Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Believe in Santa Claus.

This is by far my favorite Christmas book...beside the story of the Savior in the Bible and Book of Mormon of course. This book talks about the symbolism in Christmas and what the different things stand for. But mostly it talks about how Santa Claus is the symbol of the Savior and it talks about why. First the author portrays Santa and the person he is, then she describes the Savior and the person he is which is exactly the same. I love how after I read this book now whenever I see Santa I think of the Savior and the true meaning of Christmas being the celebration of his birth and life. This book is a great one o help kids understand that everything we see at Christmas time and even throughout our lives points back to the Savior and is a wonderful reminder of how we need to constantly look to him and remember his life and the example he was for us so that we may pattern our mortal lives after his. This is the first Christmas in 4 years that I have actual felt the Christmas spirit and the Spirit of the Lord together. It's the first Christmas in a long time that i have been excited for Christmas not because of the presents under the tree...but for the opportunity we have to openly declare our love for our Savior and to sing our praises to him without people getting offended. I love this time of year! I love my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and i know that he lives and that he loves us. I know that he wants us to return to live with him someday.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Polar Express

Most kids had the opportunity to grow up with this book. So when they made the movie there were a lot of very excited people. I knew nothing about the book or movie till...I think it was last year. But when I saw the movie I fell in love with it instantly and this year I finally read the book...well listened to it is more like it. I love the story behind it and the characters. I can see why this book captivated millions of Children and parent around the world. :)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Mr. Finnegans The Giving Chest.

One of the greatest things I love about Children's Christmas books is the different messages they hold. They are all the same but different in their own ways. On of these stories is by a man that I grew up watching on TV with my mom and who is one of those great comforting things to me...Dick Van Dyke. watching his movies and hearing his voice always makes me feel like a kid again watching Mary Poppins, the Dick Van Dyke show with my mom and always feels like a warm blanket being wrapped around me. So when I saw this book of course I was going to get it. :p Its a great story about this magical toy maker...Mr. Finnegan that tries to help people. The little girl is the town bully and Mr. Finnegan wants her to help him He gave her the giving chest and asked her to take it to a certain address. By doing this errand she learned the importance of being nice and the true meaning of Christmas. Like I said classic "scrooge" story in a way, but on a level that kids can understand it better. I love this book and cant wait to be able to read it to our kids someday at Christmas time. :)

Monday, December 14, 2009

The Christmas Scene

This book was so good, it's a book I have with all my Christmas books and I have had it for awhile now but only picked it up this year. It is a very easy read, it took me a little over 3 hours and I am a really slow reader. Elder Neal A. Maxwell does such a good job on making you think, not only about the birth of the Savior and the reason we celebrate Christmas in the first place, But about life, the teachings of the Savior, how we need to learn from him and many more wonderful lessons. It took quite a bit not to highlight this whole book with all the different things it taught me and wonderful quotes. It has really helped me in my life and with current problems that I am struggling with. To truly get into the Christmas spirit I would recommend this book, it really helps to focus on the birth of our savior and turn the holidays into CHRISTmas. :) Merry Christmas Everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Drive


That's right my book drive from Oct. is still on-going and I am still offering a $25 gift card to the person who donates the most books. This is a wonderful book drive that is going to help local school and library's right here in Utah. PLEASE we need all the help we can get, if you have any books you would like to donate you can drop them off at my work or house. Not in the Ogden/Downtown Salt Lake area call, e-mail, or make a comment on this blog stating that you would like to schedule a time for me to come and get your books and I can come to your house or work and get them. What a better gift to give this holiday season then the gift of reading and learning to children who don't have a lot. If you are in the West Jordan, South Jordan, (etc.) area and would like to participate in a book drive close to home. My sister in law Lisa is also having a book drive in West Jordan. Click here to see details. We also have another book drive in the making for Primary Children's Hospital. I will keep you posted on this drive. Remember any book , any contribution helps. Thank You!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Christmas Box

