Friday, September 30, 2011

Day 24: A book that you wish more people would read

I'm not terribly shy about suggesting books to people. Y'know, because I'm not opinionated at all. Anyway, one that I always recommend is:
The problem that I've found with this story is that it's a little slow-starting. I promise, though, that you will absolutely fall in love with Flavia, the main character. She is one of the most endearing child characters I've ever read.
This book is a decent mystery, and the start of a series (I have yet to read the rest... they're buried somewhere in the middle of my "to read" pile).
It's worth working through the slow start to get to the meat of the novel, I promise.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I had a ticket to attend Women's Conference at the conference center. I opted instead to walk with the Englishes, Curious George, and the Sharkbaby in the Light the Night walk to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma society. I don't, for even one second, regret the choice that I made. Let me explain to you why:

I'd read on Facebook comments from enormous amounts of women that President Uchtdorf's talk was fantastic, that is was written just for them, and how wonderful the conference was.

I felt a little twinge at that, that I'd missed the opportunity to hear this great man speak to our souls. I felt a little sad that I'd missed out on the opportunity to join with a group of my ward sisters, and sisters in the gospel, to lift each other up.

I kept telling myself that I needed to read the talk. If everyone was talking about it, writing about it, etc, that it must be amazing. And then life happened. I could make excuses for why I didn't get around to it. I had to grocery shop, I have a baby to take care of, I work, I'm in school, blahblahblah. The truth is, I forgot that I wanted to read it. Like so many other "gospel" things, it got pushed lower on my priority list. It lost place to being a mom, keeping house, work, and all of the other things that I use to fill my time.

And then this week exploded. For whatever reason I've been moody, emotional, exhausted, and not able to sleep well. Sharkleton has been extra-clingy. The house seems to be in a constant state of upheaval. It's just been one of those weeks.

Anyway, back to my point... I came into work tonight and noticed one of my sweet CNA's reading the talk. I mentioned that I'd heard about it, and that at some point I should make time to read it. Within 5 minutes, she walked up to me, handed me her copy, and told me to take the time right then. I think she was inspired.

I took advantage of a few quiet moments to read the words of that dear man, and the pierced me to my very soul. I know that every other LDS woman feels this way right now, but I can honestly say that talk was for me. My Heavenly Father knew what I needed to hear, and he needed to remind me of some priorities. However, I was chastened and reminded in the most gentle and loving way possible.

"...we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.
Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.
It’s wonderful that you have strengths.
And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.

Sisters, wherever you are, whatever your circumstances may be, you are not forgotten. No matter how dark your days may seem, no matter how insignificant you may feel, no matter how overshadowed you think you may be, your Heavenly Father has not forgotten you. In fact, He loves you with an infinite love.
Just think of it: You are known and remembered by the most majestic, powerful, and glorious Being in the universe! You are loved by the King of infinite space and everlasting time!
He who created and knows the stars knows you and your name—you are the daughters of His kingdom."
There was a reason I needed that on this day at this time. There was a reason that I needed to wait a few extra days to read these wonderful expired words. So, I will strive my hardest to forget them not, because I am not forgotten.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Day 23: A book you have wanted to read for a long time but haven't

Hm, generally if there's a book I want to read, I just go ahead and do it. There is one, however, that I just can't quite get around to:

I've started to read this book probably 4 different times, and every time I just can't get around to it. So, maybe, I'll get around to it once I'm done with school... and I've worked through my stack of other books to read.

Day 22: Favorite book you own

My favorite book that I own has to be this little beauty:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Day 21: Favorite book from your childhood

This one is easy for me. There was one character I always wanted to be, because I love her story so much, and that is Anne.Anne always had such grand adventures! She could create her own fun, no matter what was going on around her. Anne endears herself to you to the point where you feel like you are her bosom buddy.
Every girl needs to read this book. Trust me on this one.


Day 20: Favorite Romance Book

Wow, it's been quite a long time since I've read a book that could actually be considered a "romance". I might have to think on this one for a few minutes. Ok, so this isn't actually a romance novel, but it is a love story. This is the second book in the "Isaac" series, by Ben Behunin (a local SLC author).

The reasons I call this a love story are mostly the following:
1. Jake, the main character, and Amy, his girlfriend, fall in love. (They meet and start dating in the first book)
2. Jake falls in love with the town of Neiderbipp.
3. You learn about several other love stories.

