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Showing posts from June, 2010

Summer Reading Challenge: Reviews

If you're participating in the Summer Reading Challenge for 2010, feel free to add links below to the reviews you've written. A few requests: Only those who have officially signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge can add links. If you do not have a link in the Start Reading Linky , you cannot add a link to this Reviews Linky. For more details about the challenge, see this page . The link you add should be to a specific review post, not to your blog's home page. For example: use , not . Links should be to reviews for books you read or finished reading between June 21 and September 21. Try to include your name or blog name and part of the book title in the link title. For example: My Book Retreat - I Am Hutterite. This way we can easily see all the reviews for a specific blogger, as well as the titles of the books being reviewed.

My Mid-Year Review

As the mid-point of the year arrives, I thought it would be interesting to look back on the first half of the year. 2010 Goals: Progress In January, I set some goals for the year . At this mid-year mark, I feel pretty good about my progress so far. Get through my TBR pile ~ Joining the Read Your Own Books Challenge has helped me with this. I'm almost halfway through, so I'm on track to achieve this goal. Read all book club selections ~ So far, I have, indeed, read every book chosen for book club this year. I think I've attended all the meetings too! Complete challenges ~ I'm on track to complete just about all of the challenges I joined. I will admit defeat on one of them, but that also helped me learn about the types of challenges that work for me, and the types that don't. Write reviews on a regular basis ~ I've been writing reviews at least weekly, so I feel good about this goal as well. Total number of adult books read: Adult fiction : 20 Mem

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday again. I hope you had a good week. Mine was busy so I didn't get a lot of blogging done. I did manage to start a Summer Reading Challenge last week, though. If you're interested in joining, you can see details here  and sign up here . I'll also be publishing a linky for reviews this week. And I celebrated surpassing 100 followers with a big giveaway last week! That was exciting!! One of my new followers, Emma of Em and Emm Expound on Exposition won. Last week, I read and reviewed  I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby. You can click on the title to see my review. I also published What My Children Are Reading . Currently Reading The Girls: A Novel  by Lori Lansens ~ my book club's July selection Up Next Finding Marco by Kenneth Cancellara ~ I'll have two copies for giveaways so check back next week! The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson ~ need to squeeze this in as soon as my friend let's me borrow it. Can't w

Book Review: I Am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby

Ann-Marie Dornn was born and raised on a Hutterite colony in Manitoba, Canada. In this religious community, everything is shared among all the people who live there. The community gathers together for meals, and life runs smoothly as each person works hard to ensure their tasks are completed each day. As a child growing up on the colony, Ann-Marie was filled with happiness. But her parents were continuously struggling with conflicts in leadership. And when Ann-Marie was just 10 years old, they left the colony, entering the "English" world where they had to fend for themselves with no community to help them. In I Am Hutterite , Mary-Ann Kirkby takes us back to her childhood, when she was called Ann-Marie and lived within the Hutterite community. But first, she takes us back further to tell us her parents' story of how they came to live on the colony. I didn't know anything about Hutterites before reading this book, so the history was interesting. But I have to say t

What My Children Are Reading This Week

We had an extremely busy Saturday so I didn't get around to posting about our books for the week. Today is going to be a very lazy day, though, which will be nice to recover from all the parties and fun of yesterday! I hope you're all having a good weekend too. Here are some of the books we've been reading this week. One of the early readers I got C to read this week was Henry and Mudge and the Big Sleepover  by Cynthia Rylant. He has read Henry and Mudge: The First Book , so this is his second in the series. Although we're not a family with dogs, he seems to enjoy reading about this little boy and his dog. In this book, Henry and Mudge go to a sleepover with several other boys and their dogs. At first they're a bit too rambunctous in his friend's house with many knickknacks, but then they all head up to the attic and have a great time playing games and sleeping in sleeping bags. I think we'll probably borrow some more Henry and Mudge books from the libr

Winner of 100 Followers Giveaway!

With the help of , I've chosen the winner of my 100 Followers Giveaway: 38. Emma said... I follow! Congratulations on all the followers! I cannot figure out how to get people to follow my book review blog D: Congratulations to Emma! And thank you to ALL of my followers!

Thank You! Thank You! 100 Followers Giveaway!!