Around this time of year, people start pulling out their Christmas books and reading them. For some reason this seemed a little tedious for me. But this year I decided I really want to try and get into the Christmas spirit. So when we were down to my parents house for Thanksgiving I saw this book on her shelf and asked if i could borrow it. I thought it would be a great book to start the season off with. It was small, Obviously a Christmas story and written by an author that I have read before and seemed to enjoy so...alright lets give it a try. :) I did NOT know what I was getting myself into. Don't get me wrong this book was fantastic and I really loved it. it helped teach me a lot about the true meaning of Christmas and how fortunate I am. This is one of those rare books that made me cry...and I mean tears rolling down my cheeks, couldn't stop the flow, making my husband nervous crying. He kept asking me if I was ok. :) At first it weirded me out a little with the events happening right here in my home state and not only that but a few blocks from where I work. But as the story went on I forgot about that and really got into it and came to really love the characters. This year I have realized a few things, some of the many reason why I love Christmas. It isn't so much the gift giving and getting them in return. That's great but what I really love about Christmas is the fact that it touches all of our senses. The sights, sounds, smells, tastes, feel. It's all different at Christmas. This book really helped me to realize this. I am starting to see all the different symbolism in Christmas and how it always goes back to our Savior Jesus Christ. This is something no one could take away. Not from me or anyone else who can see this wonderful symbolism. I am so glad I read this book, and very thankful for what it has taught me. to everyone who reads this I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and get to spend it with those you love.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Wide Window

It's amazing how you can read a series with the same characters the same basic story and the different books are different events that occur...Some examples are Harry Potter. Characters stayed the same, it was the same concept Harry had to deal with Voldemort issues and he was going to Hogwarts...but situations changed... The basilisk, An escaped prisoner, the tri-wizard tournament, etc. Yet with all these same characters and everything, out of the series it seems people can most choose a book (#1,2,3,etc) that they liked more or less. The Wide Window is the 3rd book in the series of unfortunate events. But I think it was also my least favorite so far. With the other two books there was a warmth about them. In book 1 when the children had Count Olaf as their guardian it was dark and sad..but they had his neighbor Justice Strauss to bring light and warmth into the story. In book 2 you had that automatically with Uncle Monty. But in this one there was no warmth. Their new guardian Aunt Josephine was a fairly good woman...even thought her character did bother me a little. But everything was cold and dark. I think that's why I had a little bit harder time with this one. However I was a little more satisfied with the ending and it didn't seem to drag on to expose the bad guy like the last 2 did. So yes this was a good read...not my favorite in the series and I am excited to continue. This series might be put on hold for a time though due to the Christmas season. I want to read a Christmas book this year. :)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Righteous Warriors

This was a book suggested to me by a friend...she even sent it to me on audio. :) I really enjoyed it. For those of you who have ever read The Book of Mormon and ever wondered why they're are a lot of wars. John Bytheway has a great explanation and some really great lessons from these chapters that a lot of us might just skim over. it made me see these war chapters from a different perspective. I learned a lot from this book...great read. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fablehaven Book Four

This book was start to finish nothing but action packed. it left you wanting for more. this book made me feel so many different emotions it was great. It sucked me in just like Harry Potter did. New characters were introduced (as with every book) as well as some old ones. I feel like I cant say much about this book cause I don't want to ruin it for someone who hasn't read it yet. With almost every book I read somebody lets something slip so it leaves me waiting in anticipation till I get to that part that slipped. But with this book I hadn't heard anything about it and it's one of the factors I feel that helped me to enjoy it that much more. Because I didn't know anything about it or even what to expect. So I know this is a short review but I really want you to judge for yourself how you felt about his book. This series is a lot of fun to read.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Reading Tree Challenge

