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Showing posts from 2017

Book Review: Second Best (Sweet Valley Twins #16) Created by Francine Pascal

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In an effort to meet my reading challenge on Goodreads.com, Second Best created by Francine Pascal is one of four books I read in the Sweet Valley Twins book series. It is the sixteenth book in the series. 
Growing up, these books targeted kids eight years old up to twelve years old and in third grade through seventh grade. However, I think they have changed the target ages to younger age groups because children are learning to read much earlier and growing up a lot faster than when I was kid.
Second Best (Sweet Valley Twins #16) deals with seventh grader Dylan McKay feeling like he is second best to his younger brother Tom McKay, who is in the sixth grade. Tom is the popular kid who does well at everything he does . . . making friends, playing sports, and getting good grades. When Dylan learns that he hasn't been invited to Kimberly Haver's party, but his brother has, Dylan decides to run away.
The first thing I have to mention that I never noticed until I reread Second Best

Flashback Friday: What Made Me An Avid Reader

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Growing up, I loved it when my mom would read me books. Two of my favorites were The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Corduroy by Don Freeman. When I entered the first grade, teachers started to teach us how to read. I can still picture the text books we were taught from. Throughout elementary school, I preferred picture books to chapter books because I thought they were so much more interesting, and they had pictures to boot!
My teachers and my mom kept trying to get me interested in chapter books, but the books the teachers recommended were absolutely boring to me. My mom introduced me to the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle book series by Betty MacDonald. I liked them a lot more than what my teachers had recommended, but they still didn't pique my interest in actually picking up a chapter book on my own.
During summer vacation between fifth grade and sixth grade, my mom was taking me over to my paternal grandparent's house to visit, and one of their neighbors was having a…

Book Review: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

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I belong to a couple of book clubs, and one of them reads a bit of everything. It's this book club that chose It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover as one of three book selections for the December Book Club Meeting. Normally, we only have two selections, and we can choose to read one of them or both of them. I decided to go with the aforementioned book because it takes place in Boston, Massachusetts, and Boston is one of my favorite cities to visit.
With that being said, I wasn't too sure I'd like this book because we had read another one of Colleen Hoover's books, and it was just okay. Anyways, despite the heavy topics in It Ends With Us, I ended up loving the book. Topics included spousal abuse, accidental death by gun, and homelessness. It does include some graphic scenes, so it may be too upsetting for people to read if they've gone through any of this in their life. At the very end of the novel, the Collen Hoover explains that the book is semi-autobiographical, w…

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer's Stone In Concert

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Approximately six months ago, I decided that I wanted to see the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra perform before the end of the year as I had never attended any of their performances. I began scrolling through their schedule and found out that they would be performing the score of Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone while the audience watched the movie. There were three performances on the evenings of November 30, December 1, and December 2, and so, I reached out to the people I knew were die hard Harry Potter fans to see if they were interested . . . three people committed to December 2 and the tickets were purchased.
As the performance got closer, one of the girls going found out that the University of Georgia would be playing in the SEC Championship game and wanted to throw a football game watching party, and the game was to possibly interfere with our Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performance. She decided she wanted to find someone who would buy her ticket to go with us, so we th…

Flashback Friday: Horseback Summer (Horse Crazy # 1) by Virginia Vail

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Back in October, my local library system, which has 16 libraries throughout the county, had their semi-annual book sale where all proceeds help the library system. I was originally supposed to be in Nashville for the weekend but had to cancel my plans at the last minute, so I decided to go to the library sale instead. Browsing through the books, I came across a book that I loved in middle school called Horseback Summer (Horse Crazy # 1) by Virginia Vail. I didn't even hesitate, I grabbed the book and bought it for old times sake. Now if I can only get my hands on the rest of the series!
There was some drama in my neighborhood earlier this week and knowing that there might be some additional drama tonight, I decided I needed to read something that wouldn't be too dramatic or to difficult to read. It was a perfect time to read Horseback Summer (Horse Crazy # 1). As I began, it was exactly as I remembered and brought back all those fuzzy wuzzy feelings of my childhood.
First and…

