Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Where Is Your Bookmark?

A very small collection of some of my bookmarks.

Some of you spent this past weekend deep in your books, taking part in Dewey's Read-A-Thon.  There's always so much enthusiasm around the event--I can't imagine though how any of you get any reading in with all the Twitter chatter, mini challenges, and blog hopping that takes place.  Somehow you do it though! I hope those of you who did take part had fun and got in all the reading you hoped to.

Although I didn't participate, I did manage to squeeze in some reading time this weekend, finishing off two books, one of which I have been reading for a couple of months.  Both were very different books: one a paranormal/urban fantasy novel, The Water Witch by Juliet Dark, and the other being literary fiction, A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri.  I hope to spend some time this week writing up reviews.  I've actually got a handful of reviews of books I have been reading ready for you.  Or at least they're mostly ready to go.  They need a good polishing before I post them.

In audio, I am listening to Wally Lamb's The Hour I First Believed, narrated by George Guidall.  It's over 25 hours long, so it will be a while before I finish it.  I'm about four hours into the book, having just finished the chapter where Caelum, the lead character, reminisces about his childhood and his relationship with his father.  The book is set around the time of the Columbine school shooting.  Caelum's wife, Maureen, was a school nurse, on campus at the time of the shooting. This book is pure fiction, but it deals with the impact such a tragedy has on a person--on a family.  At least that's what the book's description says.  Really though, the book is about so much more.

I most recently started reading D.A. Mashini's mystery, The Missing File, set in Israel.  It's still too early to offer up an opinion, but so far so good!

Let's not talk about my progress--or lack there of--with War and Peace.  I haven't given up, but I have definitely stalled.

What are you reading right now?

Every Tuesday Diane from Bibliophile By the Sea hosts 
First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where  
participants share the first paragraph (or a few) of a 
book they are reading or thinking about reading soon.

An opening may not make or break a book, but they are important. Especially for someone like me who needs an instant hook or else I might start looking elsewhere.

Opening of The Missing File by D.A. Mishani:
Across the desk from him sat a mother.  Another mother.
She was the third he had seen this shift.  The first had been too young, and pretty too, with a tight-fitting white T-shirt and wonderful collarbones.  She had complained that her son had been beaten up outside the school hard, and he had listened to her patiently, promising that her complaint would be dealt with seriously.  The second had demanded that the police send out a detective to follow her daughter and find out why she speaks in whispers on the telephone and locks her bedroom door at night.
Would you keep reading?

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cat Thursday: "I think I'll rest here for awhile."

Welcome to the weekly meme hosted by The True Book Addict that celebrates cats; their foibles and humorousness and the joy they bring. You can join in by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you made or came across, cat art or share with us pics of your own felines, then post your link up at The True Book Addict.

My Anya.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: The Fairfolk in Knob's End: Book 1: The Daughters of Annwn by Rachel Armstrong

The Fairfolk in Knob's End: Book 1: The Daughters of Annwn by Rachel Armstrong
Featherweight Press, 2013
Fantasy (YA); 218 pgs 

I worry that many people will pass over this book because it is from a small press, but I hope you won't.  I really, really, really hope you won't.  

The author approached me about reading this book when she heard that I was struggling with a more serious read, wishing I had something lighter. It's her first foray into Young Adult Fantasy, a genre I've started to read more and more in recent years.  I have read two of the author's previous books, both mysteries, and so knew there was a good chance I would like this book.  And, oh my gosh, did I ever!

This is one of those rare fantasy novels that cast a spell on me as I read, where even when not reading, I feel like a part of me is still inside the pages of the book.  Fantasy novels most often have that effect on me, in truth, especially the really good ones.  

From the Publisher: 
As if losing her mother and moving to live with her grandmother in Knob’s End wasn’t enough to contend with, sixteen-year-old Sophie James soon discovers that her new best friend is more than the average high school girl. Nerys is a magical Tylwyth Teg from the land of Annwn, and has been forced to seek refuge from a terrible fate.

Unless the people of Annwn can find a way to break the pact made with the sinister Coraniaids some two thousand years before, Nerys and her sisters will be forced into marriage and their homeland will be changed forever. Sophie and Nerys need to find the Dagger of Everlasting Truth and destroy it. The problem is no one knows its location, and, with so many lives in mortal danger, there is no time for mistakes. Lies are told and danger lurks around every corner, yet there persists a whisper of a human girl who may hold the key to their salvation, a girl with the gift of prophecy. Could Sophie be the one?

