Tag Archives: Reading

The Selection – Book 1

31 May

My mom and I have a special bond, a love of reading! Even better, we enjoy reading the same types of books which has helped my library grow exponentially! Helping our love of reading even more is my mom’s career as a middle school english teacher. She is constantly exposed to new authors and stories through her students’ reading projects and school book fairs. And that is how we came to find The Selection by Kiera Cass.

My mom gave me a copy of the first book in the series on Saturday evening, and as soon as I got home, I was camped out on the couch reading. (And I kept reading until midnight!) It’s been a while since a book has captured my attention so quickly.

My favorite way to describe the plot of this book is The Hunger Games (sort of) meets The Bachelor. In this made up-country of Illéa, America Singer is a Five, and she is secretly in love with Aspen, a Six. A letter has been sent to the homes of every girl in the country between the ages of 16-21 saying they are eligible to enter The Selection, a competition to win the affection and love of Prince Maxon. Only 35 girls will be selected and America wants no part of it!

But through a series of events to please those she’s close to, she finds herself named as one of the Selected.

As it turns out, Prince Maxton is not at all how she had imagined him to be, and yet, she still can’t give her heart over to him as it still belongs to the love she left behind. As her time at the palace stretches beyond days and weeks, America finds friendships in what others would only describe as unlikely places, camera crews documenting the Selection for the country, and discovers she is at the center of some of the other Selected girls’ jealousy.

After a series of attacks on the palace and the sudden arrival of someone from back home, America is forced to closely examine her feelings for the Prince. Does she want to stay at the Palace even though some girls have elected to return home out of fear? Will she ever forget about the love she had for Aspen? Will her love for the Prince grow if she gives it a chance? Does she even want to BE Illéa’s next princess?

The answers to these and many other questions can be found within the pages of The Selection. One of the best parts about this story, it leaves you hanging with more questions than answers and the NEED to know what happens next. Which is the only explanation I have for running to Wal-Mart at 8:45 p.m. last night to buy the boxed set!

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s been way too long since I left America in the palace wondering what path she’ll choose! I’m off to get lost in book two, and I hope you’ve been inspired to run to your local bookstore and snatch up a copy of book one!

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Leap into a good book!

29 Feb

Happy Leap Day, readers! With February gone in the traditional sense, what are you going to do with your extra 24 hours this year?! I’ve got a fantastic idea, LEAP into Julie Garwood’s book Shadow Music for an adventure of a lifetime in the Scottish Highlands!

Requirement: A book you’ve read at least once.Shadow Music, a novel by Julie Garwood

Princess Gabrielle of St. Biel, Scotland, daughter of an influential english baron, is beautiful, kind, brave and stubborn. She is also a valuable asset to King John. When the king arranges for her to marry a gentle Highland laird to secure peace between England and the Highland, her life will forever be changed.

While Gabrielle and her guards travel to the abbey where her wedding will take place, they come upon a murder in progress. With one arrow, she takes a life and spares another, unknowingly setting a war in motion amongst the Highland clans.

Through a series of events outside of her control, Gabrielle and her guards find themselves accepting the protection of Laird Colm MacHugh and his glansmen. Meanwhile, an english baron hatches a plan to draw her out of hiding in the hopes of forcing her to tell him the location of an elusive treasure of St. Biel, a secret he believes was passed on to her by her late mother.

This story features a strong female lead, who feels it is her duty to protect others, be that her father, a helpless stranger, her guards or the warriors of her new clan. When everything she’s known in life is taken from her in the blink of an eye, she does not cower, she thrives in this new challenge.

If you are looking for a page-turner, action packed story sprinkled with murder, lies, romance and treasure that takes place in the Scottish Highlands, Shadow Music won’t disappoint. This is the third time I have read this story and I discover something new each time!

My kind of Saturday

2 Jan

Happy first Saturday of the new year! I celebrated by staying in my pjs (shorts, tank top and the boyfriend’s hoodie – what is it about wearing HIS clothes that is so wonderful!? Ladies, please tell me I’m not the only one who finds such joy in this simple thing!) all day while curled up in the recliner with my blanket and new book.

I recently found a 2016 reading challenge floating around Facebook and have decided to try to accomplish it! And what better book to start with than one I just got for Christmas from my sister Megan!

Requirement: Read a book you own but have never read

Undeniably Yours, by Becky Wade

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Short review: Rich heiress meets handsome cowboy. Attraction. Drama. Blast from the past threatens to take it all away.

I know, I know that tells you nothing….let me try to give you more details while keeping you guessing! I hate when someone spoils a storyline for me, so I definitely don’t want to do that to you, dear readers!

