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Showing posts from September, 2012

Bloggiesta: Wrap-Up

Bloggiesta is over and I was so productive!!! Woohoo!!!! I'm so excited that I actually accomplished everything I wanted to get done. Here's my original list with notes about what I managed to do.
Write at least 3 reviews ~ I wrote reviews for The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, Bossypants, and The 13th Target. I published The Hero's Guide and the other two are scheduled to publish later this week. Yay!Add reviews to my Reviews tab ~ I did it! I got every one of my 2012 reviews onto my Reviews tab (except for that new The Hero's Guide review... shoot!)Update the blog background ~ Well, it's updated. Do you like it? I'm not sure it's perfect but I like the change.Review and update my Review Policy ~ I made a few minor updates. Luckily it was in decent shape!Develop a plan for more frequent author interviews ~ I came up with a plan for doing author interviews every Sunday (or maybe ever other Sunday). I wrote up a few standard questions I can use, an…

Bloggiesta: Blogging Notebook Mini-Challenge

I've been busy working on my blog this weekend during Bloggiesta. As part of this event, I decided to take part in the Blogging Notebook Mini-Challenge hosted by Love, Laughter, and a Touch of Insanity. Here's what I had to do:
Option 2 (Notebook - aka blog brainstorming)
1. Find a piece of notebook paper/printer paper/printable online
2. Create a list of at least five posts that you'd love to write. Having trouble getting started? Well, may I suggest a discussion post? A list post? Maybe a meme you've been interested in joining (shameless plug)? A backlog of reviews you need to write?
3. Feeling really ambitious? Plug those five posts into a blog calendar!  So, I got a small notebook and wrote out some ideas for upcoming blog posts. Here it is:


I also created a calendar, which is the other option for this mini-challenge, but I did it online in Google Calendar instead of on a printed paper calendar. I'm still glad to have taken the time to put it all together, and…

Book Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Everyone knows Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel, but what about the men in their lives? In the stories passed on by their kingdoms' bards, they are all referred to as Prince Charming. But Frederic, Liam, Duncan and Gustav are all princes who want to be known. And when they find themselves thrown together on the adventure of their lives, they are determined to finally make a name for themselves.

I saw The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy sitting on a new book shelf at the library and I just couldn't resist. If you read my blog, you know this is odd since I don't generally read middle grade fiction myself. But I loved the idea of this book and it sounded quite funny. I also have been looking for options for my son to read, so I figured I'd preview it and see if it was appropriate for him.

I laughed my way through The Hero's Guide. While I stumbled over the princes' names, since I am used to the Disney versions, I l…

Bloggiesta: Getting Started!

It's time to start Bloggiesta! I'm hoping to get a lot done on my blog this weekend as I participate in Bloggiesta, which is hosted by Suey of It's All Bout Books and Danielle of There's A Book. I haven't done this event in a long time! Here's a list of some of the things I hope to work on:
Write at least 3 reviews ~ I have seven books that I've read but not reviewed yet. Not too bad compared to some of the book bloggers I know, but that's a lot for me. I'd like to get through at least three reviews this week: Bossypants, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, and The 13th Target.Add reviews to my Reviews tab ~ I am embarrassed to admit that I don't think I've added links to any of my 2012 reviews on my Reviews tab. I may have added a few at the beginning of the year, but it's been a long time!Update the blog background ~ It's not spring anymore!!Review and update my Review Policy ~ I haven't looked at this in a while; I w…

Giveaway Hop: Banned Books Week

This year, Banned Books Week takes place from September 30 through October 6. I've decided to participate in the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and I Read Banned Books.

I'm giving away a book of your choice that is on an 
ALA Frequently Challenged Books List.
It can be any genre as long as it appears on one of the ALA's Frequently Challenged Books lists. Just go to the ALA site and click on one of the links on the left sidebar to see lists by year, author, decade or other criteria. Choose any book from any of these lists (up to $12).

This giveaway is open to international entries as long as Book Depository ships to your address. The contest ends on Saturday, October 6 at midnight Eastern Time. The winner will be notified by e-mail. If they do not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn. To enter, complete this form:

a Rafflecopter giveaway Now check out all of the other giveaways you can enter at the links below!


Weekly Reading Recap

Good morning. Well, it's been a slow week here at My Book Retreat. I didn't manage to post at all. Sorry about that! I think BBAW wore me out the week before! As usual, I have several books to write reviews for, so I really should have done a few last week. Maybe this will be the week to get caught up!