I didn't always like stories about the fae and their kindred.  Only in recent years have I really been drawn to them.  Gaelic mythology is so interesting, and I enjoy seeing it brought to life in literature.  

Rachel Armstrong has created an interesting world, that sits alongside our own.  Knob's Hill, by all accounts, is an ordinary place.  Humans go about their daily lives, not realizing a door into another world lies right on their border.  Annwn is a beautiful place, but darkness threatens it and tensions are high.  

Nerys is a Tylwyth Teg, hiding among the humans and avoiding a fate that will mean the downfall of her people.  It's clear there is something different about her the minute we meet her.  Sophie knows this on some level too, only she can't quite pinpoint it.  Ever since Sophie came to town, she's noticed little things--things that make her question her reality.  

Sophie is the kind of girl I think I would have gotten along very well with at the age of sixteen.  She is bookish, smart, athletic, and kindhearted.  As the story unfolds, Sophie grows more confident and finds a strength inside herself she didn't know she had.  I suppose in some respects, looking back, Sophie seemed too perfect some of the time, but it wasn't something I really noticed as I read the book, and it didn't hurt my enjoyment of it.

Sophie comes across many unexpected allies in her search, and many of them found their way into my heart just as Sophie did.  I was especially fond of Cadoc the Wanderer (okay, so I have a little crush on him).  I think my most favorite character, however, was Tegwen.  I was quite moved by her story and admired her strength.

The Fairfolk in Knob's End is an adventure quest story that takes readers deep into the land of Annwn.  Sophie sets out in search of the Dagger of Everlasting Truth, facing obstacles along the way. There is romance and action, politics and moral dilemmas, and magic, both good and bad, just as one might expect.  I have to say, the action scenes were quite intense!  The author's descriptions of them put me right in the middle of them.  There was more than one moment in the book when I found myself holding my breath a few times, suspecting the outcome, but still concerned for the characters.

I hated to leave Annwn when the story came to an end. Fortunately, this is the first book in a series, and it only touches the surface of a a world I would like to get to know better.   

Rating:  * (Very Good)

You can learn more about Rachel Armstrong, aka Liz Strange, and her books on the author's website.

Source: E-copy of the book provided by the author for review.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cat Thursday: Happy Birthday, Parker!

Welcome to the weekly meme hosted by The True Book Addict that celebrates cats; their foibles and humorousness and the joy they bring. You can join in by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you made or came across, cat art or share with us pics of your own felines, then post your link up at The True Book Addict.

Parker was just a little kitten when I first met him.  He was living in the parking lot of the courthouse where I worked at the time.  He was very people friendly, often seeking out attention.  I wasn't looking for a cat to bring home.  I already had a dog, and I'd never really been a cat person.  A persistent coworker put the pressure on though, and I eventually gave in. 

Parker didn't immediately come to our house.  I took him first to the vet where he spent the night after being neutered and given a general well check up.  The next day, April 18, 2002, Parker came home for the first time.  We celebrate the day as his birthday (even though he was probably about 6 to 8 months old at the time).  

It didn't take long for my husband and I to fall in love with Parker.  He settled into our family quite well.  He and Riley became bosom buddies that first day.  Parker is sweet and even tempered.  He can be playful and vocal when he wants to be.  He is bold and is rarely shy around strangers.  He is a nurturer.  He comforts Mouse when she is upset and has been a good mentor to Anya. Parker is my little angel.

Happy Birthday, Parker!  

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: Book 1, 2 & 3 of the Immortals After Dark Series by Kresley Cole


A Hunger Like No Other (2006, Pocket Star; 384 pgs) 
No Rest for the Wicked (2006, Pocket Star; 384 pgs)
Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (2007, Pocket Star; 384 pgs)

Tasha from Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Books and I got into a discussion on Twitter after I read her post "Why I Don't Read Literary Fiction: A Case Study", about my lack of excitement when reading romance novels.  I mentioned that I am always on the look out for a good romance novel that will win me over.  I don't want to not like the genre as a whole, but I do tend to shy away from it.  I have said before that I like romance in books, just usually when it's a side story and not the main story line.  I used to be able to say all those hot and heavy sex scenes bothered me as a whole (as in "What's the point? Get on with the real story already."), but even I've come to appreciate a good sex scene now and then.