When we first meet Megan (Meg) Cole, we learn that her father has recently passed away and that she has had to return home to her fathers estate (which is now hers) and to take up her rightful place as the head and majority share-holder for Cole Oil, the oil empire that has been in her family for generation.  She is prone to anxiety attacks, doesn’t feel confident of her place in the world and is working on her relationship with God, asking him to show her the path he has for her life.

Bo Porter is the handsome manager of Whispering Creek Ranch. He has been given a notice that he has six months before the ranch is to be closed, and while he should hate Meg for her decision, he feels a powerful drive to protect and comfort her, to be a friend and someone she can lean on.

Meg’s world is turned upside down again when a stranger and her child show up unannounced one night on her doorstep reminding her of the dark days of her past. She spends many nights wrestling with honoring her father’s wishes for her future and living a life doing something she loves, something that helps others and worships God.

Adventure, drama, love, romance, friendship, soul-searching and peace can be found within the pages of this book which takes place in the heart of Texas. And as I recently discovered, it is the first in the Porter Family Novels! From what I could find on Becy Wade’s website, there are two more stories about the Porter brothers that I must now get my hands on!

I would highly recommend this book and am excited to read more of Becky’s work. I connected so easily with the characters and their struggles and triumphs. This is a story that I will come back to read many, many times!

WWW Wednesday

14 May

You can thank Michelle over at The Tipsy Geekette for helping me to change up my Wednesday post. Before you get all bent out of shape, here’s what I was GOING TO POST for Wordless Wednesday when I just happened to notice Michelle’s post in my Reader.

Reading gives us someplace to go  when we have to stay where we are

So, two posts for the price of one day, because WWW Wednesday is where you answer the three questions ShouldBeReading posted earlier. And it’s ironic because the above picture quote (which I found on my Facebook feed earlier and totally describes my life recently) and the questions go hand-in-hand. So without further ado…

1. What are you currently reading? I am in the middle of Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon. This is the second book in the Outlander series. While this is not the first time I have “read” this book (I listened to it as an audio book about three years ago when I worked in the University Library shelving books for 6 hours), it’s been such a long time that I had forgotten some of the details and story lines. However, I am still as much in love with the characters the second time around as I was the first. For anyone who loves reading about the Scottish Highlands, time travel, romance and war, this is the book for you! I have lost hours of the night to this book, I never want to put it down!

Dragonfly in Amber

 

2. What did you recently finish reading? Well, that’s an easy one, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This is the first book in the series and does a fantastic job of interducing you to the characters, the country of Scotland and the different time periods (were you listening above when I mentioned time travel?!) I really enjoy reading how the different characters talk, some were hard to understand at first, but then the language just grows on you. I couldn’t get my hands on the second book fast enough. I NEEDED to know what happened to Claire, Jamie and Frank.

Outlander

 

3. What do you think you’ll read next? Again, this is an easy question. I just returned home (okay, so it’s been over a month now, but it FEELS like I was just there yesterday) from Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where I picked up the last book in the Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson called Kingdom Keepers: The Insider. If you’ve never heard of the Kingdom Keepers, they are a group of five teenagers who were “created” to protect the Disney Parks and magic from the villains at night after the park closes and the guests go home. Throughout the series, we’ve been to each of the parks in Florida (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom) as well as Disney Quest at Downtown Disney. Then we hopped on board a Disney cruise for a couple books, and so I’m guessing this final book will take us to where the magic began all those years ago, the heart of all that is Disney, Disneyland in California. But, I could be COMPLETELY wrong. I’ve delayed reading this one because it is the last, and because I know it was written differently (while he was writing the book, Ridley Pearson would post “sneak peaks” to his facebook page and ask his fans to submit ideas for where the plot should go – I never read these because I wanted to be surprised, but that’s just me.) I wish I hadn’t known there were other “authors” involved in the creation, I would have liked to know where the plot was originally suppose to go and how the story “should have ended” if there hadn’t been any outside influences. However, I’m being super judgmental of a book I haven’t even read yet, and I’m sure it will turn out to be a page-turner like the others. I guess we’ll find out soon!

Kingdom Keepers: The Insider

So come on now, join the fun! All you have to do is leave a comment with the link to your answers or leave a comment with your answers if you don’t have a blog. I’m always looking for new and exciting books, I have a “bit of a reading addiction” – so help a girl out, what are YOU reading?!  😉

55 Bookworm Questions Answered!

29 Dec

1. Favorite childhood book? The American Girl series

2. What are you reading right now? “The Maze Runner” by James Dashner

3. What books do you have on request at the library? None. I have tons of new books here I need to read first!

4. Bad book habit? I tend to read three or four books at a time, that way when I get bored with one I can switch to another and then come back later.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library? None.

6. Do you have an e-reader? No, but maybe someday.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once? I already answered this, I tend to read several at once.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog? I wouldn’t say they changed, but other bloggers have suggested books to read and sometimes I take their suggestions.

