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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

#Audiobook #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for Year of No Clutter by Eve O. Schaub @eveschaub @TantorAudio

AUTHOR: Eve O. Schaub
NARRATORS: Callie Beaulieu
PUBLISHER: Tantor Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: March 1, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 8 hrs and 58 mins
GENRE: Nonfiction, Autobiography/Memoir
ISBN: 9781515901761
Eve has a problem with clutter. Too much stuff and too easily acquired, it confronts her in every corner and on every surface in her house. When she pledges to tackle the worst offender, her horror of a "hell room", she anticipates finally being able to throw away all of the unnecessary things she can't bring herself to part with: her fifth-grade report card, dried-up art supplies, an old vinyl raincoat. But what Eve discovers isn't just old CDs and outdated clothing, but a fierce desire within herself to hold on to her identity. Our things represent our memories, our history, a million tiny reference points in our lives. If we throw our stuff in the trash, where does that leave us? And if we don't...how do we know what's really important? Everyone has their own hell room, and Eve's battle with her clutter, along with her eventual self-clarity, encourages everyone to dig into their past to declutter their future. Year of No Clutter is a deeply inspiring - and frequently hilarious - examination of why we keep stuff in the first place, and how to let it all go.

MY REVIEW:

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook for voluntary review consideration.

When I saw this title, I knew that I had to read it! I don’t think that Eve’s problem is really all that uncommon. In this day and age of excess, it’s not surprising that most homes are bursting at the seams. Eve’s husband affectionately refers to her as a “collector.” Eve fears that she is straddling the line between clutter and hording. She manages to keep a tidy house, except for the “Hell Room” which is the biggest room in the house at over 500 square feet that is jam-packed full of stuff that she doesn’t know what to do with and can’t bear to throw away. In this memoir, Eve gives herself a timeline to tackle the Hell Room and deal with its contents.

I can totally relate to Eve! My parents are immigrants who came here with nothing. I was brought up to never throw anything away, “because you never know when you might need it.” When every-day items are on sale (like soap or toilet paper), you stock up and put them in the closet so that you have enough and never run out. Eve enjoys finding a use for something or to re-use something. There’s nothing wrong with that! It’s admirable that she doesn’t want to just throw everything into the trash just because it would be easier. I find that I can identify with a lot of things that Eve struggles with. While Eve just has one Hell Room, I have lots of stuff everywhere in every room. My house is cluttered. I can admit that! Part of that is due to the ages between my two kids. They are 5.5 years apart, so while my older one has outgrown many things I have held onto them for the next one to use. Since having kids, my house has exploded with tons of “stuff.” I can’t tell you how many garbage bags of stuffed toys that I have donated! I have used the same strategies that Eve talks about, such as getting her kids to help in the decluttering process.

Reading this book has given me the kick in the butt that I needed to get back to decluttering. I used to set aside several hours each Saturday to do just that, but life got busy and other priorities took precedence and I fell off-track. I need to get back into the habit of thinning out the excess so that we can find and enjoy the things that we really want!

Callie Beaulieu is a new-to-me narrator, and I liked her. She was interesting to listen to, and her emotions were palpable. She conveys not only Eve’s frustration but also the humor. I thought she was a good fit! Here's a sample of the narration:


MY RATING:
4 stars!! I really enjoyed it, and you should put it in your TBR list! Thanks again to Tantor Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as:

Waiting On Wednesday: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano @LaurenDeStefano @BalzerandBray


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:


TITLE: The Glass Spare
AUTHOR: Lauren DeStefano
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: October 24, 2017
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 336 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy
ISBN: 
9780062491282
A banished princess.
A deadly curse.
A kingdom at war.

Wil Heidle, the only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.

Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.

But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with her power.

With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?

A new Lauren DeStefano series? Oh, yeah! I loved The Chemical Garden series.


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

#Book #Review: 2 out of 5 stars for Compulsion by Heidi Ayarbe @BalzerandBray

TITLE: Compulsion
AUTHORS: Heidi Ayarbe
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: May 3, 2011
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness
ISBN: 9780061993862

Today has to be perfect.

Magic.

I look at the clock.

10:14 AM.

