Monday, November 20, 2017

2017 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge

Seasons of Reading

It's time to start the 2017 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge including the... 

2017 Christmas Spirit Christmas & Scary Readathon! 

I have picked up a couple of audiobooks to get started: 

"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson, narrated by C. J. Critt 
"Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery" by Jenny Colgan, narrated by Anne-Marie Piazza 
"The Christmas Room" by Catherine Anderson, narrated by Susan Bennett 

I'm going to listen to these while I am working around the house, writing Christmas cards (I have lots to write this year!) and working on the hand-crafted presents I am going to give this year. It should be fun! 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

ReWIRED by S. R. Johannes

S.R. Johannes
Publication date: August 27th 2017
Genres: Thriller, Young Adult
YA cyber thriller, ReWIRED, by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for teens.
Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.
It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.
With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWIRED delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWIRED is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.

Simone never did anything without a reason.
There’s only way to find out what that was. I need to get on a computer. And I know just where to find one. In Ms. Matthews office.
When Ms. Matthews pops in for room check, I pretend to be deathly ill. Getting this lady to believe me isn’t as hard. My fake gagging sounds cleared the room really fast.

After everyone heads to their first activity, I sneak down to the lunchroom and snag the lunch lady’s security card from her register. After some time observing, I know the center uses a standard swipe system, so hopefully this card will gain me access.


S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling Nature of Grace thriller series (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). She is a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Award in YA, an IPPY a Silver Medalist for YA Fiction, a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Young Adult Fiction, and a Finalist in US Book News Best YA Book.
Since leaving Corporate America, she has followed her passion for writing and conservation by working with The Dolphin Project, the Atlanta Zoo, other animal rescue organizations, and by weaving conservation themes into her books.
Currently, she lives in Atlanta, GA with hEnglish-accented husband and the huge imaginations of their prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.
Author links:

Friday, September 1, 2017

All the Stars in the Heavens by Adriana Trigiani - review

Title: All the Stars in the Heavens
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Published: October 13, 2015 by Harper
Pages: 447

I love this quote from “All the Stars in the Heavens.” Loretta Young was talking about Edna Ferber, the novelist.

“She told me something that has stayed with me. Ferber said, ‘Beware the clowns. The leaders who start out as jokes – people make fun of them, they’re caricatures, cartoons in newspapers, and people decide they are harmless. These men are the most dangerous. The day comes when thy use their power against their own people.’”

I thought it was so insightful and applicable to our present day.

Our book club chose “All the Stars in the Heavens” by Adriana Trigiani as our August selection. Most of us liked the view of Hollywood, some thought it was too long, and one said she felt as though she was reading a soap opera. Personally, I enjoyed it. My parents and I used to watch Loretta Young on television and I remember her as a lovely woman. This book didn’t mar that image for me. I admire the fact that she held on to her Catholic faith, prayed the rosary, went to confession and attended Mass. She wasn’t what some think of a typical “starlet.” She worked hard and cared about the people she loved. I truly enjoyed this book and thought it ended rather abruptly. I could have read more.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

National Tell-A-Joke Day is August 16!

It's National Tell-A-Joke Day - August 16! 

I found some of these on the Internet: 

Here's a bookish one - just to make it worthy of a book blog! 

Keep Calm graphics are always welcome!

 I asked Siri to tell me some jokes and here is what she said: 

"Which baseball player has the shortest commute?" 
"The Catcher - he only works from home." 

"What was the turkey grateful for on Thanksgiving?" 


"I love math - although do you know what seems odd to me?" 
"numbers indivisible by two." da dum dum

what's your favorite joke? 

Friday, August 4, 2017

Review of "Heartless" by Marissa Meyer

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published: November 8, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Edition: hardcover 453 pages
Literary Awards: Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee for Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction (2016)

From Goodreads:

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness and monsters, fate has other plans.

Alleluia’s Review:

I read Marissa Meyer’s series The Lunar Chronicles, so I was anxious to read this book to see what she would do with the origins of “the wicked queen.” I got attached to Catherine early on and I kept anticipating what terrible thing was going to happen to her to make her evil. In the end, one could almost commiserate with her, although one could sense where it would lead. I was disappointed that the story stopped where it did – perhaps there will be a sequel? There is a space of time between this story and The Lunar Chronicles that could be filled in nicely with another volume or two. I enjoyed this one. It was quick-moving and interesting. If you are a fan of fairytale retellings, this book is for you.

I gave it 5 stars! 


August 4 is the birthday of our 44th President Barack Obama! Here are just three of the books to consider reading to celebrate! They all are rated at least 4 stars on Goodreads. 


Here is a quote from President Obama that I find very inspiring: 

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." - Barack Obama 

and this one: 

"The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, and you will fill yourself with hope." - Barack Obama 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Yesterday, I was looking for information about Coloring Books in anticipation of “National Coloring Book Day” which is today, August 2. I found this article on the Huffpost blog by Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC entitled, “7 Reasons Adult Coloring Books Are Great for Your Mental, Emotional and Intellectual Health.” If you want to read the entire piece with all its footnotes and related links, you can read it here.

