Monday, May 26, 2008

The Vaccine Book: Making the Right Decision for Your Child by Dr. Robert Sears

As a mother, I sometimes feel overwhelmed with all of the decisions I make as a parent on a daily basis. It is so hard to make the best decisions for your children and you just want them to be happy and healthy. Choosing whether/and how to vaccinate your kids is no easy decision. There is so much biased literature out there and the debate can be very heated. The possible (unproven) risk of autism connected to vaccinating is scary to me. So I chose to read this book because it is written by a well-known doctor, Dr. Sears, and he is neither anti- or pro-vaccination. He describes each vaccine, what it's made of, how it's made, the risks and side effects of it, and much more. He lays out all of the options in a clear, way that any parent could understand. The book also includes 2 alternative vaccination schedules. After reading the book, I have a good idea of which vaccines I want to have administered to my children and when. I now understand which vaccines should not be given together also. This is a book I would recommend to any parent who is struggling with decisions regarding vaccinations. 5 stars.

Win The Flirt!

Free Book Giveaway contest of The Flirt by Kathleen Tessaro here!

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

The Wednesday Sisters is the story of 5 women and their friendship over the years. This book started off a little rocky. There are 5 main characters and not much of a description of each one or introduction to the story. It seems like you are just thrown into the story right from the first page and that was confusing to me. But once I learned more about the characters and got to like them and became interested in their lives, the book grew on me. One thing that bothered me was the historical references in the book. It seemed like Clayton was trying to chock the book full of references to things that happened throughout the 60's and 70's in order to give the reader a better sense of the time period. But to me, that didn't work and seemed to be "trying too hard". But once I overlooked that and began to care about the characters, I really enjoyed the book. I enjoyed the characters' plights to maintain strong friendships, raise families, and their efforts to become published writers during a time when women were considered inferior to men. I wanted to know more of what happened to these women over their lives up until the present. I wanted to know more at the end of the book. I recommend this book to women, mothers and people that enjoy writing with the hope of being published someday. A good, quick easy read. 4 stars.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

This was a good book with a good story and characters that were likeable and believable. It was about a high school shooting done by a bullied student and about victims, perpetrator, and their families. The story was quite slow moving for most of the book. I enjoyed the story, but I feel that the book could have been shorter and faster. I didn't enjoy this book as much as I normally do books by Picoult, because it was so difficult to get through. But it was overall a good book.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bogged Down with Books!

All of a sudden a bunch of books have fallen in my lap! I just received today my Librarything April ARC, The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. Yesterday I received my Barnes and Noble Firstlook book for June, Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan. Also I got a new book for Mother's Day, The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir, that I'm looking forward to reading as well. AND 3 books that I've been on the library waiting list for all became available to me all at once. PLUS! I already had a batch of library books out with 4 books to read. Since I'm already in the middle of one library book, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult, I need to finish that first. After that I have to read my two ARCs so that I can post my reviews on them. And then I have to read my other library books so that I can take them back without being late. And I have another ARC book, a non-fiction book about raising healthy kids, coming from RES Marketing. So I have to have all of that read before I get that next ARC so I can review it as well. Whew! I have a lot of reading on my to-do list!

Anyway, please bear with me as I read as fast as I can. I have lots of new reviews coming up!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Boleyn Inheritance

This was the second book I have read by Gregory. I absolutely loved The Other Boleyn Girl, so I was excited to read this book. This book focuses on Jane Boleyn, the wife of George Boleyn (Anne Boleyn's brother); Anne of Cleves, Henry VII's 4th wife; and Katherine Howard, Henry VII's 5th wife. Gregory does a good job showing each of the women's characters for who they really are. They are each very different with distinct personalities and depth of character. Katherine Howard is a silly, young, very shallow girl who became queen at a very young age, only to be put to death a short time later by a power hungry king. Anne of Cleves was a good queen and a strong woman . Jane Boleyn was a scheming woman who betrayed her husband and others in the hope of gaining more fortune and power for the Boleyn family. Seeing how these three women interact with each other and how their story plays out to make their mark in history is very interesting. Henry VII also has changed since I first "met" him in The Other Boleyn Girl (TOBG). He is now in very bad health, overweight and much older and all of these things cause him to be more temperamental and at times he appears to be mad with power. Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was interesting to find out what happened to the other characters in TOBG. I didn't quite like it as much as TOBG because there wasn't a character I liked or identified with as much as Mary Boleyn. But I did enjoy the book and I do look forward to reading more about the Tudor period and more of Gregory's other books. A solid 4 stars.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


