Book Review and GIVEAWAY(US/Canada): “Sweet Tooth” by Tim Anderson

Jun 26, 2014 by

Book Review and GIVEAWAY(US/Canada): "Sweet Tooth" by Tim AndersonThis is such a funny memoir!  This takes us through almost 15 years of Tim Anderson’s life – but they are big years.  They are the years in which this North Carolina teen starts to think that he might be gay, embraces the church as a way to somehow counter-act his sexuality (and maybe go on a retreat with some really cute college guys), and is diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – which was obviously God’s way of punishing him for being gay.  He eventually comes around to realizing that God is not punishing him, that the Church is not going to balance out his gayness, and that the music of this time period (late 80s to early 90s) was awesome.  Yes, I love Morrissey and the Smiths too.

I really liked Tim’s sense of humor throughout the book.  Even when he has become comfortable with himself, but doesn’t necessarily have potential love interests knocking down his door – you feel bad for him and then he says something a little profound, maybe, but mostly sarcastic and funny.  He’s being really honest about what he was going through, what he was thinking, and how it shaped him – and he is really funny to boot!

Also, I learned quite a bit about diabetes and what diabetics go through on a daily basis.  I really had no idea at all – other than I once saw a woman have an attack at the beach when her sugar got too low – but that’s it.  I’m glad to have this new knowledge.  Oh, and the music!  So many of my old favorites are talked about here that I want to go and listen to again!  Such fun!

The bottom line here is that this is a great memoir that I think will appeal mostly to 25-40 year olds who can remember/relate to the numerous pop culture references.  This would also be of interest to those who enjoy love stories – though heavy on the trials and tribulations of finding love, not necessarily about being in love.

Now this is exciting – I can giveaway a copy of SWEET TOOTH!  Only US or Canadian addresses will be accepted.  I’m using this Rafflecopter form for the first time in a very very long time – I hope I didn’t screw it up!  Good Luck everyone 🙂

*****TLC Logo
Sweet Tooth
by Tim Anderson
Lake Union, 2014
319 pages
Source:  Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

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Announcing…. Back to the Classics Challenge 2013!!

Dec 26, 2013 by

Announcing.... Back to the Classics Challenge 2013!!

You asked for it….   so here you go!  I am now formally announcing the Back to the Classics Challenge 2013!!  This is the third year in a row for this challenge, and I hope that you are ready!
I am making a few small changes this year, including requiring less categories to complete.  Wait, did I say *requiring*?  Yes, I did.  This year will feature 6 required  categories that all participants must complete.  Then, I will have additional categories that those super-motivated participants can choose to complete if they’d like.  All reviews must be linked on the appropriate pages again, and those will be listed on the left hand side of this page.  When you’ve finished, you will also need to link a wrap-up post.  Everyone who completes the 6 required categories and the wrap up post will be entered to win a $30US Amazon.com gift card or choice of book(s) from The Book Depository.  Any one who completes 3 categories from the optional list will earn one additional entry into the prize drawing.  Any one who completes all 5 categories from the optional list will earn two additional entries into the prize drawing.
  • All books must be read in 2013.  Books started prior to January 1, 2013 are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2013.
  • E-books and audio books are eligible!  Books can count for other challenges you may be working on.
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicly accessible online format.
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE SEPTEMBER 1, 2013. Please link to your sign-up announcement post (if possible/applicable)
  • You do not have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it is more fun that way 🙂  You can always change your list at any time.  You can read the books in any order (including mixing in the optional categories at any time)
  • You can decide to attempt the optional categories at any point (you can also bow out of the optional categories at any point as well).
  • Please identify the categories you’ve read in your wrap up post so that I may easily add up your entries for the prize drawing!
 