I actually once was ga-ga over romance.  I read a lot of it in high school and during my early years of college.  Even then though, I tended to prefer the romantic suspense novels to the straight up romances.  So, maybe it's more a matter of burn out?

The truth is, these days novels with romance as the main story line tend to bore me (please don't throw tomatoes at your computer screen--it's messy).  I have come to realize I like more conflict than a romance-focused novel provides.  Like Tasha not especially liking to read Literary Fiction, I just don't care for romance unless it is mixed with mystery or magic or some other sort of drama.

Somewhere in that conversation, Tasha recommended the first book in Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark series, A Hunger Like No Other.  She knew I liked urban fantasy and have read quite a few books that straddle that urban fantasy/paranormal romance line.  A Hunger Like No Other definitely fits more in the paranormal romance camp--heavy on the romance with a touch of mystery/thriller.  My experience with books like this (romance-focused) hasn't been all that great, so I was a little leery.

I liked A Hunger Like No Other more than I thought I would.  I had to get over my initial disgust at the male lead, whose idea of forcing himself on a woman is the way to win her over.  It was one of those situations where I had to separate my reality from the context of the fantasy I was reading.  His world is not my world.  He is from a different era, where the roles of women and men were different.  He is a different species, with animal instincts that override reason.  Once I got past that, I felt better about him, and actually came to like the big guy.  

I have to say, I really liked Emma, the female lead.  She is half vampire, half Valkyrie.  Raised by the Valkyrie as one of their own, she was raised to hate and kill vampires.  She never knew her mother and has no idea who her father is.  She wants to know him though, at least who he is, and it is why she finds herself in Paris--right in the path of LaChlain MacRieve when he escapes from his imprisonment in search of her, his Mate.  What I liked most about her character was the amount of growth she made over the course of the book.  She learns much about herself and also gains confidence as the story unfolds.  By the end of the book, she is a much different person than the one she began as in terms of courage and strength.

Kresley Cole has created a complex and interesting world, a world in which supernatural beings, all a part of the Lore, live along side the unknowing humans.  The Horde, the vampires who prey on humans and other supernatural beings, are the enemy of all, while the other supernatural beings, the immortals, seem to just tolerate each other.  

One thing I really like about Cole's immortals is how rough around the edges they are.  While gorgeous on the outside (of course), they definitely have their dark sides.  The whole good versus evil is more grey than anything else (except when it comes to the Horde).  It adds complexity to the characters as well as the story.

The common theme in the series seems to be that certain immortal beings have only one soul mate out there.  For vampires, it is their Brides.  For the Lykae, it's their Mates.  Obviously, this love connection isn't restricted to like beings, often crossing the divide, attracting immortals who aren't exactly fond of the others race.  Getting over that prejudice for love can be mighty difficult.

In LaChlain's case, he hates vampires.  Vampires imprisoned and tortured him for hundreds of years.  How is it possible his Mate would be part vampire?  He struggles internally with this dilemma, wanting both to hurt and protect Emma.  It explains his harsh behavior with her one minute and gentleness the next.  Of course, Emma doesn't understand.   She's struggling with her own feelings and preconceptions about the Lykae, and has no idea why this man is so intent on keeping her his prisoner.  

I came away from A Hunger Like No Other wanting more, always a good sign, and so jumped right into the next book in the series, No Rest for the Wicked.  Each book in the series features a different couple, so reading in order isn't necessary.  However, many of the characters appear in each of the books, and they seem to run in chronological order, so it seems safest to read the series in order.

I wasn't as taken with the second book in the series, No Rest for the Wicked.  Kaderin was a hard character for me to warm up to.  Maybe because she had been shut off from her emotions for so long and could be so ruthless in her dealing with others.  I'm not a big fan of cruelty.  She is a Valkyrie, the daughter of gods.  Her sisters had been killed years ago by vampires.  The loss was too painful to bear.  For an unknown reason, she was given a gift of the absence of emotions and has become a vampire killing machine.  Every year, Kaderin competes in a competition called the Hie, in which the goddess pits immortals against each other.  Participants are sent on a scavenger hunt in which each item they retrieve is worth a set amount of points.  The two top competitors then compete against each other for the ultimate prize.  This year's prize is one Kaderin must have at all costs.

