Thursday, December 17, 2015

2016 Reading Challenge and Bookmark Giveaway

2015 is almost over.  I am happy to report that I was able to complete my Goodreads challenge. I have completed 14 of the 10 books that I wanted to read.  I am hoping to finish The Time Traveler's Wife before the year ends.  I am listening to it via audiobooks through my Scribd subscription. I get one full credit each month.  I am looking forward to writing a review about it.  

In 2016, I will be doing a reading challenge that will be probably the hardest challenge ever.  I am going to participate in the POPSUGAR 2016 Reading Challenge
The Popsugar 2016 Reading Challenge intrigued me because of the variety that it encourages in my reading.  Thanks to PR By the Book, I have been reading a variety of books.  The list is about 41 books.  I am really excited about this challengeAs a reader, I will grow more trying to follow the guidelines of the challenge.  `I will be using Goodreads to keep up with the books that I read.

 You can DOWNLOAD the printable.  I have placed the printable in my Erin Condren Life Planner to make sure that I stay on track.  I used washi tape and stickers from my penpal to decorate it.  I placed it on the lined sheets at the end of January.  I think it looks pretty festive and encouraging.   I am really into decorative planning to get things done.  I love it. 

Looking at my year in review on Goodreads, I didn't realize that I had read so many pages of books that were not related to school.  I was very surprised.  I am hoping to read many more with the Popsugar Challenge.  

Bookmark Giveaway:
As an added incentive,  any of my blog readers that participate and keep up with their books read on Goodreads will receive a free bookmark made my me.  The rules of the giveaway:  
  1. Comment your reading goal for 2014. 
  2. Subscribe to my blog.
  3.  Add me as a friend on Goodreads.

Stay tuned for more giveaways in the near future.  I am giving away books next year. So, you need to make sure that you subscribe to my blog to know when those giveaways are happening.    

Now here is what you can do since you have read thus far!!! If you really enjoyed reading about this book, share this post on Twitter or Facebook. Make sure we connect. Don't forget to share you thoughts and comments below. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Blog Tour: The Poet's Secret by Kenneth Zak

When I first started reading The Poet's Secret, I was immediately intrigued by how Kenneth Zak begins each chapter.  Each chapter starts with poetry before you get in the narrative part of the novel.  I love this technique.  As I read the book, I soon discovered that the poetry excerpts were from the poet, Cameron Beck.  Cameron Beck is a talented poet, who has gone "off the grid."  An English major, Elia, reminds me of how I was as a graduate student in my MA English program.  When Elia starts her journey to find Beck, he is actually at the top of a cliff about to commit suicide.  This very fact is an indicator of how intense this book is.

I understand how this book could have been a Golden Heart Finalist selection by the Romance Writers of America.  The romance story within the text makes you truly appreciate falling in love. The imagery draws you in as a reader.  Zak is truly able to capture his audience to complete the book.  I mean you will laugh along with the text.  You may even shed a tear or two.  I will not confess about me crying.  I am "too womanly" for that.  I enjoyed this book.  You cannot resist the end of the book. 

Check out the official trailer of the book.  Have you read The Poet's Secret?  What do you think about the book?  Let me know your thoughts.  


In The Poet’s Secret, young lit student Elia Aloundra sets off to a remote Caribbean island in search of the reclusive poet Cameron Beck, longing to know the man whose words move her so. What she doesn’t know is that as her quest begins, Beck is perched atop a cliff on his exotic island hideaway and about to attempt suicide. Elia soon finds herself swept up in the mystery surrounding his muse, but what she cannot fathom is that Beck’s secret will change both their lives forever.

An island tale filled with mystical sea turtles and sunken treasure, The Poet’s Secret was conceived in a mountaintop village on the Greek isle of Crete while the author was on a three­-year sabbatical. For every copy of The Poet’s Secret sold, $1 will also be donated to The Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to preserving the earth’s oceans, waves and beaches.
The Poet’s Secret will appeal to fans of both Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient and the Cusslers’ Dirk Pitt series.

More info here:

Now here is what you can do since you have read thus far!!!  If you really enjoyed reading about this book, share this post on Twitter or Facebook.  Make sure we connect.  Don't forget to share you thoughts and comments below.

Monday, December 07, 2015

Guest Post - Giving Books to Build Personal Libraries of Knowledge by Gini Cunningham

Giving Books to Build Personal Libraries of Knowledge
By Gini Cunningham 

We have long espoused the value of reading books to infants and toddlers. Even in the womb, the rhythm and flow of words from the mother or other reader seems to calm and possibly inspire contentment for the baby. While there are numerous other factors in producing healthy, vibrant, book-loving children, reading to them holds enormous value. As we move away from hard print and into a digital age, bound books are sometimes lost. They are still present on electronic devices, but they are not physically present in the age-old turning-of-the-pages way. Reading is eyes to mind as we zip across the page, but it is also the touch of a quality interior, the slide of the fingertip as the next image is revealed, the smell of print, and for babies, the taste of paper, book jacket, and cover.

Research indicates that reading books is powerful, but actually possessing them is even more important. Successful reading often indicates a home library of books. I suppose this encompasses the visual presence, the lined march across shelves, the colorful spines, the engaging font and style of words, and above all the draw of illustrations. Whether on the cover as in books for adults or within as in children's books, pictures ignite the imagination, entice the reader to read, and also guide reading. When a child knows words, s/he reads them; when the child is unsure, the pictures serve as reminders to pique memory and interpretation. My oldest son read in such a manner. He had favorite books that we read frequently and by five he self-read, not really "reading" in the true sense but by utilizing memorization from previous rounds and the illustrations in the book, he could "read" the story orally. "Pretend read", I called it, and it was lovely.

