That Amazing, No, Addicting Thing Called BookBub

Have you heard of BookBub yet? It’s a really nice resource if you’re looking for new books to read. It’s a great way to access books you might not consider. I was introduced to BookBub by a coworker who loves to read.

This website is a great tool for any bookworm. BookBub allows you to create a free account. From there you select your favorite book genres. Based on your choices, you will receive an email every day from BookBub with books suggestions based on the categories you selected. All the book suggestions are titles that have many reviews, and the best part is that these books range from $0-$2.99 in price. How about that for a great deal! It’s an amazing tool, and I enjoy reading the book descriptions and choosing new books to read that I might not otherwise consider reading. Sometimes books I really want to read show up in my BookBub email update. The other great thing is that they only send one email a day, and I never receive any other email from them. They do not flood your inbox. BookBub gets to the point because they know your time is precious and they know you want to read the next book.

What are you waiting for? Go to bookbub.com and sign up to receive your free daily email update. You’ll be happy you stopped and dropped to read this email. I promise!

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When Dancing is More than Movement on the Dance Floor

I recently read Candace Cameron Bure’s book, Dancing Through Life. This is the third book written by Bure, and it just might be my favorite. In Dancing Through Life, Candace Cameron Bure gives a personal account of what it was like for her to be on the show Dancing with the Stars. It was a personal dream of hers to be on the show, but let’s face it. We all know there is more that goes on behind the scenes than what the producers decide to show on television.

Bure notes that while dancing on the stage was a huge dream for her, she also had to make some big personal decisions in order to fulfill her role as a wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend while being on the show. Not to mention she had to face her fans every day on social media. Bure points out in her book that she had to find ways to balance all of these things and still stand firm on her beliefs. She struggled with personal beliefs about modesty, but she also wanted to live out her faith boldly like God has called her to do. Candace Cameron Bure addresses these things in her own unique, story-telling way and incorporates the gospel as well. She clearly states that she leaned on God through whole experience, and because God is her rock, she was able to see the show through to the very end. I’d say that’s a strong person right there!

What I love most about this book is that Candace Cameron Bure is very candid about her experience on Dancing with the Stars and is also very outspoken about her faith. She realizes that not everyone believes the way she believes. She respects that, but she also takes a stand for herself and her beliefs and ensures no lines are crossed if she feels uncomfortable about a dance move or wardrobe choice. I love that she points out that just because she is a women does not mean she cannot stand up for herself or her beliefs. She is a confident woman. She makes a very good point near the end of the book. Bure states that “if you do not stand up for something, you will fall for anything” (182). That is such a good point! I had to stop and dwell on that for a bit because it has so much truth. Bure is a great role model for young women and works hard to be the best she can for Christ so she can share about Hime with those she works with that may know Him personally the way she does.

If you’re looking for an inspiring book to read, then I encourage you to pick up this book. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a great time to stop and drop to read the latest book from Candace Cameron Bure. You can get a hard copy or electronic copy at your favorite book store today. Until the next reading adventure, be bold and courageous and never give up.

Reading about the Twenty-eighth Day of the Eighth Month

I encountered a story online about two years ago via a blog that I regularly read and follow. That blogger shared a YouTube video about a couple that beat all odds to make the most loving marriage a young couple could have. Ian and his girlfriend, Larissa, met in college, and they did not click at first. She found his jokes cheesy, and that just wasn’t her thing. Through mutual friends they got to know each other and decided maybe they could like each other and be friends. They became inseparable; then one day the unexpected happened. Ian was in a tragic car accident that caused severe brain damage. There was a time when the family was not sure if Ian would make, but God had other plans. Their journey came with many hardships and even another family tragedy, but through it all, they grew closer to God.