Once again, I put aside the review book I've been trying to read. I'm starting think this one may need to be put aside indefinitely. I just can't seem to get into it, despite all the good reviews I've seen for it. Instead, I've been busy reading a very funny middle grade book that I picked up at the library on a whim: The Hero's Guide to Saving your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. It's quite entertaining.

My husband is still reading Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins. It's pretty funny to hear his predictions about what's going to happen since I already know what's really going to happen!

My son finished Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane by S…

Weekly Reading Recap

Good morning. I hope you've had a good week. I had a very busy week. First up was Book Blogger Appreciation week. Here's a recap of the posts I wrote for that:
Showing my appreciation to frequent commentersInterview with Melissa at The Betty and Boo ChroniclesBook Review of The Mine by John A. Heldt As far as reading goes, I put aside the review book I had and got completely immersed in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn this week. What a messed up story that is! I really liked it though. I'm glad it lived up to the hype, in my opinion.

I am amazed to announce that my husband has been reading for the first time in years. He read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins last week, and is now reading Catching Fire. This was all prompted by the movie, which he didn't like when we first saw it in the theater, but has grown on him since we bought it and have watched it a few more times.

My son finished The Genius Files #2: Never Say Genius by Dan Gutman. He's now reading Gregor and…

BBAW #4: Book Review: The Mine by John A. Heldt

Yesterday's prompt for Book Blogger Appreciation Week was to highlight a book you think needs more recognition. Unfortunately I didn't manage to get this up yesterday, but better late than never, right?

I chose The Mine by John A. Heldt. This is a book that I read recently but haven't reviewed yet. I figured I'd publish my review as my answer to yesterday's BBAW topic. The Mine is a good example of why I accept review copies from self-published authors.

Like many authors, John Heldt sent me an email out of the blue, asking me to consider reading and reviewing his book. I read the summary and some of the online reviews and decided to take a chance on his novel. And then it sat in my Nook for three months before I finally got around to reading it! This is a typical situation for me. But now that I've read it, I'm so glad I did!


The Mine is a bit sci-fi in that it involves time travel. But in essence, it is really historical fiction ~ some would say historical…

BBAW Day 2: Interview with Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles

Today's theme at Book Blogger Appreciation Week is an interview swap. I had the honor of interviewing Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles. Check it out!

Q. What was your inspiration for starting your blog? Is that still the main reason you blog or have you changed your focus over time?

A. Initially, it was a combination of three things. We were living two hours away from our family at the time (and since everyone in our family typically lives within 20 minutes of each other and always has), I needed a way to keep our family updated on all the little things going on in the kids' lives. Additionally, I was reading several "autism mom" blogs, and they inspired me to write about our family's journey and Boo's progress. (He has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism.) Finally, I wanted to start writing again ... and blogging gave me that.

Since then, the focus has definitely changed - so much so that I have recently given serious thought to changing the blo…

Weekly Reading Recap

I'm very late with my weekly recap this week, but I had a busy day at work and then had a Book Blogger Appreciation post to write!

I've had a busy week on the blog. It started with a review of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos. Then I also posted a guest blog by Vernikos.

I wrote about some upcoming blog events, and I posted that BBAW appreciation post I mentioned above. Tomorrow I'll be interviewing Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles, and she'll be interviewing me.

As far as reading goes, I finished The 13th Target by Mark de Castrique, which was an interesting thriller.

My son is still reading The Genius Files #2: Never Say Genius by Dan Gutman. He also read The Secret of the Fortune Wookie by Tom Angleberger. He's really enjoying both of these series.

Currently Reading
I'm now  reading Play Him Again by Jeffrey Stone. I also started reading Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, which I have on my phone so I've been reading it when I'm stuck som…

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Showing My Appreciation

Today is the start of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, and the daily theme for today is Appreciation. We're asked to share the book blogs we read on a regular basis and why we read them. But I have to admit that I am rather sporadic in my blog reading and commenting. Every year I set a goal to get better at it, and every year I seem to fall short.

So today I wanted to show my appreciation to those bloggers who seem to have this whole reading and commenting thing down. These are bloggers who consistently comment on my blog. Most of them visit and comment at least once a week. And I don't have a lot of opportunity to show my appreciation to them for that. So that's what I'm doing today. These are all great blogs that I highly recommend you check out!

