Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Perfect Brightness of Hope by Anita R Canfield (5)

The Prophet Nephi once wrote of life's jounery, "Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life" (2 Nephi 31:20)

But how many of us have the hope Nephi described, the powerful, expectant hope that enables us to "press forward" to the end? In A Perfect Brightness of Hope, Sister Canfield explains the power of hope in Christ, which can help us overcome all obstacles on the path of life. Hope, she notes, is a spiritual gift that comes from God through obedience, sacrifice, service, love, and studing the scriptures. We can pray with hope, even in the face of what seems hopeless, and the Lord will cause miracles to occur of us, our families, and others.

This is a book which I picked up a while back on my mission. I found it in the bargin bin and it is one of my favourite books which know matter how many times I have read it ( and it has been a few ) always amazes me. I loved it that much that I went and purchased a further 10 copies and gave them to people ...

I love the easy style of Anita's writing ... It is effortless, REAL and engaging ... It brings home that when you think you have no control over situtions and how to change them ... That you do have options open to you !!! .... And you don't have to face them alone ....

I have so many favourite quotes from this book .... And if you have ever seen my book it is one of the rare times that it is dog eared, comments written in the margins and highlighter throughout !!

"The Lord does not require us to be perfect in his covenants and commandments in this life. He doesn't require that we understand them all. He doesn't even require that we agree with him. What he requires from us is that we give him our hearts -and are willing - desire - to be obedient"

"Whether we are fighting hopelessness and faithlessness because of adversity, or personal weakness, or because others have abused their agency, we have the power to use our own agency to "press forward". Turning a glimmer of hope into a perfect brightness requires a lifetime of pressing forward. And that will, at times, take great courage."

"The temples that dot the earth today are witnesses of faith, hope and charity. Entering the temple is like opening the gate to eternity. For a short time, within those walls, we are in the foyer of our celestial home. What hope awaits us on that threhold!"

"True freedom is a power within. No outward force can destroy it unless we allow it to. It won't happen if we press forward. Whether in a Nazi concentration camp, on the the side of a mountain, in a hospital bed in a cancer clinic, or on the wrong end of a flogging, we have the power to press forward toward a more perfect brightness of hope"

I could go on and on with quotes ... But the bottom line is I loved this book and will continue to re-read it often ...

I rate this book 5*****

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"What is the secret of life? We call it "grace" or "blessing". Everyone struggles to be satisfied with what they have. Apart from me. Apart from you. Apart from a few people who will, alas, have to make a small sacrifice in the name of something greater"

Pg 196 The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho

Monday, February 23, 2009

The Spare Room by Helen Garner

Helen prepares her spare room for her friend Nicola, who is flying down from Sydney for a three-week visit. But this is no ordinary visit - Nicola has advanced cancer. She is coming to Melbourne to receive treatment she believes will cure her. From the moment Nicola steps off the plane, Helen becomes her nurse, her protector, her guardian angel and her stony judge.

The Spare Room tells a story of compassion and rage as the two women - one sceptical, one stubbornly serene - negotiate their way through Nicola's gruelling treatments. Garner's dialogue is pitch perfect, her sense of pacing flawless as this novel draws to its terrible and transcendent finale.

The story and author asks, "How much of ourselves are we willing to give up to help a friend?" I found this book quite real and sometimes hard going at times not in reading it but with the subject matter. There are moments of humour throughout the book as the two woman try and deal with the illness. But then there are moments which emphasises just how hard and trying it is to watch someone you love suffer.

The book really doesn't sugar-coat how this illness effects people ... And you could completely understand the characters if you have ever cared for someone with terminal cancer ... It takes you on a ride of different of emotions ... as a carer and also as the patient ..

There is some swearing in the book but it really is just an honest story of how two woman try to cope !!

I rate this book 3***

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Discussion Questions for The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly

As we cannot find Discussion Questions for this book ( not for the lack of trying ... I even e-mailed personally ) we are going to use general Questions thanks to S ............

1. What is the book about? What is the theme?

2. What are the main ideas? What is the point the author is trying to make?

3. Is the book believable? Consider if the author’s message is valid.

4. Which character do you like the most and why? The least and why?

5. If the book gives information, what is its significance? Is it entertaining? Enriching?

6. How does it compare to others in its genre or in the same subject?

7. Is the author’s style detailed? Light and breezy? Hard-hitting? Matter-of-fact? Understated?

Ponderous? Action-packed? Is it a page turner?

