Wednesday, May 30, 2012

To Die For by Sandra Byrd(Re-Read) AND A GIVEAWAY for The Secret Keeper

My Rating: 5/5 stars, of course!

My Thoughts:

As much as I loved reading To Die For the first time, I gained an even greater appreciation for it the second time around. There were plenty of little details that I'd forgotten, or missed. I really don't know why I don't make time to re-read more books! It's always such a great experience.

While I still can't say that the Tudor period is my favorite, I am fascinated by it. I'd once mentioned that the Christian books during this time period don't show the true scandal of the time(which was not a complaint). After my re-read, though, I was wrong! I very much get a picture of the scandal, but it is done in a cleaner form, which I'm always grateful for! I also still appreciate getting to see Anne's life from a different perspective. She's quite often portrayed in a negative way. It's great to see her in a more positive light. After reading The Secret Keeper, I take back my "scandal" comment even more. Wow! You really get even more of a picture of the times in it. (more on that next week, though).

To see my first post about To Die For, click HERE.

I HIGHLY(!!) recommend this series! The historical value alone makes them worth reading, but the entertainment and awesome writing just add to the experience.

Now for the giveaway!

Description from Amazon:

The author of To Die For returns to the court of Henry VIII as a young woman is caught between love and honor. Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father's business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr.
Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his concerns with Juliana's father's estate and sees instantly that Juliana would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in Parr's household for "finishing" and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly.
For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king's daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence.
As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII's court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will undo everything she holds dear.

I was sent an extra copy of The Secret Keeper, so I'm giving it to one of you. My post goes up next week on the 6th, so I'll end it at midnight that day. I'll announce the winner in that post.


-U.S. only
-Must be 13 years or older.

Mandatory Entry:

Just leave me a comment with your spam-free e-mail.

Extra Entry:

Advertise in any kind of way, and leave me a link.

That's it! :)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Top Ten Books That Caught My Attention in May

Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo

The sad thing about this one is that I was offered it for review through Amazon Vine, and I passed. Yes, I'm mad at myself! But, I've comforted myself with the fact that I would have gotten an ARC, which doesn't have the map in it. I can just wait until all three of them are out before reading and I won't have to wait for two years to see what happens. I can also plan to get the final copies that actually have the map, which I'd like to see. Yes, I'm still mad at myself. ;)

Enna Isilee @ Squeaky Books


The Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani

Yet another one that I was offered, and I passed. I honestly didn't think this one would be clean, and I didn't want to risk it. It is clean, though, and I'm a hugely disappointed that I passed. It's not like I don't have a TON of great books waiting on me, though! I DO plan on reading this one at some point, Lord willing!

Laura @ Library of Clean Reads


I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend by Cora Harrison

Compass Book Ratings


Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes


The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors

I saw this one somewhere along the line during a fairy tale giveaway hop. I'm even going to add the description, because it sounds so different!

Emmeline Thistle has always had a mysterious bond with cows, beginning on the night of her birth, when the local bovines saved the infant cast aside to die in the forest. But Emmeline was unaware that this bond has also given her a magical ability to transform milk into chocolate, a very valuable gift in a kingdom where chocolate is more rare and more precious than gold or jewels. Then one day Owen Oak, a dairyman’s son, teaches Emmeline to churn milk into butter—and instead she creates a delicious chocolate confection that immediately makes her a target for every greedy, power-hungry person in the kingdom of Anglund. Only Owen loves Emmeline for who she truly is, not her magical skill. But is his love enough to save her from the danger all around her?

In a departure from her contemporary teen romances, Suzanne Selfors crafts an irresistible re-imagined fairy tale that will tempt readers with a delicious story of love that is sweeter than the richest chocolate. (from Amazon)

That just sounds SO unique that I've GOT to read it! It probably doesn't hurt that Grasshopper still has his "cow" obsession, so cows(not real) are a big part of our lives right now. ;)


The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

The second book in this series is coming out in July, but it's listed as most commonly bought with "Fifty Shades of Grey"(not linking on purpose) That alone will cause me to do a GREAT DEAL of looking around as far as content. Has anybody read The Magnolia League?


Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Jill @ The O.W.L.


Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Cook from Scratch -- Over 120 Recipes for the Best Homemade Foods by Jennifer Reese

I'd already saw this one at some point and put it on my wishlist. I removed it one night when I was clearing out my list, and the VERY next morning, I put it back on after seeing Bekah's post.

Bekah @ BekahCubed

Alice @ Supratentorial


My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Although I did see this cover before the old one, I like it SO much better! I'm excited for the author that they changed it. It sounds like a fun read.


A Woman's Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything by Lydia Brownback

Carrie mentioned this one in passing one day, but I'm already excited for it. I really like Proverbs and I'd love to do a deeper study in there! I'm pretty sure I put another Proverbs book on my list last month, too.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

Bloomsbury USA Childrens (April 17, 2007) 337 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Description from Amazon:

Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.

Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

My Thoughts:

I seem to be having the hardest time coming up with things to say about the books I read these days! I think I'm suffering from a huge case of "mommy brain"!

It's been a couple of weeks since I read Princess Academy, but I liked it. It's one that I will keep just in case we end up with a little girl. I like the young reader books that offer lessons in a discreet way. There's action, adventure, a bit of magic, a prince, and of course, a tiny touch of romance. It was just a perfect book for the little princesses out there. It teaches the value of friends and family, treating those we don't overly like with respect and kindness, and even the value of education.