She didn't count of meeting Sebastian Wroth though.  He is a vampire long sequestered in his house in Estonia, not aligned with the Horde or the Forebearers (the "good" vampires).  He never wanted to be a vampire and longs to die.  He welcomes Kaderin to take his life.  Only, she is unable to.  The attraction between the two is undeniable.  And Sebastian realizes he's met his Bride (not a spoiler as we know this almost immediately).  

I quite liked Sebastian.  He was ever the gentleman and had a gentle heart.  I felt bad for him the way Kaderin treated him at times.  But I also understood it was a necessary evil as Kaderin worked through the sudden reappearance of her feelings and her attraction to the one type of being she hated most in the world.  

Perhaps reading the two books back to back was too much.  I didn't find this second book in the series to be quite as alluring.  Kaderin and Sebastian weren't as interesting characters as Emma and LaChlain had been.  I didn't feel the chemistry between them as I did the couple in the first book.  Don't get me wrong.  I didn't dislike the book.  I was just glad when I finished reading it so I could move onto something else.

And so, a few books later, I picked up the third book in the Immortal After Dark series, Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night, and found it much more to my liking.  Mariketa is a young mortal, a witch who has yet to turn immortal.  She is an extremely powerful witch but is unable to control her magic.  While competing in the Hie, she comes up against the irresistible Lykae, Bowen MacReive, a Lykae, who is determined to win the contest (the same Hie Kaderin and Sebastian competed in during book 2) at all costs.

Bowen had lost his Mate centuries ago and has never gotten over it.  There's never been any evidence to suggest someone can have more than one Mate in a lifetime, and so Bowen believes the connection he feels with Mariketa when he meets here is a spell she's cast on him.  He places her in mortal danger when he leaves her behind, trapping her, along with several others, in a supernatural prison, in an effort to get ahead in the Hie.  And she wants nothing more than to kill him for putting her in such a position.

Perhaps because I have a special affinity for witches, I was immediately drawn to Mari's character.  She's young and naive in some respects, but she is also smart and ballsy.  She wasn't a damsel in distress by any stretch.

Bowen struggles with feelings of betrayal of his lost love and his growing love for Mari.  A family tragedy at the hands of a witch centuries ago only adds to the conflict in Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night, as Bowen does not trust witches in general.  I liked Bowen quite a bit in the first book in the series and not at all in the second.  In this third book, he renews my faith in his character, and I found myself rooting for him.  He's a rather gruff man, who is clearly much older than Mari, but he's likable just the same.

Of the first three books in the series, I definitely liked Mari and Bowen's story best.  It had characters I could get behind, an intriguing story and a setting I'm enjoying getting to know the more I read about it.

While the love stories in all three books are fairly formulaic (to be expected given the type of book), the characters and much of what they experienced are different enough to make each of the stories unique.  The steamy parts were sufficiently hot and well written.  And each of the books were plenty suspenseful.  I raced through each one pretty quickly.  I'd say Tasha chose well.  And yes, I do plan to read more of the series.  There a few characters I hope to see as the focus in future books!

Reading books that so heavily focused on the romance was a bit of a change for me, but the supernatural and thriller elements gave them an advantage.  I think Tasha realized this when she recommended the first book in the series to me.  Start with where the reader is most comfortable and go from there.

Many thanks to Tasha for the recommendation!

You can learn more about Kresley Cole and her books on the author's website

Source: I bought e-copies of all three books for my own reading pleasure.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: The Shining by Stephen King

The Shining by Stephen King
Doubleday, 1977
Horror; 672 pgs

From the Publisher: 
Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
Stephen King's books are infinitely readable.  I may like some more than others, but he spins a good yarn and his books are generally quick reads.  My interest in The Shining was more out of curiosity than actual interest in the story line.  For years people have talked about how frightening this book is.  If you've ever seen the show Friends, you know that Joey and Rachel found the book to be freezer worthy--meaning so scary they hid the book in the freezer.  This, I had to see for myself.  For some reason though, I got it into my head I had to read The Stand first (I know, totally unrelated book).  Finally, last year I did.

So, when I heard about the Shine On, a read-along of The Shining, I joined up, looking forward to tackling The Shining at last.  I have yet to be wowed by King, even though I keep hoping.  I liked The Stand well enough, but was disappointed I didn't like it more.  Cell was entertaining, but ultimately my least favorite King book so far.  I did like Misery though.  

I can definitely see why so many people get white knuckles while reading The Shining.  It was quite intense in parts, especially near the end as the book reached its climax.  By then I was so invested in the characters, it was a race to the end to see what would happen.  I have been fortunate not to have been spoiled as to the end (and I hadn't yet seen the movie).