Book Review: Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

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When I heard that Paula Hawkins was coming out with another book called Into the Water, I was super excited. I really enjoyed The Girl on the Train so I expected her second novel to be even better. I deliberately stayed away from reviews of Into the Water because I didn't want my mind colored by anyone else's thoughts of the book. However, with that being said, I kept procrastinating on either buying the book or checking it out from the library, so the more chance there was that I'd actually read reviews or hear one of my friends talk about the book before I actually got around to reading it. 
I would have probably procrastinated even more had one of the book clubs I belong to not selected it to discuss in December. I finally bought Into the Water on November 12 while at Target and began reading it that day, but I didn't get too far into it. It just wasn't grabbing my attention. It wasn't until this past Sunday that I started to really dive into it because I w…

Take Me Back Tuesday: Falling in Love Again by Barbara Conklin

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Has a book ever made such an impact on you while growing up that you desperately wanted a sequel? P.S. I Love You (Sweet Dreams, # 1) by Barbara Conklin was one of those books for me. I recently checked out the reviews of this particular book on Goodreads.com, and much to my surprise, a couple of people mentioned that there was a sequel. 
I immediately started looking for Falling In Love Again (Sweet Dreams, # 23) by Barbara Conklin on BarnesAndNoble.com and Amazon.com as these are my go to sites for used books. Both sites said that they were temporarily out of stock, which was the second time I had received a message like this when looking for a used book, and I was starting to panic because I really wanted to know what happened. 
Then, I remembered I had bought a few used books from ThriftBooks.com. I searched their site, and couldn't find the book at first. I changed my search parameters and three copies were available. All three of their copies were only in acceptable conditio…

Take Me Back Tuesday: The Popularity Plan (Sweet Dreams, # 2) by Rosemary Vernon

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During a school book fair in middle school, I stumbled upon a teen romance series called Sweet Dreams. Each book in the series is actually a stand alone book. In addition, each book in the series is written by a different author with many of the authors penning several throughout the years.  I believe the first book I picked up was The Golden Girl (Sweet Dreams, # 169) by Jane Ballard, which was about a teenage girl who wins a contest to become the Trent's Department Store spokesperson. I loved the book and began reading more and more books from the series, which started in 1981. One of the books, The Popularity Plan (Sweet Dreams, # 2) by Rosemary Vernon was one that I desperately wanted to read but had trouble finding. I finally gave up looking in my college years.
Fast forward 15 years . . . buying used books on Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com had become a popular thing, and they were making it easier to find them. ThriftBooks.com was advertising The Popularity Plan (Sweet D…

Book Review: Crooked House by Agatha Christie

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With Crooked House coming out in theaters soon, I knew I had to reread the book before watching the movie, and I was glad that I did. I didn't remember anything about the book going into it, but as I read, bits and pieces started coming back to me. Reader beware . . . this mystery is one of Agatha Christie's stand alone books that is not part of any of her popular detective series . . . so no Hercule Poirot & his little gray cells, no Miss Marple, and no Tommy & Tuppence. Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot series is my favorite so at first I was a bit disappointed that he wasn't in this particular book.
The book begins with the narrator, Charles Hayward, meeting Sophia Leonides in Egypt during the European War, which we know better as World War II. Charles instantly falls in love with Sophia but since it is too soon for him to propose to her, they make plans on meeting in England once the war is over to see if they are both still available and interested in each …

