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Showing posts from January, 2011

Month in Review: January 2011

I've decided to keep track of my reading and challenges a bit more this year through a monthly post. I'll list out what I read throughout the month and how I'm doing on the challenges I've joined.

Books Read in January: 6
I read a total of six books in January. Three were adult fiction novels: Blue by Lou Aronica
When Pigs Fly by Bob Sanchez
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

Three were memoirs. Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton
Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishman
The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy

Reviews Written: 3
This month, I wrote three full book reviews (you can click on the links above to read them) and eight mini reviews of children's books.
E-Book Reading Challenge This month, I read 3 e-books on my Nook. I need to read a total of 12 e-books in 2011 for this challenge.

I Want More Book Challenge None

Where Am I Reading Challenge This month, I read books that took place in four different states and two different countries:
Connecticut
Arizona
North Carolina
So…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Good morning. It was a very, very quiet week here at My Book Retreat. Sorry about that! I went away for a few days and didn't have time to write any reviews prior to leaving. I did, however, get a lot of reading done since I flew across the country by myself ~ with my Nook!

I managed to read two books on my Nook during my trip. The first was Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith. Great thriller that I think will appeal to fans of Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy. Then I read The Water is Wide by Pat Conroy. I enjoyed this one but I was surprised when I got to the end and read that the book had been written in 1972. I thought it was a newer book. It's about his time working as a teacher in the 1960s on a small, secluded island off the coast of South Carolina.

Currently Reading
I started reading Murder on the Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young last week, and will continue to read it now that I'm home. This is for a book tour and my review is scheduled to go up on Friday, so I need t…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday morning to you! I hope you had a good week. We had an exciting weekend as my son scored his first touchdown in flag football. He also got his first black eye during the same game, but he seems to be doing fine with that. Later this week, I'm flying across the country to visit a friend all by myself. I estimate I'll have about 18 hours of time in airports and on airplanes when I can read. Yay! My Nook is loaded and ready to go!

I did a lot of reviewing last week. First was a humorous book: When Pigs Fly by Bob Sanchez. Then I reviewed a memoir: Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo. Click on the titles to read my reviews. I highly recommend both.

I signed up for yet another challenge. I couldn't resist! It's the Where Are You Reading Challenge hosted by Sheila at Book Journey. You can scroll all the way to the bottom of this page to see the map showing which states and countries the books I've read take place in. So…

What My Children Are Reading

Good morning. We have a busy day ahead with C playing football this afternoon and M going to a birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. We've never been there so it should be interesting to see what we think of that place!


We were back to the library this week getting some new books. I actually didn't get many this time. We attended story time too, so we didn't take as much time really looking at books. One of the books I got M is from a phonics series I've been wanting to try. It's Little bit : the sound of short "i" by Peg Ballard and Cynthia Klingel. Each page has a very simple sentence that focuses mostly on sight words and short "i" words. She was able to read most of the book herself with me encouraging her to sound the words out. There's a whole series of these books so I am sure we'll be getting more next time we go to the library.

With C, we've been trying to find some classics to read to him. It's a bit nostalgic for my husba…

Book Review: Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton

In 1984, Jennifer Thompson was asleep in her bed when a man broke in and raped her. She concentrated on his face, trying to notice every detail so she could help the police find him if she were able to get away. She did, and when the police showed her photos and put her in front of a line-up, she identified Ronald Cotton as her rapist. She was positive she had the right man. He was found guilty based on her eyewitness account, and sentenced to life in prison. Eleven years later, a DNA test showed Ronald Cotton was innocent.

Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton with Erin Torneo tells the story, first from Jennifer's perspective and then from Ron's, of the trials, their lives during Ron's incarceration and the friendship they built after he was released. This was an eye-opening book, showing the flaws inherent in the investigation methods used by the police, and why eyewitnesses may find themselves identifying the wrong person. It sheds light on the …

Where Are You Reading Challenge

I wasn't planning on joining any more challenges this year. I'm trying to keep things simple. But Sheila at Book Journey is hosting a challenge that I couldn't resist. It's the Where Are You Reading Challenge. You're supposed to read "at least one book that covers each of the 50 states of America and you can add as many other countries as you like."

Now, I'll admit that I'm not going to pick books just based on where they take place, so the chances of me actually succeeding in reading all 50 states is slim. But, I thought it would be fun to keep track of where the books I read actually take place, to see how varied they are. And maybe the drawing for a $50 gift card for those who do read books from every state will be motivation for me to read the last few states toward the end of the year!