I won't give away any more information than that, just take my word for it and read the series.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Day 19: Favorite movie from a book

It is incredibly rare for me to like the movie version of a story more than I like the book version. In fact, this may be the only actual case I can think of. I first saw this movie:
and loved it so much that I just HAD to read this book:

Because I thought, "Hey, if I love the movie this much, I'm bound to love the book just that much more. That's the way it always works for me." Boy, was I ever disappointed. Generally speaking, I LOVE Neil Gaiman. I find his books to be incredibly fanciful, fun, and downright funny.
After seeing the Stardust movie, I found the book to be incredibly lacking. It just didn't have to quirkiness, the sweetness, and the fun that the movie did. I found that the parts of the story that were focused on in the book weren't as entertaining to me as the parts that were focused on in the movie.
Anyway, in a nutshell, the movie is worth seeing but the book is worth skipping.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Day 18: A book that disappointed you

As I've been pondering today's assignment, I've discovered something about myself. Most of the books that have disappointed me have been a part of a series. Generally, the last book in a series. For example: Breaking Dawn (anticlimactic, lame plot line, and Renesmee), and the one I'm going to write about today:

Yes, I was horribly disappointed in Mockingjay. I HATED the way it ended. I felt like it was unnecessary and brutal. I felt like it was also a bit of a cop-out. I loved the rest of the series and devoured them as soon as they came out. It was the same way with Mockingjay.

And then I got into the book. I couldn't stop reading (mostly because once I've started a series I HAVE to finish it) but it seemed to go from one horrific scene the the next.

I won't give away any spoilers for the rest of you, but just know that I was disappointed.

8 is great

A break from the book challenge (it will continue later today) for Sharkbaby's 8 month letter.

My Sweet Monkey,
Would you please stop growing already? I can't believe it has already been 8 months. You are getting so big!
This was a big month for you. You've become much more mobile. You're still not crawling, or rolling over from your back to your tummy, but you can backward scoot on the floor and you can get from sitting up onto your tummy.
You have two teeth now, both on the bottom. It took a little while for you to get them in, but you're a happy boy now that you have them.
You picked up a few new skills this month. You've been clapping your hands for awhile now, but you love to sing the song "If you're happy and you know it". You've also learned what to do when Mommy and Daddy say, "bang, bang, bang". You proceed to take whatever toy you're holding, or sometimes just your hand, and bang it on the nearest surface. We've heard a few words from you this month, too. You'll say "dadadada" and just today started "uh-oh".
Your daddy is still your favorite person in the whole world. Anytime he comes around you get so excited. You start to clap, giggle, squeal, and get very happy. You love getting to spend time with your grandparents. You love that you get spoiled by them.
Well, my sweet baby, I love you more and more each day. I love that we're learning all of these new things together. I love you to the moon and back!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Day 17: Favorite quote from a book

This may have been the first one that wasn't a struggle for me. When I saw today's topic I knew exactly what I wanted to write about. The following quote comes from "The Beyonder's" by Brandon Mull:

“So many misconceptions surround the notion of heroism. Far too many categorize a hero as a champion on the battlefield, a commander of legions, a master of rare talent or ability. Granted, there have been heroes who fit those descriptions. But many men of great evil as well. Heed me. A hero sacrifices for the greater good. A hero is true to his or her conscience. In short, heroism means doing the right thing regardless of the consequences. Although any person could fit that description, very few do. Choose this day to be one of them."

Since I've already written a blog post on "everyday heroism" I'll just leave it at this: Have you chosen to be a hero?


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Day 16: Favorite Female Character

Oh dear, we've got ourselves another conundrum. If I thought I had a hard time picking a favorite male character, I'm going to have an even harder time choosing a favorite female. Do I go the Harry Potter route, which is filled with smart and strong women? Do I go with something from Sarah Addison Allen? Or do I dig into my past like I did for the last one. *sigh* With so many choices I'm going to cop out a bit and go with...
Molly Weasley
It's true, I love Mrs. Weasley. I think she is the embodiment of motherhood. She is not only a mother to her own children, but to anyone in need of one. She does her best with the circumstances and hand she is dealt in life.

One thing that I love about Molly Weasley is that she doesn't back down in the face of adversity. She holds strong to her beliefs and is willing to fight for the right. I also love that she loves her children unconditionally. She doesn't always agree with what they say or do, but they are hers and she will fight to the grave for them.

To me, she seems to make anyplace she goes "home". She truly cares about everyone she comes into contact with, and is willing to take anyone she can fit under her wing. I think that, as a mother, there are a lot of things I could learn from Molly Weasley.

Plus, she has a really cool clock.

Day 15: Favorite Male Character

Another favorite. How can I possibly choose just one? I have deep love in my heart for Ron, Fred, and George Weasley. I really enjoy Warren from Fablehaven. I love Jake from the "Isaac" series. But I'm going to have to dig back into my past for this one and go with...

Gilbert Blythe
Anybody who has ever read the "Anne" series knows what I'm talking about. Gilbert Blythe is about as close to the perfect man as any I've ever found. And most of that comes down to one simple fact: he never gives up on his love for Anne.