While The Shining isn't my most favorite horror novel, it is probably among my favorite King novels of the four I've read so far.  I appreciated the depth the author went into in regards to the characters and their back stories, the foundation King laid, and the way the Overlook Hotel was much a character itself.  As much as King went into the history of the hotel, I wish I, as the reader, had a chance to explore it more.  

I never grew to like Jack, although at times I could empathize with him.  I'm not sure I would have been as patient and accommodating as his wife was with him in her situation, but one never really knows unless you walk in that other person's shoes for awhile.  Jack had a lot of problems, many unresolved.  He wasn't the most insightful guy. 

I did like Wendy, Jack's wife, to some degree, and not just because of her name.  I don't feel she was as well fleshed out as Jack and Danny were, but perhaps that was the point.  I got the impression she didn't have much of a self-esteen, a result of her past and a situation not helped by her husband.  I felt bad for her much of the time, stuck between a rock and a hard place

I liked Danny and really felt sorry for him, for his circumstances.  Here is this young boy with a preternatural gift that no one really understands.  He's had to grow up way too fast, and is now faced with much he doesn't understands.  King does a good job capturing the thoughts and fears of the five year old.  I often wanted to pull him out of the book and protect him from what I knew was sure to come.

I was most drawn to the more psychological thriller aspect of the book--watching one of the characters go down the road to madness, seeing how it could grip the mind and twist one's thinking, deluding not only the victim but those around him or her too.
I guess the big question is whether I found The Shining freezer worthy.  I can't say I did.  White knuckles while holding the book for those last hundred or so pages, perhaps.  But no, never did I have the urge to put the book in the freezer. 

Rating: * (Good +)

You can learn more about Stephen King and his books on the author's website

Source: I bought a copy of the book for my own reading pleasure.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Baby Snail

Hosted by Wordless Wednesday

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Laying Claim to my Blog and a Cat & Mouse Conversation

Follow my blog with Bloglovin. Blatant ad, I know.  Something I guess I have to do to claim my blog through Bloglovin.  I am sad to see Google Reader go as I rely on it quite heavily. I have tested out a few of the alternative feedreaders including Feedly, Bloglovin and The Old Reader. I am most content with The Old Reader, I must say. Probably because it more familiar to me being that it is just like the old Google Reader. Anyway, I did want to at least claim my blog through Bloglovin (why I'm posting about this)--and I discovered I have followers there (many thanks!).

Conversations with my daughter:

Upon coming home from work/school
Me: Time to get out of the car, little missy.
Mouse: I not missy. I Mouse.

Later that evening as we're getting ready for bed
Mouse: You big.
Me: Yes.  I am a woman.
Mouse: No! You not wo-man.  You mommy.

During bath time the next day
Mouse: You are not wo-man.
Me:  Mouse and mommy are both women. Daddy is a man.
Mouse: You are not wo-man! You mommy! I missy!  
Me: You're missy?  I thought you were Mouse.
Mouse (laughing): I missy! You mommy!  Daddy wo-man.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Connie Melton

Carry On, Warrior: Thoughts on Life Unarmed by Glennon Doyle Melton
Scribner, 2013
Nonfiction; 288 pgs
(e-book copy provided by publisher)

I had never heard of Glennon Doyle Melton before being approached to be a part of this tour.  Before agreeing, I did a little research, including visiting Glennon's blog, Momastery.  I like what she has to say.  I like what she represents.  She seems like a smart and witty woman who is all about empowering women and respecting--and supporting--each other.  And so, I agreed to read and review her book.

I immediately liked Glennon, from her openness about her life with all its hardships to her positive attitude.  She fell into addiction at a young age, as well as an eating disorder. She never felt like she fit in and found a hollow comfort in controlling what went in and came out of her body.  It wasn't until she became pregnant by a man she barely knew that she realized she needed to get her life together.  It was a difficult struggle, but with the help and support of her family, especially her sister, Glennon made it happen.  I couldn't help but think of my graduate school research partner as I read Glennon's story.  Her own experience was similar in terms of her addiction and lifestyle choices early in her life. And like Glennon, she made the decision to turn her life around and is now an inspiration to others.