9. Least favourite book you read this year (so far)? That would have to be “Blessings” by Anna Quindlen. I just can’t seem to get emotionally invested or involved. I’m currently stopped on page 113 of 226.

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year? “The Secret” by Julie Garwood

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone? Not too often, I know what I like. But if a friend suggests something I’ll give it a try.

12. What is your reading comfort zone? I love reading about the Scottish Highlands, romance, mystery, adventure, time travel, science fiction – my tastes are really all over the place!

13. Can you read in the car? I can, but it’s not as easy as it was when I was a kid.

14. Favorite place to read? On my bed. My bed has seen many books.

15. What is your policy on book lending? I will lend you a book if I trust you to return it in the same condition I gave it to you.

16. Do you ever dog-ear books? NEVER. That is law number one!

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books? Only text books.

18. Not even with text books? See previous answer.

19. What is your favourite language to read in? English.

20. What makes you love a book? It’s a combination of things, I have to be able to connect emotionally. I want to “become” part of the story and escape life for a little while. I want to travel to new places, meeting new people and feel like I’ve lost part of my family when I read the last word on the last page.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book? If a book made me stay up late into the night, if the characters stick in my head or the story was unbelievably fantastic.

22. Favorite genre? I don’t really have a ‘favorite’ genre.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did)? Historical. I’m sure they are full of wonderful information but I just get so bored.

24. Favourite biography? Can’t say I have one.

25. Have you ever read a self-help book? Can’t think of any, not sure I’d tell you of had though!

26. Favourite cookbook? I just got a Disney Princess cookbook for Christmas (don’t judge me!) that I can’t wait to try out!

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)? I’m not sure. I don’t know of any have inspired me so much, more or less just happy I love to read as much as I do!

28. Favorite reading snack? Anything chocolate. Usually a piece of Ghirardelli.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phenix.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book? I don’t read what they have to say because their opinion doesn’t matter to me.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews? I always read a book wanting to like it, really hoping to enjoy it. But if someone asks me my opinion of it, I’ll tell them it was terrible for points A, B and C. And it’s okay if they disagree with me, makes for a good conversation.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose? Spanish or Italian – there’s something romantic about the way those languages roll off the tongue.

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read? Humm….. “Gone with the Wind” but that’s because I choose to tackle that beast the summer before 8th grade. I didn’t fully appreciate the story back then.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin? I don’t tend to feel intimidated by books unless they’re on a subject I’m loathed to read about.

35. Favorite Poet? A tossup between Emily Dickinson and Emily Brontë

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time? I haven’t check books out of the library in years! But when I did it was 5 or 6 at a time, sometimes more.

37. How often have you returned books to the library unread? Rarely, but when I have, I’ve always felt like I’d betrayed the characters I never met.

38. Favorite fictional character? I can’t pick one, I feel like that must be something like asking a parent to choose their favorite child. I have connections with characters because I recognize something in them that is similar to me, or represents a trait I’m trying to develop on myself.

39. Favorite fictional villain? I’ve never liked a villain. So I don’t have one.

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation? Well, on the flight to Walt Disney World in October I had “50 Shades of Gray” with me! Hahaha

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading. Probably a week, I was away at summer camp and my mom wouldn’t let me pack a book! Hahaha!

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish. Speak.

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading? If someone turns on a movie or a TV show, I find the noise very distracting. If it’s a movie or TV show I like, I’ll end up watching.

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel? I really like how “The Hunger Games” and then “Catching Fire” were adapted.

45. Most disappointing film adaptation? “Twilight” but some of that can be chalked up to a terrible director and horrid acting.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time? With or without gift cards?! Easily $50 -$100. I try to avoid the book store unless I Kobe I have some spending money saved up!

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it? I always read the book jacket or the back of the book, if they can’t hook me there, I don’t usually read the book.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through? Boredom.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized? I try. It doesn’t work. I have too many books. I have books stacked on the floor.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them? I do not understand people who buy books, read them, and then get rid of them. I don’t get it.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding? No; but there are plenty of books I’ve been trying to get my hands on and can’t!

52. Name a book that made you angry. The Namesake. I still don’t understand why all the incoming freshmen were forced to read that awful book. I did throw it out afterwards.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did? Harry Potter series

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t? I can’t think of one at the moment, but I’m sure there’s at least one or two!

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading? “The Kingdom Keepers” by Ridley Pearson. I know they are meant for kids, but when it comes to reading, I’m just a big kid who loves to get lost in a good story!

Best day at work…EVER!

19 Oct

Have you ever had one of those days where you were really excited to go to work? Yes? No? Possibly??