In one of my last posts I talked about the reading tree and a little about it. I am excited to announce that I am having a book drive. It's really simple, any old or unwanted books that you may have lying around the house can be useful. Just pack em up and give them to me. Either drop them off at my house or e-mail, text or call me to schedule a pick up time that I can come and get them. I have been talking and planning out this book drive with John Barger who is the executive director for Reading Tree right here in our very own Utah...Farmington to be exact. He is as excited as I am to have this book drive to help out some local schools. This book drive will officially start Oct 1st and (due to a 2 weeks vacation) wont end until Jan 1st. To help spread the word please do a short post on your blog about this challenge with a link to this blog and then leave a comment saying you have done this. Then I will contact you to get your address so I can send you a homemade bookmark just for telling people about this. We want to donate as much as we can! So in order to do this I am offering a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble (or a store of your choice) for the person who donates the most books. When you drop them off I will keep track of who you are and how many book you have donated. If you don't live in Utah or close to Salt Lake and would like to help your in luck. Reading tree has bins that you can donate your books at. Just click here to go to their website to find a bin near you. If you would like to participate in the challenge still but once again can't get the books to me. Send me an e-mail at with the title Reading Tree Challenge (so I know what it's about) and tell me how many books you have donated (you can also add titles of the books if you want) with a picture of you in front of the donation bin. Remember these books are going to go to needy schools, library's and family's right in your area. If you would like to see where your books go contact a representative in your area and they can give you more information and can maybe even include you in a donation event at a school or library. Please help us out in this wonderful chance to help stamp out illiteracy.

The Reptile Room

The reptile room is book 2 in Lemony Snickets a series of unfortunate events. I liked this one more than the first. I still enjoyed the characters both old and newly introduced, I did find myself a little more frustrated at the different situations in this book, but I can see how for a young adult book, kids who read this would be able to identify with the Baudelaire children in the sense that maybe they always feel like adults are not listening and that they need to come up with a way to save the day. In my children's literature class my professor told me that this fact is key to writing children's novels. When a child reads a book they find it a lot less satisfying if an adult comes up with a plan to save the day and the kids in the book just follow along, and when trying to introduce reading to children they might be less interested in reading at all. but when you give them a book that they can live through the characters and these characters come up with their own way of solving the mystery or catching the bad guy then they will want to read more and more. I have really enjoyed these stories so far and look forward to continuing with them.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reading Tree Books for Charity

I stumbled upon this wonderful charity called the Reading Tree books for Charity while I was looking at the Childrens Reading Foundation's website. When I read their mission statement I couldn't believe it. Here is what it said.....

"We have two missions: First, we keep books from contributing to the saturation of our nation's landfills. Second, we collect books from families who no longer want them, and deliver them to children, families, schools and libraries that desperately need them.
Did you know that readiness levels for kids entering school can be directly tied to income levels?

Did you know that 61% of low income families have no children's books in the home?
The books are out there. Thousands upon thousands end up in landfills each year. You can help us use these books to change the lives of kids in your community - and around the world."
I read this on the "Our Mission" portion of the website and I had NO Idea. So for all who read this blog and more I am going to issue a challenge... Since there are no book drops here in Utah (at least according to the website there aren't) I am going to issue a book drive to all who read this blog and more. if you have ANY books that you don't read or want anymore instead of throwing them away. I would like to ask you to donate them to this help low income families, library's or anyone else who needs them receive books and to try and stop illiteracy. I have emailed the reading tree to find out more information about how we can help and what we can do to have a book drive. When I find out more information I will post it to let you know. Until then please keep this post in mind. Thank You!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

I Will Plant You a Lilac Tree.

