Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Book Reports (Sort-of): Night Road by Kristin Hannah & The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

I am a blogging failure lately!! I just realized that I didn't do book reports on two books I read earlier this year.... both of which I rated 4 out of 5 and I definitely recommend reading! Two of my favorite authors, Kristin Hannah and Diane Chamberlain. For lack of memory on what I would say about these books, I am just going to share the marvelous covers (I totally judge a book by it's cover) and the synopses from Barnes and Noble.

For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows — her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close-knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.

Jude does everything to keep her kids on track for college and out of harm’s way. It has always been easy — until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time Mia and Zach leave the house, she worries about them.

On a hot summer’s night her worst fears are realized. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget... or the courage to forgive.

Vivid, universal, and emotionally complex, Night Road raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Dear Anna,
What I have to tell you is difficult to write, but I know it will be far more difficult for you to hear, and I'm so sorry…

The unfinished letter is the only clue Tara and Emerson have to the reason behind their close friend Noelle's suicide. Everything they knew about Noelle—her calling as a midwife, her passion for causes, her love for her friends and family—described a woman who embraced life.

Yet there was so much they didn't know.

With the discovery of the letter and its heartbreaking secret, Noelle's friends begin to uncover the truth about this complex woman who touched each of their lives—and the life of a desperate stranger—with love and betrayal, compassion and deceit.

Ooo.... now as I am reading these synopses, I remember just how much I loved these books! Both were A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.... so hurry and go read them! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011


My friend Amy took a gorgeous picture of the sun with brilliant sunbeams peeking through the trees! I had to email her right away and ask how she did it! So I gave it a whirl and this is what I ended up with.....
DSC_6826 copy

I like hers better, but not too shabby for my first shot!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Book Report: A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard

(Image from Barnes and Noble)

I sit here thinking about this book that I just read in less than 2 days and my heart aches. Jaycee Lee Dugard went through so much in the 18 years she was held captive by a sex offender and his wife. But what strikes me most is that she is such a courageous woman, so full of strength and hope and even peace about her future. She chooses not to focus on the past and lives for the future…. which is part of the reason she chose to write the book. She didn’t want to keep her captors secrets anymore. What happened to her during those years was awful… and very hard to read but I am glad I did because her story has blessed me more than I imagined. I love that she shared one of her favorite quotes with her readers… “I said to my soul be still, and wait without hope; for hope would be hope for the wrong thing.” – T.S. Eliot. She shares in the book that her hope was in the wrong people during her captivity, but nonetheless, it was hope. A couple other quotes she shared was “What will happen will happen. There is time for miracles until there is no more time, but time has no end.” And “Hope, love, and faith are all in the waiting.” –both by Dean Koontz. She also shares in her book that in one of her journal entries she writes that one of things she wants to do someday is write a bestselling book. At that time, I don’t think she had any idea it would be about her life, maybe more fiction as she loves imagery. On the first day her book was released, 175,000 copies were sold which made a record for her publisher Simon and Schuester. You go girl, Jaycee!

It’s hard to rate this book. How do you say you “like” a book or rate it when the topic is such an unfathomable one? I chose to rate this book a 4. While the book was very all over the place, grammatically not the greatest and a tough (but easy) read, I think it is definitely worth a 4. (I reserve 5’s for my favorite books ever.) The reason I give this a 4 is for Jaycee’s courage and strength and the will to share her story and move on and heal. Jaycee deserves it for everything she’s been through.

Jaycee is an amazing woman. I really do recommend reading this book, but know that the content is tough. Jaycee also did an excellent special with Diane Sawyer that worth watching. She’s too cute and sweet….. I just know she is going to have a beautiful life!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Photo Shoot: Sheena & Ella

When we were in Minnesota over Memorial weekend, I also did a little photoshoot of Sheena and Ella! As you can tell by the slideshow below, Ella was totally loving having the spotlight on her! :) Probably two of my favorite images of her....

dsc_3123dsc_2692 sepia

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Book Report: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

(image from Barnes and Noble)

My sister, Sheena, read this book before me and when I asked her to explain what it was like, she said it was too hard to put into words! I definitely have to agree…. In fact, I wonder how I am going to write a review! I’ll try…. “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” is…. well, very peculiar. The author, Ransom Riggs, couldn’t have used a better word in the title! This book is unlike anything I typically read in the way it is very dreamy, fairytale-like. The characters remind me almost of cartoon characters, or ones out of a horror flick… levitating girls, invisible boys. The story was very fun… I completely enjoyed this fun fantasy world these peculiar children live in. Because I have absolutely no idea how to explain what the book is about, I’ll let you watch the trailer which I found to be very fun!!! Actually, having watched the trailer, I think this book would make a phenomenal movie!!!

I think my very favorite part of this book was that the author incorporated vintage photos into his story. Or maybe it was the other way around. Maybe he used the photos to create this story. (Guess I’ll have to research that.) It was super fun to have pictures throughout the book to give you a visual of different people and places throughout the story. When I went on YouTube to watch the book trailer, I found that the author is a collector of vintage photos and that he is in the midst of composing a book of these photos. You must watch the video, “Talking Pictures”… it’s amazing!

With my love of photography, and vintage cameras, the collecting of vintage photographs was something that totally spoke to me. In fact, already, I love going to antique shops and flea markets. So I got all giddy excited and emailed Sheena and told her this was something I must do and she had the exact same idea after watching “Talking Pictures”!!! I am super thrilled that both she and I have decided to start collecting vintage photos! I can’t wait to see where this newfound hobby brings us! The very cool and unique thing is that a photograph can speak differently to people in different ways. I could pick up a photo that is completely boring to me, but Sheena may absolutely fall in love with it. Even though we are going to share the same hobby of collecting vintage photos, our collections will surely end up dramatically different! And this is going to be a blast! My plan is to share the vintage photos I find on my blog along with my thoughts and feelings about the photo, so please stay tuned!

For now, I’ll share with you a vintage photo that I found…. I fell in love with it and knew immediately that I wanted Sheena to have it (even though I badly wanted to keep it myself). When I look at this photograph, I see two sisters and that they love to read and love books, just like Sheena and I. In reality, maybe these two aren’t sister and maybe are teachers…. But this is the fun thing. I get to use my imagination. My imagination tells me these two women are sisters (after all, they do look similar) and they love books and reading!