Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Under the Overpass

Title:  Under the Overpass (A journey of faith on the streets of America)
Author:  Mike Yankoski
(This book was given to me in exchange for a fair, unbiased review)

Ever wonder what it would be like to live homeless?  Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight.  With only a backpack, a sleeping bag, & a guitar, Mike & his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities:  Denver, Washington DC, Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix & San Diego.

For more then 5 months, the pair experience firsthand the extreme pains of hunger, the constant danger of living on the streets, exhaustion, depression & social rejection - all by their own choice.  They wanted to find out if their faith was real, if they could actually be the Christians they said they were apart from the comforts they'd always known... to discover what it feels like to be homeless in America.

Mike & Sam's story is gritty, challenging, & utterly captivating.  What you encounter in these pages will radicially alter how you see your world - & may even change your life.

First Line:  Real punches arent as sharp & clean as Hollywood makes them out to be.

I have to say - I think EVERY PERSON - EVERY CHRISTIAN - EVERY CHURCH GOER needs to read this book!!!!!  This book has totally changed the way I look at the world, the homeless, the way the church handles people - so many things... this book has opened my eyes & my heart...

The journey of these two men is so see the people that they meet along the way, from people who are struggling to survive, to people who are drug addicts & have mental disorders, to the experiences they have to go through - it will move you... it SHOULD move you... because its the real world.  A world that we dont like to think about & a world we try to ignore....

The most earth shaking moments for me were when they would encounter churches that would turn them away because they were "dirty" or "smelly"... CHURCHES!!!!!!!!!  A Pastor of a church told them they werent "that kind of church" to offer any food to them... wow... the reactions of Christians just made me look in a mirror at myself - how would I react? 

And then, yes, there were some amazing Christians who live their faith!  My favorite story was about a young man the homeless called "The Jesus Guy" - he said he never once preached Jesus - just came down & offered pizzas & conversations once a week... He said, "Isnt it amazing that when we live as we're called & do what we're commanded, the gospel still gets preached" ... Amen

I have a journal of 7 pages of nothing but quotes from this book that rocked me...

From stories of Christians preaching "Fire & Brimstone" to people who are already suffering: "... it seemed they were accusing these broken people of being broken...."

From people kicking out these men out of churches while drug dealers on the street could preach a mighty word of God: "Why do we kick drug users out of the church while quietly over looking those who are ignoring their own different but equally destructive sins?  Why do we reject the loving, self-sacrificing, giving, encouraging Jesus-pursuing drug addict, but recruit the clean, self-interested, gossiping, loveless church goer?"

From youth groups coming  & serving the homeless:  "Something critical is missing in places that care for the broken & needy if the only people there are also broken & needy"

I could go on & on... I'm telling you... if you want a powerful read - that is easy to take in - READ THIS BOOK!!!!!

Last year, for Christmas, I got everyone "The Noticer" .... if I can find this book in time, I will be purchasing this for everyone I know... that's how good it is!!!

If you want to see more about it and/or sample a chapter of the book, go here:

My rating:  5 Skeins (no doubts!!!!)
Last Line:  Walk off the Edge with Him

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Book:  Beastly
Author:  Alex Flinn

A beast.  Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but a horrible new creature who walks upright - a creature with fangs & claws & hair springing from every pore.  I am a monster.

You think I'm talking fairy tales?  No way.  The place is New York City.  The time is now.  It's no deformity, no disease.  And I'll stay this way forever - ruined - unless I can break this spell.

Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me.  Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day & prowls by night?  I'll tell you.  I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, & the perfect life.  And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly.... beastly.

First Line:  I could feel everyone looking at me, but I was used to it.

I have been blogging about the movie that is coming out & I am so excited about it... so when a friend told me the book was out, I had to read it. 

First, the book doesnt look like the previews of the movie - so dont know how "much" of the book is in the movie... but its still the story of the classic Beauty & the Beast... & if you know me, that steals my heart everytime.

This book is tagged as a "YA" - Young Adult book ... I can see that when it talks about Kyle being 16 years old & in high school... but its still a fun little, quick read.

Its not the BEST book I've ever read... And if I wasnt such a Beauty & the Beast fan, I'm not sure how much I would have loved it...

It did have some great lines in it though... when Kyle, who becomes "Adrian" changes & his heart softens, its so sweet to see the words that pour out of him to Lindy.  The relationship between Adrian & the witch, Kendra is very interesting too.  I especially love the blind tutor that is hired to take care of Adrian, Will... which I see in the movie, Neil Patrick Harris plays (YIPEE!)

My rating:  3 skeins for everyone... (for me, being a B&B fan, 4 skeins)

Last Line:  I hold my hand out to her. "May I have this dance?"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Safe Haven

Book:  Safe Haven
Author:  Nicholas Sparks

When a mysterious young woman named Katie appears in the small North Carolina town of Southport, her sudden arrival raises questions about her past.  Beautiful yet self-effacing, Katie seems determined to avoid forming personal ties until a series of events draws her into two relucant relationships: one with Alex, a widowed store owner with a kind heart & 2 younger children; and another with her plainspoken single neighbor, Jo.  Despire her reservations, Katie slowly begins to let down her guard, putting down roots in the close-knit community & becoming increasingly attached to Alex & his family.

But even as Katie begins to fall in love, she struggles with the dark secret that still haunts & terrifes her... a past that set her on a fearful, shattering journey across the country, to the sheltered oasis of Southport. With Jo's empathetic & stubborn support, Katie eventually realizes that she must choose between a life of transient safety & one of riskier rewards... & that in the darkest hour, love is the only true safe haven.


First Sentence:  As Katie wound her way among the tables, a breeze from the Atlantic rippled through her hair.

I've always been a Nicholas Sparks fan.  So when I see he has a new book out, I have to check it out.
Reading the inside cover (see above) - I could already figure out how the story was going to go... honestly, most "love stories" are fairly predictable...

What I wasnt prepared for was the intensity of the story.  This story deals with physical abuse in a marriage Katie is running from.  (I dont feel that is giving away much of the story.... you could figure out this early in the story) ... but the story reminded me so much of the movie, "Sleeping with the Enemy" with Julia Roberts... it was all I could envision while reading it.

I dont do well with stories of physical abuse... it sickens me... it makes me angry... I dont understand needless to say, I had a lot of emotion reading this book.

The story would flip back & forth to the story of Katie & then to her husband who was looking for her, Kevin.  Honestly, I had to skip parts of the story of Kevin, because it was so neurotic - crazed!!!!  The story was very straight on on reflecting the crazed mind this man had... & it made me a nervous wreck...

The book is a beautiful love story of a family, Alex with his children finding Katie & how they all love each other... the new relationships between the two of them & Katie & the children... that part was precious... but then it would flip into the madness of a mind of a psychopath... & then the meeting of the two.  I literally couldnt put down the book in the last 100 pages to see how it would end.

In the end, it wasnt Mr. Sparks best book...("A walk to remember" is still my favorite!!!) - it was a gripping read... but the end also had a unique twist that some might enjoy - I personally thought it was corny (I wont give any of that away) - but that along with the frantic mind of Kevin, I was anxious to just get to the ending...

