Sunday, July 20, 2014

Save the Date by Mary Kay Andrews | Audiobook Review

Published: June 3, 2014
Publisher: MacMillan Audio
Received: from publisher for honest review
Read by: Kathleen McInerney

A Savannah florist is about to score the wedding of a lifetime—one that will solidify her career as the go-to-girl for society nuptials. Ironically, Cara Kryzik doesn't believe in love, even though she creates beautiful flower arrangements to celebrate them. But when the bride goes missing and the wedding is in jeopardy, Cara must find the bride and figure out what she believes in.  Maybe love really does exist outside of fairy tales after all.

Told with Mary Kay Andrews' trademark wit and keen eye for detail, mark your calendars for Save the Date!

I adored this book from the very beginning. There is something about Mary Kay's writing that just makes you wish you were right there in Savannah with all of these great characters. Not only do you get so much wonderful description, it's not overwhelming like some novels can be, but you actually feel like you can picture every little flower and feel the summer heat. 

Cara is my kind of girl - independent and stubborn though extremely determined, thoughtful and creative, yet flexible to accommodate change. After a terrible divorce, Cara does not believe in love nor does she want to fall in love. She just wants to grow her business as a florist and enjoy her work. Funny enough, she becomes on of the top sought after wedding florists in Savannah (how ironic is that?). She creates stunning arrangements that you can picture so vividly and you can see the care and thought that she puts into each order. 

After swearing off men forever, she accidentally meets Jack twice in one day and each time their meeting leaves the other thinking not so great things about the other. Dog-napping aside - they seem to click when they finally have a chance to let their guard down and spend time together. I love that Jack is emotionally wounded and has his guard up too. It gives the perfect recipe for the two to push each others' boundaries and figure out how to love again. 

The mix of Cara, the wedding florist with an old school charm, and Jack, the restorer of old buildings, gives me a nostalgic feeling. They seem to have the same values in what is important in life and this lovely southern easiness to them. They are such a wonderful couple and you root for them the entire time. I was angry when they came upon some issues that needed resolving, I just kept telling Cara to stop being so silly and for Jack to grow a pair and say what he really means. 

The secondary characters in the book are wonderful too - from the crazy brides needing Cara's services to her flamboyant assistant and from Jack's sentimental family to Cara's father - the Colonel, you just can't get a much better group of supporting characters. Definitely a Southern story filled with big personalities. 

I will definitely by reading more books by Mary Kay Andrews as this was a quick and satisfying read. Honestly, I loved the narrator - she was perfect for the tone of the book. And so ya'll know, I listened to this audiobook while driving my lawn tractor and cutting our huge lawn. It made the time go by so quickly because I was pulled into this book from start to finish. 

If you are looking for a fun summer read than you've found the perfect book. I've already loaned my copy out and have a waiting list. 

About the Author:
Mary Kay Andrews is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Fixer Upper, Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas, as well as Deep Dish, Hissy Fit, Little Bitty Lies and Savannah Blues.

She also wrote ten critically acclaimed mysteries, including the Callahan Garrity mystery series, under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. Her mysteries have been nominated for the Edgar, Anthony, Agatha and Macavity Awards.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book vs. Movie: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green
Published: January 10, 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

Here is the thing... I normally make it a practice to read a book before I see the movie because generally I do not enjoy the book as much as I already know what's supposed to happen. In this instance, I went to see the movie with my sister, brother and sister-in-law BEFORE I had the chance to read the book. They had all read it, so they were watching my reactions and we had an amazingly long chat about it in the lobby of the theatre. 

My siblings told me that the movie stayed true to the book, so I picked up my copy and finally let myself fall back into the world of Hazel and Augustus. 

How do I put into words how this book made me feel? It's so incredibly hard to find the right ones. So many emotions - sadness, happiness, and heart aching pain (that deserves to be felt). So much in such a short amount of time. Pretty much this quote from Augustus himself sums up the thoughts in my head: "My thought are stars I can't fathom into constellations."

Random thoughts about TFiOS:

1) It made me think about dying in a different way. Or perhaps about life in a different way. For example: Hazel knows she is terminal, so she lives every day knowing that there is definitely an end point for her, sooner than others, but someone like Augustus who is in remission and has an 80% survival rate looks at a life that will still exist until old age. How would it feel to go about life knowing that each day is possibly your last, not a metaphorical last day, but an actual last day because yours are numbered with less days than others?

2) I loved the way that Augustus and Hazel just seem to understand each other. They have an interesting sense of humour, they just get each other - like they were meant to come into each others lives and help the other through this life. 

3) Augustus has a way of being so utterly charming that you can't help but love him. 

4) No matter how much Hazel tries to NOT fall in love with Augustus (and she really does try), she ends up head over heels for him. She tries so hard to not let him get too attached to her as she calls herself a grenade ready to explode and crush those who love her and she wants to limit the destruction her death will cause. But funny enough, Augustus writes this about loving people (to an author he and Hazel both admired): "I love her. I am so luck to love her, Van Houten. You don't get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers."

5) The book felt real. The characters come off as if a real person told you their story. You feel the emotions, you get the humour, you feel the pain of loss and you begin to understand this journey that Hazel and Gus are on. 

6) I had thoughts about what would happen in this book, but it surprised me with the loss. I didn't think I could be surprised knowing this was a story about cancer and dying, but it caught me nonetheless.