Ten fourteen. One plus one is two plus four is six plus ten is sixteen minus one is fifteen minus two is thirteen. OK.

I turn from the clock and walk into the hallway. "Ready."

Saturday will be the third state soccer champion­ship in a row for Jake Martin. Three. A good number. Prime. With Jake on the field, Carson City High can't lose because Jake has the magic: a self-created protection generated by his obsession with prime numbers. It's the magic that has every top soccer university recruiting Jake, the magic that keeps his family safe, and the magic that suppresses his anxiety attacks. But the magic is Jake's prison, because sustaining it means his compulsions take over nearly every aspect of his life.

Jake's convinced the magic will be permanent after Saturday, the perfect day, when every prime has converged. Once the game is over, he won't have to rely on his sister to concoct excuses for his odd rituals. His dad will stop treating him like he is some freak. Maybe he'll even make a friend other than Luc.

But what if the magic doesn't stay?

What if the numbers never leave?

Acclaimed author Heidi Ayarbe has created an honest and riveting portrait of a teen struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder in this breathtaking and courageous novel.

MY REVIEW:

Jake Martin has a form of OCD that I hadn’t heard of before. He is obsessed with prime numbers. If he can’t add-subtract-multiply-divide the digits shown by the current time down to prime numbers, he can’t function. Everything he does is methodical and governed by routine (such as tapping the flamingo’s beak before he enters the house), but it’s his obsession with whittling down the time into prime numbers that really interferes with his day-to-day function.

Jake is the star player on the soccer team, and everything is riding on him to lead the team to victory for the third (see? prime number) state soccer championship. There will be scouts at the game, ready to offer university scholarships. The win is not just for the team but for his own future as well. Jake also believes that his compulsion with prime numbers will cease after the third win. He hopes then he will become “normal.”

Jake’s mom has her own OCD issues. She always thinks she has hit an animal or a person on the road and killed them, and Jake or his dad have to take their mom to retrace her steps to prove to her that she didn’t hit anyone or anything and to show her the front of the car has no evidence of damage.

I do enjoy stories with mental health issues. The story itself is compelling and shows how someone with mental health issues can become paralyzed if anything messes with their routine. However, I was very put off by all the F-bombs and swears in this book. This is supposed to be a Young Adult novel, and I see no reason why the inappropriate language needs to be there. The first chapter is 13 pages, and I took the time to count all the swears: 19 F-bombs, 1 @sshole, 2 G*ddamns, 4 shits, and 1 Jesus. Add to the swears the crude references to hard-ons and copping feels. Really, this is appropriate for a Young Adult novel?? 27 swears in the first 13 pages? I can assure you that the statistics don’t improve from there!! I was going to rate this book three stars, but I have to knock off a star for the grossly inappropriate language in what is supposed to be geared for teens. While I did finish the book out of mere curiosity if the foul language would persist (and it did), I really have no desire to read anything more from this author. All the swearing actually took away from the story, and it interfered with my enjoyment. This is not a book that I would want my kids to read.

MY RATING:
2 stars!! Meh, it was just "okay."

This book qualifies as:

Top Ten Authors That I'd Love To Meet #TopTenTuesday


This is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, they post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers will answer. Everyone is welcome to join!

Today's list is:

Top Ten Authors That I'd Love To Meet

Dean Koontz
I know that Stephen King is referred to as the King of Horror, but Koontz actually earns that title in my book! His books are so scary because they could actually happen! The fear is usually psychological.


J.K. Rowling
The brilliant mind behind Harry Potter and all those creatures and magic!


J.R. Ward
I never knew what a paranormal romance was until I read her Black Dagger Brotherhood series!


Chevy Stevens
This Canadian author writes a thriller like no other!


M.C. Beaton
She introduced me to the cozy mystery genre with her Agatha Raisin series!


John Saul
Here's another favourite author of the horror genre, whose books have kept me reading into the wee hours of the night!


Max Lucado
His books have been an inspiration and a comfort.


Laini Taylor
Her Daughter of Smoke & Bone was my favourite YA book of 2011. An amazing fantasy!


Anne Bishop
Her The Others series is phenomenal! Amazing world building.