My Rating:  3 skeins

Last Sentence:  She knew what she believed

Monday, October 18, 2010

Choosing to See

Book:  Choosing to See
Author:  Mary Beth Chapman

I’ve told my kids for years that God doesn’t make mistakes,” writes Mary Beth Chapman, wife of Grammy award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman. “Would I believe it now, when my whole world as I knew it came to an end?” Covering her courtship and marriage to Steven Curtis Chapman, struggles for emotional balance, and living with grief, Mary Beth’s story is our story–wondering where God is when the worst happens. In Choosing to SEE, she shows how she wrestles with God even as she has allowed him to write her story–both during times of happiness and those of tragedy. Readers will hear firsthand about the loss of her daughter, the struggle to heal, and the unexpected path God has placed her on. Even as difficult as life can be, Mary Beth Chapman Chooses to SEE. Includes a 16-page full color photo insert.


For those of you that know me - you know Steven Curtis Chapman is the one person in the world I would love to sit down & have dinner with - talk to & get to know more about.  This book was the next best thing - written by his wife - so I also adore (heck, I love the whole family!!!)

I loved that it had some background on Mary Beth & Steven meeting & their young marriage & the birth of their children.  Then the adventure into adoption that God led them on...

And then we go through the horrible accident that involved their precious Maria & the way this family that puts their faith in God, how they withstood the attack that satan threw at them....

But you really do get a glimpse into the Chapman household... which made me zoom through this book in 2 days time.  I sighed at the young love of these two young college kids... I laughed at the idea of Steven Curtis Chapman putting a fire out in his underwear... I cried at the personal letters everyone in the family wrote to Maria to include with her "shell" at the funeral. 

Being a big fan as well, I remember Steven Curtis Chapman changing his 'look" when the accident happened.  This book even explained what happened with that - why his head was shaved & where the beard came from... that small story just broke my heart... I even had to read it to Ricky to share... that's the kind of book this is.  Small parts that will reach out & grab your heart & you see a family that has struggled through so much...

But a family that has also been so extremely blessed - with each other & the ministry that they share.

Of course, being a SCC fan, you knew I was going to love it - but I think any mother will appreciate this story - anyone who has adopted will appreciate it - anyone who sadly has lost a child will appreciate the sharing of Mary Beth's grief & openness with it...

My rating:  5 skeins (was there ANY doubt?)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sun Stand Still

Book:  Sun Stand Still
Author:  Steven Furtick

This book is not a Snuggie.  The words on these pages will not go down like Ambien.  I'm not writing to calm or coddle you.  With God's help, I intend to incite a riot in your mind.  Trip your breakers & turn out the lights in your favorite hiding places of insecurity & fear.  Then flip the switch back on so that God's truth can illuminate the divine destiny that may have been lying dorman inside you for years.

In short, I'm out to activiate your audacious faith.  To inspire you to ask God for the impossible.  And in the process, to reconnect you with your God-sized purpose & potential.
-Steven Furtick


First Line:  I can't lie - its a pretty cool feeling to have Bono as your opening act.

In the Bible - Joshua was in the midst of a battle... the sun was getting ready to set & Joshua knew he'd lose his advantage if it got dark... he prayed to God for help... & God answered... by making the SUN STAND STILL... the sun stayed in the same place ... causing Joshua to become the overcome... God being the VICTOR!

So the book is about having that same sort of prayer - an audacious kind of prayer...

I'm a fan of Steven Furtick anyways & his messages online.  I've always said I've GOT to get to Elevation church one day & experience it in person.  But this book is exactly how he talks - & its why I really soaked in every word.

From stories of what a "Page 23 Vision" is - to being a "Wave Jumper" & "Praying like a Juggernaut" - I loved every chapter.  My favorite was "Mistake into Miracle" - when you feel like God cant use you & your vision & listen to your audacious prayers because of your mistakes you've made... when its for those mistakes that usually God WILL use you!!!  The story of Norm & his mistakes & his journey had me in tears.

I loved how the chapters had personal stories - from Steven's life - or from others in his church - examples of today & of Biblical examples, that made the point hit home.

I dont think I've ever highlighted more of a book in my life!... Here are some of my favorite lines:

*If the size of your vision for your life isn't intimidating to you, there's a good chance it's insulting to God.

*How radically different would modern American youth culture be if we stopped raising our kids to survive their world & started empowering them with a vision to change it?

*Biblical audacity is a mind-set that approaches God with confidence & believes him for the impossible.

*You might be thinking you're unimpressive & unqualified.  That's good.  God performs the most impressive feats through the most unimpressive people.

*Maybe you're afraid that if you pray a Sun Stand Still prayer & live by audacious faith, you'll end up letting God down.  But the reality is, you were never holding him up!

... I have TONS more... believe me...its just that full of good stuff!!!

I'm leaving this book thinking about MY Page 23 Vision & how I pray - how specific I am going to God in what I want for that Vision... I'm excited to see the change it makes.

So - My rating:  4 skeins ..

& its only 4 because I struggle with "non fiction" books... this is the BEST I've read out of that area... but still, this is a personal rating...

Last Line:  Welcome to the middle of a move of God.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Book:  Mockingjay
Author:  Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived even though her home has been destroyed.  Gale has escaped.  Katniss's family is safe.  Peeta has been captured by the Capitol.  District 13 really does exist.  There are rebels.  There are new leaders.  A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arema in the cruel & haunting Quarter Quell, & it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it.  District 13 has come out of the shadows & is plotting to overthroat the Capitol.  Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains - Except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, & to change the course of the future of Panem.  To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger & distrust.  She must become the rebels Mockingjay - no matter what the personal cost.

First Line:  I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.

After getting through the first two books, I was dying to get to this book to see how it would all end.  I even got home from work on Friday, pulled the book out & didnt put it down until I was finished - Saturday morning!

We continue watching the lives of Katniss & Peeta & the after effects of the war against the Capitol. 

I have to say, I'm not a big "battle" kind of girl so the idea of planning attacks & the battles with the different Districts was lost on me.  The "battles" in the games were different - it was more personal.  This was moreof a news report on CNN & that didnt appeal to me.  But when the story turned personal again, I loved it.

I dont want to give anything away (I will in the botton section though!) but I was surprised at some of the turns ... who lives, who died...

While Katniss still is a fighter, I think this book showed more of her weakness & fraility. 

I did enjoy the character of Finnick & the friendship he & Katniss had... as well as Boggs...Haymitch made me style in his "drunken" character that you think is so strict, but you see if really just a lonely man who's looking out for Katniss & Peeta.

I was also surprised at how in this book, the end of each chapter usually made me gasp, but the beginning of the next chapter would be a big jump in time & the story didnt instantly continue... you'd have to read as they would have "flashbacks"... that was different from the other books... took me a bit to get used to.

This definitely wasnt my favorite of the series... I am glad to know how the story ends though.  Feel like I can breath... because I did hold my breath through most of this book...

My rating:  4 skeins
Final Line:  But there are much worse games to play.

WARNING: Spoilers below!!!

OK - I have to talk about some stuff that I question and/or that bothered me....

