
6. Read something "Spooky" for halloween.
7. Read a book that was recommended to you by a friend.
8. Read one of the books that's been on your TBR the longest.
9. Read a book by a debut author.
10. Read a book with a "fall" theme
11. Reader's Choice
12. Read a book by an author that you love

Easy right?  My titles will be posted soon!  As I finish a book, I'll link the review to the titles here.

Titles for the Challenges:

1.  The Love Dare by Stephen Kendrick, Alex Kendrick and Lawrence Kimbrough
2.  House Rules by Jodi Picoult
3.  Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel
4.  Hannah's List by Debbie Macomber
5.  The Color Purple by Alice Walker
6.  13 1/2 by Nevada Barr
7.  The Earth, My Butt and Other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
8.  The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
9.  Back to the Homeplace by William Leverne Smith
11.  The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber
12.  Eight Days to Live by Iris Johansen

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill

So, I am typing this from my phone as I have satellite Internet and I have gone over my threshold so I apologize in advance for any typos and no pictures :(

Judas Coyne is a 54-year-old rock star who is fascinated with the occult. When his assistant shows him an online auction to but a ghost, he jumps on it. Too bad for Jude, his assistant and his twenty-something was the worst mistake of his life! After the ghost arrives in a heart shaped box, Jude and his girlfriend find themselves racing for their lives! This book has it all...ghosts, love story, creepiness and mystery!

I loved this book and despite the fact that I was so busy with the start of school, I could not put it down! I loved the character and really enjoyed the fact that Jude was older. Joe Hill write brilliantly, Judy like his father Stephen King! This book drew me in from the first page, with the descriptions of Jude's occult collection and kept me enthralled through the end! This book was completely unpredictable and I loved all the twists and turns!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mystery Box Giveaway

Check out this giveaway over at BookHounds!  It is a mystery box giveaway with tons of ways to enter!  Plus, check out her blog and reviews.  I had fun browsing around :)  Here is the link for the great giveaway:

Starting school = less blogging?

Sorry I haven't been quicker at my book reviews this week!  I am loving the book I am reading but with school starting this week, life has been hectic, to say the least!  So, bear with me :)  I am hoping to get the current read finished and reviewed by this weekend!  Next week is crazy too with my preschool class starting, dance lessons, soccer practice/games and violin and piano lessons!  After that, I should be back to my finishing a book a week, trying new recipes and such. 

The first day of school with my kiddos!

Hopping time again!

It's been one of those mornings already!  So, now that my kids are at school I am going to do some serious blog hopping!  This is a meme that is put on by Jennifer over at Crazy-for-Books.  So, head on over and check out some fun new blogs!

This weeks question:  Do you judge a book by it's cover?
My answer:  Sometimes.  If I am browsing in a store or library and a cover jumps out at me, I will pick it up, of course.  But, if there is a boring looking book with a catchy title, I will also look at that one.  However, (I have to agree with Jennifer here), when I receive requests to review books, I don't even look at the cover, just read the synopsis.  Also, while browsing through my book club magazine, I tend to read the synopsis rather than look at the cover. 

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Waiting on Wednesdays: The Confession

Waiting on Wednesdays is a weekly even,t hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming book releases that we can't wait for!  Go sign up over at Breaking the Spine!

The Confession
John Grisham
Releases October 26, 2010

From Amazon:

An innocent man is about to be executed.
Only a guilty man can save him.
For every innocent man sent to prison, there is a guilty one left on the outside. He doesn’t understand how the police and prosecutors got the wrong man, and he certainly doesn’t care. He just can’t believe his good luck. Time passes and he realizes that the mistake will not be corrected: the authorities believe in their case and are determined to get a conviction. He may even watch the trial of the person wrongly accused of his crime. He is relieved when the verdict is guilty. He laughs when the police and prosecutors congratulate themselves. He is content to allow an innocent person to go to prison, to serve hard time, even to be executed. Travis Boyette is such a man. In 1998, in the small East Texas city of Sloan, he abducted, raped, and strangled a popular high school cheerleader. He buried her body so that it would never be found, then watched in amazement as police and prosecutors arrested and convicted Donté Drumm, a local football star, and marched him off to death row.
Now nine years have passed. Travis has just been paroled in Kansas for a different crime; Donté is four days away from his execution. Travis suffers from an inoperable brain tumor. For the first time in his miserable life, he decides to do what’s right and confess.
But how can a guilty man convince lawyers, judges, and politicians that they’re about to execute an innocent man?

I love John Grisham's books!  They are fast paced and so interesting to me (maybe because I used to be a legal assistant?).  I cannot wait for this book to be released!