This is the book I chose to replace my other choice for the book club. It was very hard to read but had me hooked from the very beginning. I feel very humbled after reading about the life of this young girl during the holocaust. I couldn't even imagine having to go through everything she went through and be a survivor. As I was reading this book I tried on multiple occasions to try and relate to her as best I could and couldn't even come close. I tried to imagine what it must have been like and even then I don't think I could ever fully grasp the concept. What really shocked me about this book is not only the experience that this woman had to go through when she was only a teenager but also the story and lesson I learned that even through the most dismal situations good can be found. Laura Hillman made 3 very important friends at the concentration camps. 1 was a young girl named Fella, she helped Laura cope and taught her a lot about life in a concentration camp. The 2 was a Polish POW solider by the name Hillman and later who she affectionately called Dick. As you might have guessed by her name She not only became fast friends with this soldier but also fell in love with him. Then the 3 was another girl by the name of Eva. I have always been fascinated by WWII, but what fascinates me the most is not all the horrible and cruel things that people can do to one another that is often focused on. But the good they can do and the true hero's that walked silently through history that people tend to look over. I am convinced that besides the people they directly influenced nobody would know who they were or what they did without these memoirs, movies and other books. In the darkest of times good can be found. This is the main thing that I took away from reading this wonderful book. I know I recommend almost all the books I read but this one in my opinion is a MUST READ!

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Bad Beginning

I have been wanting to read these books for awhile now, but I wanted to first collect all 13 books....yup 13. I found books 1-4 at a swap meet for a $1 each and thought that would be a good place to start. After finding that I had left the book I was reading in the car... that was now with James at Salt Lake. I started to look for another book to read for the 1 1/2 hour bus ride into work. So I finally grabbed this book. I have already seen the movie so I knew the basic story of these books. It was a lot easier read then what I thought but I really enjoyed how it went into a little more detail with the characters. I especially liked the character Justice Strauss a lot more in the book. You see how she really tried to help the Baudelaire kids a lot more and how she was a safe haven and basically the children's way to stay sane while living with Count Olaf. I do admit that when Count Olaf was introduce in the book I did see Jim Carrey most of the time. :p I am a little torn with how much the author "talks" in the book. Sometimes it's quite humorous and other times annoying. I think this was just an added thing for these books though. It made it feel more like someone was telling you the story rather than you reading it. Overall I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the rest in the series. :)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Always Looking Up

The choice for our next book club book was my choice and after seeing an interview with Michael J. Fox I have really wanted to read this book ever since. So I sent out the e-mail to our book club telling everyone that this was the book and then I bought it on itunes and started listening to it. Well to point out the negative first so I can focus on the positive the only thing that I REALLY didn't like about this book was the language that was used. As a member of the LDS church and the fact that I work for an LDS College, I often forget how the world sees different things as normal. In this case it is swearing, while he never took the Lord's name in vain in this book I lost count of all the other words he frequently used in his book... including the F word. At times i had to stop listening and focus my mind on other things to get a certain word or two out of my head. While I understand that some people consider swearing to be just part of their normal everyday vocabulary. I on the other hand think differently, so after hearing the language I pulled this book as our next book club read and have been searching for something different. However I was hooked and thought that I would continue and try and muster through the swear words. Overall I really enjoyed this book. I had no idea about Parkinson's disease so it was really interesting to hear from Michael J. Fox's own mouth (quite literally...he does the reading for the audio book.) about the constant everyday struggles he deals with. He talks a lot about stem celled research which I have to say I am not sure where I stand on this topic. I don't think I understand it. My favorite part however has to be when he talks about his family. From his voice and the essence of his stories you can tell that he really loves his family and that they mean the world to him. From how much he loves his wife to how amazing he thinks his kids are. These were some of the funniest and insightful stories I think in the book. If you don't mind the language this is a great read, it gives you a great look into the life of someone with Parkinson's disease.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


This was our next book in our book club. This book was very surprising. Martial arts is something that is still very foreign to me but I have had the opportunity to get to know more about it these past 3 years and have developed a deep respect for the sport. I really liked this book and found it quite interesting. Not only the karate itself but of Funakoshi's life and devotion to karate. He helped me see karate in a whole new life and he also debunked quite a few myths that I as well as I believe a lot of people think exist in karate. I think if given an opportunity I really would have loved to study this amazing art under Funakoshi, I am actually interested in seeing if any of the schools he organized is still around and if there are any in Utah. Gichin Funakoshi is the reason why we have karate here in America as well. Because of his desire to introduce the Japanese to karate from his home country of Okinawa. It also was introduced to some American soldiers after WW2 (after years of struggles, triumphs and many other things in Japan before the war.)Funakoshi was even asked to come to America himself to give many demonstrations on a number of different air bases. he gives many wonderful examples in this book about what karate really is and the meaning of it. He uses examples from his own life as well as from his masters lives. I really enjoyed these stories as well and found the rather fascinating. If you are interested in the Asian culture at all I would highly recommend this book...even if you don't know what you feel about karate. This is a great book and really opened my eyes to what karate really is.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Annie Oakley