ARCs are Advanced Reading Copies, which are books that you can get for free for reviewing books for publishers or other websites. As I mentioned before, I am Early Reviewer on Librarything. I also recently signed up for the First Look Program on Barnes and You can read more about places to get ARCs on this book blog. Happy Reading!

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

I loved this book! This has to have been one of the best books I've ever read. I seriously could have read another 600+ pages about this family. I am so fascinated by everything that went on during this time period and all the intricacies in the relationships. I loved that the book was written in a more modern language, less flowery then most historical fiction. I could not put it down. I was not very familiar with this time period and I couldn't remember my history well enough to remember what happened to Anne Boleyn. So the ending was a surprise to me. I am now starved to read more of Gregory's historical fiction novels. 5 stars!

Secrets of the Hollywood Girls Club

Secrets of the Hollywood Girls Club by Maggie Marr

This book was about a group of friends all living and working in the movie industry in Hollywood. This book is the sequel to a previous book about the same characters. I wish I had read the first book first because I did not know the history or back story between all the characters and I didn't feel that it was properly explained in this book. I had to guess at the relationships and history at first. The storyline was kind of jumbled and meandering, but I did enjoy the overall story. I liked most of the main characters, although a few of them I didn't feel I knew enough about so they seemed kind of one-dimensional. I cared enough about them to find out what happened and I was satisfied with the resolution at the end of the book. The book was not bad, but it requires work from the reader who has to piece together what is happening in the story so they know what is going on. 3 stars.

The Expected One

The Expected One: A Novel (Magdalene Line) by Kathleen McGowan

I really enjoyed this book. It was a little slow moving but I really enjoyed the mystery once it sped up. I was intrigued by the claims in the book and am interested in reading the next books in this series and researching the validity of the sentiments. I don't usually read religious oriented fiction like this, but I do like history and I found the book very interesting. 4 stars.

What Do You Do All Day?

What Do You Do All Day? by Amy Scheibe

This book was a really funny romp through the good, bad and ugly sides of motherhood. Often times I was rolling at how hilarious and right on target the anecdotes about everyday life as a mother. The actual storyline was a little slow and meandering, but I was distracted by that, and therefore didn't mind, because the book was so funny. I really enjoyed this book. 4 stars.


Everlasting by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss

I was somewhat dissappointed that this book didn't have more romance. I rarely read true romance novels so when I did decide to try one, it was lacking in that department. It was a long book with a slow, drawn out (but really simple) plot. The language was a little too melodramatic and flowery for me. It wasn't terrible though and it did keep my interest until the end. 3 stars.

True Believer

True Believer by Nicholas Sparks

I really enjoyed this book. It was a really simple, sweet story with complex, yet likable characters. I enjoyed the mystery and romance involved. I was a tiny bit disappointed that the end wasn't less predictable and I wish it had more plot resolution. Overall, a pretty good book, though. 4 stars.

The Cinderella Pact

The Cinderella Pact by Sarah Strohmeyer

I really enjoyed this book! It was a really cute story about learning to like yourself for who you are. The main character goes through a major weight loss transformation which leads to major change in her personal life. I liked her character and could identify with her weight issues. The romance was very sweet as well. Overall, a really good book. I'll be on the lookout for others by this author. 4 stars.

Double Down

Double Down by Tess Mira

I wasn't expecting too much out of this bargain book from an author I'd never heard of. The blurb on the back really did not describe too much, but I decided to take the "gamble". It was a really good book! The main character was really easy to relate to, likable and easy to forgive for her shortcomings. The other characters had a lot of depth and dimension. The story was a really unpredictable, good romantic story. I really enjoyed this book. I'll be looking for other books by this author. 4 stars.