Now, it's been a long time since I've read this series (maybe I'll revisit once I'm not in school), but from what I remember, Gilbert pursues Anne across the course of years. He is handsome, kind, smart, and an all-around good man. He is the fantasy husband that all of us PEI-loving little girls wanted to marry when we grew up (and looked for in all of our childhood tormentors).

So, here's to you Dr. Blythe... the fantasy husband of many girls my age.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Day 14: Favorite book from your favorite writer

Again with the favorites... Well, since I already blogged about my *true* SAA favorite, I'll write about one of her other books:
This was the second book written by Ms. Allen, and the second one I read. I read it every fall to kick off the fall/winter season. In fact, I'll be rereading it in the next month sometime.

If you read this book you will fall in love with the characters. Your heart will go out to, and ache for, the women of this book: Josey, Della Lee, and Chloe. They have a depth to them that you don't often find in fantasy characters.

Again, this book has a flair for the magic that is intrinsic to each of us. Plus, Josey's sweet tooth will make you hungry.

Trust me, devour this book while snacking on a moonpie.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Day 13: Your favorite writer

You know, the hardest thing about this book challenge is having to choose favorites. Really, I have so many favorites. Most of them fall in the young adult fantasy category (Brandon Mull, Michael Scott, Rick Riordan, Kami Garcia, Margaret Stohl, and the ever-amazing JK Rowling), but one that stands out at the moment is Sarah Addison Allen.

Ms. Allen is the authoress of 4 books: Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, and The Peach Keeper.

She has a flair for the everyday magic. She has a way of sucking you into a story and making the characters feel like friends. She weaves some delicate and intricate tales.

On a personal note, I admire her as a person. She is currently fighting a battle with breast cancer. She is completing her chemo and radiation treatments right now.

So, my hat is off to you, Sarah (may I call you Sarah? I feel like we'd be friends). You are a strong and brave woman with a wonderful gift. I will continue to read your books for many years to come.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 12: A book you used to love, but don't anymore

Hm, like I mentioned in my last post, there aren't many books that I don't like. Especially once I've already decided that I like a book... The best I can think of is:
When I was younger I was mildly obsessed with Alane Ferguson. She did an assembly at my school when I was like 8 or 9, and after that I made it a point to read all of her books. This one was my favorite.

In this book there are 2 friends. One is white, one is middle-eastern. Somehow, the details are a little bit fuzzy to me, the white friend is blamed for the death of the middle-eastern friend's baby brother.

*Spoiler alert* It apparently scarred me, though, because I refuse to let strangers touch my baby in the grocery store. It turns out the killer was actually some guy, with blowfish powder or something on his gloves, who held the baby in the grocery store.

Oh yeah, and the baby isn't actually dead. He was just put into some kind of coma or something so this guy could dig up his grave later and sell him on the black market. Like I said, the details are a bit fuzzy now.

The one thing I absolutely remember is that the bad guy makes these friends strip down to their underwear and ties them together in his graveyard caretaker hut.

I dunno, if you're really that interested you could read it. I may go back and revisit it, but it just doesn't seem like it would be my cup of tea anymore.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Day 11: A Book You Hate

It's not often that I full on *hate* a book, and I know I'm going to take a lot of flak for this one, but I really hated:
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for taking the time to "discover" oneself, especially after a traumatic experience. However, I felt like this was a book full of "hey, look what I did. But guess what, you'll never be able to afford to do this, or leave your real life for this long."

I realize that this is a memoir, but it is so self-centered. I didn't enjoy reading about Gilbert's experiences, and I wasn't inspired to go on my own journey of self discovery. If you enjoyed this book, more power to you, but you will never find it on my bookshelf.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Day 10: Favorite classic book

This one is, without contest, To Kill a Mockingbird.
I first read this book in Jr. High, I think, and I was in love from that time forward. I love everything about this book. I love that it's told through the voice of a child. I love Calpurnia with all my heart. I love Jem, and Atticus, and all the rest. In fact, if I could convince my husband of it, I would name a child Scout, Atticus, or Harper. It's the truth, I love this book that much.
If you haven't read this book, I have just one question for you: What is wrong with you? Ok, that may be a little harsh. But, seriously, read this book. If you love it as much as I do we'll be friends forever. And that's a fact. (And to copy a line from my friend Amanda's recent blog post, and a favorite childhood show, "but don't take my word for it!")


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 9 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving

As most of you know, I suffered from some pretty serious post-partum depression after I had the Sharkbaby. My dear, wonderful best friend, Ally, came down to see me and meet the baby shortly after we came home. I didn't have to say anything to her about how things were going, she was just able to pick up on how I was feeling and sent me this:

it sucked and then i cried

I'll admit, while I was happy for a book to show up on my porch, I didn't want to read it. I felt like there was no possible way it could help me feel better. But I read. I read because I needed to escape what had become my new reality. I read to keep my sanity.
And once I started reading Heather's story, I couldn't stop. Everything she was saying was written to me. The struggles she experienced were my own.
So I read this book, and I realized that sometimes life does suck. And sometimes we do just need to cry.
But it will all be ok.