I am so amazed and excited that there are actually 100 people out there in the blogosphere who want to follow my little blog! How cool is that?? So to thank you all for your amazing loyalty, I'm holding a 100 Followers giveaway! What can you win? $15 gift card to Barnes and Noble, Borders or Amazon It's the winner's choice! Because this giveaway is to celebrate and thank my followers, you must be a follower to enter! It is open to all followers around the world. To enter, leave a comment telling me that you're a follower. If you're one of my first 103 followers (since that's how many I have at the moment), leave a second comment for an additional entry! You must enter by Saturday, June 26th at 10:00pm Eastern time. I'll choose a winner using That winner will be notified by email, so if your email isn't on your profile page, be sure to leave it in the comment. If I can't easily find it, I will choose another winner. Good luck and THAN

Summer Reading Challenge: Start Reading!

Today is the first day of summer, which means it's time to start the Summer Reading Challenge ! If you'd like to join me in this challenge, please add a link below to a post on your blog where you list out the books you're going to read this summer: from June 21st through September 21st. You can read all the details about the challenge here . If you'd like to use my Summer Reading Challenge button, it's over on the sidebar. I'm looking forward to seeing what you're all reading! Here's my personal list. It includes books I have for review, book club selections, books that meet other challenge criteria and books from my TBR pile. I also added the last Stieg Larsson book because I'm sure I'll be reading that before the end of the summer! My summer reading list: I am Hutterite by Mary-Ann Kirkby Finding Marco by Kenneth Cancellara City of Dreams by William Martin The Big Ten of Grammar by Dr. William B. Bradshaw The Girls: A Novel by Lori

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Good Monday Morning! I hope you had a fabulous weekend! I got some reading done and I got a few reviews done, although they were all children's book reviews. This week, I have a few adult books to review. I finally read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls last week. I have had this book on my shelf for almost two years now, and I have always wanted to read it. I just never got around to it. I'm glad I finally did. Not only did I enjoy it, but I also am glad to be rid of it in a sense. Do you ever feel that way? I have a few books that have been on my shelf for so long, it's like a burden knowing they're there. They are all books I want to read, but I just never get around to them for some reason. Anyway, I can finally take The Glass Castle off that list! You can click on the title to see my review. I published two children's book reviews this week. The first was Glamour Girl from the Stars by Carlton Scott. The second was Chalk by Bill Thomson. I also publi

Book Review: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

After reading The Glass Castle , I am truly astonished that Jeannette Walls and her siblings all survived their childhood. If this were a work of fiction, I would have said the story was too unbelieveable. That people would never really live and act like her parents did. That children would not be neglected and suffer to the extent that these children did. But it's not fiction. This was her life with parents who were more interested in following their dreams than putting food on the table. Parents who were capable of teaching their children about physics and art and literature, but didn't have the motivation to stay employed long enough to actually feed and care for their kids. Jeannette and her siblings are truly lucky to be alive. The Glass Castle has been sitting on my bookshelf for almost two years now. It was a book club selection that I never got to because I couldn't make it to the meeting. I wanted to read it though, so I was excited when I got the book at

Spring Reading Thing 2010: Completed!

Can you believe it's the last day of spring? I can since it's been 90+ degrees every day for the past couple weeks. I can't imagine what July and August are going to be like this year! With the end of spring comes the end of the Spring Reading Thing 2010 , which was hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days. I had set out to read 9 books for this challenge, knowing I'd probably read more than that but not wanting to overextend myself just in case! I finished all of the books on my Spring Reading Thing  list! I just finished the last one on Friday night. Here are the books that were on my original list, with links to the reviews I've written so far: A Hundred Feet Over Hell by Jim Hooper ~ for publisher review Review Forget Me Not by Vicki Hinze ~ for publisher review Review The Piano Teacher: A Novel by Janice Y. K. Lee ~ for April book club Review Rebecca by Daphne De Maurier ~ for May book club Review Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky ~ for June book cl

What My Children Are Reading This Week

This week has been a very children's book focused week at My Book Retreat! I was reading the same adult book all week, so I took the time to write a couple reviews of children's books. First, I wrote a review of Glamour Girl from the Stars by Carlton Scott. It has a strong message about being yourself and not worrying if you look different than others. The story itself was a bit over M's head, but if you have older girls, you may want to check it out. I also reviewed Chalk by Bill Thomsom. This is a book we just happened to find at the library this week and we all loved it! It's a wordless book about a group of kids who go to a park, start drawing with chalk and soon discover that whatever they draw comes to life. It will especially appeal to kids who love dinosaurs, although neither of my kids is into dinos and they loved it. Another book we got at the library is Every Autumn Comes the Bear by Jim Arnosky. M loves stories about bears, and she likes this one a

Hopping Into the Weekend!

