Monday, July 30, 2018

Church of the Small Things

Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a LifeChurch of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life by Melanie Shankle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved this book. Someone who has stories that involve Xanadu & roller skating, & hair & style from the 80's & references of TV shoes & music from the same time I grew up? Yep... I love Melanie. One of those people that I know I'd be best friends with.
The book is just filled with each chapter being little stories of her life & they have subtle little life lessons in all of them. I'm all about books like this. They are easy to read - touch the heart, make me cry & totally make me laugh. Another book I'd buy all my girlfriends!

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Is my ordinary, everyday life actually significant? Is it okay to be fulfilled by the simple acts of raising kids, working in an office, and cooking chicken for dinner?

It’s been said, “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away.” The pressure of that can be staggering as we spend our days looking for that big thing that promises to take our breath away. Meanwhile, we lose sight of the small significance of fully living with every breath we take.

Melanie Shankle, New York Times bestselling author and writer at The Big Mama Blog tackles these questions head on in her fourth book, Church of the Small Things. Easygoing and relatable, she speaks directly to the heart of women of all ages who are longing to find significance and meaning in the normal, sometimes mundane world of driving carpool to soccer practice, attending class on their college campus, cooking meals for their family, or taking care of a sick loved one.

The million little pieces that make a life aren’t necessarily glamorous or far-reaching. But God uses some of the smallest, most ordinary acts of faithfulness—and sometimes they look a whole lot like packing lunch. 

Through humorous stories told in her signature style, full of Frito pie, best friends, the love of her Me-Ma and Pa-Pa, the unexpected grace that comes when we quit trying to measure up, and a little of the best TV has to offer, Melanie helps women embrace what it means to live a simple, yet incredibly meaningful life and how to find all the beauty and laughter that lies right beneath the surface of every moment.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Vinegar Girl

Vinegar Girl (Hogarth Shakespeare)Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I think books that take classic stories & modernize them. Its the only way I understand them. LOL But I thought this was a cute retelling of the Taming of the Shrew. It wasn't earth shaking or anything special, but it was a fast read & I appreciated the character, Katie & her love for her family & I actually appreciated her "shrewd-ness" attitude. I'm always a fan of Anne Tyler anyways as well so that helped.

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Kate Battista is feeling stuck. How did she end up running house and home for her eccentric scientist father and uppity, pretty younger sister Bunny? Plus, she’s always in trouble at work – her pre-school charges adore her, but the adults don’t always appreciate her unusual opinions and forthright manner.

Dr Battista has other problems. After years out in the academic wilderness, he is on the verge of a breakthrough. His research could help millions. There’s only one problem: his brilliant young lab assistant, Pyotr, is about to be deported. And without Pyotr…

When Dr Battista cooks up an outrageous plan that will enable Pyotr to stay in the country, he’s relying – as usual – on Kate to help him. Kate is furious: this time he’s really asking too much. But will she be able to resist the two men’s touchingly ludicrous campaign to win her round?

Anne Tyler’s retelling of The Taming of the Shrew asks whether a thoroughly modern, independent woman like Kate would ever sacrifice herself for a man. Its answer is as individual, off-beat and funny as Kate herself.

The Outsiders

The OutsidersThe Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I cant believe I had never read this book. I remember the movie so clearly & reading the book, I could envision it all over again. & of course, the book is so much better. I even had to look up the movie cast to get who played who so I could envision them while reading. I'm a sucker for Patrick Swayze in my mind for any novel. But it was just as heart wrecking reading it as watching it on the screen. This is one book that I can say was really true to the movie - or vice versa. Glad I took the time to read it. Stay Golden Ponyboy

View all my reviews The Outsiders is about two weeks in the life of a 14-year-old boy. The novel tells the story of Ponyboy Curtis and his struggles with right and wrong in a society in which he believes that he is an outsider. According to Ponyboy, there are two kinds of people in the world: greasers and socs. A soc (short for "social") has money, can get away with just about anything, and has an attitude longer than a limousine. A greaser, on the other hand, always lives on the outside and needs to watch his back. Ponyboy is a greaser, and he's always been proud of it, even willing to rumble against a gang of socs for the sake of his fellow greasers--until one terrible night when his friend Johnny kills a soc. The murder gets under Ponyboy's skin, causing his bifurcated world to crumble and teaching him that pain feels the same whether a soc or a greaser

The Vegetarian

The VegetarianThe Vegetarian by Han Kang
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I know I'm not on the majority of this.
This book just left me disturbed & bothered, which shows a book moves you - but it just left me angry that I wasted my time.
I think something got lost in the translation for me & just the story with 3 different points of views of a woman who seems mentally is, it just made me glad to close the cover & walk away from it.

View all my reviews Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye's decision to embrace a more “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.
Fahrenheit 451Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book gave me chills. I'm not a person who cares for futuristic books but this was sort of creepy how you can see similarities on how this world is headed - a world full of offended people, of lack of connection with humans, having technology being a focal point & most disturbing, having books taken away so the knowledge of digesting information can be controlled. I could have done without some of the writing one one area, but thought other areas of it was described beautifully. All in all, I did appreciate the message behind the book. Kind of shocked this is a school read because it does have some violence & disturbing scenes in it - but I do appreciate the younger generation receiving the point of this book.