Because Ian had a brain injury, the doctors were not sure of the extent of his injuries in the beginning. Miraculously, his long-term memory helped him greatly, although his short-term memory was more a struggle. Only time would tell if his injury would develop into a change in his personality. While Ian struggled in the beginning with many many therapy sessions just to figure out how to do every day tasks, Larissa supported him the best way she knew how. Be present. Through struggles and trials Ian slowly gained back movement and relearned many things to help him become more independent.

Many things can be learned from their story as it shows the dedication it takes from family members and close friends to see someone through a tragedy or trial whether be an accident or a severe illness. One key part that got them all through the tough days was their faith in Christ. Larissa admits her personal struggle with her faith during that time, but she grew because of the journey. Sometimes God allows these things to teach us something bigger than ourselves. He makes a way for us to realize we must put Him first above ourselves.

I recommend this book to young adults in college, an engaged couple, recently married couples, or anyone that wants to read a story of renewed faith and strength in God. You will be taken on a journey through someone’s personal life that shows just how precious life is. Treasure each moment, and be faithful to keep Christ first in all of your relationships. If you’re looking for an inspirational story, then stop and drop to read Eight Twenty Eight by Ian and Larissa Murphy.

Long Time, No Reading

It’s been quite a long time since I’ve blogged here. I wanted to blog regularly about different books that I’ve read. My goal for this blog was to share my personal opinions about books that I’ve read so others can decide if they would like to read some of those same books. My other goal was to help parents find books that might be good to share with their families. As a teacher and a new mother, that is my goal for this blog more than ever.

I want to share books that are fun, encouraging, uplifting, and helpful. Reading has been a passion of mine before I even started going to school. I have always loved books and reading.  I hope I can pass that on to my daughter. I’m already starting her own little collection of books, and I enjoy reading to her even at eight weeks old!

Since it has been about a year since I last wrote anything here, many things have happened. I began my second year of teaching, and it was a wonderful year. I learned so much right along with my students. I also got pregnant with our first child, and she was born (three weeks early) on July 6. She brings so much joy to our lives, and we couldn’t be happier. While I absolutely love teaching and watching my students learn and grow, we made the decision that I would stay home with our sweet baby this year. It was a decision that we thought about for quite a while, but I know it was the right thing for us. Now that I am home full-time, I am caring for my little one, and I would like to start blogging again. Although I have not been writing, I have not stopped reading. I am looking forward to sharing some of the great stories that I have read over the last year as well as some cool resources for finding new things to read. I’m thankful for the journey and the opportunity to share the things I love. I invite you to join me on this reading adventure!

Kindred

Perhaps you remember reading Anne of Green Gables as a child. Do you remember what Anne called her closest, dearest friend? If not, I will remind you– kindred spirits. If you ever hear the word “kindred,” this might be what you think of. You have probably figured out by now the word “kindred” reminds me of Anne. There is a small word within the word kindred (kin). Now, what do you consider “kin” to mean? So what if your kindred spirit was someone related to you, someone that lived generations before you, and there is no possible way you could ever meet? I know sounds weird and possibly crazy. However, that is the logical, factual belief because we cannot travel back in time.

Kindred is a neo slave novel that begins its story with a black woman married to a white man in the 20th century. That alone could be troublesome in some parts of the country, even in the 1950s. Add in the ability to travel back in time to a time when slavery was still in existence and something interesting is bound to happen.

I really enjoyed this book because of the sense of mystery and suspend Octavia Butler continues to build. This story is great to use as a supplemental text when studying US History during the time of slavery. The text could also be used in an American Literature class, which is precisely why I read this book. A warning to teachers, parents, and students– language is a recurring issue in this book. Abuse and rape are also present themes that were often associated with slavery. If used as a resource, it may be a good idea to put forth this information for parents so that they are aware. However, these topics can be tactfully discussed. I recommend that students read Kindred with guidance of a teacher. Have you read Kindred? Do you think it is appropriate for teens? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Where does fault lie?

fault-in-starsFor a young adult/teen fictional book, this story has a deep philosophical perspective. The thing I love about this book is that even though it is fiction, it could be a true story, I can picture a child/teen going through a difficult situation and having the opinions and personalities similar to Hazel and the other teens. The thing we have to understand is that while this may be a story about a girl with a terminal illness, it also is a story about how difficulties come at many ages and stages in life.