*What happened to Gale?  I was waiting for some big try from him for Katniss to love him - but he just sort of got lost in the "battle" & war of the last book... that disappointed me
*I was expecting more of a way for Katniss to bring Peeta back from his "insanity" ... disappointing
*It got on my nerves how it was mentioned over & over about Katniss not being able to "repay" when someone helped them...
*I was but wasnt surprised that Katniss killed Coin... got a chuckle out of it...
*Still am not sure who did the attack on the kids in front of the Capitol - which side
*Was so sad that Finnick died...
*had to read it a few times to understand that Prim died... that surprised me... I was expecting Gale or Peeta to die - not her! ... after everything Katniss did to protect her, she died in the end... that was a sad turn of events.
*Couldnt believe ANY of the tributes would agree to the vote of having another "Hunger Games" with the Capitol's children...
*Was happy to see the ending with Peeta & Katniss though... definitely thought they were destined for each other...

Now, I'm just dying for the movie version!!!!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Catching Fire

Book:  Catching Fire
Author:  Suzanne Collins

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games.  She & fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even.  After all, she has returned to her family & her longtime friend, Gale.  Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be.  Gale holds her at an icy distance.  Peeta has turned his back on her completely.  And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capital - a rebellion that Katniss & Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueld an unrest she's afraid she cannot stop.  And what scares her even more is that she's not entirely convinced she should try.  As time draws near for Katniss & Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Vicotry Tour, the stakes are higher then ever.  If they can't prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for one another, the consequences will be horrifying.

First Line:  I clasp the flash between my hands even though the warmed from the tea has long since leached into the frozen air.

I have never been so into a series of books since Twilight.

We are back with Katniss as her & Peeta go back to the life of Victors... only to find out nothing can ever be the same.  Between the relationship between the two of them - the relationship between her & Gale...their lives in general

I dont want to say too much because the summary doesnt give away the heart of the book - which really made me gasp... & say things like "WHAT?" - "How can that happen?" - "That's not fair!" ... like its a real story ... that's how much I've gotten into this book!

(I swear, if I didnt have Mockingjay to go right into, I'd be in hysterics!!!)

What can I say without given too much away .... Katniss is still a fighter - someone who loves her family & is torn between two loves.  I do think we see more vulnerability from her this time.  Peeta, this book, is still the most amazing person with words - still so in love with Katniss. 

I particurly loved Cinna this book...gotta love a designer with an attitude!!!

This book truly leaves you hanging for the next book... so you can bet I'll be starting Mockingbird in just a few hours.  I've got to take a breath before I dive right back in.... On a good 90% of the end of each chapter, I had to cover my mouth while I gasped... yes, it was that good & surprising...

I have to say, I'm afraid to go into the final book...afraid to see how it all ends... because one thing I've learn about these books - they're not afraid of surprises... & death...

My Rating:  5 skeins... exciting, drawn me completely in, I honestly couldnt stop reading...

SPOILER:  LAST LINE....(Dont read if you dont want to see the final line... gives away part of the story)
"Katness, there is no District Twelve."

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Hunger Games

Book:  The Hunger Games
Author:  Suzanne Collins

In the ruins of a place once knwon as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by 12 outlying districts.  The Capitol is harsh & crush & keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy & one girl between the ages of 12-18 to participate in the annual "HUNGER GAMES" - a fight to the death on live TV.

16 yr old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother & younger sister, regard it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games.  But Katniss has been close to dead before - & survival, for her, is second nature.  Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender.  But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity & life against love.
First Line
When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold.

I heard all about this series & thought, "What's the big deal" so when this last book (Mockingjay) came out, I figured I would get the whole series...

And then I read what it was about?  How can a book about teens playing a death match game be ANY good?  Isnt that sort of weird - & morbid?  I couldnt imagine how it could be entertaining at all.

I was wrong... I was wrapped up in the story within the first few chapters.

I went to where Katniss was living - to a time set in the future - to where "Districts" are so neglected by "The Capitol" - to a time where people have to come together & trade for their needs, which still doesnt do anything but let them live in poverty.

You get to know Katniss as this amazing young lady - who takes care of her family & wont let her young sister enter the "Hunger Games" when her name is drawn.  You get to know the friendship she has with Gale.  You feel her strength as she enters into this nightmarish game - you see her strengths in hunting & with the bow & arrow.  You see the relationship that she forms with her District Team Mate Peeta.  You see what she is willing to sacrifice for him - & other team mates... You also see she's not a weak person in any sense...

This book was violent - but not as bad as I thought it would be... But I mean, when you talk about young kids getting killed for a game, its sort of disturbing. 

I literally couldnt put the book down though.  Each chapter would end & I was hanging on the last words & had to head right into the next chapter.

The idea that a world is OK with watching a game like this on TV shakes me, but even more because I wonder if its something that could come in the future.... remember that movie with Arnold S - "The Running Man" - that's what it reminds me of... people betting on who dies...

Luckily, I have all the series & as soon as I finished the last chapter, I have picked up the next book & am already into Chapter 3... I cant imagine if I had to wait a year for the next book... See, there is a benefit in waiting to buy the books :)

My rating:  5 skeins

Last Line:
I take his hand, holding on tightly, preparing for the cameras, & dreading the moment when I will finally have to let go.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Conversations with the Fat Girl

Book:  Conversations with the Fat Girl
Author:  Liza Palmer

Maggie & Olivia have been best friends since they were in grade school.  Both overweight, they befriended each other when no one else would.  Now grown up, Maggie is still shopping in the euphemism-if-there-ever-was-one "women's section" while Olivia went & had gastric bypass surgery in search of the elusive size 4, the holy grail for women everywhere.  So now Olivia's thin & blond & getting married to a handsome surgeon, & Maggie's the fat bridesmaid, again, in charge of planning "The Shower" & keeping Olivia's secret:  that she's really a fat girl in a thin boddy.  Aint life grand?
With wit & wisdom, Liza Palmer gives voice to women everywhere who wish for just once that they could forget about their weight.

Maggie... Rebecca Jo... maggie.. Rebecca Jo...
I think we are interchangable.  This character of Maggie, I honestly related to because I found so much of myself in her.  The things she said, the way she felt about situations, the way she reacted to her life, even the way she spoke - "Are you kidding me?" - I felt like I was Maggie. To even add to that - she got car sick, she had a fear of flying, always had a Large Diet Coke everywhere she went... AND she loved Xanadu?  Can anyone please tell me how she's NOT like me?

We get to see how Maggie deals with a forced apartment move, a career change, her family always expecting more from her, the relationship she has with her sister Kate (who is totally opposite) & her mother - we see Maggie fall in love with Domenico (only her & his mother are allowed to call him that) - haha

If you have ever struggle with weight - I mean a REAL weight issue, you'll related with Maggie.  So many things she said stood out to me.  I even mentioned one part of it on my other blog:

This book does have some big time language... but I just had to normally laugh or feel badly when it was used... it was just "Maggie"

I loved to see how her sister Kate stood up for her - I loved to see how Maggie reacted with Domenico & how their relationship moved - I loved to see the person Olivia turned into after her surgery - I loved seeing Maggie become stronger & more confident with every move she made...