THE CATEGORIES:
The Required Categories:
  1. A 19th Century Classic
  2. A 20th Century Classic
  3. A Pre-18th or 18th Century Classic
  4. A Classic that relates to the African-American Experience – This can be an African-American author, or a book relating to slavery, civil rights, or African-American culture.
  5. A Classic Adventure
  6. A Classic that prominently features an Animal – This can feature animal characters or animals in the title (real or imagined)
Optional Categories:
    A.  Re-read a Classic
   B.  A Russian Classic
   C.  A Classic Non-Fiction title
   D.  A Classic Children’s/Young Adult title
   E.  Classic Short Stories – collection must include at least 3 short stories by the same author, or at 
                                              least 3 stories collected together by genre, time period, etc.
As in years past, I just want to take a moment and let you know that especially for the purposes of this challenge, I do not subscribe to any set definition of a Classic. I think that anyone looking to participate in this challenge already has their own personal definition that works best for them.  If you are choosing to include a title that you feel may be questionably described as a Classic, please just explain your position in your review.
As always, I hope you have fun with this Challenge!  Good Luck!
Sign up here:
1. Sarah Reads Too Much 38. Amara @ Amara’s Eden 75. Kirsten
2. Annette @ Impressions In Ink 39. Courtney @ Chaos Theory 76. Lady In [email protected] My RandRSpace
3. Sha Re Kay @ Lost In Kudzu 40. Kristin @ Lukten av Trykksverte 77. Sarah @ Coffee & Tea
4. Tanya @ Mom’s Small Victories 41. Samarpita Sharma 78. t It An IUm Apr Il
5. Adam Stone 42. Elida 79. Whitney (She Is Too Fond Of Books)
6. James McShane 43. Hanna @ Booking In Heels 80. Christine @Buckling Bookshelves
7. Maggie Reed 44. Susan @ Reading World 81. Shan
8. Bill Jones, Jr. 45. Jim @ Several Four Many 82. Matt @ Matt’s Book blog
9. Beth 46. Brandyn @ Going for Goldilocks 83. Irish @ Ticket to Anywhere
10. Allie @ A Literary Odyssey 47. Anastasia @ Birdbrain( ed) Book Blog 84. Indiana Jane
11. Adam @ Roof Beam Reader 48. Heather @ Capricious Reader 85. Julie @ Books Are Portable Magic
12. Hezzy 49. Mary Beth @ Research Boring? Not in My Book 86. Dana @ School For Us
13. [email protected] Tale of Three Cities 50. Jean @ Howling Frog 87. Leah Smith
14. Gina @ Book Dragon’s Lair 51. Summer Wathen 88. Ape the Grape
15. Sue Wargo 52. Manno 89. Logan E. Turner
16. Fanda @ Fanda Classiclit 53. Elida @ My first, my last, my everything! 90. Kimberly @Inspirefly
17. Melisa @ Surgabukuku 54. Jo Anne Isgro 91. Morwen
18. Wendy Kirkland 55. TFrances @ Ms. Buff’s Blog 92. Chrissi
19. Erica @ Ink Spots and Roses 56. Becky @ Becky’s Book Reviews 93. Asha @ Asha’s Literary Corner
20. Aliene Believe 57. Alyssa @ ACReads 94. Lisa @Bibliophiliac
21. Cat @ Tell Me A Story 58. Amanda Sue 95. Emily @ Classics and Beyond
22. [email protected] Reader’s Block 59. Story 96. [email protected] Carrot and the Reader
23. Christina 60. Heather @ Ex Libris 97. Leah @ Japan Journal
24. Arenel @ Slightly Cultural, Most Thoughtful and Inevitably Irrelevant 61. bmwheelon 98. Karen @ Books and Chocolate
25. Monica @ Between The Pages 62. Pia @ Kulturkroken 99. The Reader
26.  nica @ A Thousand Lives 63. Hannah @ once Upon A Time 100. Retha @ Bible Fascination
27. Joyful Reader 64. Dalene @ A Date with a Book 101. Maenad
28. Darlene @ Darlene’s Book Nook 65. Gretchen 102. Andrea
29. Melissa @ Avid Reader’s Musings 66. Rob @ Loose Logic 103. Mabel Jane
30. Andi @ Random Thoughts of a Scriboholic 67. JaneGS – Reading, Writing, Working, Playing 104. Laura S.
31. Geoff @ The Oddness of Moving Things 68. Ashley @ The Bibliophile’s Corner 105. Beverly Stuart
32. Melissa @ Must Read Faster 69. Melissa @ Jayne’s Books 106. Alexis
33. Rachel @ Resistance is Futile 70. Kristina @Kristina Yarn 107. Alexis @ Lexi Swoons < 3
34. Risa @Breadcrumb Reads 71. Alouette 108. Col Reads
35. Alpa @ 1 More Page Please 72. Kristi @ Books and Needlepoint 109. Chimpini
36. Alyssa @ The Reader’s Refuge 73. Srivalli 110. veronica
37. Lindsey @ Babies, Books, and Beyond 74. [email protected] Mogul Diamonds 111. You’re next!
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Book Review: “Pushing the Limits” by Katie McGarry

Nov 26, 2013 by

Book Review: "Pushing the Limits" by Katie McGarryAt one time, it seemed like Echo had everything.  She was pretty, smart, had amazing artistic talent and was dating the basketball star.  But then something happened, and Echo just isn’t the same – she’s considered to be more of a freak than anything.  And now she has terrible scars up and down her arms that she hides from everyone, and has no memory of how they got there.

Noah had everything going for him too – until a house fire made him and his two younger brothers orphans.  The foster care system has split Noah from his brothers and he wants to do everything he can to get them back and in his custody after he graduates.  But the system, and life just gets him down and he tunes out to partying, drugs, and one night stands.

Echo and Noah are thrust together courtesy of their high school counselor…  and they help each other in more ways than they ever could have hoped.

So, my book bully friend has been telling me about this book for such a long time…  and I finally got the chance to read it.  I use the term “read’ loosely here – it is more like I devoured it!  I just couldn’t put it down!  Echo and Noah really took me by surprise…  I didn’t realize just how involved I was getting in their story until something really intense happened to Echo, and I found myself holding my breath.  And there were tears.  Smiles and laughter too – plenty of that as well.  It is really just emotional all over, and I loved it.  I really did.