Laura Lee Hope
For turning me into a bookworm! I loved her Bobbsey Twins series, and I still have my childhood set to pass down to my kids.


So, what authors would you love to meet? Please let me know in the comments, or leave me a link to your blog post if you are also participating in the meme!

Monday, March 27, 2017

#Book #Review: 4 out of 5 stars for The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

TITLE: The Shack
AUTHORS: Wm. Paul Young
PUBLISHER: Windblown Media
PUBLICATION DATE: July 1, 2007
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 252 pages
GENRE: Christian Fiction
ISBN: 9780964729230
Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!

MY REVIEW:

Mackenzie Allen Philips has had a rough life. His father was an abusive drunk, and Mackenzie took matters into his own hands (in more ways than one) when he left home at the age of 13.

Now, in his 50s, Mackenzie has a loving wife and they have been blessed with five beautiful children. He takes his three youngest children on a camping trip, and they have a wonderful time. On the last day as the family is packing up to return home, tragedy strikes. His two older children are on the lake in a canoe and, when it capsizes, his son is pinned underneath. Mackenzie dives into the water to save his son. When he returns to shore, his youngest child cannot be found. Little Missy was last seen coloring at the picnic table at the family’s campsite, and a ladybug pin is left behind. The FBI is called in and that ladybug pin is the abductor’s calling card, and there have been other similar cases but the outcome is never good and the bodies are never found. Missy’s torn and bloody dress is later found in an abandoned shack, and all hope is lost. What can be worse than the loss of a child? Mackenzie is living every parent’s worst nightmare. The family merely exists in their grief for the next four years, when Mackenzie receives a strange note in the mailbox signed by “Papa” which is his wife’s loving nickname for God. Papa tells Mackenzie that he has missed him and that he’ll be at the shack (yes, the same shack where Missy's dress was found) the following weekend if he wants to get together. Sounds crazy, right? Is someone playing a sick joke on him?

I think we’ve all gone through some difficult times and probably each one of us has questioned God: Why me? Why did this happen? Am I being punished? How could God let this happen? Those are tough questions. In this book, the author answers those questions and attempts to explain where God is during our times of sorrow and suffering. I was very emotional reading this story. It hits close to home, and it’s a tough read. I totally get that our own pain, grief, and sadness can swallow us up and make us unable to move forward. When the bitterness and hatred set in, then it's even harder. I empathize with Mack's struggle to forgive the man who killed his daughter. Who wouldn't?? However, the message behind the story is uplifting and is a comfort and definitely gives food for thought.

I saw this movie in the theatre, and I bawled my eyes out nearly the entire movie! I loved how the Holy Trinity was portrayed, and I thought they each were fabulous. The movie stays very close to the book, except for the ending. I definitely prefer the book ending to the movie ending!

MY RATING:
4 stars!! It was really good, and you should put it on your TBR list!

This book qualifies as:

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This weekly meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

I'm reading: 

Something from my dusty bookshelf.

AUTHORS: S.J. Watson
PUBLISHER: Black Swan
PUBLICATION DATE: 2012 (first published April 28, 2011)
FORMAT: Mass Market Paperback
LENGTH: 372 pages
GENRE: Mystery, Thriller
ISBN: 9780552164122
'As I sleep, my mind will erase everything I did today. I will wake up tomorrow as I did this morning. Thinking I'm still a child. Thinking I have a whole lifetime of choice ahead of me ...'

Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.


Something from my bookshelf. This is my vintage 1970 edition, which I've kept from my childhood! I'm reading it aloud to my daughter, and our plan is to make our way through the whole series. This is a re-read for me, but I honestly don't remember a thing about it! It read it when I was young.

SERIES: Oz, Book #2
AUTHOR: L. Frank Baum 
PUBLISHER: Scholastic
PUBLICATION DATE: 1970 (first published 1904)
FORMAT: Paperback
LENGTH: 192 pages
GENRE: Children's Fiction, Classics, Fantasy
ISBN: 0590085654

"You'll never bother me again," says Mombi the witch, "once you drink this magic brew."

"What'll it do?" cries poor Tip.

"It will turn you into a marble statue!"

Tip's heart beats wildly.