Well I totally had that experience on Friday! I work in the Public Relations department for a hospital, and I can honestly say that while healthcare is not where my passion is or where I feel I’ll make a lifetime career, I can say that I enjoy my job because I work with some of the best women you’ll ever meet. Most days we are laughing and singing and sharing stories (most of which revolve around my coworkers husbands and/or kids….sometimes it stinks being the youngest with no kids or hubby of my own) across the office. But back to my point…

As a PR professional, it’s not uncommon for us to go to community events, health fairs, seminars or expos to handout information and giveaways. So when I was asked to go to the Active Adult Expo all day Friday, I knew what it would be like because I had been there last year. It was being put on by one of the local radio stations and was being held in the plaza of one of the grocery stores.

On my way to the expo I was starving, and lucky for me, it was being held right next to a Panera Bread!

Once at the expo, I, thankfully, only had to make three trips back and forth from my car to bring everything in. Doesn’t it look great all set up?
20131020-191724.jpg Finally, it was time to enjoy my breakfast while I waited for the expo to start…20131020-092808.jpg Best way to start the morning! A breakfast energy sandwich and hot chocolate. I highly recommend you try both from Panera Monday morning.

This expo, unlike the others we go to, was rather small, with people coming by only now and again, with big lags in time to fill. When someone did come by, they had a paper like a bingo game card that the venders had to put stickers in to say the person had stopped at each table. When the card was completely filled out, it was returned to the radio station personnel and the person was entered into the drawing to win the bigger giveaways the venders donated. For example, I brought from the hospital a white canvas bag filled with a t-shirt, breast cancer awareness baseball hat, pedometer, little first aid kit, night light, hand sanitizer, pens, a blanket, other small nicknacks and we also had an umbrella with our logo on it. So, really nice giveaway stuff could be won ONLY if the completed cards were turned back in.

And there lies the problem. Most of the people only cared about that sticker and not the information I had on my table. Well, with the exception of the 5 or so people who felt the need to share their medical history with me, a complete and total stranger. (Unfortunately I couldn’t offer much help or advice other than call this department or that department at the hospital because I’M NOT CLINICAL!!)

Well, the expo was to run from 10AM – 3PM and as I mentioned, I learned my lesson last year and brought a book with me this year to pass the time. I wanted something that I could get into quickly and would be entertaining, so I went with “Shadow Music” by Julie Garwood.

The other thing I love about this expo, was the voucher for free lunch from Grinders, a really delicious sit down restaurant there in the plaza. I already knew what I was going to order for lunch before I got to the expo that morning! 20131020-194121.jpg Let me be the first to introduce you to the best potato skins and chocolate and peanut butter milkshake in the land!

Oh and you can’t forget the delicious desert Grinders had sitting out for the expo…20131020-194437.jpg This little chocolate brownie with peanut butter frosting was to die for!

I promise, that’s the last food picture! (Am I making you hungry yet?!) During the expo there were roughly 60 people who came by my table, but most of the time, this was my view:20131020-194959.jpg Yes, my table was located across from the local library branch which gave some of the venders sitting next to me the misconception that I had popped over there and check out a book. Sorry to disappoint them, I told them I’d brought it from home and they wished they’d had my foresight. I think they ended up playing a lot of Candy Crush.

5 hours and 130 odd pages later, it was time to pack up and call it a day! And honestly, who could have asked for a nicer Friday?!

(Side note: I finished my book early this afternoon. It wouldn’t have taken me so long, but on Friday I went to my sister’s last home football game/Senior Night to watch her cheer and dance during halftime. We won 56 – 0, then I went to visit with my cousin after the game and to play with her adorable little baby boy. Saturday was spent looking at cars with my dad, going out to eat with my family and hanging out with my best friend swapping stories. And this morning I went to church. So as you can see, it was a busy weekend with little time for reading until this afternoon! And in case you were wondering, I loved the story and would recommend it! Takes place in the medieval Scottish highlands if that’s your cup of tea as it is mine! And if it’s not, still give it a try, you may find it very entertaining!)

Building Forts

27 May

I love Sundays! They may be my favorite day of the week!

It was a lazy, humid day here in the Kingdom. I finished reading book four in The Kingdom Keepers Series, The Kingdom Keepers – Power Play. It was an AMAZING book and I had a hard time putting it down at night so I could sleep! So… because I HAD TO KNOW what was happening next in the story, I began book five, The Kingdom Keepers – Shell Game. I am going to feel empty on the inside when I finish this book! Does anyone else get so lost in a story that they cry and laugh with the characters, and feel lonely when the book ends?! I’ve always had that problem…. or connection!

Now, before you think all I did was read today, I did accomplish 3 loads of laundry! I managed to hang 2 loads outside on the clothes lines. THEY SMELL FANTASTIC NOW, like sunshine and starry nights! It’s the little things of summer that I enjoy! There is nothing as wonderful as falling asleep under sheets and blankets that have soaked in the clean summer air! I am going to sleep so well tonight!

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