I loved how every chapter would have a "flash back" of sorts too - looking back to when things were at a different time & now, how Maggie can learn from them.

Here are just a few other examples of the story that just drew me in
"My relationship with my body is like that of an egomanic with a self- esteem problem.  Mostly I think about myself & how much I suck.  But there are rare moments when I walk around for hours & think I look amazing.  Either I feel great about myself or I've decided some guy is checking me out.  Then I catch a side view of myself in a store window or a department store mirror & I'm plunged into despair.  If I could always live in a place with no mirrors or disapproving glances, I would think I was the prettiest girl around."

"Kate & I used to play the Xanadu soundtrack & dance until Mom came home.  I specialized in all the ELO songs, while Kate preferred all things Olivia Newton John.  When Kate had homework or was playing with another friend, I retreated into my room where I built a make-believe time machine.  I played for hours - pushing buttons, giving orders, & feeling safe& comforted in my imagination.  I want that feeling of safety & freedom that came with those memories back.  I dont want the new feeling of momentary happiness followed by insurmountable guilt that comes from reaching for food for comfort.  I need to go back to the person I was at 8 years old.  She had it all figured out.  Maybe I'll build another time machine."

Once you're labeled in school, no amount of factual information can unstick it form your psyche.

We're sold this script for life with loves like Romeo & heroes like Jack London, but we've got an hour long commute to a job we hate & a utility bill to pay every month.  I crave a life of freedom & passion, but I've sentended myself to a life of quiet desperation & prime time sitcoms.  I've numbed myself & its going to hurt like a **er when I wake up.

Needless to say - I loved this book... I want to check out more from this author as well
My Rating:  5 skeins

Friday, September 10, 2010

Out Live Your Life

Book:  Out Live Your Life
Author:  Max Lucado
(This book was provided in exchange for an unbiased review)

These are difficult days in our world's history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God's love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let's live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did. (Please note: International Bloggers will receive International Edition.)

You were made to make a difference..

That's what the front cover says...

& once again, Max Lucado has a way of bringing "Godly" topics & making them understandable...

We learn in this book so many ways to look at the world with new eyes...

I loved this book because it was broken down in short chapters - you could get through one very easily & each ended with a prayer & a scripture.  So you could actually even do this as a great devotional daily.  There is also a study guide in the back of the book if you wanted to even take it deeper into a study.

However you choice to read this book, you're going to find something that speaks to you... some of the stories made me look at myself & get a little humbled... some of the stories made me stop & think, WOW, people are amazing... all the stories, I learned something from them.

I marked up so many pages of this book for quotes, stories, points to remember... things I will be turning back to for many references...

But one of the things that was said repeatedly in different ways is something that will stick with me....

No one can do everything, but everyone can do something

The story of the football team that were from a prison & the story of real life "Paul's" & their "Anninas'" just about had me cheering on people in this world who still are showing God to others... How people are out there living their life in the best way to make a difference to others...

My rating:  5 skeins

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Butterfly Effect/The Boy Who Changed the World

Book:  "The Butterfly Effect" & "The Boy who Changed the World"
Author:  Andy Andrews
(These books were provided to me by Booksneeze in exchange for an unbiased review)

Andy Andrews has put out a new smalll gift book that is just lovely... it talks about "The Butterfly Effect" ... & Yes, I too thought, "isnt that a movie with Ashton Kutcher?"... yes it is & no, Ashton isnt part of this book. :) 

But the idea of the butterfly effect is that the smallest differences, smallest changes, smallest motions can cause the biggest changes in conditions... such a neat idea

The Butterfly Effect is a small book that gives some stories of real people and of this idea... with beautiful pictures & subtle words... It only takes a minutes out of your day to read this whole book but the point is made over & over:


Mr. Andrews also wrote a childrens book with the same idea, called The Boy who Changed the World... I was so excited to get this for our grandson.  He will be coming up for a visit in October & I'll most definitely be reading this to him.  The story is similar to the gift book, but with wonderful illustrations that are beautiful & captivating to the eye. 

I love the idea of having children realize from such a young age of the impact they can make on the world. 

All of it goes back to this quote in the book:

"There are generation yet unborn whose very lives will be shifted & shaped by the moves you make & the actions you take today. And tomorrow.  And the next day. And the next.

I most definitely recommend these books - for a gift of reminding for adults & a gift of teaching for young hearts that need to know the power they hold in their actions.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Stardust on my Pillow

Book:  Stardust on my Pillow
Author:  Patsy Clairmont
194 pages

From "Boxed In', the story of a woman making a starling discovery about a distant aunt she never really knee, to "Cloistered", the tale of a severely phobic woman being gently wooed back into life, popular speaker & writer Patsy Clairmont has crafted a beautiful & impressive first collection of short fiction.

Through the fourteen tales featured, Patsy sensitively explores the themes of compassion & kindness, holiness & hope, whole providing beautifully written inspiration for all of us who desire to spread a little stardust of our own

First Line:  Every afternoon at three o'clock, Papaw sat under the weeping willow tree in his front yard & played the "Chattanooga Choo-Choo- on his harmonica"

Coming out of the Women of Faith weekend & once again being reminded how much I loved Patsy Clairmont, it was a surprise to find this book on my shelf as one I never read.... its an older book...published in 2000 ... but so glad I've had it sitting there waiting on me.

Patsy is just a wonderful writer that you can tell her speaking translates so well to paper.  This book is the perfect book to leave next to a nightstand too.  It has 14 tales that are all so quick to read but each one has a story that found me usually making a sigh, or a "Ahhh" noise, or even a giggle...

Stardust on my Pillow should be on a nightstand so you can lay your head down after reading a tale & "look into the windows of Heaven" ...

My rating:  4 skeins

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Heart Mender

Book:  The Heart Mender
Author:  Andy Andrews
235 pages

While digging up a withering wax myrtle tree behind his waterfront home on the Gulf Coast, author Andy Andrews unearths a rusted metal container filled with Nazi artifacts & begins an intriguing investigation that unlocks an unspoken past that took place in his backyard.... literally...

In the summer of 1942, as the country gears up for a full scale commitment to WWII, German subs are dispatched to the Gulf of Mexico to sink US vessels carrying goods & fuel for the war.  While taking a late-night walk along the coastline, Helen Mason - recently widowed by the realities of war - discoveres the near lifeless body of a German sailor.  Enraged at the site of Josef Landermann's uniform, Helen is prepared to leave the lieutenant to die when an unsual phrase, faintly uttered, changes her mind.

Set in a period simmering with anger & suspicion, this book offers the very real chronicle of a small town preparing itself for the worst the world has to offer.  As cargo from torpedoed ships begin to wash up on the beach, Josef & Helem must reconcile their pasts in order to creat a future.
First Line:  It is early summer as I sit at my desk & finally begin the process of sorting what I know to be true from what I merely suspect.

I couldnt write this review fast enough to say how much I loved this book!!!!!

First, let me say, Andy Andrews is fast becoming one of my favorite authors!  With "The Noticer" & "The Time Traveler's Gift" as my favorite books as well, I thought this has to be a shoe-in...