One day at the park, Glennon writes that she was talking with another mother and grew tired of the usual superficial banter.  She spilled her story to this woman she didn't know all that well and was met with tears and a heartfelt story from this new friend.  The woman could have had a completely different reaction, of course, but her own openness spurred Glennon on.  Glennon knew she had to continue what she started and so she has--both in her personal life and in starting her blog.  She let down her guard, let people see who she really was and not just what she wanted them to see.

I recently tried to recreate a similar moment with the mother of one of my daughter's friends and was met with a quick change of subject.  I didn't exactly give her my whole history--just shared a personal struggle I'd had that fit in with the conversation. It was something, and even though it may not have led to a best friend forever scenario (I didn't expect it would anyway), I am glad I spoke up.  In actuality, I have been more open and honest about quite a few things over the last year and a half--talking about how hard (and funny) parenting can be and the like--and it has been very rewarding in terms of getting other women to talk about some of their struggles.  While time and experience is its own confidence builder, I also feel these conversations have given me a bit more confidence, especially in my parenting choices which aren't always in alignment with what everyone else I know is doing.  So, I can relate to Glennon's approach.

The book is essentially a series of essays (many of which have appeared on her blog at one time or another).  Glennon's writing style is conversational, and she comes across as someone who is easy to relate to.  At least I found her so.  There were times I wish she'd delved a little deeper, taken it a little farther.  Ultimately, though, the author describes her experiences, her decision to be more truthful in her life, her family life and her love for her children.  She talks about her faith and her strong friendships. She explains that she wants people to be more open with each other, more honest, and to be open to each other. She wants people, especially women, to stop competing with each other, to see how we are similar and value and accept each others differences--and most of all, to be kind to ourselves, to forgive ourselves when we falter or make mistakes.

As I read Glennon's thoughts and story, I felt just the way I'm sure she hoped I would feel.  Validated.  Hopeful.  Inspired.  How long will these feelings last?  I don't know.  But while I was reading, it sure felt nice. I was touched by her experiences, could relate to much of what she said, and admire her all the more for who she is, what she has done and what she strives to do.  She isn't perfect, and I like that about her too.  Perhaps most of all.

There will be some who won't connect with Glennon, I imagine.  She had to make some hard choices in her life and has beliefs that might not gel with everyone else's.  Even so, I think her message is one that encompasses all of us out there.

Rating: * (Good +)

To learn more about Glennon Doyle Melton and her book, please visit the author's website.

I hope you will check out what others had to say about Carry On, Warrior on the TLC Book Tours route!

Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. Copy of Carry On Warrior provided by publisher in e-book form.

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Finding A Moment of Peace and Joy

The last couple of months have been one thing after another, between sickness, injury, a wedding, birthdays, company, work and just every day life.  The last couple of weeks have been particularly intense as my dog, Riley, struggles with his health.  It was touch and go there for awhile, and a couple of times I was sure he wouldn't be coming home with me when I took him to the vet. It's been a roller coaster ride, and I have to tell you, I am spent.  There are moments when I am not sure which way is up and which is down.  Right now I am cautiously optimistic.  Riley is beginning to show signs of getting better, and hopefully it will take. I just wish I could take away his pain when that darn spinal arthritis gives him so much trouble.

At times like this, I am reminded of how precious life is.  And how important it is to embrace what joy--and peace--we can find.

These are just a handful of moments I enjoyed most recently:

Sitting watching television with Riley on my lap and my cat Anya on my chest.  Sure, the laundry needed to be moved from the washer to the dryer, but who cared?  In that moment, we were all at peace.

Playing spaceship with my daughter: "Blast off!"  "Do you want some berries, Mommy?"  "I want some too!"  Not worrying about work or the dishes or anything else that needed to be done.

Lying in bed reading, uninterrupted for a half hour.

My husband letting me sneak off to take a nap and being joined by my purring cat, Parker.  

My coworker telling me not to rush and to spend a little extra time at lunch, knowing I was going to go home and check on Riley, even though we were busy. (I didn't take that extra time, but it's nice to know I could have.)

The young man at the grocery store who volunteered, unasked, to take my shopping cart after I'd unloaded the groceries into my car, buckled Mouse in her seat, and realized the cart rack was too far to go without having to take Mouse out of her carseat (which she'd fought me tooth and nail getting into). *Normally, I don't put Mouse in the car until after I've put the cart in the cart rack, but I was off my game that day.

What about you?  What moments of peace in your daily life stand out for you most recently?

© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.