7) THE MOVIE. Seriously great job on keeping close to the book. Since I saw the movie first, I was concerned that I wouldn't enjoy the book. I'm happy to say that it destroyed me just as much as the movie did. I was surrounded by people crying in the theatre. Sniffles here and there. Me trying not to bawl like a baby and have snot running down my face. The actors and actresses did a great job in making you feel the emotions and understand the characters. And then there was me trying to remember quotes and moments that I'd love to keep forever. Like “As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.” or “Oh, I wouldn't mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.” I WILL BUY THIS MOVIE ON DVD.

wish these were the real signatures, but this poster will do
8) You must read this book. You are missing out on an amazing book if you haven't. Seriously, go buy the book and some tissues. 

About the Author:
John Green’s book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review and Booklist, a wonderful book review journal where he worked as a publishing assistant and production editor while writing Looking for Alaska. Green grew up in Orlando, Florida before attending Indian Springs School and then Kenyon College.

In 2007, John and his brother Hank were the hosts of a popular internet blog, "Brotherhood 2.0," where they discussed their lives, books and current events every day for a year except for weekends and holidays. They still keep a video blog, now called "The Vlog Brothers," which can be found on the Nerdfighters website, or a direct link here.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader FOR KIDS ONLY! (Collectible Edition) | Review & Guest Post

I was so excited to see this opportunity in my inbox and I just knew I had to be on this tour. My sister and I love reading these Bathroom Reader books. She even has a collection, so I'll be sure to pass this one along to her for her collection and then she can share with her children when they are just a little bit older.

Uncle John's Bathroom Reader for Kids Only! by The Bathroom Reader Institute
Published: April 8, 2014
Publisher: Portable Press
Pages: 288
Buy Now: Amazon

Here is an exciting chance to own the very first Uncle John's Bathroom Reader For Kids Only! in a hardcover edition with all new illustrations! When our younger readers demanded a Bathroom Reader of their own, Uncle John put together this brain-boggling easy-to-read collection of facts, fads, quotes, history, science, origins, pop culture, mythology, humor, and more! Plus it's full of wacky and fun illustrations and Uncle John's famous "running feet" — those fun and fascinating facts on the bottom of every page. Curious young readers will learn about the real Dr. Seuss, baseball superstitions, the birth of The Simpsons, how carnival games are rigged, the history of dining on scorpions and tarantulas, shocking truths about thunder and lightning, and disgusting bodily functions like ear wax production and digestion (and why they're important), and much, much more!

I had a blast reading this Bathroom Reader. Not only is it full of fun facts, jokes and interesting stories, it also made me think about things I'd love to learn more about. For instance, I loved the article about how cloud formations were named and what each type of cloud was called and what each did. Very cool.

The most interesting fact that stuck with me is kind of hilarious: 24 hours from now, you'll have forgotten 80% of what you learned today.

I think the information found within this book is perfect for the age range the book was intended for - it contained just enough gross facts to keep them entertained, fun little cartoons and some really inspiring stories.

Today my husband and I were lounging around trying to stay cool and he asked me to start reading him sections of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader For Kids Only. We made it a bit of a game - he'd pick a topic, I would look it up and start reading him sections and making him guess some of the facts. Then we played where we would pick a random number and read what was on that page. It was a lot of fun and we learned so much today.

If you are looking for a fun book for kids, I'd recommend this one. It will keep them busy and it's actually a lot more fun to read than a novel as the sections are short, but interesting. Perfect for a car ride, a rainy day or just to read aloud with friends and have a giggle.

What was the most fun aspect of putting this book together?

There are so many fun aspects of creating a book like this. One great part of putting the book together is working with the illustrator because you never know how an artist is going to illustrate a story. There’s nothing like getting a sketch of a barfing bird…or an ice cream cone with a nose…or a shark coming out of a toilet. Another great part is doing the research for the articles and gathering all the information that goes into a book. We are fans of wacky facts, so it’s not work—it’s fun. Working on an Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader For Kids Only is like getting a college education…only funnier.

About the Author:
The BRI consists of a small groups of trivia nuts, based in a little red house in the sleepy valley town of Ashland, Oregon. The team is working feverishly to bring you the very best bathroom reading in the world.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

FIRMOO Glasses | Review & Discount Offer

Recently I was contacted by a representative from FIRMOO to review a pair of their eyeglasses. I had an absolute hard time picking out a pair to try as there were quite a few cute pairs to choose from. I finally settled on a pair of rectangular frames that had a fun little print on the inside of the arms. I picked the blue version as I really like bright and vibrant glasses. These did not let me down. They are fun and stylish and I cannot wait to wear them to work next week. They come in red too.

**This is not a paid post. But I was given a free pair of prescription eyeglasses for an honest review.

The prescription is spot on and they look super cute on. See for yourself!
My co-workers loved my new look and want to buy some for themselves.

Firmoo has a few great promos that you can be a part of. 

1) You can check out the link below by clicking the the link of the FIRST PAIR FREE PROGRAM.

2) The FIRST 5 people to fill in this FORM with their email address will get a PROMO code emailed to them for $30 off your frame purchase. The code will expire on August 3rd, 2014. It is for $30 off of your frame only from the following section. Shipping is excluded and the promo code cannot be applied to the discounted products on the website. Once all 5 codes have been claimed I will no longer be accepting entries for the promo. 

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