But then I saw this book contained a lot of information about WWII & submaries & torpedos & talks of Germans & Nazi's & I thought, this isnt going to be for me.  I'm not a "war" kinda reader...

I was so wrong...

With the writing & the pictures just in the first few pages, I was hooked into this story. 

A story that Mr. Andrews makes note is a true story - which is amazing in itself.  That there were German subs in US territory destroying US vessels... how is this something that we do not see in history books?

I put on my Facebook/Twitter that this book reminds me of a"The Notebook" - but it did hold a love story in the midst of a time of war.. to hear the story of the relationship between Helen & Josef...I was involved knowing every detail of their meeting & their life.  And to think that this is all true just pushed it over the top for me as being an amazing read that has just crept up in my list of favorite books...

Here is a sample of the writing as well:

(Talking about how some of the men on German ships werent fans of Hilter)
"The Kriegsmarine had a lot of Germans... not so many Nazi's"
Noting my confusion, the old man said, "You see a difference between Americans and the Ku Klux Klan, dont you?"
I nodded.
"Well, there you go"

(On Helen & Josef's growing relationship)
Later, the German soldier & the American widow walked the beach, not exactly together, but at the same time.  Not yet truly friends, at least they were no longer enemies.

(On the repeated lesson on "forgiveness")
We are products of our past, but we do not have to be prisoners of it.

The writing in this book is wonderful... real & understandable... gripping...

I love that Mr. Andrews dug into this story to find that people in this world have the most amazing adventures of all...

Last Line:  No one will ever believe a word of it.

My Rating:  5 skeins

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just Take my Heart

Book:  Just Take my Heart
Author:  Mary Higgins Clark
322 Pages

Natalie Raines, one of Broadway's brightest stars, accidentally discovers who killed her former roommate & sets in motion a series of shocking events that puts more than one life in extreme peril.

While Natalie & her roommate, Jamie Evans, were both struggling young actresses, Jamie had been involved with a mysterious married man to whom she referred only by nickname.  Natalie comes face to face with him years later & inadvertently addresses him by his nickname Jamie had used.  A few days later, Natalie is found in her home dying from a gunshot wound.

Immediately, the police suspect Natalie's theatrical agent & soon to be ex-husband, Gregg Aldrich.  No charges wre brought against him until 2 yrs later, when Jimmy Easton, a career criminal, suddenly comes forward to claim Aldrich had tried to hire him to kill his wife.

The case is a plum assignment for Emily Wallace, an attractive 32 yr old assistant prosecutor.  As she spends increasingly long hours preparing for the trial, a seeminly well-meaning neighbor offers to take care of her dog in her absence.  Unaware of his violent past, she gives him a key to her home...
Mary Higgins Clark is one of my favorite authors... always keeps me guessing & this was no different.  My "cheat card" had so many names on it & lines drawn to one person or another, it was crazy... but I STILL didnt figure out the WHOLE ending... why I love Mrs. Clark!

I loved the character of Emily Wallace & the strong woman character she was.  Not afraid to follow her heart & investigate on her own, standing up to people when she was sure of what she believed. 

Loved the character of Gregg Aldrich as well...

There are two different stories that seem to be going on as well, with the neighbor that is the creepiest character I've read in awhile & the trial that is going on... wondered how they would tie in together, but those final chapters indeed bring the stories together...

I always love the quick chapters as well in MHC's books... its almost when you think, I gotta find out what happened, its enough to read without having to invest a lot of time in the next chapter... which in the end, makes you read more!!!

A great mystery....

My rating:  3 skeins... it was good - wasnt great... not disappointed I read it, but not changing my world... so an average score...

Last Line of the book:  I really am, Emily thought when she was alone again.  I'm ready now.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Captured by Grace

(This book was provided by Thomas Nelson in exchange for an unbiased review)
Book:  Captured by Grace
Author:  Dr. David Jeremiah
207 pages

Until you have been broken beyond belief & need a miracle for your soul...
Until you have betrayed a loved one & cannot bring him back...
Until you have befriended eveyr darkness & are desperate for the light...
That's when God's relentless, amazing, very personalized grace finds you.
It reached a slave trader onboard a ship raiding Africa's coast in March 1748.  He later gave the world its most beloved hymn.
It struck the Christian church's most treacherous enemy on a Damasuc road in AD 45 & he became the gospel's greatest messenger.
And it can free you too... of any shameful memory, open wound, unthinking mistake, or willfull choice.

I love any book that talks about grace...

And this book surprised me.  It wasnt what I expected.  I thought it would be more of a "Self Help" kinda book... which it was - but BETTER.  I'm not a self-help kinda gal - those books bore me.  But this book had back stories on John Newton & the Apostle Paul that was just so interesting.  Two men from different times... but the same grace... the same grace that hits us & makes their stories make sense to us in our lives today.

I especially loved this book because it broke things down... like the verses from Amazing Grace... line by line & gave an example, or a story, or just "real talk"...

They also would do that with verses in the Bible - & a big part of it came from Romans - which is my favorite book of the Bible... so this was just awesome for me.

I sat with my highlighter, marking up all the things that stood out to me.  I always love looking back & seeing what I marked - so many good things... here are just a few examples:

*It (Grace) is the gift unsought, unmerited, unlimited.  For no matter what we have done, no matter the depth of our transgression, the darkness of our hearts - grace overrules them all.

*If we edit the sin out of our awareness, then grace no longer has any beauty or power for us.  In due time, we wonder why we need a Savior at all.

*Is there any such thing as an "unanswered prayer"?  Or would it be wiser to call them "unwanted answers"?

*It's as if God is saying to us - "I wont give you what you want, but I'll give you what you need.  If I took away the trail, you would grow no stronger - in face, you would be just a little weaker & more helpless, like a pampered child.  But if I allow the trial & help you endure it, you will be stronger, wiser & more useful to Me."

Oh mercy - I coulda highlighted the whole book really... such good stuff in there.  And an easy read.  Its broke down in sections that are quick & have you wanting to just keep reading.

I'm so thankful for this book... this will be one I go back & will read over & over again in the future...

My rating:  4 skeins

Friday, August 6, 2010

After River

Book:  After River
Author: Donna Milner
342 pages

At 15, Natalie Ward believes her life is perfect.  Growing up on a diary farm in the mountains of British Columbia less than 2 miles from the American border, she knows little of the outside world. But she knows family.  A family so close & loving that they are the envy of the nearby town of Atwood.  Friend, neighbors, young & old alike, show up regularly on their farmhouse porch - all willing to share in the never-ending daily chores in exchange for a place at the Warm family table.

Natalie chereishes her position as the only daughter to Nettie & Gus Ward.  She adores her three brothers, especially the eldest, Boyer, whom she idolizes with a childlike worship.  Like her mother, Natalie believes their lives are blessed, as rich & as sweet as the fresh milk that is their livelihood.

Everything changes one hot July afternoon in 1966 when a long-haired stranger walks up the winding dirt road to their door.  The arrival of this soft-spoken American, a Vietnam War resister, will test the morals & beliefs of the Warm family & their close-knit community.  The catastrophic events that are set in motion will leave relationships shattered & Natalie seperated from the family she loves in ways she could never have imagined.