What a Girl Wants (Ashley Stockingdale Series #3)…

What a Girl Wants (Ashley Stockingdale Series #3)… by Kristin Billerbeck

A really cute book! I enjoyed the main character's morals, values, sense of humor and sense of style. I really enjoyed the humor and deep personalities of the characters in this book and the cute storyline. The characters reminded me of people I know. I liked that this was a Christian fiction book even though I haven't read one of those in a long time. It was a breath of fresh air. I'll definitely read the sequel and any subsequent sequels to this book. A good read! 4 Stars.

The Gatecrasher

The Gatecrasher By Madeleine Wickham

Madeleine Wickham is a pseudonym for Sophie Kinsella, the author of the Shopaholic series. I really like Sophie Kinsella's books normally. They are light, easy reads with very likable leading ladies as the main characters. However, this book, written under the pseudonym of Madeleine Wickham, was not as good as her other books. The main character just wasn't very likable and didn't really have me pulling for her. The story was good and the other characters were likable. The book just lacked that something that made it a good book. 3 stars.

There's No Place Like Here

There's No Place Like Here by Cecilia Ahern

This book was not at all what I expected it to be. I wasn't expecting the fantasy element added in and was a little weary because I don't usually read books that are not realistic. But I was pleasantly surprised. I really enjoyed the book and I felt the characters were well thought out and well written. I thought this was a great book! 4 stars.

The Bright Side of Disaster

The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center

This was a really good book. The author got first time motherhood right on, especially learning how to breastfeed and putting the baby to bed. It was a very funny, light, easy read with an endearing, likable main character. Much better than most mommy lit. Great book! 4 stars.

The Yoga Zoo Adventure

The Yoga Zoo Adventure: Animal Poses and Games for Little Kids (SmartFun Activity Books by Helen Purperhart

This is such a neat book! My children are still too young (2 and 9 months) for these games and yoga in general, but I really look forward to using this book with them when they are a little older. As an actor and college graduate with a degree in children's theatre, I think this book would be ideal for teaching children creative movement and drama. It inspires me to one day want to use this book to teach such a class. I find the games and yoga very similar to classes I took as a young adult and college student. These games help a student to pay attention to all of their senses and how to use their body as an acting instrument (not to mention, it's great exercise for kids!). I think this is such a good book with so many different games and activities that teach a child creative movement, help them learn about animals and help them learn to use their imagination and pretend. I would recommend it highly to anyone looking for games to play with their children that are innovative and creative. 4 stars.


Suburbanistas by Pamela Redmond Satran

This book is a little slow starting, but once you get into it, it isn't too bad. The characters are not people I can identify with and seem to be stereotypes of certain personalities. But it was a pretty easy read and the overall story was pretty good. 3 stars.

The Ivy Chronicles

The Ivy Chronicles by Karen Quinn

A pretty entertaining book about a woman who starts a company consulting parents about how to get their children into stuffy private schools. It was a pretty good book. It was a funny, easy read. The main character wasn't easy to like for me because she was dishonest, but I wanted to like her so I tried to overlook her character flaws. 3 stars.

The Belles of Charleston

The Belles of Charleston by Steve Brown

Quite possibly one of the worst books I have every read. I bought this book at a local bookstore when in SC because the author was there doing a book signing. I love historical fiction about Charleston, since I lived there during college. So I was looking forward to reading this book. However, I was disappointed to find that there were very poor character descriptions and a very meandering storyline which made no sense. It had no beginning, middle and definitely no ending. It was a total waste of time and money. A really, really, really bad book. (1/2 a star)

Friday, May 2, 2008

Remember Me?

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

This is just the prologue and first 3 chapters (40 pages of reading). A free sampler they had a B & N. I can't wait to read the full book. The sampler was really good! I normally love Kinsella's work.


(Actual book read 3/29-3/31)

I loved this book. I always love Kinsella's books and this was no different. It was funny and cute and a really good story. One of the best books I've read in a long time. A satisfying read. 5 stars.

What is this Librarything?