8. What other books does this remind you of?

9. Who would enjoy this book? Who most likely would not?

10. If you could change something about the book what would it be and why?

11. How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter and would you consider reading more from this author?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"GOD BLESS morphine. In the morning she was in bright spirits, affectionate in a slightly guilty way. At breakfast she swallowed another pill and sat at the table gazing out at the garden. " It's a nice day" she cried, with hectic eagerness. "We should get stuck into the garden. Do some weeding"

Page 83 of The Spare Room by Helen Garner

Monday, February 16, 2009

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski

Meet June Parker. Until the day she offered Marissa, a young woman she had just met, a lift home she thought her life was okay. She had a horrible boss, was battling to lose a few pounds and, sure, finding that special someone was tough, so things weren't exactly fabulous, but she was happy enough. She didn't know that Marissa was going to die ... and it would be her fault. As she washes away the blood from Marissa's handbag so she can return her belongings to her family, June discovers a list - '20 things to do by my 25th birthday.'

The guilt weighs heavily until a chance meeting six months after Marissa's death finds June committing to finish the list. Some of the tasks aren't too difficult ('Run a 5K') but others are near-impossible ('Change someone's life'). As June races to achieve each goal before the deadline, she learns a great deal more about herself and her own life than she ever bargained for.

This book is a quick read and you would class it as a chick book ....

The concept is interesting that because of the guilt that June feels pushes her to complete a list of 20 things which Marissa ( the girl who died ) wanted to do.

It really is a journey more so for June than anybody else ... Some of the tasks are easy and others are more difficult, and some of them don't necessarily finish the way June expected. There are moments that you will laugh out loud ... but there are some swear words littered throughout if you are sensitive to that and one scene which I could have done without !! ... But all in all it is a OK book and I did enjoy it and made me think of starting up my own Bucket List !!

I rate this book 3***

Someone Like Me by Elaine Forresal (3)

Life is pretty normal for Tas, until Enya moves into the farm next door. Enya, with her mysterious Irish family, brings with her more than Tas could bargain for. The violence of the world she thought she had left behind catches up with her, and changes Tas's life forever.

Ok this is one that I class as HOMEWORK literally ... as my daughter is reading this book at the moment in her class and my hubby and I have been asked to come in and talk about the book as one of the main characters is from Northern Ireland.
It is quite an easy read and I read it in an afternoon it is told from Tas's perspective as a young boy.
I found I could relate to Enya as being brought up in Northern Ireland myself but it will be interesting to see the reactions and questions of my daughters class. It is sad to say that violence and looking over your shoulder was just every day of life for me growing up and you did get used to it. You just thought that this was life and everyone goes through the same things ... Which is not the case !!! ...
I am keen to talk to the kids to let them know that Northern Ireland is not all violence but that is a beautiful country with the most loving friendly people you can meet but does have its problems which other countries suffer with as well ...
It is an interesting book for young people and there is a nice wee twist at the end which does make you pause for thought
I rate this book 3 ***

Friday, February 13, 2009

Getting back together AGAIN

Well change of venue for Feb's Bookclub meeting .... It is going be around at K's house at 7:30 next Friday nite ...

I am actually looking forward to this one as I really enjoyed this book .... And if you can locate or come up with some questions that would be great ... As I cannot find any !!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"I was afraid you might be one of those vegetarians". Then he turned to me, apparently out of small talk .." Your mother's inside"

Page 147 of The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly (41/2)

The secret of the Seven Ancient Wonders was only the beginning... After their thrilling exploits in Matthew Reilly's rampaging New York Times bestseller, 7 Deadly Wonders, supersoldier Jack West Jr. and his loyal team of adventurers are back, and now they face an all-but-impossible challenge. A mysterious ceremony in an unknown location has unraveled their work and triggered a catastrophic countdown that will climax in no less than the end of all life on Earth. But there is one last hope.

If Jack and his team can find and rebuild a legendary ancient device known only as the "Machine," they might be able to ward off the coming armageddon. The only clues to locating this Machine, however, are held within the fabled Six Sacred Stones, long lost in the fog of history. And so the hunt begins for the Six Sacred Stones and the all-important knowledge they possess, but in the course of this wild adventure Jack and his team will discover that they are not the only ones seeking the Stones and that there might just be other players out there who don't want to see the world saved at all.

From Stonehenge in England to the deserts of Egypt to the spectacular Three Gorges region of China, The 6 Sacred Stones will take you on a nonstop roller-coaster ride through ancient history, modern military hardware, and some of the fastest and most mind-blowing action you will ever read.

Well this was a real roller coaster of a book and I loved it !!!