35 years later, Natalie receives a late night phone call from her now-estranged brother, Boyer.  Their mother is dying.  Torn between the love of her mother & the fear of the past, Natalie returns to the town she has spent her entire adult life avoiding.  As she travels back to her childhood home, she steels herself against the bittersweet memories of taht summer day in 1966 & the tragedy that followed.  But before Natalie can find redemption, she must confront the secrets & horrors of a past she has desperately tried to forget.

First words out of my mouth about this book - LOVED IT!  I was so wrapped up in this story!!!!!!

I dont think I have ever read a book with so much tragedy & life experiences & consequences & surprises as this book.  And it was all believable - something you can imagine could actually happen to someone, a family, as well...

I dont want to give anything away because every bit of it was a surprise to me - & I think that's what made it so amazing to me.  I mean, more then once, I gasped in parts - I was shocked in parts - I teared up at parts - my heart broke in so many parts...

I feel like I know this family... that I fell in love with River myself... & I wanted a brother like Boyer... & I wanted to live on this dairy farm & know Nettie & Gus... & laugh with the brothers who never seperated, Carl & Morgan....& that I could relate so deeply with Natalie & the things she struggled with.

This story shows how powerful silence is in a family... how secrets & shame & guilt can effect someone ... effect a family.

I truly loved this book

My rating:  5 skeins

Friday, July 30, 2010

The boy who came back from Heaven

(This book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers for a complimentary copy in exchange for a honest review)
Book:  The boy who came back from Heaven
Author:  Kevin & Alex Malarkey
224 pages

In 2004, Kevin Malarkey and his six-year-old son, Alex, suffered an horrific car accident. The impact from the crash paralyzed Alex—and medically speaking, it was unlikely that he could survive. “I think Alex has gone to be with Jesus,” a friend told the stricken dad. But two months later, Alex awoke from a coma with an incredible story to share. Of events at the accident scene and in the hospital while he was unconscious. Of the angels that took him through the gates of heaven itself. Of the unearthly music that sounded just terrible to a six-year-old. And, most amazing of all . . . Of meeting and talking to Jesus. The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven is the true story of an ordinary boy’s most extraordinary journey. As you see heaven and earth through Alex’s eyes, you’ll come away with new insights on miracles, life beyond this world, and the power of a father’s love.

First of all, I love true stories... the stories of what people really go through in life.  It just brings encouragement & a real connection.  This story is no different.  This little boy will encourage you & cause you to have a connection - & that connection is with a Spiritual world you may not really pay much attention too.

I was surprised... the title made me think it would be more about a story from him & what Heaven was & details so small of what he experienced... its not that way at all.  We do get those highlights & Alex's experiences & what he felt & saw... but 90% of the book is told from his dad, Kevin.  They talk about the accident, what happened during the time Alex was in a coma, the way the church came & loved on this family - the things outside of Alex is what makes up most of this book.

BUT, God is shown in ALL of that!  From prayers being spoken by EMT workers, & from nurses & from people they never even met, pictures drawn... it all shows God's power....

At the end of chapters, Alex would give his glimpses of Heaven & the dealings with the spiritual world of angels & demons.  The way he would talk about angels still visiting him ... & demons who "walk around lying to people" gave me chills.  There was one part of the book where Alex was so attacked by the devil, he wasnt even able to say the word Jesus until people started praying with him... if this book doesnt open your eyes up to a spiritual realm, I cant imagine anything that would.

I know people are skeptical when they hear people say they saw Heaven... I'm the same way... & you know what, that's not even important in this book.  I think this book shows God's encouragement, His provision more then anything... its not the point of "Heaven" so much...

I think if anyone ever has had a child that has struggled or is suffering, this is also a fantastic read for you.

You will be cheering Alex on when you are finished with his story.  I'm anxious to see what God does with the rest of his life...

My rating:  4 skeins

Monday, July 26, 2010

Official Book Club Selection

Book:  Official Book Club Selection
Author: Kathy Griffin

OK... I know... I know... Kathy Griffin is what every Christian is supposed to be against.  But there is something about her that just makes me laugh... I dont know what it is - maybe its the red hair... but I love this lady! 

She's rude, she's crude, she says things just for shock value ... but she has her moments where you can tell she cares about people at the core.  And I cant help but love a lady who stands up for what she believes - doesnt back down because someone tells her she shouldnt do somethiing... & someone who just wants to make people laugh...

Her "Life on the D-List" show makes me laugh every week so I was excited about reading her autobiography.  I wanted to hear more about Maggie too - her mom for those who havent seen the show.

And in Kathy style, she lets the language FLY... so if harsh language & horrible disgusting talking bothers you, then dont even THINK about getting this book.  I swear, I dont know why I laugh at her... I think its because when I read it, (or hear it from her on the TV), I just ignore it... like that cursing aunt that is in every family... you just go, "Oh Aunt so&so.. stop it"... you just get used to it...

It was interesting to see Kathy's rise to fame - the people she's met in life - the behind the scene things with Brooke Shields & what really happened in her marriage.  You can expect nothing but honesty with this lady.

I love Kathy - I love autobiographies... so I loved the book...

My husband was embarassed that I even had the book... even made the comment "Did anyone see you with that?" - like it was going to label me a bad person... well, I'm saying out loud - I love Kathy Griffin!  Because I believe no matter what, Jesus loves Kathy!   (She'd like that - I just know it)

My rating:  4 skeins

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Wedding Machine

Book:  The Wedding Machine
Author:  Beth Webb Hart
285 pages

Welcome to Jasper, South Carolina.  A place where Southern hospitality thrives.  Where social occasions are done right. And where, for generations, the four most upstanding ladies of the community ensure that the daughters of Jasper are married in the proper manner.

Friends from school days, "the gals" have longed pooled their silver, china & know-how to pull off beautiful events.  They're a force of a nature, a well-oiled machine.  But the wedding machine's gears start to stick during the summer their own daughters line up to tie the knot.  In the lowcountry heat & humidity, tempers flare, old secrets leak out ... & both love & gardenias bloom in unlikely places.

This is a celebration of life-long friendship - the kind that endures death & divorce, accidents & alligators, hot flashes & hurricans.  Even the drama of a small-town Southern weddings done exactly right.

I was looking forward to this book with it being a Women of Faith Fiction.  And I did enjoy the story of the friendships - especially of Southern women - who love their sweet tea & everything "Southern Hospitatility"...

The story of Ray, Kitty B, Hilda & Sis - 4 women who have stayed friends from the 60's into today - where some of their own children are getting married.  They each had their own personalities & stories...

I'm glad I kept my "cheat card" though because with the four women & all their children & their fiances & spouses - WOW - lots of names getting thrown around here!

The story - well, it was a cute story - but just odd.  To me, there were wasnt so much an "ending" - so many open stories that didnt have closure.  That was a weird thing for me...One of the husbands is ill - what happened to him?  One of the daughters went against her mother & married someone else - what happened to them?  One of the friends is still locked inside of her home for goodness sakes... what becomes of her?  I guess I can just take the "They lived happily ever after" approach - but that did disappoint me about the book.