For me, this is important because it can serve as a reminder that we all go through trials. It does not matter how old we are. Fact, sometimes kids get cancer and other types of terminal illnesses. It’s a big deal to anyone at any age. Had the author not used this extreme, we probably would not appreciate the story near as much, and it certainly would not impact such a large audience. The fact of the matter is that all people go through different things throughout the stages of life. Being not too far removed from the teenage life, I understand that a crisis or family matter has a strong impact on them and the decisions that they make. So often I feel as though we dismiss the crisis and writ it off as “teen drama.” Don’t forget, you were there once. I digress…

In case you haven’t figured out through my ranting, The Fault in Our Stars is about a girl that has a terminal cancer and it affects her lungs to the point that she has to be on oxygen. Hazel hates that her luna fail her, and she especially hates that her parents are “burdened” with the constant care the believe Hazel needs.

Hazel’s mom encourages her to go to a support group for young cancer patients. Hazel greatly dislikes going, but she agrees to go for her mom’s sake. One day a new boy shows up, and he seems interested in Hazel. He insists on learning her story (not her cancer story). They become very close friends very quickly. For Hazel, this friend shows her that life goes beyond her cancer story, and he helps her realize that it’s important to continue living rather than to focus on dying.

While I truly love and enjoy this story, I am slightly concerned about the use of language and the acceptance of some actions of the teens. I understand that these kids are hurting and need a way to express that, but using foul language is really not the best, most constructive way to get that out. The second issue I have is the idea that because they are going to die a premature death anyway, they get a free pass to do whatever they want even if it is sexual in nature.

Overall the story is amazing and the author has a way drawing you in. I highly encourage you to read the book before watching the movie. You will appreciate the intelligence and research by John Green to write such a beautiful fictional story.

 

Taking or Borrowing

notebook-book-thiefTaking and borrowing are very different things. If you know right from wrong, you know that borrowing is okay if you have asked permission from the owner to use something. However, borrowing with the intent of keeping (aka stealing) is socially unacceptable. Why then, do I feel compelled to empathize with Leisel Meminger, a book thief? I enjoy reading just as much as the next person, but the one time was accused of borrowing a book from the library and never returned it, I felt awful about it. It had my stomach in knots even though I knew I had returned the book, but the library could not find it, and they wanted us to pay for it. Long story short, they found the book in questions (whew). However, Leisel takes one book and as a reader you might feel kind of sorry for her.

Here’s the backdrop for the story. Leisel is a girl living in Nazi Germany. She lives with a foster family after her brother dies and mother leaves. The kicker is that Leisel does not know the first thing about reading, so she goes to school and learns to read with the help of her foster father. Leisel is a bit mischievous, but her heart is good and she means well. That does not mean she never finds herself in trouble. Her mother even has a nickname for her. The Book Thief is a story filled with difficulties, learning curves, and lifelong friendships. While it is a hefty book, you’ll find yourself wanting to turn the next page to find out what happens next.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was recently made into a film, and from what I can tell, it did rather well. I enjoyed both the book and the film, but I highly recommend you read the book before watching the film. I will say the film does a pretty good job sticking to the storyline. It is one of the better films based on a book that I have seen.

Markuz Zusak is a fabulous writer who is also known for writing The Messenger. He certainly did his research, and the historical background descriptions are very well depicted in his choice of words.  Zusak does a wonderful job telling Leisel’s incredible story. I highly recommend this book to mature teen and young adult readers. If you enjoy reading historical fiction, then you will enjoy this book. Barnes and Noble recommends this book for readers ages 12-17 years old. I would like to warn parents that moderate language is present. Although the words are in German, the English interpretation is given. I hope you enjoy reading this historical fiction novel as I did.