Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pet Glees

A while back Alice from the YA Buzz decided to share her 'pet glees' instead of the standard blogging pet peeves. I absolutely loved the idea and need to share my own :) There is always a need to spread positivity!

Top Eight Pet Glees of Book Blogging

1. Finding new books to love through other bloggers. Before book blogging, I wandered aimlessly around the aisles of bookstores and libraries, never knowing what to read next or what to spend my time on. As a book blogger, I am now constantly surrounded by a constant flow of excellent books. My TBR list may be excruciatingly long, but at least I no longer experience 'book limbo'! 

2. Weekly Recaps. Love these. Why don't I do one?? Because I am lame and usually have to schedule my posts several days out :/ The ladies at Oh the Books! share the best weekly recap I have come across. I only have time to comment on a few blogs throughout the week. But once Sunday hits, I know I will have the best blog posts right in front of me to enjoy at my leisure. I love when bloggers also include bits of their personal life so I can feel like I can get to know them. 

3. Supporting Authors! I have been on a few launch teams, and they are the best! I love being given the chance to support an author by spreading the word about their awesome-ness. They are always so kind, helpful, approachable, and I often feel like we are insta-friends 

4. Online Events (readathons, BEA, Tea Time). I had great fun doing a few readathons last year, but have been hard pressed to find many this summer :( Armchair BEA is of course phenomenal. Getting together with other book bloggers with a common goal (talk awesome books!) is so much fun! There should be one every month!

5. ARCs. Let's face it: ARCs are awesome. Being able to read a book before it hits the shelves? The opportunity to spread the word and motivate others to try it out? Yeah, sign me up.

6. The determination to read, read, read! I love that we have the best common ground. I may not know you, and you may not know me, but we both love to read. We can instantly form connections, community, and friendships.

7. The creativity of the bookish community. Ugh, constantly blowing me away. Ever since I had Baby Girl (almost two years ago!!) and experiencing the postpartum brain fog....well, I feel like I have never fully recovered. Spending time hopping around is inspiring and gets the juices flowing!

8. Comment conversations. Getting comments on your post is one of the best feelings. I love when bloggers comment back, it shows they can make time and care for those who spend time at their place. 

Let the positivity flow and share your pet glees below!! 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Women of the Word {Review}

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
Visit the Author's Website HERE
Publisher: Crossway
Publishing Date: July 31, 2014

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds
Goodreads Summary:
Many Christian women find great encouragement and joy in and through women's Bible studies. However, popular Bible teacher Jen Wilkin is concerned that sometimes we let our emotions rule our study of Scripture and forget that the Bible is primarily about God, not us. Challenging hungry women to go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will help you refocus your efforts on feeding your mind first and foremost. Whether you're young or old, married or single, this accessible volume will energize and equip you for Bible study aimed at transforming both the heart and mind.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin {Review}

The Butterfly and the Violin (Hidden Masterpiece, #1)
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publishing Date: July 8, 2014
Goodreads Summary:
And then came war . . .

"Today." Sera James spends most of her time arranging auctions for the art world's elite clientele. When her search to uncover an original portrait of an unknown Holocaust victim leads her to William Hanover III, they learn that this painting is much more than it seems.

"Vienna, 1942." Adele Von Bron has always known what was expected of her. As a prodigy of Vienna's vast musical heritage, this concert violinist intends to carry on her family's tradition and play with the Vienna Philharmonic. But when the Nazis learn that she helped smuggle Jews out of the city, Adele is taken from her promising future and thrust into the horrifying world of Auschwitz.

The veil of innocence is lifted to expose a shuddering presence of evil, and Adele realizes that her God-given gift is her only advantage; she must play. Becoming a member of the Women's Orchestra of Auschwitz, she fights for survival. Adele's barbed-wire walls begin to kill her hope as the months drag into nearly two years in the camp. With surprising courage against the backdrop of murder and despair, Adele finally confronts a question that has been tugging at her heart: Even in the midst of evil, can she find hope in worshipping God with her gift?

As Sera and William learn more about the subject of the mysterious portrait--Adele--they are reminded that whatever horrors one might face, God's faithfulness never falters.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Let's Get Lost Blitz and Giveaway!

Let's Get Lost
Release Date: 07/29/14
Harlequin Teen

Summary from Goodreads:
Five strangers. Countless adventures. One epic way to get lost.

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most.

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love.

Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

Early Praise:
“Reminiscent of John Green’s Paper Towns and road trip novels that feature a teen paving the way to adulthood, Alsaid’s debut is a gem among contemporary YA novels.” – School Library Journal

“Five love stories, beautifully woven together by a special girl in search of adventure, hope, and full appreciation of life’s simple pleasures. A do-not-miss.  ” – Justine Magazine

“Moving and poignant.”  - Glitter Magazine

“An entertaining and romantic road-trip debut.” – Kirkus

"Leila's quest to find the Northern Lights takes readers on a captivating cross-country journey, where four strangers' adventures collide into one riveting tale of finding yourself." ―

“This will likely be a popular summer hit, especially for older teen about to embark on their own journeys of self-discovery.” –Booklist

About the Author
Adi Alsaid was born and raised in Mexico City, then studied at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in class, he mostly read fiction and continuously failed to fill out crossword puzzles, so it's no surprise that after graduating, he did not go into business world but rather packed up his apartment into his car and escaped to the California coastline to become a writer. He's now back in his hometown, where he writes, coaches high school and elementary basketball, and has perfected the art of making every dish he eats or cooks as spicy as possible. In addition to Mexico, he's lived in Tel Aviv, Las Vegas, and Monterey, California. A tingly feeling in his feet tells him more places will eventually be added to the list. Let's Get Lost is his YA debut.  
Let's Get Lost Website!

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png
Adi Shares his Top 5 Things to Pack for a Road Trip and his Top 5 Travel Themed Reads!!! 

Things to pack

5. Books

4. Notebook/pen

3. My “I wish I could fly” penguin t-shirt for airplane days.

2. If it’s a road trip, snacks.

1.  Not much else. I prefer to keep it light.

Top 5 Travel-Themed Reads/Books to Read on the Road

·         With Friends like These by Danny Wallace- A very funny man—the author of Yes Man—decides to revisit long lost friends across the globe. A touching and entertaining read about the things worth traveling for.
·         Timbuktu by Paul Auster- A canine protagonist will teach you more about loneliness and how to be okay with it than any other book I’ve read. A great companion to the inevitable lonesome lulls while traveling. Plus it’s nice and light, so easy to carry with you.
·         101 Summertime Knock-Knock Jokes- Just kidding.
·         The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams- To vicariously go where no man has before, and to find the answer to the universe.
·         Best American Travel Series­- I usually go for the Best Shorts collections, but I picked up one of the travel collections once and it immediately made me want to hit the road. The pieces range from touching to insightful to just plain entertaining. With contributors like Anthony Bourdain and Gary Shteyngart, there’s something in it to please everyone, and plenty of ideas for not just where to go next, but how.

·         Tales from Nowhere edited by Don George- Another collection of short pieces, all sent from different nowheres. From the back copy: “Nowhere is a setting, a situation and a state of mind. It's not on any map, but you know it when you're there.” A great non-fiction companion to Let’s Get Lost.

1 signed hard cover copy of Let’s Get Lost
1 Let’s Get Lost luggage tag
1 Harlequin TEEN notebook
1 Let’s Get Lost sachel
1 Harlequin TEEN tote bag
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Blitz Organized by:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Makes a Classic?

Okay, I am diving in deep. I need to have the discussion: What makes a classic book, a classic?? Are there rules? Guidelines? Who ultimately decides what is 'classic' and what isn't??

Initially, I thought of a classic as a book that you are forced to read in high school english classes. Shakespeare and the like. But what about The Great Gatsby or A Streetcar Named Desire that everyone else in my grade has read, but I somehow managed to miss?? Or I thought that classics are just those books that everyone hears about over and over. How many times can 'To Kill a Mockingbird' be brought up? Then again, have you ever heard of 'Pale Fire' or 'On the Beach' as classics?? 

So obviously I needed some better definitions. I think the most widely given and accepted definition, or at least attribute, of a classic novel is that it is a book that stands the test of time. And I believe this to be true. People left and right are spouting off that 'Harry Potter' and 'Wonder' will be classics. But will they be? How do we know?? Unless you have a TARDIS (in which case, call me), we simply don't know if generations from now 'Wonder' will be read by hundreds, if not thousands of people, the world over. 

I have also seen it said that a classic novel will influence the works of future authors. The ideas in the classic novel are so original that future authors will echo, mirror, and sometimes basically write fan fiction of the original. This leads me to believe that another attribute a classic has is that it usually says something of value. It makes a subtle point. It points out an obviousness. It defines a culture. It defines humanity. 