Image result for art therapyDr. Martinez says coloring books are prescribed by many psychologists, therapists and occupational therapists, including herself, for various reasons. She actually prescribed coloring for herself after she had major surgery and was laid-up in bed for eight weeks. Now she pulls out her coloring books when she needs to shift her focus or practice her own stress reduction. Coloring books are useful in so many ways. Dr. Martinez lists 7 of them:

1.      Coloring can be used as an alternative to meditation, as a means of relaxation, and as a calming tool. It can help an individual focus on what they are doing vs. focusing on intrusive and troubling thoughts.
2.     It can help with many emotional and mental health issues such as boredom, lack of structure and stress. Dr. Mendez says, “The time and focus that adult coloring takes helps the individual remove the focus from the negative issues and habits, and focus them in a safe and productive way.
Image result for coloring books3.     They help patients with PTSD, anxiety and stress issues by calming down the part of the brain that controls the fight or flight response. Coloring helps turn down that response to give a patient much-needed rest and relaxation.
4.     It reminds us of a simpler, easier and happier times of childhood. To tap into those times is cathartic and enjoyable.
5.     Coloring has intellectual benefits, too. It uses parts of our brains that enhance focus and concentration. Deciding which colors to use to make the picture pretty activates those parts of the brain.
6.     Coloring uses both sides of our brain. Dr. Martinez says, “When we are thinking about balance, color choices, applying colored pencil to paper, we are working on problem solving and fine motor skills.” Coloring can be used to retrain individuals by occupational therapists by starting with easier pictures and gradually advancing to more and more intricate designs.

7.     Finally, Dr. Martinez gives 3 reference links for us to check out. Read her whole article here, then go get yourself some colored pencils and a coloring book and get started! 

Monday, July 31, 2017

#High Summer Readathon and the Christmas in July Readathon Wrap-up Post - really!

I felt pretty silly last week when I thought the High Summer Readathon was over on Sunday, July 23! It felt like a real gift to get an extra week to continue reading. These are the books I read - reviews are in the works: 

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer


2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

A Man Called Ove

3. Stars in Your Eyes by Lynn Kurland 

Stars in Your Eyes (de Piaget, #14; de Piaget/MacLeod, #21)

For the Christmas in July Readathon, I read these two: 

1. The Christmas Pony by Melody Carlson

The Christmas Pony

2. Married by Midnight by Talli Roland 

Married by Midnight

Not sure where my 3-stars pic went, but you get the idea. 

It was very nice to be able to devote my free time the past two weeks to reading. I am discovering more and more how much I truly love it! Thank you, Michelle, for hosting these two readathons and giving us a reason to read more, more, more! Also, I liked reading a little bit of Christmas in the summer. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

#HSReadathon Mid-Readathon Update Post

This is my wrap-up post for the #High Summer Readathon. I never do very well with readathons. I am amazed at how many books some of the other participants read in just a week! I read TWO! And I actually didn't finish the last one until the Tuesday after the readathon was over. So sad. But I do like the idea of spending as much of my free time in a week reading. 

These are the two books I read: 

22948207"A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman - I gave this one 5 stars. It was a book about a secretly lovely man. Some people have said it wasn't a life-changing book, but I don't care. It was very good and I liked the way Fredrik Backman laid out the story, the way he let the reader in on Ove's past a little at a time. You just grew to love the man. It deserves 5 stars. 

18584855The other book I read was "Heartless" by Marissa Meyer. I also gave this one 5 stars. It is the imagined story of the Queen of Hearts from "Alice in Wonderland" and how she got to be so fond of the phrase "off with his/her head!" For most of the book, I couldn't reconcile the character of Catherine with the Queen of Hearts. As the reader, I liked her so much. Then... You can suspect the ending, and I did, too, but getting there was quite a story. 

So, there are my two High Summer Readathon books. I didn't even get to a Christmas book for the end. I was going to read "The Christmas Pony" by Melody Carlson. Her Christmas books are so good. There is always something to be learned and considered from her books. She is my favorite Christmas author. 


Monday, July 17, 2017

#HS Readathon

Change up! I started reading "A Man Called Ove" by Fredrik Backman as my first #HS Readathon book! It's very good so far. They were showing the movie at our local library last week and I had the book, so I have started it and plan to watch the movie when I am finished. 

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Image may contain: text

We were here yesterday and I purchased 4 books to add to my TBR (like I needed them). Anyway, the Book Loft is 32 rooms of heavenly books in all genres imaginable. It was wonderful! Here is what I bought: 



I read "The Kitchen House" a while ago and really liked it, so I have been wanting to get "The Glory Over Everything." "Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend" was recommended by Katarina Bivald and I am anxious to read it. "Lilac Girls" has been popping up in places - you know how that is, you keep seeing a book until you buy it. The story sounds very good. "Ink and Bone" is the first in The Great Library series by Rachel Caine and I heard about it from one of my Book Tubers on You Tube. Will I get to any of these during the High Summer Readathon? Who knows. Ooooh! I forgot to get a Christmas book. I will look at our library for one. 

What are you reading today? 

Monday, July 3, 2017

High Summer Readathon #HSreadathon

It's that time of year again - time for the High Summer Readathon! As you can see, it runs from July 17 - 30, 2017. There are no reading requirements, so I can whittle away at my TBR pile. It will be great! Here are a few of the books that I plan to read - I usually only get through 2 or 3: "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo. I am planning to listen to the audiobook while I read the physical book. "Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson. It is our book club selection for July. AND "Heartless" by Marissa Meyer. I read the Lunar Chronicles and loved them, so I can't wait to dig into this book. During the end of the High Summer Readathon, the Christmas In July Readathon will be going on for 48 hours July 29 & 30. For that, I will dig out one of my Christmas novels. I know I have some put away to read this Christmas, I just don't remember what they are. Anyway, I love Christmas!!! If you want to sign up for the High Summer Readathon, here is where you can do it.