This is this months book club novel and I cannot wait now until the next installment comes out to find out what happens !!!

If you love adventure then this book is for you !! It is a real page turner and you cannot help but visualize Jack and his team battling their way out of impossible predicaments !!! It is so like Indiana Jones that you just see Jack as a true hero out to save the world !!!

Although some people will say that this is a boys book because it does go into detail of guns, tanks, planes etc but I loved it ( may be because at the moment with playing Call of duty on X-Box I actually know which guns he is talking about ... lol ..... ) But as a girl reading this book I loved it ...... Maybe it is the action Hero which every girl looks to ........ not to mention that he has cool gadgets like 007 ........

This is the second book in the series and I will definitely be rushing out to purchase the 1st one !!! YOU can read this book without reading the first one and thoroughly enjoy it and understand the plot ...... BUT you will prob be like me and be dying to read how Jack's adventure started !!! ......... The only sucky thing is that we where left with a cliff hanger at the end and have to wait for the next installment .........

If you haven't read any Matthew Reilly books yet ................. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR GO OUT AND GET ONE !!!

I rate this book 41/2 ****

Here's the man himself talking and showing us where he writes !!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

thanks for the memories by cecelia ahern

This is the third book I have read by CA and without a doubt it would be my favourite. It is primarily a modern day fairytale, which helps ground the story in fantasy where you find yourself wishing it to be true rather than thinking it contrived or a little too far-fetched. You can't help but laugh and cry and really feel your heartstrings pulled as CA brings her characters to life.
The plot centers around Joyce who because of an unfortunate accident requires a blood transfusion, and Justin the blood donor who happens to be a knowledgeable professor and looking for love. When Joyce wakes up in the hospital she realises that she is somehow different; she has memories that don't seem to belong to her, and an unusual knowledge of art and architecture. As the two characters become drawn to one another through either pure chance or something more cosmic, we begin to see their lives unfold and their need to be connected to another human being to feel complete and happy.
Even though the plot has a certain element of predictability to it, it was easy to overlook mostly due to the unpredictability of Joyce's father who plays a major role throughout the story. It is his character that will have you laughing the loudest. There is one scene in particular that happens in our post Sept 11 world that occurs in an airport that had tears streaming down my face, not in sadness but in laughter.
If you like a light read that is both romantic and funny you will probably enjoy this book. If you want something deep and meaningful then this is probably not the book. I adored it. Four stars.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Roundup for Jan 09

Books read in January: 8 Books
Pages read in January: 2485
Yearly page count: 2485
Paperbacked Books: 6
Hardbacked Books: 2

Young Fantasy:

Young Teen

Adult Fiction


Challenges Updates
999: 8/81
Victorian Challenge: 1/3
What's in a Name: 1/8
1%: 7/10


1* - Red Dress Walking

2* - Brida

3* - A Cup of Light

31/2* - Possession

4* - Nineteen Eighty-Four

41/2* - Princess Academy

5* - The Book of a Thousand Days and The Tale of Beedle the Bard

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers

"The Lights went out in Lab 3, and as the assembled audience watched in silent awe, Julius and Lachlan played back the video footage of their spectacular rutual at Stonehenge.

Purple light played over Jack's face as he saw the Firestone burst to life in the midst of the dark circle of ancient stones"

Page 218 of The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly

Discussion Questions for Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

1. Miri’s father tells her that her mother named her “after the flower that conquered rock and climbed to face the sun” (page 14). Do you know why your parents chose your name? Does your name have a special meaning to you and your family?

2. Does Princess Academy remind you of any other novels you have read? If so, which ones and why? If not, what makes it unique?

3. The people of Mount Eskel use a kind of telepathy to communicate with one another in the quarry. Miri learns that the “quarry-speech” works by sharing memories through the rock of the mountain itself an can be used to communicate many things besides warnings or instructions in the quarry. Have you ever imagined a secret way to communicatewith your friends and family? How might it work?

4. Miri makes a dramatic difference in the life of her village by sharing what she has learned at the academy about commerce. Have you ever had an idea that you thought might make a difference? Describe one change you would like to make in your community that could have a positive influence on people’s lives.

5. At a critical moment in the mountain girls’ training at the academy, they must all pass an oral test in order to attend the ball with the prince. At one moment, Miri notices Gerti struggling to answer a question. Convinced it would be unfair for the girls to be banned from the dance if they can’t pass the test, Miri finds a way to help Gerti get the answer through quarry-speech. Do you think Miri did the right thing or not? Why?