P.S.- Thanks for the book, Ally. I'm not sure if I ever told you how much I appreciated the thought. Love you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Day 8: Most Overrated Book

Ok... think overrated...
There are going to be a lot of my friends that will want to disown me for this, but I'm going with:
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Twilight. I've even taken the time to reread it. But, forgive me Twihards, it is incredibly overrated. A few of the reasons I feel this way:
~The writing is pretty bad. This includes the editing.
~They are pretty historically inaccurate.
~Bella Swan is a horrible role model for young women.
~Edward and Bella's relationship is beyond dysfunctional. Don't even get me going on this one.
~The movie? Gag.

So, there you have it boys, girls, vampires, and wolf packs. I don't hate you. I just think you're overrated.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Day 7: Most Underrated Book

Hm, the most underrated book... I'm going to have to go with Beautiful Creatures on this one:
I recommend this book to anyone interested in the young adult fantasy genre. It's a pretty quick read, and I love that the main character is a male. Y'know, it just mixes up that whole "love story" part of it all. This is the first in a series. The second, Beautiful Darkness, is out already. And the third, Beautiful Chaos, comes out this fall. This book didn't get particularly good reviews on goodreads or amazon, but I really enjoyed it. So, go forth, and read about Ethan, Lena, Link, and the rest. You won't regret it.


Monday, September 12, 2011

Day 6: A Book That Makes You Sad

I had a really difficult time thinking of a book that made me sad. I tend to shy away from books that are "downers". However, this one was an award winner, so I figured I'd give it a go. The book I've chosen is:

This book was absolutely heart breaking for me. I had no idea when I picked it up how it would tug at me. The story is of a young farm girl from a mountain village in Nepal. In an attempt to bring some money and honor to her family she agrees to move to the city and work as a maid. Unfortunately, she is not put in a home to be a maid. She is sold to a brothel.

Really, when all is said and done, it is a fantastic book. The writing style is unique and it is a fairly quick read. Just be sure to read with a few tissues at the ready.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 5: A Book That Makes You Happy

Books, in general, make me happy. But since I can't write a blog post about every book I've ever read I choose:

Edwina the Emu
"'Eek,' said Edwina, she seemed to be choking, 'an emu wash dishes, you've GOT to be joking!"
This is one of those books that makes you smile, no matter what. Edwina the emu is trying to find a job so she can afford her little emus. Edwina has some wicked crazy hair. Edwina is just plain awesome. So, go to the bookstore, library, wherever, and find Edwina. She deserves a place in every home. I promise, you won't regret it.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Day 4: Favorite Picture Book

Alright, so technically Day 4 is supposed to be "Favorite Book in Your Favorite Series", but there's no way I could possibly choose just one. So I'm making up my own category. My favorite picture book (today) is:

Guess How Much I Love You

For those that aren't familiar with this story, it is about Big Nutbrown Hare putting Little Nutbrown Hare to bed. They have a competition, of sorts, to share how much they love the other. This is one of my favorites to read to the Sharkbaby at bedtime. In fact, we have a quote from this story hanging on his bedroom wall, "I love you right up to the moon and back."

To me this story is simple, straight-forward, and a great little read about the love between a parent and a child.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Day 3: Your Favorite Series

This one is kind of a no-brainer for anyone who knows me. My favorite book series is, without a doubt:
Harry Potter

You know how you feel when your best friend moves away, when you get your heart broken, or anytime you leave something (or someone, or somewhere) that you love? That's how I felt when Harry Potter ended. I felt like I was saying goodbye to good friends, a home away from home (Hogwarts), and people that I had come to love like family.
I have read the Harry Potter series at least 3 times all the way through, and that doesn't count all of the times I've just picked up particular books in the series to revisit them. The Harry Potter series made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think a little harder about the good (and sometimes bad) innate to each of us.
I found examples of bravery. I found pictures of true love. I found some unlikely heroes. In these stories I found friends, family, faith, and happiness.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Day 2: A Book You've Read More Than 3 Times

This category is a broad one, but one of my favorites that I can read over and over is...

Garden Spells
I originally picked this book up off of the "reader's choice" table at the library a few years ago. I was immediately hooked. I proceeded to check it out another 3 times before I finally purchased it. I now read it every spring and summer, at least.
This story opened up my eyes to a whole different idea. The idea of everyday magic. I love thinking that each of us has something magical about us, whether it be our cooking skills, how we cut hair, knowing what people need when they need it, etc.
While I am a self proclaimed Pottermaniac, I love the idea that even us lowly muggles can experience some magic in our world.


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