I personally have found that when reading a classic, it can tell a large, elaborate epic tale (think Anna Karenina) or a quiet, profound tale (Catcher in the Rye), but they almost always are telling a background story. A lesson. A moral. A truth. Something that doesn't change from generation to generation. 

Lastly, I have to mention what Ann from Books on the Nightstand podcast had to offer about what makes a classic a classic. Apparently in the publishing world, a classic is a book that is in the public domain. This means that it's copyright has expired. These are the books you can find anywhere and often for free from places like Amazon.

So, what is a classic to you? Which books do you easily list as a classic? Which modern books do you think, or hope, will become a classic years from now??

P.S. Check out these extras....
-Have fun comparing these two lists from Modern Library
-The Guardian lists 1000 books everyone must read
-They also list their 100 greatest novels of all time
-Strange but true...this Wikipedia page lists 100 books I consider classics..

Monday, July 21, 2014

Modern First Library

I just had to share this fun idea for children's books. The BookPeople of Austin Texas have launched a new initiative they are calling Modern First Library. While you might initially think of first editions, what BookPeople is really providing are children's book starter sets.

Perfect for baby showers and birthdays, the 'sets' are three or four books grouped together under a common theme. What I most enjoy is that the books aren't just the latest and greatest hits, but classics and books you may not have heard about before. For example, one of my favorite sets is "Big Personalities, Small Packages''. Books here include 'Olivia', 'Nino Wrestles the World', and 'Where the Wild Things Are'. Two of the books you most likely have read, or seen around frequently, and one is probably newer to you. Other sets I am digging include "Goodnight, Sleep Tight!'' and ''Girls Who Dream Big!''.

image via

I love what BookPeople is doing! I still remember my favorite picture books as a kid, and I know that what I read to my Baby Girl will stay with her as she grows up. Reading books with a broader perspective is a fantastic way to set the stage for growing up into a globally responsible adult. And not just 'little kids' (ages birth-5), but 'big kids' (6-older!) can get a lot out of reading picture books!! Let's be honest, we never truly stop reading picture books, evidenced by the growing graphic novel genre.

Throughout the month of August on the BookPeople blog, they will be having guest posts that focus on this idea of building a child's first library. Check out this post by author Chris Barton for the basics, author Cynthia Leitich Smith talks about her personal viewpoint, and here where she relives a sad memory.

Stop by and read these quick posts and check out The BookPeople's Modern First Library Sets. I hope they get enough recognition and support to continue adding more sets!    

Do you have any children's books that might be considered off the beaten path? Which stories do you remember the most from your childhood?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

New on the Shelves (3)

Welcome to another lovely edition of New on the Shelves with me, your lovely host :) All these are for review except one...

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds
Women of the Word by Jen Wilkin
via Crossway Publishers 
Goodreads Summary:
Many Christian women find great encouragement and joy in and through women's Bible studies. However, popular Bible teacher Jen Wilkin is concerned that sometimes we let our emotions rule our study of Scripture and forget that the Bible is primarily about God, not us. Challenging hungry women to go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will help you refocus your efforts on feeding your mind first and foremost. Whether you're young or old, married or single, this accessible volume will energize and equip you for Bible study aimed at transforming both the heart and mind.

Oliver and the Seawigs
Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
via Netgalley and publisher
Goodreads Summary:
Oliver grew up in a family of explorers - but his biggest adventure is about to begin!

Along with his new friends, a grumpy old albatross, a short-sighted mermaid and a friendly island called Cliff, Oliver goes off in search of his missing parents. But before he can put his rescue plan into action there's the evil Stacey de Lacey and an army of greasy, green sea monkeys to contend with . . .
Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World
Growing Up Social by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane
via the author and publisher, Moody
Goodreads Summary:
In this digital age, children are spending more and more time interacting with a screen rather than a parent. Technology has the potential to add value to our families, but it can also erode a sense of togetherness and hinder a child's emotional growth. In Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World, you'll learn how to take back your home from an over-dependence on screens. Discover the five A+ skills needed to give your child the relational edge in a screen-driven world: affection, appreciation, anger management, apology, and attention. Today's screens aren't just in our living rooms; they are in our pockets. Now is the time to equip your child to live with screen time, notfor screen time. Constant entertainment is not the goal of childhood. No phone, tablet, or gaming device can teach your child how to have healthy relationships; only you can. Growing Up Social will help you:

Equip your child to be relational rich in a digital world
Replace mindless screen time with meaningful family time
Establish simple boundaries that make a huge difference
Read what's working for the screen savvy family down the street
Prepare your child to succeed down the road in relationships and life
Learn healthy ways to occupy your child while you get things done
Created for More: A 30 Day Devotional for When You Feel Stuck
Created for More by Jonathan Malm
via Netgalley and publisher
Goodreads Summary:
If you ever feel like your devotions are disconnected from your day, like your quiet time is competing with your responsibilities, or like your spiritual walk is separate from a walk you take through the grocery store, you need this devotional.
You were created for more.
Devotions aren't supposed to be isolated from your life; the God who created you also calls you to create-whether that is a business, a family, a book, a photograph, a website, a sermon, or a meal for someone hungry.
By tying together our daily creations and our characteristics from God,Created for More will remind you of the life God is calling you to. Read your Bible with excitement, let prayer seep throughout your day, and see your devotion to God multiply as you rejoice in creating for Him 
Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)
Hyperion by Dan Simmons
via Half Price Book Stores :)
Goodreads Summary:
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope—and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.  
Okay, two bloggers lately have recommended this book strongly...and I can't remember who! Poor memory, I know. Let me know if it was you so I can give you due cred :)

I can't wait to dig in!! What have you gotten lately??

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Match of Wits {Review}

A Match of Wits (Ladies of Distinction, #4)
A Match of Wits by Jen Turano
Visit the Author's website HERE
Publisher: Bethany House
Publishing Date: July 1, 2014
Goodreads Summary:
After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancee, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes--by hook or by crook--she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home . . . until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics.

Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Top Books of 2014 So Far...

Much like last year, I want to stop and evaluate all the best books I have read so far this year. I have read 13 books this year that have been given a 5 star rating by me. See all my books read this year on my Goodreads Shelf. Two of the 13 are children's books, which I don't count towards my 2014 goal of 60 books read, and so won't factor into my list here either. Only one book is a fiction read!!! I am really shocked by this. Four of the 13 also made it onto my Lifechanger Shelf

Even though all 13, or 11 minus the children's books, received a 5 star rating from me. I found it fairly easy to narrow it down to my top 6 books of the 2014 year. Ordering those ones however....whew!

The Final Top Six for the First Half of 2013 are.........*drum roll*

6. Restless: Because You Were Made for More
Writing my review for 'Restless' was nothing short of hard work! Allen gives great insight and tools to help you decide where to go next, what to make of this thing called Life, and connecting all our threads.

5. Love Idol: Letting Go of Your Need for Approval - and Seeing Yourself through God's Eyes
This book was SO wonderfully written. I love to re-read my own review even just to remember the places Lee took me and the things she taught me. I didn't think this book would apply to my own life when I first picked it up, but I was proven very, very wrong. 

4. You're Going to Be Okay: Encouraging Truth Your Heart Needs to Hear, Especially on the Hard Days
Holley Gerth's latest book was such a breath of fresh air. Reading it felt like sitting at a cozy, coffee house chatting with a best friend. My review can be found HERE, and if ever you need an encouraging read, pick this one up first! 

3. Beyond Bath Time: Embracing Motherhood as a Sacred Role (True Woman)
I haven't shared a review for this one, but I might still yet. In a nutshell: it was a short, quick read that was Biblically based. Erin Davis made me pause and evaluate my role of mother and look at it from God's viewpoint and not the world's. I think I may be re-reading this one again very soon!

2. Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding, #1)
My one fiction book!! And here it is at #2 :) 'Once Upon a Prince' is this book's predecessor. And although I didn't review it here on the blog, it did inspire this post. This book was just plain fun, romantic, and every thing the little princess inside of me dreams for. I can't wait to continue reading this series!

1. Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest
This was an easy first place book for me. Everything from the cover, the story, the words, the idea is just wonder.ful! My official review can be found HERE, but check HERE and HERE for some Whitespace inspired posts. Creating and finding spiritual whitespace is always floating at the back of my mind now. And Bonnie Gray's story totally inspired me at a time when I needed it the most. Read this.

Well, friends, there you have it. My top 6 books of far!! Did you list your top books of 2014 so far?? List them in the comments below or leave a link! Want me to check out your Goodreads shelves? Leave a link as well!