6. Miri treasures the carved linder hawk that Pedergave her when they were small. In a fateful twist, it helps her escape from the bandit Dan, though she loses it as it falls down the mountain. What do you think the hawk means to Miri, and to Peder? What do you think is the symbolic significance of the hawk?

7. Many of the characters in Princess Academy learn to look past the masks that people wear. Which of the characters wear a mask that hides their true feelings, and what is their motivation for doing so?

8. Shannon Hale spends a great deal of time describing the natural world that surrounds Miri, and she vividly expresses how Miri feels about the mountains, flowers, snow, and rock that make up her world. Take a moment to think about your favorite place. How does it look and smell? How do you feel when you are in this place?

9. At the end of the novel we learn that Tutor Olana was intentionally cruel and even lied to the girls in order to motivate them to learn. Do you think this was a wise choice on her part? What might have been different in the story had she been friendly and encouraging?

10. Were you surprised when you learned about Britta’s secret? How did you feel about Prince Steffan’s final choice?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Pages read in February 09

1) Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers - Pages 226 Hardbacked

2) The Spare Room -

3) The Six Sacred Stones by Matthew Reilly - Pages 493

4) Someone like me - Elaine Forrestal Pages 173

5) The next thing on my list - Jill Smolinski Pages 288

6) The Witch of Portobello -

7) The Perfect Brightness of Hope -

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers (4)

Dear Claire, I had a stressful weekend. It would be nice to come home and not be made to feel guilty. I hope school was interesting. There's some of the chicken (which was very good, by the way) left over. See you for breakfast. I want to talk to you about something. Mom.
Beautifully told through notes left on their kitchen fridge, this is an intimate portrait of the relationship between a hard-working mother and her teenage daughter.

I picked this little book up as I had heard good reviews on the book and I got an extra bonus that I also got it at sale price as well ... Bonus

This is such a cute wee book and will only take you little over one hour to finish it but it is gorgeous ... It is written as notes left on the Fridge by a mother and a Teenage Daughter and how they deal with the sad new that the mother just found out she has Breast Cancer ...

The notes are funny, real and sad and shows true emotion of how the mother and daughter both deal with the illness ... I would highly recommend any Teenager and parent to read this ... AS it shows that sometimes you really don't need to say alot ....... And it is the little things that count in the end ....

Even though this book is small it is a wee gem and had me in tears as we all know someone who has sadly been touched with Cancer ...

I rate this book 4 ****>

Princess Academy by Shannon Hale

High on the side of rocky Mount Eskel, far from the valleys where gardens are green and lush, where lowlanders make laws, Miri’s family has lived forever, pounding a living from the stone of the mountain itself. For as long as she can remember, Miri has dreamed of working alongside the other villagers in the quarries of her beloved mountainside. But Miri has never been allowed to work there, perhaps, she thinks, because she is so small.Then word comes from the valley that the king's priests have divined Mount Eskel to be the home of the prince’s bride-to-be—the next princess. The prince himself will travel to the village to choose her, but first all eligible girls must attend a makeshift mountain academy to prepare themselves for royal lowlander life. At the school, Miri soon finds herself confronted by bitter competition among the girls and her own conflicting desires to be chosen by the prince. Yet when danger comes to the academy and threatens all their lives, it is Miri, named for a tiny mountain flower, who must find a way to save her classmates—and the one chance to leave the mountain each of them is determined to secure as her own.From acclaimed author Shannon Hale comes the Newbery Honor-winning novel about would-be princesses and one small but determined girl's destiny.

OK I am going through a teen stage ... This is my second book with Shannon Hale and I have to say I loved this one as well ...

It is a very easy read and any young girl will love this book ... I would love to actually see this novel made into a movie along with The Book of a Thousand Days they would be so good ...

The story is about a young girl called Miri and her time at the "Princess Academy" where the young ladies are getting taught how to be a Princess where at the end of one year of training one of the lucky girls will be chosen by the Prince to marry ... It tells of her adventures there and the friendships that are forged ... Will Miri be the lucky girl who wins the Princes Heart and change her families life forever? ..... Miri is named after a Mountain Flower that is found
on Mount Eskel, an isolated territory in the Danland kingdom.

PRINCESS ACADEMY is well-written story of one girl's determination to show that even a small mountain flower can be just as valuable as a gold crown if not more.

I enjoyed this book but not as much as The Book of a Thousand Days ... But I have no doubt that my daughter will love this .... Romance, Bandits and Princes what more could you ask for ...

I rate this book 4 1/2 ****
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