The All Souls Trilogy: Atlanta Conventicle

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Conventicle [kuh n-ven-ti-kuh l] noun
1.  asecretorunauthorizedmeeting,especiallyforreligiousworship,asthoseheldbyProtestantdissentersinEnglandinthe16thand17thcenturies. 2.  aplaceofmeetingorassembly,especiallyaNonconformistmeetinghouse. * Definition & pronunciation from Dictionary.com.  The All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness, which encompasses A Discovery of Witches, Shadow of the Night, and The Book of Life, has a cult following around the world.So much so, that it has a Facebook Group with over 8,000 members from all over the world and is growing every day! The series also has a annual convention that was held in New Orleans in 2017 and is scheduled to be held in Philadelphia in 2018. Those who couldn't attend in person this year were able to attend thanks to live streaming. Many people that were unable to attend either in person or virtually wanted to meet in person, so events started popping up in the Facebook Group. In Nashville, they met at a cool looking tea room and sto…

Book Review: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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Looking at the cover of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, my expectations weren't high going in as it had a similar look and feel to the covers of Emily Giffin books. There is also the fact that many of the people I knew that were raving about Me Before You have completely different taste in books than I do.
The journey you take with the characters is a hard one because it deals with a man, Will Traynor, who is involved in an accident and becomes a quadriplegic. He becomes depressed with his situation and has no desire to live on. Louisa Clark is brought on to be his day to day caregiver and companion by Will's parents in hopes that she will help him change his mind about assisted suicide. Louisa isn't aware of the fact that Will wishes to die until she overhears his mother talking about it with Will's sister. Louisa does some research and plans things for Will to do in hopes he will change his mind.
There are readers out there that feel like Jojo Moyes is telling people th…

Book Review: In The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

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One of the book clubs I belong to decided to read In the Woods by Tana French.  It's the first book in her Dublin Murder Squad series AND her first published book. I'm not really sure what all the fuss is about the book, and I am super surprised it was an Edgar Award Winner.

To begin with, at least 100 pages could have been cut out. I have never seen a mystery book have so little happen for so many pages. On top of that, French rambled on about how the main characters, Detective Adam "Rob" Ryan and Detective Cassie Maddox, were best friends. It seems like she was forcing it a bit. The friendship seemed more like a friendship one would have in high school or college, not an adult friendship. And, of course, she had them sleep together, and she turned Rob into a total ass. He didn't want a relationship with Cassie and didn't want to blow her off, which is what he did in the end. Cassie even tried talking to him about it, and he acted like a sulky little boy and…

Holiday Races

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With the holidays fast approaching, people tend to eat on the run with all the shopping and festivities going on with school, work, and church. Join in the holiday cheer and keep yourself motivated with these great races and help burn some of those calories to boot.



Gobble Jog - Marietta, GA

The Gobble Jog is put on by Must Ministries in Historic Downtown Marietta and offers a Tot Trot, 1k run, 5k run, and 10k run. All proceeds go towards their ministry and helping out neighbors in need with food, clothes, housing, employment services, and more.



Run the Lights of Life 5k - Marietta, GA Taking place at Life University in the evening just before sunset. Take in their annual light show as you run through their campus. Finish with caroling, s'mores, hot chocolate, and more. They offer a 1k fun run and a 5k.




Sleighbells on the Square - Marietta, GA Sleighbells on the Square is sponsored by the Cobb County Bar Association. The proceeds go towards the Children's Emergency Fund. Race len…

Best Gifts for Readers

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With the holidays just around the corner, we've compiled some of our favorite gifts for the readers in your life because sometimes a book just seems so impersonal. And, let's not kid ourselves, we might just have to buy some of these for ourselves!

Just One More Chapter Who doesn't like pillows? The Just One More Chapter pillow was one of my favorite gifts from last year. Readers can use it as decoration on their favorite chair or to prop their head up while reading on a hammock. This gift is available on Amazon for just under $20.00.



Fingerprint Bookmark For the readers who always seem to lose their place in the book and never seem to have a bookmark, this rubber bookmark fits around the book and holds your place while even marking the last line you read. If you have any pets in the family that like to eat plastic or rubber bands, make sure you keep this out of their reach when not in use. My cat chewed mine in half! The fingerprint bookmark can be found on Amazon for var…