"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Monday, August 30, 2010

What are you reading (13)?

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event now hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books. It's helpful way to take a look at what you have read and what you want to read!

I am so excited to say that I actually read TWO books this weekend! After almost four months of not really picking up anything, this was quite an accomplishment for me. Plus I've already put up both reviews and picked out another few books I'm hoping to focus on this week!

As for the rest of life, the office is still an office. Hubby and I just can't seem to find the time to move out the desk and bookcase and take down the day bed. Plus, I have to move two other bookcases in the "library" to make room for this one. It's definitely a weekend project and we just haven't found a weekend to get it done! I'm hoping once the weather cools a bit and stuff outside slows done we'll be a bit more motivated to tear the house apart. Once everything is moved out hubby can get the paint done, and we can get the baby furniture out of the other rooms in the house.

Other than that, life has been pretty easy going. Mostly work and family. This weekend was beautiful and I found myself canning peppers for the first time. Hubby and I did it together and we're quite excited with the turn out. I used my grandpa's recipe so I'm hoping the are just as yummy as I remember. All the peppers were fresh from our garden and I'm pretty proud of all we accomplished!

Now back to the books. This week I read:
  1. The Last Song - Nicholas Sparks: Amazing read, and amazing movie!
  2. The Choice - Nicholas Sparks: Powerful and heartbreaking read

I'm definitely on a Sparks kick and I'm going to continue to read a bit of his back list this coming week. There's six books of his that I have yet to read:

  1. The Wedding
  2. True Believer
  3. At First Sight
  4. The Rescue
  5. Message in a Bottle
  6. A Bend in the Road

I'm hoping to read another two of these this coming week!

Hope everyone has a wonderful week and happy reading :)

Review: The Choice

Title: The Choice
Author: Nicholas Sparks
Pages: 272
Rating: 4/5

Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life -- boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies -- he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him...and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn't help. Despite himself, Travis can't stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, The Choice ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive (nicholassparks.com)?

I'm obviously on a Nicholas Sparks kick this weekend. I started this one this morning and finished it around mid afternoon, in between making lunch and cleaning the whole house.

I really enjoyed The Choice. The main characters Travis and Gabby are easy people to like and I found myself rooting for them to fall in love and make the right decisions. One of the best parts of this book is the direction that Sparks takes with it. While you are thinking one thing is happening, it so happens that something completely different is going on. It was a real jaw dropper and at that point I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

One of the greatest things about Sparks books are the deep, intimate and romantic connections between the main characters. Sparks manages to write books that have such a strong love story in the central, that the reader can't help but feel the same emotions as the characters involved. I guess in a way, you could say his books are a bit "cheesy" but its the kind of "cheesy" that I often find impossible to put down.

Being married, I really could understand the struggles that Travis and Gabby faced. It really helped make the story even more real, and again I found myself closing the book with tears in my eyes. I think Nicholas Sparks's wife is probably one of the luckiest woman on the planet, especially if he is anything like his characters.

I have a few more Sparks books from his back list that I've yet to read. Since they seem to be holding my interest right now I might just give them a try.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Review: The Last Song

Title: The Last Song
Author: Nicolas Sparks
Pages: 390
Rating: 5/5

Seventeen year-old Veronica “Ronnie” Miller’s life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father… until her mother decides it would be in everyone’s best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie’s father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story about love in its myriad forms – first love, the love between parents and children – that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that deeply felt relationships can break our hearts… and heal them (nicholassparks.com)

I've been watching the previews for this movie for some time now, and I'll be honest, I wanted to see it only for the fact that I thought the male lead was absolutely adorable. Wednesday night I went to the local Red Box and had the movie in my hot little hands. Since that night, I've watched the movie three times and completely devoured the book. This story really touched me...it may just be the pregnancy hormones, but I truly cannot stop thinking about this story.

The Last Song tells the story of Ronnie, a young seventeen year old, that is struggling to find her place in the world. Forced to spend the summer with her father, whom she hasn't spoken with in three years, Ronnie is angry and uncomfortable in the new environment. However, things begin to change when Ronnie meets Will, a good athlete from a rich family that soons finds himself falling hard for Ronnie.