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Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family." But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn't live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Surprise Me

Surprise MeSurprise Me by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My first Sophia Kinsella book. Cute. I actually was surprised at some turns in the book & didnt see some things coming. I also laughed at Sylvie & the way she thought & really appreciated how it all ended. I also now want a job working in a museum.
I'll be trying out more of this authors books to see if they all have the sort of fun wit about them with that extra touch of drama.

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After being together for ten years, Sylvie and Dan have all the trimmings of a happy life and marriage; they have a comfortable home, fulfilling jobs, beautiful twin girls, and communicate so seamlessly, they finish each other's sentences. However, a trip to the doctor projects they will live another 68 years together and panic sets in. They never expected "until death do us part" to mean seven decades.

In the name of marriage survival, they quickly concoct a plan to keep their relationship fresh and exciting: they will create little surprises for each other so that their (extended) years together will never become boring. But in their pursuit to execute Project Surprise Me, mishaps arise and secrets are uncovered that start to threaten the very foundation of their unshakable bond. When a scandal from the past is revealed that question some important untold truths, they begin to wonder if they ever really knew each other after all.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Love Does

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary WorldLove Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by Bob Goff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know I am so late to the game on reading this - but so glad I finally picked it up - & devoured it. Read it in less than 2 days. Would have been 1 if I didnt have to go out Saturday night.
It's just full of encouragement & motivation to start looking at the world through different eyes. I told a friend that each chapter in itself could be a lesson to just sit & ponder over - but I just had to keep reading because it was just so good. Not too heavy where you can't understand the point of each chapter, but enough to hit you in your spirit where you end each chapter with a big sigh of content. I totally can't wait long now before I get his new book.

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As a college student he spent 16 days in the Pacific Ocean with five guys and a crate of canned meat. As a father he took his kids on a world tour to eat ice cream with heads of state. He made friends in Uganda, and they liked him so much he became the Ugandan consul. He pursued his wife for three years before she agreed to date him. His grades weren't good enough to get into law school, so he sat on a bench outside the Dean's office for seven days until they finally let him enroll.

Bob Goff has become something of a legend, and his friends consider him the world's best-kept secret. Those same friends have long insisted he write a book. What follows are paradigm shifts, musings, and stories from one of the world's most delightfully engaging and winsome people. What fuels his impact? Love. But it's not the kind of love that stops at thoughts and feelings. Bob's love takes action. Bob believes Love Does.

When Love Does, life gets interesting. Each day turns into a hilarious, whimsical, meaningful chance that makes faith simple and real. Each chapter is a story that forms a book, a life. And this is one life you don't want to miss.

Light and fun, unique and profound, the lessons drawn from Bob's life and attitude just might inspire you to be secretly incredible, too.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Maybe in Another Life

Maybe in Another LifeMaybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of the movie "Sliding Doors" with Gwyneth Paltrow where she catches a train in one second/misses it another & how different her life is because of that one choice, & we get to see both versions of the lives played out. This book is exactly that. What life can look like & how differently it can be with just one small decision made.
I loved the story & how each chapter was back & forth in Hannah's life & where each direction took her. I appreciated how there were things that stayed the same in both versions & the ending, though I thought it would somehow be different - I had Sliding Door movie ending such in my mind - it didnt work out that way - so it was a pleasant surprise to get a different ending than I expected. & I didnt mind it. A good book to remind you that things play out as they should & happiness can lay at the end of each.
I especially loved the friendship between Hannah & Gabby - that to me is a big part of how special this book is. A good friendship story in the midst of life's crazy ride.
Another win for me from Taylor Jenkins Reid.

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From the acclaimed author of Forever, Interrupted and After I Docomes a breathtaking new novel about a young woman whose fate hinges on the choice she makes after bumping into an old flame; in alternating chapters, we see two possible scenarios unfold—with stunningly different results.

At the age of twenty-nine, Hannah Martin still has no idea what she wants to do with her life. She has lived in six different cities and held countless meaningless jobs since graduating college. On the heels of leaving yet another city, Hannah moves back to her hometown of Los Angeles and takes up residence in her best friend Gabby’s guestroom. Shortly after getting back to town, Hannah goes out to a bar one night with Gabby and meets up with her high school boyfriend, Ethan.

Just after midnight, Gabby asks Hannah if she’s ready to go. A moment later, Ethan offers to give her a ride later if she wants to stay. Hannah hesitates. What happens if she leaves with Gabby? What happens if she leaves with Ethan?

In concurrent storylines, Hannah lives out the effects of each decision. Quickly, these parallel universes develop into radically different stories with large-scale consequences for Hannah, as well as the people around her. As the two alternate realities run their course, Maybe in Another Life raises questions about fate and true love: Is anything meant to be? How much in our life is determined by chance? And perhaps, most compellingly: Is there such a thing as a soul mate?

Hannah believes there is. And, in both worlds, she believes she’s found him.