I usually don't read biography's but recently read this for our family book club. A while ago we decided to start up a family book club to help broaden our reading horizons and just as a fun family activity. We started out just adding books we wanted to read to a random list and then monthly we would all mark the books we wanted to read and then popular vote would win. Then after some research by Nikki she discovered a different way to base our books by theme and then from youngest to oldest would pick the book that they wanted to read. This is the first book in that new system. our first topic is biography's and our first person to choose was Abby our 9 year old niece. :) I haven't heard a lot about Annie Oakley just the name mostly. So I was pretty amazed to learn who she was. a simple country girl born and raised she had a hard childhood. After the death of her father her mother had a hard time taking care of her and her sisters. They were sent to live with others. Annie lived with a family who didn't treat her very well and was very cruel. She ran away and found her way back to her mother who welcomed her with open arms as did her new step father. After that life for her was good. She lived in Ohio in a town called North Star, She would shoot birds to sell in town and because of it helped her family pay off their debt including their house. Annie didn't become the "little sharp shooter" till she moved to live with her sister in Cincinnati. She also met her husband there Frank Butler who instantly fell in love with her after she beat him at a shooting match. Her and Frank later meet "Buffalo Bill" and became a part of his Wild West Show that took them all over the world. Annie met a variety of people who she became instant friends with. Including Sitting Bull, (who adopted her as his own)the Widow of General Custer, Prince Edward of England and all the Lords and Lady's of his court, and many other royalty throughout Europe. Annie Oakley was well loved by all these people as well as the many cowboys, Indians, Mexicans and everyone who helped with the Wild West show. She seemed like an amazing woman.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Off the top of my head.

I just wanted to share, let me know what you think...

The willows weep and the torrents rend as the rivers bend and the mountains collide. The quiet village fights against the night wondering when the fright will pass by. The blackness thick, and the fog coughing, despair eminent and evil laughing. Then light slashes like a sword. The evil screams as the blackness fleas the warmth of the sun welcomes all the children with weary faces.
-Kristene Earl Armstrong-

Thursday, July 9, 2009


It took me quite a while to get through this book. Brisingr is the third book of the inheritance series, the first being Eragon and the second Eldest. There are 700+ pages in this book but this is not the reason why it took me awhile to get through, one of the reasons is a pretty simple one. I had to put it down a few times cause it was to hard to read this book with the book my book club had for that month which took priority. But the main reason is due to the writing style of Christopher Paolini. His style is very descriptive and details which helped to fill your mind full of vibrant images that you could get lost in. His style reminds me a lot like Terry Brooks except slightly more colorful. The two main characters in this series a boy named Eragon and his dragon Saphira use a lot of emotion to describe the things around them as well as words, which helps bring everything to life. He also gives you the view points of other characters as well not just Ergon and Saphira's so you get a wide range of everything that is taking place. this book was a difficult read for me but I really enjoy the story line and getting to know the different characters. I would recommend this series to anyone who is willing to go into a lot of descriptive detail and enjoy a really great original story.


Well I was a little hesitant about starting this blog but I am really excited about it. This book is going to be solely based upon The different books I have read and what I thought about them and occasionally maybe something I have written myself. I don't consider myself a great reader in any regard and I don't think I am a very fast reader either. But I do love to read and I love to talk about the books that I have read and share them with others. Let the blogging begin. :) Enjoy!