So far, I've read books that took place in Connecticut, North Carolina and Arizona, and the one I'm reading now is based in Canada. We'll see how …

Book Review: When Pigs Fly by Bob Sanchez

When Mack's parents send him his friend's ashes, his biggest concerns are coming to terms with his relationship with his friend, and finding the most appropriate location to spread his ashes. But then a ragtag group of misfit criminals shows up searching for the lottery ticket one of them hid in the urn. He soon finds himself teamed up with a former waitress who is trying to elude an Elvis impersonator as they try to figure out what this oddball group wants. Add to the story a domesticated pig who's been set free in the desert and you have what can only be described as a screwball comedy that will keep you entertained from the first page to the last!

I heard about When Pigs Fly by Bob Sanchez more than a year ago, but I just finally got around to reading it. It was as funny, and crazy, as I had expected. The storyline is fun, but the characters are what really make the book great. Sanchez has created a cast of characters that is truly outrageous, but somehow he manages to…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Good morning. I hope you've had a good week and a relaxing weekend! And I hope you're one of the lucky ones to have this Martin Luther King Jr. Day off. Unfortunately, I'll be working all day.

I got a lot of reading done last week. I read my first ebook on my Nook: When Pigs Fly by Bob Sanchez. This was a very funny story of an ex-cop who is going to spread his friend's ashes over the Grand Canyon, and a group of misfit criminals who are trying to get the lottery ticket that is hidden in the urn. I still need to write my review, but should have it up soon.

I also read Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino, Ronald Cotton and Erin Torneo. This was a memoir about a woman who picks her rapist out of a line-up, only to find 11 years later that it was the wrong man. Very interesting. I look forward to discussing it with my book club this week, and I'll put up a review of this one soon too.

I reviewed Blue by Lou Aronica, which I had finished the week before. This…

What My Children Are Reading

Last week, I shared some of the books we got during our last visit to the library. This week, I wanted to share a few others that we've been enjoying.

The first book I'll mention is A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. by David A. Adler. This is a great book for young kids if you're looking for a way to present MLK, his life and his message. It talks about his childhood experiences with segregation, his early career as a minister and his march on Washington. The author talks briefly of his assassination but it's not too bad for younger kids. I recommend it for early elementary kids. I would say it's around grade 2-3 reading level.

Another one we've enjoyed is Clouds by Anne Rockwell. This book describes ten different types of clouds and what they mean. I will admit that it's pretty complicated to keep track of all of them, but I like that there are pages that show all of the clouds together we can compare them. M had fun making some clouds based on the…

Book Review: Blue by Lou Aronica

When Becky was five years old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. To help her deal with the pain and the treatments, her father, Chris, suggested they create stories about a fantasy land they called Tamarisk. They spent each night coming up with new details and stories about the people and the land, and continued to do so even when Becky was well again. Several years later, Becky's parents divorced and the stories ended.

But Tamarisk lived on. Princess Meia and the other people and animals living in Tamarisk grew up and evolved on their own, as Chris and Becky's relationship deteriorated. Then one day, 15 year-old Becky falls asleep at her father's house and finds herself traveling to Tamarisk, meeting Princess Meia and seeing all the wonderful creations of her imagination.

Blue by Lou Aronica is at once beautiful and uplifting, sad and fantastical. It's a story of relationships ~ father/daughter, husband/wife, queen/subjects, friends. It's about facing challenges th…

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday! How was your first week back to a normal schedule after the holidays? Ours was challenging in terms of getting up in time for school, but overall it was nice to get back to normal!

I had a busy week here last week. I did an interview with Lou Aronica, publisher and author of the new novel, Blue, which published on Saturday. I finished reading Blue and will be putting up my review this week. I really enjoyed it!

I posted a few comments and questions about my new Nook, so if you have a Nook or other e-reader, check it out and let me know what you think! Speaking of the Nook, last week I said I had started A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay. Well, I soon found out that the free download was actually an excerpt, not the full book. And I just wasn't enjoying it enough to buy it at this point. It was okay, so I may purchase it later, or borrow it from the library. But I decided to move on to something else for now.

Finally, I got back to my weekly What My Children Are Rea…

What My Children Are Reading

It's been a few weeks since I shared what my kids are reading. We actually returned all of our library books a couple weeks ago, so we didn't have any in the house for a while. That was strange since we usually have at least a few library books. So this week, M and I went back to the library and found some interesting books to read.

I think M's favorite is Princess Bess Gets Dressed by Margery Cuyler. This is an adorable book about a little princess named Bess who wears different outfits on each page as she has tea with the queen, takes ballet and art classes, and attends to all her duties as princess. The rhyming story is fun and M loves to see all the different outfits she chooses. But her favorite outfit is saved for the end as she winds down from her busy day.

I decided to get one of the books on the library's list of books for early readers: Have You Seen My Cat by Eric Carle. This book has just two main sentences that are repeated throughout: "Have you seen m…