Echo and Noah have had such different experiences, and tell their stories in alternating point of view narration.  Their individual histories help them really understand each other on such a deep level – a true connection.  But there is so much that can get in their way!  They also each have their own set of loyal and trustworthy friends, and their counselor is awesome.  These people become crucial to their overcoming their individual obstacles, and the way that it all plays out is incredible.  This was really much better than I expected, and I am so glad I read it!  I will absolutely read on in the series, as the next two books follows the story of different characters introduced here.

*****
Pushing the Limits
by Katie McGarry
Harlequin Teen, 2012
391 pages
Series:  Pushing the Limits #1
Source:  Purchased New
*****
Links for purchase:

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Audio Book Review: “Animal Farm” by George Orwell

Aug 26, 2013 by

Audio Book Review: "Animal Farm" by George OrwellMan, I love this book.  Even the first time I read it in English class years ago – I loved it.  I mean, it is pure genius.  I love this cover too…  Even though I downloaded the audio from my library and didn’t get to see it firsthand, the graphic is good enough here.  It certainly doesn’t make much question as to what the book is about, does it?

If you somehow are not familiar with the story line, Animal Farm is a tale based in the Russian Revolution, only instead of human Russians overthrowing the governing party – it is the British animals of Manor Farm.  These animals cast out the drunken leadership of Farmer Jones and his wife and assume control, renaming the property Animal Farm.  They begin to rule themselves with a very pure idea of socialism, and seven governing principles (among them “Four legs good; Two legs bad”).  But it doesn’t take long for the pigs to rise above the other animals, and for Comrade Napoleon to become the overall leader.  The pigs become increasingly more corrupt, and the uneducated masses of other animals allow it until, finally, the pigs even start to resemble the humans they replaced in the first place.

The way the characters are developed is fascinating.  To watch the pigs slowly transform themselves into “more than” the rest of the animals is something to behold.  The way they manipulate the others, and how we can see humans do the same thing even now is just genius.  I think my favorite character of all is Squealer the Pig.  He is the one who spreads the propaganda and further’s Napoleon’s cause and influence over the animals.  I love the way he just changes history and gets the others to believe him…. believing more in him than their own memories.  Is this a good (as in positive) character?  Not at all – but I admire his boldness.  Whenever the text announced Squealer’s presence in a scene, I’d smile because I knew something interesting/appalling/crazy was about to happen.  And I could picture him hopping from feet to feet while he was spinning his tales.

I’m so glad I experienced this one again…  I remembered it as being good, but I had forgotten just HOW good it really is!
*****
Animal Farm
by George Orwell
Narrated by Ralph Cosham
Blackstone Audio, 1999.  First published 1945.
Source:  Library
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Book Review: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum

Nov 26, 2012 by

“We’re off to see the Wizard…  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz!”

This is one of my all time favorite movies.  I have always loved it – and remember fondly when it would be shown on television once a year.  My family would turn it into an event with popcorn and my brother and I were allowed to stay up late.  Technology being what it is today, I own the DVD and watch it often with my kids (or maybe by myself.  I’m not ashamed.)  I’d always wanted to read the original book, but just never got around to it.  Until now.  This is pretty much the general rule, so I was not particularly surprised.   The story is pretty much what you think it is:  a little girl and her dog get caught up in a tornado, which brings them from their mundane life in plain Kansas to a magical world.  Now in this unfamiliar land, she meets up with a Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and a Cowardly Lion with whom she travels to find the Great Wizard of Oz to have their wishes granted.  Along the way, they meet with Wicked Witches, Good Witches, Flying Monkeys, and Munchkins.

Book Review: "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank BaumIn the book, they meet many other curious creatures which add to the adventure.  Other major differences?  (Here is where I’ll start mentioning spoilers)  I always kind of loved that in the movie, the Scarecrow, etc. were imagined versions of people Dorothy knew in Kansas.  Also that her whole adventure was when she was out cold unconscious after being hit in the head during the tornado.  However, in the book, this just isn’t the case.  The world of Oz is real, and real time passes while Dorothy is there – enough time for Uncle Henry to build a new farmhouse, to replace the one presumably still sitting in Munchkinland.  This really is a huge difference, and makes the entire story more of a fantasy, and not just a dream.  Does that make sense?  Also, I really liked that the book made reference to the fact that Dorothy needed to sleep and eat during her long journey on the yellow brick road.  Many people are also put off a bit that Dorothy’s shoes are silver and not ruby as in the movie.  But you have to remember that when the movie was released in 1939 – it was one of the first to be in color, and ruby slippers look way more impressive than silver.  On a much smaller note – The Flying Monkeys used to scare me in the movie, but I like them much more in the book.

I also just wanted to mention that I listened to most of this as an audio book, narrated by Anne Hathaway.  She did a great job, though some of her “voices” for characters were somewhat interesting!

*****
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
Originally published 1900
Narrated by Anne Hathaway
Series:  Oz #1
Kindle/Audible version
Source:  Purchased New
*****
Links for purchase:


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Amazon
The Book Depository

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