Can a mere boy escape from a witch's evil power?

But this is Oz -- the marvelous, magical land where anything can happen!


I'm still listening to:

Something from my review pile.

AUTHOR: Amanda Bouchet
NARRATORS: Mia Barron
PUBLISHER: Recorded Books
PUBLICATION DATE: January 3, 2017
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook
LENGTH: 11 hrs and 42 mins
GENRE: Fantasy, Romance
She's destined to destroy the world...

"Cat" Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat's tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what's a girl to do when she knows it's her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

But not if she can help it

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world-for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin must embrace their fate together. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom...or not at all.


I just finished:

TITLE: Compulsion
AUTHORS: Heidi Ayarbe
PUBLISHER: Balzer + Bray
PUBLICATION DATE: May 3, 2011
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 304 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Mental Illness
ISBN: 9780061993862

Today has to be perfect.

Magic.

I look at the clock.

10:14 AM.

Ten fourteen. One plus one is two plus four is six plus ten is sixteen minus one is fifteen minus two is thirteen. OK.

I turn from the clock and walk into the hallway. "Ready."

Saturday will be the third state soccer champion­ship in a row for Jake Martin. Three. A good number. Prime. With Jake on the field, Carson City High can't lose because Jake has the magic: a self-created protection generated by his obsession with prime numbers. It's the magic that has every top soccer university recruiting Jake, the magic that keeps his family safe, and the magic that suppresses his anxiety attacks. But the magic is Jake's prison, because sustaining it means his compulsions take over nearly every aspect of his life.

Jake's convinced the magic will be permanent after Saturday, the perfect day, when every prime has converged. Once the game is over, he won't have to rely on his sister to concoct excuses for his odd rituals. His dad will stop treating him like he is some freak. Maybe he'll even make a friend other than Luc.

But what if the magic doesn't stay?

What if the numbers never leave?

Acclaimed author Heidi Ayarbe has created an honest and riveting portrait of a teen struggling with obsessive compulsive disorder in this breathtaking and courageous novel.


TITLE: Heist Society
SERIES: Heist Society, Book #1
AUTHORS: Ally Carter
PUBLISHER: Hyperion Book CH
PUBLICATION DATE: February 9, 2010
FORMAT: Hardcover
LENGTH: 287 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Mystery
ISBN: 9781423116394

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat's friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat's father isn't just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it's a spectacularly impossible job? She's got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family's history--and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.


What are you reading? Have you read any of these books and, if so, what did you think? Please let me know in the comments and, if you are also participating in this meme, leave me a link to your blog post so that I can stop by!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Stacking The Shelves and Sunday Post

This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Team Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"


Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme



Well, that was a rough week! I stayed home from work on Monday and worked a half-day on Tuesday, but I probably should have stayed home the whole day! The worst of it now is this nagging cough. For the most part, it has been dry but sometimes it's productive and gets the gunk out of my chest. I had some issues with dizzy spells a few days ago, but I think that was from not eating for four days. My daughter still has that phlegmy, wet cough as well but is otherwise feeling good.

It's Spring Break, so I am taking the week off to spend with my kids! Too bad we're a bit under the weather, but at least we can sleep in and hopefully recover completely. I am still planning to get out and do some fun things with them. The weather looks beautiful. Waking up today to +2 degrees Celsius (that's 35 degrees Fahrenheit) and looking at a high of +9 degrees Celsius (that's 48 degrees Fahrenheit), woo hoo! I'm definitely planning to go for a walk this afternoon in the sunshine.

Here's my backyard, and things have been melting. I'm seeing more and more of my grass (sorry for the reflection in the photos, but the sun is shining right in):



If you missed it earlier, I have ARCs to swap. Check out MY POST to see if there's anything there that you'd like to read. If so, please let me know! I'd love to trade with someone. I will be adding to it once I have a chance to dig through boxes and bookshelves.


I bought these audiobooks from Audible at their 2-for-1 sale:


In the Barren Ground by Loreth Anne White



The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza
(Detective Erika Foster, Book #2)



I received this audiobook gift from Shane:


Gorgias by Plato

Thanks again, Shane!


Recap: Last Week On The Blog







What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in either of these memes, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!
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