I did laugh at scenes in the book & could totally appreciate the Southern Weddings these ladies pulled together.  Laughing at the idea that "Video taping" a wedding is just horrid!  I wonder if real southern belles still exist like these ladies?  Hope so!

If you like a nice, easy read (dont forget the cheat card though) on friendships, you'd have a good time with this story - but I personally could take it or leave it...Its definitely not horrible though...

My Rating:  3 skeins

Monday, July 12, 2010

Shades of Morning

Book:  Shades of Morning
Author:  Marlo Schalesky
Pages: 331
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Marnie Wittier has life just where she wants it.  Quiet.  Peaceful.  No drama.  A long way away from her past.  In the privacy of her home, she fills a box with slips of paper scribbled with her regrets, sins & sorrows.  But that's nobody elses business.  Her bookstore/Coffee shop patrons, her employees, her friends from church - they all think she's the very model of compassion & kindness.

Then Marnie's past creeps into her present when her estranged sister dies & makes Marnie guardian of her 15 yr old son - a boy Marnie never knew existed.  And when Emmit arrives, she discovers he has Down syndrome - & that she's woefully unprepared to care for him.  What's worse, she has to deal with Tyler Cole, her sister's attorney, a man Marnie once loved - & abandoned.

As Emmitt & Taylor work their way into her heart, Marnie begins to heal.  But when pieces of her dismal past surface again, she must at least face the pieces of paper in her box, all the regrests & sorrows.  Can she do it?  or will she run again?

I LOVED this book... I guess because I love a story of someone who lives with regret, shame & a past she wants to forget... & how they deal with it.

This book had such a good story on how it flashbacked to show the life Marnie & Taylor had together - & you fall in love with each of them - & them TOGETHER.  Taylor just is the perfect man, the man that you would want to give a happy what happens when he has to leave Marnie to go back to finish his law degree?  And what happens when Taylor comes back to find Marnie gone... and what happens after 15 years between them has past?

This book drew me in.... I literally couldnt put the book down until the last few chapters & even then, I couldnt even move... I seriously sat in a parking lot in my car to finish it up & see how it ended.  I so badly want to talk about the ending, but I cant... it was such a surprise to me that I gasped in front of a everyone in Penn Station... & then cried as I read the Epilogue... (DONT MISS THE EPILOGUE!!!) 

It also has a wonderful Readers Guide that lets you really ponder the meaning behind the book - the wonderful story of God entwined in this book & his mercy & grace & the many ways He gives us chance, after chance, after chance....

If you would like this book, check out the link:
It contains love, mystery, intrigue, & the message of God throughout...

My Rating:  5 skeins!!!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Friendship for Grown-Ups GIVEAWAY

Book: Friendship for Grown-ups
Author:  Lisa Whelchel

"Isnt that what we all want? To be seen, in all our glory, for better or worse, the good, the bad, & the ugly & still be embraced?" If only such friendships were easy to find.  And keep.  For Lisa Whelchel & millions of others, friendship is a challenge.  The vulnerability, trust, balance, grace & time required to develop & maintain strong friendships to not come easily.

Growing up as an actress in Hollywood, there were few people Lisa could trust & even fewer to guide her.  By the time she reached adulthood, she had learned to be self-sufficient.  She was strong, "safe" & she was lonely.  One day, Lisa found that "the desire to experience connection was stronger than the desire to be safe".  She determined right then to finally understand friendship;  how to create one, sustain it, & experience the sheer joy of having it.  But it wasnt easy. 

Since then, she has traveled the ups & downs of friendships, learning about herself, others & the kinds of friendships God designed.
I zoomed through this book in a few hours... it was just a good read & easy to comprehend Lisa's story & her growth & the things she learned.

For me, I have been very, VERY blessed with friendships.  All through all the stages of my life... from childhood, through teen years, as a young adult & as a woman.... I have had friends come in my life for seasons, but have always had amazing people there for advice, laughter, tears & just plain old friendship.  I just have never had a problem making friends....

After reading this, I can see what a blessing I have had in my life because apparently it is not the case for everyone....

I guess that's what had me so intrigued about Lisa's story & struggle on finding friendship & experiencing it.  It sort of made me open my eyes to people who may have that same struggle. 

But as this wonderful Christian writer goes about her struggles & growths, she has God in it all - with scripture & spiritual lessons & just advise that everyone could take. 

For example - I wrote down this quote out of the book that doesnt necessarily have to do with friendship, but just with a Christian walk:

"I've lived enough life to know that my best intentions are no match for the enemy's brillant use of the weapons of deceit, moments of weakness & things hidden...."  -Amen sister....

Thomas Nelson sent me 5 copies of this book to give away too!  How amazing is that!!!!!  If you are a Women of Faith fan, you will love this book... I loved the questions with each chapter & I especially loved the "Conversation Prompts" at the end too.... perfect for a blogger.

So all you have to do to win... Just leave me a comment & tell me why you love your friends in your life... what makes them so special?  Easy enough! 

And remember - FIVE WINNERS!  WHOO HOOO!!!

Good luck! .... I'll draw the names on Sunday - the 4th of July....

My Rating: 4 skeins

The Random Generator drew the numbers & here are the winners!!!

1. Gretta
2.  Mimi
3.  Lynn
4.  Lamb Around
5.  Megan

Then I just felt like someone needed this book more then me so I'm giving my copy away as well & the last winner was
6. Becca

Congrats ladies!!!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Extra Large Medium

Book:  The Extra Large Medium
Author: Helen Slavin

Ever since she was a child, Annie Colville has been talking to the dead. She knows they’re dead because for some reason they’re always dressed in chocolate brown. But Annie’s grown up now, and things are getting serious. Especially after she falls for and marries Evan Bees. It’s hard enough to lose someone you love; but what if you know they could come back to you? And they just . . . don’t? During her long wait for her missing husband to come back to her, in chocolate brown or not, Annie searches through her mother’s vast collection of lovers for the other missing man in her life — her father — and struggles with the questions her gift asks of her.

The way the book started off, I thought I was really going to like it... but about a quarter in, I just kind of lost my interest.  The character of Annie just turned "whiney" to me & I just wasnt feeling the story.  I think a big part for me was that areas that I would think would be big parts of the story - like Evan Bees - it would be all covered on one page.  Like in one sentence, they would say, "Evan Bees met me that day.  Two months later we were married.  & then 4 years later, he went away one evening & he disappeared" - that's not from the book, but the way I perceived it .... & seriously, thats the way it seemed to flow.  Then it would take time on something that seemed far away from the story... just weird.

Plus, this is from an English writer so there were terms & words that seemed to be English sayings or their way of speaking....

I dont know... I just by the end, didnt really even care.  Hated that too because I did really think it was going to grip me in those first few pages.

My rating:  1 skein

Monday, June 28, 2010


Book: Eclipse
Author:  Stephenie Meyer

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob–knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which?


After reading "The short life of Bree Tanner" - I had to go over Eclipse again & figured with the movie coming out, I needed to read it again...

I'm glad I did... this is my favorite of all 4 books - or is it 5 now with the new book?  But anyways - this is my favorite with Bella, Jacob & Edward...