Sue at Book by Book
Nise at Under the Boardwalk
Marce at Tea Time with Marce
LindyLouMac at LindyLouMac's Book Reviews
Lindsey at Literary Lindsey
Lori at Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book
Thank you to all of you for…

Upcoming Book Blogger Events

September is a busy month in the world of book bloggers. Last year, I didn't really participate in the two big events that take place during this month: Book Blogger Appreciation Week and Bloggiesta. But this year I plan to. So here's some information in case you'd like to join me!



Book Blogger Appreciation Week starts next Monday and runs from September 10 - 14. It's all about appreciation and community building within the book blogger community. There are daily blog topics, which I hope to participate in, and also an interview swap. This year, I'm interviewing Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles!



Next up is Bloggiesta, which I really need! This is a weekend event (Sept 28 - 30) during which bloggers can spend time doing all those little things they need to do on their blogs but never get around to doing. Bloggiesta is hosted by There's a Book and It's All About Books. Here are some things they say you can do during this event: to spend time that weekend…

Guest Post: Dr. Joan Vernikos on the Importance of Everday Movement

Today, I'm featuring a guest post by Dr. Joan Vernikos, author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals. I reviewed her book yesterday (read my review). Now, she shares a some thoughts on the importance of movement in everyday life.

Are you worried about your health or that of someone dear to you? Look no further. Helpful solutions are at hand.

The deteriorating health epidemic in the US has been attributed to too much sitting. Modern technologies and the conveniences they have afforded have accelerated this trend by encouraging, sometimes requiring us to sit for long hours at a stretch. We sit in our cars or commuting, at our desk or meetings and in front of the TV or computer when we get back home. These long hours of sitting are now shown to increase the risk of breast and colon cancer.  They have been shown to lead to a broad variety of other health disorders as well. Regular traditional exercise alone has not reversed, nor prevented this downward trend in health in people who, like mos…

Book Review: Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Dr. Joan Vernikos

Astronauts suffer a great deal of physical deterioration when in space. They lose bone density rapidly. Their muscles become weaker. Their immune systems are suppressed. Their sleep is disturbed. Many of the symptoms experienced by astronauts are similar to those associated with aging on Earth. It seems the absence of gravity that causes physical harm in space is often replicated on Earth by lack of physical activity. When we live a sedentary lifestyle, we are not using gravity to our advantage. This is the focus of Dr. Joan Vernikos's book Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How Simple Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death - and Exercise Alone Won't.

Vernikos devotes half of her book to the science behind the effects of gravity and its relationship to the sedentary lifestyle common in today's world on Earth. Many modern advances have provided conveniences that mean we don't have to get up and exert ourselves as much as our ancestors did. While techno…

Weekly Reading Recap

Good morning! I hope all my US friends are enjoying this Labor Day. It's cloudy and dreary here, so I'm very glad we spent a few hours at the pool on Saturday before this rainy weather arrived. We aren't planning any cookouts today, but we are happy that my husband is returning from a hunting trip with his friend. He's been gone since Friday, which means I've been doing a ton of reading! That's the one benefit of being left home alone with the kids for three nights!

I read two books this past week. First was The Mine by John A. Heldt, which I really loved. It's a mix of time travel and historical romance. Although I have a backlog of reviews to write, I am thinking of writing this one up this week while it's fresh in my mind.

The other book I read is Sitting Kills, Moving Heals by Joan Vernikos. I'll be posting that review tomorrow for the book tour, and then I have a guest post from the author going up on Wednesday.

My son finished Justin Case: Sc…

What My Child Is Reading

I haven't written about what my daughter, M, has been reading in a while, so I thought I'd share some of the books she's been reading lately. We have gotten back into a routine of visiting the library just about weekly, so we've been getting new books to read.

One of the series she has been enjoying is The Pet Club series by Gwendolyn Hooks. This is a very cute set of books that are around mid-1st grade reading level. They are what I consider just-right books for M. She needs help with one or two words in each book, but otherwise is able to read the stories on her own. All of the books in this series feature the same characters, a set of kids with pets who have to solve a mystery. This week, we have The Cat Food Mystery. Someone is stealing Kayla's cat's food and the Pet Club needs to find out who is doing it. M really enjoys this series. The illustrations take up most of each page, and are vibrant and fun. The only issue I have is that there are several names…