The holidays are here and we are buying gifts like mad. The Internet has taken on a wild life of its own as a click or two bundles packets and packages to speed to our doors. Some claim it is the cyber sales that attract them, but I think it also involves the ease and simplicity of the venture. The biggest problem, of course, is that items sometimes arrive in odd colors, strange sizes, and weird designs. They may be in three pieces instead of one, or come with 99 correct parts and the hundredth one missing from the box. Assembly keeps parents up long past midnight on Christmas Eve to make morning delight ring through the home. And in that delight paper and ribbons and a miscellany of gifts surround the tree and clutter every cranny. Do I have a suggestion to help alleviate this chaos? Books!

Books fit the Santa list perfectly. No worry of size or color, no anxiety with style or design. Local stores have a nice selection and of course, for those who love the Internet, there are thousands of additional choices. Recommendations abound if uncertainty of a title reigns and many offerings allow you to flip through a few pages to scan the rhyme and reasoning of the contents. The clicks easily flow and soon the parcel will land on the doorstep. While there is still sorting and wrapping in store, putting bikes and train sets together is non-existent. No worry about batteries or charging in advance as books require none of this action. They just need the buyer to run a hand over the cover, add a smile of appreciation and a spin through a couple of pages, and the tender enfolding of paper and bows.

Better yet as dinner simmers and roasts, quiet murmurs overtake the scene as Grandpa reads a new mystery, Grandma is engrossed in the latest romance, and Mom and Dad take turns reading aloud about bears and castles, magic and realism, enriching the air with words. Books stack the floor, surround the gathering today and will last a lifetime. Although pages may take on syrup and a tear or a tear, they are possessions of immeasurable benefit to be shared and cherished forever. And if they become old and tired, there are book exchanges available - no trip to the landfill for a good read.

The idea of reading incites brainwaves and begs the reader to learn and understand more. Soon readers discover that books for holidays and birthdays are inadequate for fulfilling the thirst for knowledge. Fortunately, the public library is open and welcoming. I never met a librarian who did not adore books of every shape, size, and genre. A librarian eagerly guides guests through the mounds and arrays to locate the just the right fix. Further, s/he will order more from inter-library loan or add the tome to the library collection. Reading groups, story time, and author visits are just a few of the other wonderful treasures of a library.

There is still time to accomplish your book-giving goal. While the jumble of gifts will take on a new flavor, the fervor of chattering words and oral exchanges will add to the excitement of reading for years to come. Reading is a true, on-going, ever-giving gift. You cannot go wrong with a book!

Article Source: Giving Books to Build Personal Libraries of Knowledge

Now here is what you can do since you have read thus far!!! If you really enjoyed reading about this book, share this post on Twitter or Facebook. Make sure we connect. Don't forget to share you thoughts and comments below.

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4 Ways to Be an Organized Bibliophile

With so much to choose from today, it is easy to be overwhelmed with books and what to read.  I have a growing list on Goodreads, and I have books that I own, which I have yet to read.  You have Scribd, iBooks, Kindle, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the library.  Sometimes,it is so hard for me to choose what I want to read.  I get review copies for my blog.  I really enjoy the review copies.  I mean it makes me feel like a VIP bibliophile.  With my books in storage, Scribd is definitely coming to the rescue.  I do have books on bookshelves in the living room, kitchen, and my bedroom, also in the rooms of my children, as well.  Reading too many books and buying too many books can happen so fast, when you are a true book lover.  You have so many options and so many formats to read. 

I have a few suggestions to help you achieve some sort of organization with your reading.  I hope these help you like they help me.

  1. Start a TBR (To Be Read) list on Goodreads.  This list helps you to add books that you want to read.  When you need to find a book to read, tackle a book on your list.  The TBR list can help you be more focused when you go to bookstores, libraries, or online options. My TBR is very long, but I am tackling it one book at a time, which leads me to number 2.
  2. Start the Goodreads reading challenge.  This past year, I was pregnant and in school, while working.  So, I knew that leisure reading would be very hard to achieve.  At the beginning of the year, I set a Goodreads challenge, which I knew would be achievable.  Every time I read a book, I made it closer to my reading goal.  Currently, I have surpassed my goal. 
  3. Set a book limit per month.  Since I have started using Scribd, I get one audiobook credit per month.  Currently, I am listening/reading The Time Traveler's Wife, and I must say the ride in my car with the 4 J's is quite peaceful.  The kids and I have been listening to since last Wednesday.  The dialogue we have about the book is so refreshing for a bibliophile like myself.  Even when you go to the library or bookstore, set a limit on how many books you will buy or check out.  I know that we are all guilty of getting books from the library or buying books that we never read.  I mean I just love the smell and feel of books. (Yes, I smell books.  Have you ever smelled a William Faulkner's first edition? OMG Just refreshing!!! )
  4. Look at reviews of a book that you are interested in reading.  I know that I am not the only person that feels like time has been wasted when you read a book, and you do not like it.  There are so many reviews available.  Bookstores provide reviews from their staff.  I love reading the reviews from Square Books in Oxford, MS.  Barnes and Noble's staff provides reviews, as well.  Then you have book blogs, Amazon reviews, and Goodreads reviews.  All of these resources can be very helpful when you are trying to decide on what you would like to read. 
Being an organized bibliophile is achievable, especially if you follow these steps.  Don't forget to connect with me on Goodreads.  :)

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