I think I remember Miri being 16 in the story, but I imagine it's a story that will most likely appeal more to younger girls,(pre-tween and tween-ish). I'm not saying it can't be enjoyed by older folks, but it does have an overall aura that would appeal more to younger girls.

I have to send you over to Homespun Light to see her little girl's reaction to this book. So sweet!

*Princess Academy: Palace of Stone (the sequel) comes out in August, just in case that might interest you.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday's Fave Five #12

Friday's Fave Five is hosted by Living to Tell the Story. It's a great way for me to stay on the positive side, and remember both the big and little blessings in life.

1. Our roof is fixed.

I'm very grateful to both my daddy and Jonathan for getting up there and fixing it! A big patch of shingles were gone when we woke up one morning, and there were shingles blown all over the yard. It had resulted in our dining room ceiling leaking when it rained. While our house isn't big at all(by American standards), it is a two-story and the roof is very steep. It took a few attempts and using some tricks to make the job safer, but they got it done, and I'm very grateful! (Jonathan's dad has fell off a roof in the past and broke his back, so "roof-fixing" is a very dangerous job).

2. Jonathan fixed our printer.

I'm pretty proud of him! He kept working at it, and got it fixed, so we don't have to buy a new one right now. I really like our old printer, so I'm extremely grateful Jonathan saved it and the money we would have lost on a new one.

3. A new microwave.

I SO didn't want to buy a new one, by the way. Our old one just randomly started doing some magic tricks earlier this week when I turned it on. It was very scarey, so I turned that thing off and we didn't mess with it. It's had a good life, though. It's the same one we got when we first got married(7 years). It was a lesson for me to realize just how much I use the microwave in an average day. Going without one will teach you real quick. Our new one cooks EVEN quicker! I'm amazed and grateful!

4. Teachers that love Grasshopper.

Monday, we had the final meeting of the year to go over progress and all. With their testing, he got an average age of 1 year, 11 months. (His real age is 3 years, 7 months). They don't think(we don't either) that's a true number, because he won't talk for them as much as he does at home. It was still a tough number to hear, either way. I can tell they really love him, though, and that makes me happy.

5. Tot packs!

Since the whole "copyright" issue came up with Pinterest, I haven't done any pinning. (I've been meaning to clear out my boards and only do pins from websites that WANT you to pin their stuff, but I haven't yet). I do still hunt for things I need/want, though. For all the mothers out there willing to do free tot packs...a huge THANK YOU! We've really been working with Grasshopper using these packs. At his meeting, we learned about a few more things that he's having trouble with, so I went searching for more tot packs. I spent last night printing, laminating, and cutting. He really likes the variety, I think.

Also, a huge THANKS to Creative Madness Momma for organizing all these tot packs on her boards so wonderfully!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's on my Nightstand-June

What's On Your Nightstand

What's on Your Nightstand is hosted by 5 Minutes for Books every 4th Tuesday of the month.

Since last month's post, I've read:

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale(haven't posted yet)

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

Sixty Acres and A Bride by Regina Jennings

Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn by Sandra Byrd(re-read and haven't posted yet)

East by Edith Pattou

The Girl in Blue by P.G. Wodehouse

Quiet by Susan Cain(although this one involved some skimming)

For this month, I have planned:

I need to finish The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

That post needs to go up by Friday, so I probably need to finish it today!

The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr by Sandra Byrd

I really want to get back in this one today. It's one I've been HIGHLY anticipating, and so far it's just as wonderful as I had hoped. The past couple of days haven't provided the most reading time. :P "sigh" I really do need to finish Tom Sawyer for the bookclub, though.

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Elwell Hunt

This one so far reminds me very slightly of The Mitford Series by Jan Karon, which is one of my ALL-TIME favorite series.

The Blood Sugar Solution: The UltraHealthy Program for Losing Weight, Preventing Disease, and Feeling Great Now! by Mark Hyman

I've already read a little bit in this one, too. Now if only I could put it all into dairy, no white sugar, no white flour.....yeah, easy peasy! (I know lots of people already do this and I admire them)!

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren

This one sounds really good from the description!

She's Got Issues: Seriously Good News for Stressed-Out, Secretly Scared Control Freaks Like Us by Nicole Unice

The "Time-Permits" Pile:

The rest of these are non-review books, so while I know I there's no way I'll be able to get to all of them, they are the ones I most want to read right now(other than my review books). As time permits, I'll most likely pick from this pile to read.

The Mysterious Benedict Society Series by Trenton Lee Stewart

I hope to at least read book 2. I won copies of The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict for both me AND my library, so I'm really excited about that!

River of Time Series by Lisa Tawn Bergren

I finally got all three of these books, so I'm ready to dive in. I have to admit that I started reading Waterfall several months back, I didn't like it. I didn't get very far, to be fair. SO many of my blogging friends(with ALL different kinds of reading tastes) LOVE this series, though, so I really don't have any doubt at this point that it will grow on me when I give it a better chance! I'm really looking forward to it.

A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter(the June Bookclub pick)

The Swan Kingdom by Zoe Marriot(That's not the cover I have, but it's so pretty, I have to use it).

Promise Me This by Kathy Golhke