It's time for another Friday Book Blogger Hop ! This is a great event hosted by Crazy for Books and designed to connect book bloggers. I'm so glad you've come by to visit. Be sure to leave a comment and I'll return the visit! While you're here, check out my Summer Reading Challenge , which starts next Tuesday! I hope you'll consider joining the challenge. It's a great motivation for getting some more reading done this summer!

Book Review: Chalk by Bill Thomson

On our most recent trip to the library, we once again found a fabulous book on the New Books shelf. I don't usually go for wordless books, but after a quick look at Chalk by Bill Thomsom, I had to have it. This is the story of a group of kids who go to a park on a rainy day. They find a bag of sidewalk chalk hanging from the mouth of a dinosaur ride, and begin drawing pictures on the ground. They quickly discover that whatever they draw comes to life ~ the sun, the butterflies...and the dinosaur! Because there are no words, I handed it to C the first evening and told him to read it while I stepped away for a minute. I came back and he was almost done. He loved it! M read it with her daddy that night as well, and they had a lot of fun with the story. I really think this book would appeal to many ages. I know as an adult, I thought it was pretty cool. The illustrations are very sharp and magical ~ especially the page where we see the butterflies starting to emerge from the chalk

Summer Reading Challenge 2010

Two of my favorite challenges to participate in this past year were Fall Into Reading and Spring Reading Thing , both hosted by Katrina at Callapidder Days . I seem to be most successful with these challenges because they're easy to customize to what I want and am able to accomplish. So I decided to start up my own Summer Reading Challenge to fill the gap between the Spring Reading Thing and the Fall Into Reading challenges. I hope you'll consider joining me! Here's how you can participate in this Summer Reading Challenge , which will take place from June 21 - September 21. Create a list of the books you’d like to read or finish during this summer season. There's no minimum and no requirements as to the type of books you put on your list ~ it's all up to you how many you include, and whether they're beach reads or classics or something in between. Write a blog post with the list of books you want to read ~ and any other summer reading goals ~ and pos

Book Review: Glamour Girl from the Stars

PleeDee is a 3 foot tall alien who jumps into her dad's spaceship and heads to earth after hearing about the Miss Universe contest. She's determined to come to our planet and win. But first she lands on earth in the time of dinosaurs. And then, when she finally gets to 2010, she takes a tour of Earth from Las Vegas to Waikiki, China, Africa and Italy before finally landing in Los Angeles for the pageant. There, she discovers that she doesn't want to be like the tall, skinny Miss Universe pageant competitors. She's perfectly happy with who she is. Glamour Girl from the Stars by Carlton Scott obviously has a powerful message for girls: Don't worry about being the glamour queen ~ just be yourself. As a mother of a little girl, I love this message. But I must say that the book itself isn't great for a three year old. The problem is that my daughter doesn't know what pageants are, and certainly has never heard of the Miss Universe pageant. At her age, she ju

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I'm a bit late today, but wanted to be sure to get this update out. I spent the weekend working on Bloggiesta updates to my blogs, so I didn't get a lot of reading done. I did get a lot of behind-the-scenes work done on my blogs, though, so it's good to get that out of the way! I completed and reviewed One Foot in Eden: A Novel by Ron Rash last week. This was read for the Support Your Local Authors Challenge and I loved it! I'll definitely be reading more of his books in the future. I published my What My Children Are Reading this week. I focused on one specific book this week. It's called Because I am Your Daddy by Sherry North, and I think it makes a great Father's Day book to read if you're looking for something like that. I've decided to host a Summer Reading Challenge . I'll be posting the details tomorrow, but essentially, it's a fairly open challenge that will run from June 21-Sept 21 and will be modeled after the challenges ho