I found off a link on someone else's blog. It's a very cool site to keep track of the books your reading or have read and find new books to read. I love to read, so much so that I never remember what I have read. So this site is a godsend to me. Now I can keep track of my books. I don't have as much time to read as I used to (sans kids), but I'm going to join the 50 book challenge and try to read 50 books in a year. I honestly don't know if this will be easy or hard as I have no idea how many books I usually read in a year. I think it will be close. There are some readers that read over 100 books a year, so 50 sounds like a nice even number. Wish me luck on that!
I also am an "Early Reviewer" on their site. Members of the Early Reviewer group on Librarything sign up for advance copies of new books from publishers. I signed up for and received an advance copy of No Place Like Here by Cecilia Ahern and it was a good read. You don't always get chosen to read and review a book, because they only have a certain number of ER copies and many more requests, but you can sign up every month and hopefully get chosen. The January early reviewer books will be posted soon, so I'm hoping to be chosen to get another ER book.If you want to see my Librarything library, click on the books on the right. If anyone else joins Librarything, let me know and I'll add you to my friend list.

50 Book Challenge

This is a challenge to myself to read 50 books in 2008. I got the idea off of a Librarything group. Some people can read 100 books or more in a year. I really have no idea hpw many books I usually read in a year. I'm not sure I'll make it to 50 either, because I've only read 16 so far. But I'll try to catch up some. I'll post my progress over on the side of the page.

Here's a description from the Librarything group.

50 Book Challenge

Welcome one and all! What is 50 Book Challenge?

50 Book Challenge is a way to track and share the books you read
throughout the year. Some people also choose to set personal goals to read more
books, or more non-fiction, or more new books. The point is that it's up to you
what you want to do.

Do I have to read 50 books? What if I read less/more/long books/etc? Can I
include kids' books/comic books/picture books/etc?

Read as few or as many books as you want - 50 is just a suggestion.
Some people also track the number of pages they read, particularly if they're
reading a lot of longer books this year. One way of finding a number of pages
for the challenge is to multiply the number of (shorter) books you might have
read by 300 (e.g. 50 x 300 = 15,000 pages).You can include (or exclude) any
types of books you want (including but not limited to rereads, graphic novels,
comic books, audiobooks, and kids' books). Same goes for including reviews,
ratings, or summaries, tagging your books, and using a progress meter (such as this or this) - do it
if you want to, don't do it if you don't.

Your Challenge year doesn't have to start January 1!

If you don't remember everything you've read since the beginning of the
year, you can start your year when you join and keep track until this time next

So I challenge you to make your own challenge!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Barefoot: A Novel

Barefoot: A Novel by Elin Hiderbrand

Finished 1/11/08, It was really good! About 3 ladies all going through life crises and their summer on Nantucket. 4 stars.

Mommies Behaving Badly

Mommies Behaving Badly by Roz Bailey

I was partway through this on January 1st. So I'll include it as my first book read in 2008. It was a somewhat predictable book about a girl who's husband cheats on her. She is an author, mother of 3, and a funny, but not very endearing character. The book was light, but seemed to be trying too hard to be funny and trendy.

Welcome to my book blog!

I have decided to start a book blog so that I can post reviews on the books I read, keep an organized list of the books I want to read, and what I am reading currently. I hope to introduce my blog readers to new authors, books and other things related to reading.

I have been keeping track of and reviewing the books I read since January 2008. I wish I had started long before then. I have read so much that I really can't remember what I have and have not read. I will start a book and realize it sounds so familiar to me, only to remember that I have read it before. So hopefully, by keeping track of the books I read and like, I can be more organized.

I have always loved to read. My first sentence was "Wanna read a book?". I used to read a book a day sometimes. When I had my children, my reading slowed down a lot. It has picked back up again, but it is still hard to find time to read. I fit in my reading during nap times and before I go to bed.

I am always on the look out for new good books. I have a huge wishlist of books I want to read. I have a stack on TBR (to be read) books on my nightstand waiting for me to finish what I'm currently reading. If anyone has any suggestions of good books, I'm open! Please leave me a comment or send me an email at picklechic @ hotmail dot com. Thank you! I hope you enjoy my book blog!