The book was told in four parts. We hear the story through Ronnie, Will, Ronnie's father Steve, and Marcus - the bad guy of the story. This helps keep the book moving at a quick pace and had me turning pages as quickly as possible. I read the book in practically one sitting, and it is probably one of my favorite books by Sparks. I do recommend reading (and watching the movie) with a big box of tissue because this is definitely a tear jerker.

As with most books, I developed quite the literary crush on Will which was only reinforced when I watched the movie. Her is probably one of the sweetest, kind, and caring young men I have read about in a long time.

So my recommendation is to read the book then see the movie. Don't let the fact that Miley Cyrus plays Ronnie turn you away. She actually does a pretty good job and I never once found her to be annoying :)

Here's the preview for you:

Review: Gods in Alabama

Title: Gods in Alabama
Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Pages: 275
Rating: 4/5

When Arlene Fleet headed off to college in Chicago, she made three promises to God: She would never again lie, she would stop fornicating with every boy who crossed her path, and she'd never, ever go back to her tiny hometown of Possett, Alabama (the "fourth rack of Hell"). All God had to do in exchange was to make sure the body of high school quarterback Jim Beverly was never found.

Ten years later, Arlene has kept her promises, but an old school-mate has recently turned up asking questions. And now Arlene's African American beau has given her a tough ultimatum: introduce him to her family, or he's gone. As she prepares to confront guilt, discrimination, and a decade of deception, Arlene is about to discover just how far she will go to find redemption - and love (joshilynjackson.com).

So its been months since I've finished this book, but I know for a fact I really did enjoy it. This was the first Joshilyn Jackson novel that I've read and I found it to be very entertaining.

The main character of the novel, Arelene lives her life with a huge secret. One summer night, before graduating from high school, Arlene kills the star football player Jim Beverly. Rattled with guilt, Arlene vows never to return home, give up lying, and stops sleeping around. Life is going smoothly until Jim Beverly's ex girlfriend returns and begins asking questions. That's when the mystery really gets good and things start to fall apart everywhere.

Arlene was a wonderfully strong main character, and despite her quirks, she was someone I could really relate too. This was one of those novels that you think about long after you close the last pages. It's definitely a keeper and I'll be reading more of Ms Jackson.

I wish there was more I could say about this, but it's probably been three months since I finished it and my brain is fuzzy, but I can say go read it for yourself. It's really good and I think you'll definitely enjoy it.

Monday, August 23, 2010

What are you reading (12)?

It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event now hosted by One Persons Journey Through a World Of Books. It's helpful way to take a look at what you have read and what you want to read!

Well, considering that my last blog post was in May, one would think that I did tons and tons and tons of reading and just have been too busy to post. However, it's quite the opposite. I have only read one book since the last time I posted (Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson...it was very good and I hope to review it eventually).

So what has been keeping me away from the blogging world one may ask? Well, on May 25th, Hubby and I found out we were expecting our first child!!! As you all may know, this has been a two year struggle for us and we were shocked when the test came back positive. I'm currently 17 weeks pregnant and due on 2/3/2011 :)

It hasn't been the easiest pregnancy. During my first trimester, I developed a subcutaneous hemorrhage between my placenta and uterine wall. I hemorrhaged and bleed out at 6, 8, and 10 weeks. Each time we spent the night in the emergency room but the baby continued to grow and be perfectly fine. I was on bed rest for about six weeks and had trouble concentrating on much of anything. Finally at about 12 weeks the hemorrhage healed and all has been going smoothly since. The doctors are hoping the rest of the pregnancy remains uneventful as do I! I believe the power of prayer is a wonderful thing, and to this day, still believe it is the only thing that got us through that trying time.

My levels of concentration are slowly coming back, and I've been able to sit and read a few magazines lately. I no longer find myself drifting off thinking of fifty other things and I'm not nearly as exhausted as I was. Now if we could only snap our fingers and move all the furniture out of the future nursery things could really improve!

I hope to keep everyone updated in the coming weeks as to what is going on with me, and I hope to read a few books before the baby gets here. We find out what we're having October 1st, and then between my shower, the holidays and year end close at work I'll be a busy (tired :)) girl! Hopefully in the next few weeks I'll be able to post some pictures as we get everything done!

Happy reading to everyone and have a great week!

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