Couldnt want to get to the chapter "Fire & Ice" that involved the tent scene.  I love the conversation between Jacob & Edward... & the chapter following where Bella finally realizes she does have feelings for Jacob... oh, be still my wolf-loving-heart.

It was neat to read it again - especially after the other book & knowing more "back story" ...

And I know this is a re-read, but I am keeping track of all the books I've read this year, so thats why I have to add it on here...

And once again, my rating:   5 skeins .... with a big dramatic vampire/wolf love triangle sigh....

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The short second life of bree tanner

Book:  the short second life of bree tanner
Author:  Stephenie Meyer
Pages:  178

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful seneses, superhuman reflexes & unstoppable physical strength.  Life before she had a relentless thirst for blood... life before she became a vampire.

this is the story of a "newborn" Bree ... she is mentioned in Eclipse & this is the story of her life... the back story of the newborns from Seattle in Eclipse.

I love that Mrs Meyers did this & now that I read it, wish she would do more.

We know the characters of the Volturri in here & of Riley & of Victoria... but I really enjoyed the story of Freaky Fred & want to now know more about HIM!!!!  (Hint Mrs. Meyers - another story please?)

I so enjoyed when the Cullens became part of the story... I got to see my precious Charlisle too... ahh... I have to say though - I got confused when they were just naming people by hair color.  Edward had red hair?  I'm lost?  A girl had red hair?  The only red head I remember is Victoria... I was confused by that part of the story...

But I felt for bree tanner... knew what the ending of the story was going to be - which made it all the more sad. 

And now, as soon as I put the book on the shelf, I pulled Eclipse out & will now re-read it... I want to see once again the other side...

My rating:  5 skeins

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Help

Book:  The Help
Author:  Kathryn Stockett
Pages: 451

Twenty Two yr old Skeeter has just returned home from graduating from Ole Miss.  She may have a degree, but its 1962, Mississippi, & her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger.  Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared & no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeeth white child.  Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way.  She is devoted to the little girl she looks after (Mae Mobley), though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen's best friend, is short, fat & perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi.  She can cook like nobody's business, but she cant mind her tongue so she's lost yet another job.  Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation.  But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these woman will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk.  And why?  Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town & their times.  And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.
I've heard so much about this book & have seen it every where on everyone's reading list - so I had to see what it was about... & I am so thankful I did.  The story of these women & the other maids & the women they work for just takes you back into a time that wasnt that far behind us, but seems like it could be forever.  It blows my mind to think that in the time my husband was alive, in Mississippi, people still treated their "maids" or the HELP the way they did. The way racial differences were so harsh & cruel.

The chapters are told from the different perspective of these three women who come together.  Afraid to trust each other at first, but having friendships develope between them is just so endearing.  I couldnt wait to get to each word in this book, to see what would happen in the chance these women were taking. 

Skeeter, being an "outsider" because she wasnt married or had children & didnt quite fit in with the "society ladies" - people who used to be her friends growing up.  Aibileen, who did everything to make sure the children she watched had a little bit more sense of black people & they were really no different.  I love the stories she would tell Mae Mobley - especially about the green alien, Martian Luther King!!!! ... & I just love Minny - I can relate to a lady who has a big mouth.  The woman she works for, Celia, just entranced me too - because she too was a loner... someone who I envisioned as Marilyn Monroe - someone the other women didnt like because they knew their husband DID like her...

I didnt want this book to end.  I felt like I knew each one of these ladies... & I loved them... I can tell a good book by my reactions on reading a story.  Yep, I actually gasped at parts, actually laughed out loud at parts, & actually teared up in areas... & my heart ached for these women... that is why this book is up in a top ranking of my favorite wont regret traveling back in time to Mississippi in the 60's & meeting these women...

My rating:  5 skeins

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Last Christian - & GIVEAWAY!!!!

Book:  The Last Christian
Author: David Gregory
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

The video says it all.... this is a story of Abigail Caldwell, who lived in the jungle her whole life with her missionary parents.  Its 2088 AD & she has survived a mysterious disease that killed everyone in her village.  This leaders her to America, only to discover a nation where Christianity has completely died out.

Abby sees this new world, that involves virtual reality, the dissolving of marriage, the way education has changed, to the scientific ways of thinking of the world. 

Personally, this book freaked me out, because the ways this books describes how Christianity dissolved in America are things that are very real & have potential to becoming true.  The way it shows how the next generation saw no real change in people who accepted Christ, how mega churches were built only for entertainment & not reaching to the lost... even gives "historical" records of politics which are from our times of George W. Bush & political decisions that are happening in our world now, & how things were accepted so easily that it turned into a "so what" nation of "anything goes"...

I really was wrapped up in the story... I'm not a big science fiction sorta person & I thought it would be hard for me to get into this book, but I was totally swept up in the story.  The ending, I will admit, I had to struggle with in knowing what was happening, but its only because my sci-fi-brain isn't up to speed with those things... but I did get it, understand it, & was surprised at the ending... not at all what I expected.. & I love that in a book...

Lucky for you, I have another copy given to me from WaterBrook Press that I can offer for a giveaway...

All you have to do is answer this question - What do you think the future looks like?  Simple enough
Leave me another comment if you are a follower & you'll get another entry... Good luck!  Deadline to enter will be Friday at 7:00

My Ratings: 4 skeins.... was going to be 3 only because my sci-fi brain, but loved the thought process & how "real" this could be...

UPDATE:  Random Number picked #3 - which is JULIE!!!! YIPEE!  Congrats girl!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Book:  Indivisible
Author:  Kristen Heitzmann

Battling his own personal demons, Police Chief Jonah Westfall has experienced the dark side of life & is committed to eradicating it.  When a pair of raccoons are found mutilated, Jonah investigates the gruesome act, seeking to unmask the perpetrator before the crime escalates & destroys the tranquility of his small mountain town.  Jonah fights for answers - & his fragile sobriety - amid a rising drug threat & never-ending conflict with Tia Manning, a formidable childhood friend with whom he has more than a passing history.
But he cant penetrate every wound or secret - especially one fueled by a love & guilt teetering on madness.
That is the description on the book - & I dont think it tells NEARLY anything about what this book is about.  There are more characters besides Jonah & Tia ... including the vet who helps Jonah, Liz... & Tia's friend, Piper who works at the local bakery owned by Sarge... & Jay, Jonah's sponsor that helps him with his sobriety - not to mention a Coyote that becomes a part of the story...

This is a mystery - & I'm saying "ITS THEM" with every new character - which keeps me reading on pins & needles with each page.  I love when I'm right ... & I love when I'm wrong & I'm surprised! 

I'm not going to give anything away with this though - that's the point of a MYSTERY!!!

I will say, I do love that the book is much deeper then the description though.  You really learn so much about ALL the characters in the stories... & the writing in this book is wonderful.  It explains everything in words that are just so descriptive, but not over someone's head (hate that!)...

After I finished this book - I felt like I had to breath for a minute... after I found out that the suspect is......
Nah - I'm not telling...

If you want to check out a chapter of this book:

My Rating: 3 skeins