Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review The Raindrop by Brian D. McClure

I love kids books, but after reading the same ones over and over I get bored.  I was so excited to be able to review The Raindrop!!  The illustrations are beautiful, they look like oil paintings. 

About the author: Brian McClure is an Ohio native and founder and president of The Universal Flag Company.  Inside his Universal Flag program, he has set up a non profit, whit benefits suffering in third world countries.

"I am just a raindrop; I am smaller than small.  What am I doing here? I have no use at all..."    The raindrop feels like he is insignificant and only a small drop of water.  What does it matter what he does? The Earth is in the middle of a drought and needing every drop of water it can get.  As the raindrop makes his way through the water cycle, he learns that while he is only one drop when all the drops add together, they make a huge impact.

This is a great story with a moral that everyone can relate to.  My older kids like to read it because they are learning about the water  cycle and this stiry helps hammer the concept home.  The smaller kids love the gentle rhymes that are easy to read outloud.  they also love to just look at the pictures and make up their own stories.

If you haven't read any of Brian D. McClure kids books, I reccomend you definetly go check them out!! Rating:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book Review: Hiking Through by Paul V. Stutzman

Title: Hiking Through
Author: Paul V. Stuzman
Publisher: Synergy Books
ISBN-13: 978-0984076055
Release Date: April 6, 2010

Summary (from author's website):
"After losing his wife to breast cancer, Paul Stutzman decided to make some big changes. He quit his job of seventeen years and embarked upon a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, a 2,176-mile stretch of varying terrain spanning fourteen states. During his nearly five-month-long hike, he battled brutal trail conditions and overwhelming loneliness, but also enjoyed spectacular scenery and trail camaraderie.

With breathtaking descriptions and humorous anecdotes from his travels, Stutzman reveals how immersing himself in nature and befriending fellow hikers helped him recover from a devastating loss. Somewhere between Georgia and Maine, he realized that God had been with him every step of the way, and on a famous path through the wilderness, he found his own path to peace and freedom."

This is a great book! This is a book that everyone should read. It is a book not only about hiking, not only about dealing with cancer, but a book about living each day as if it is your last. Paul V. Stutzman stresses the importance of never taking anything for granted and realizing the importance of our words. Those harsh words could be the last we speak to that person.

Stutzman has a way of writing that brings his characters to life. You really feel as if you are meeting these people as you hike the Appalachian Trail. Another great thing is that while you are reading about the amazing descriptions of scenery and people, you can go to Hiking Through.com and see his photos from his 5 month trip through the AT. Once Stutzman begins the AT, every chapter has photos (except Chapter 4) that you can view. They really bring the book to life. By the end you feel as if you hiked the AT with Stutzman, and that you two have become best friends.

He does a great job of weaving background into his trip on the trail. The narrative flows seamlessly from past to present and back again as he attempts to explain why he gave up everything to hike the trail. And how by giving up everything he found something even better: peace and hope. He hikes through snow and rain and sleet. But he keeps hiking. His journey itself is one that should remind us all how we should never give up. Many of us back down from difficult tasks but we should all strive to tackle these tasks head on.

I can't begin to imagine how hard it would be to lose a spouse after 32 years of marriage. I really admire Paul for having the courage and enough faith, to quit his job and hike the AT. I live about 10 minutes from Erwin, TN, one of the many points that the AT crosses. I have never been up there, not even for a day hike. Granted I was born and raised in San Diego, CA but I have lived in TN almost 2 years. That will change this summer. I was so touched by Paul's story and the random acts of kindness, or Trail Magic, he encounters that I want to make some trail magic of my own. And maybe one of my gifts of magic will end up making all the difference for a thru hiker.

I highly recommend this book for everyone, religious or not, married or not, hiker or not. It is a must read that will remind us all how fragile life is and how any day may be our last. It is also a book about hope and that everything happens for a reason, and that God is still relevant in our lives even after a tragedy.
Rating: Photobucket



*As a side note, I have received many books to review, most from PR companies or publishing companies but a few come directly from the author. When Paul V. Stutzman sent me my copy of his book he wrote a personal message inside for me, thanking me for my interest in his book and his life. I think that his story is amazing mainly because he is an extraordinary man. I wish him good luck, not that he needs it, and can't wait to read his next book about his cross-country bike ride.*

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Book Review: The Language of Secrets by Diane Dixon

Title: The Language of Secrets

Author: Dianne Dixon
Publisher: Doubleday
ISBN: 978-0-385-53063-7
Release Date: March 23, 2010

Summary: (taken from the author's website)
"Justin Fisher appears to have the perfect life—a beautiful wife, a baby son, a glamorous job as a luxury hotel manager, and the lavish spoils of his prosperous in-laws. But beneath this charmed existence, lies a dark secret: Justin’s past is a puzzle with missing pieces. His search for the truth begins with his attempt to reconnect with his parents: a visit to 822 Lima Street—the house where he was born—a place made unforgettable by a haunting song his mother sang to him when he was a child.

Justin is shocked to discover his mother and father are dead. But the real jolt comes when he visits their gravesite. There, he finds a weathered headstone bearing his name; and an inscription that says he died before his third birthday. And so begins Dixon’s intriguing tale spanning almost four decades and thousands of miles—from the lush shores of California to the coastal hamlets of Connecticut."

I couldn't wait to read this book after reading this summary!  This sounds like a book I would totally love. But since I had to wait to recieve it in the mail, I went to Diane Dixon's website to see if I could read some of her other books.  I was amazed to find out this is her debut novel.  However she has been writing for television for many years so it wasn't as if she picked up writing out of the air. 

Diane Dixon is very successuful in her portrayl of the characters in this novel.  They come to life in a way that is hardly ever seen in current literature.  This book is a great read for almost everyone.  The only problem may lay in that it is not really a happily ever after book.  It is a very real book, and as in real life, nothing is ever perfect. But I think we can all learn something from this book.

My favorite part of the novel is the way every other chapter is about Justin and current times and the ones in between are from his remembered mother's perspective and are when Justin is a small child.  This novel takes many twists and turns and always leave the reader guessing.  I wish I could tell you more about the plot but then I would give out spoilers and that wouldn't be fair to you. 

This is a great book!! I give it 5 stars Photobucket It is a must read book.  I have read thousands of books by a lot of different authors and this book is right there at the top.  I'm not sure exactly where the book rates (that would be like picking my favorite child!) but it is definetly in the top 5.  This book came out March 23.  Why haven't you went out and bought it yet??  You will not be sorry.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I Love Clowns...

Check out my new blog at alwinfield.com

For Mama Kat's Writers Workshop this week's topic is What I fear most and why. Hmmm.  Do you hire high school kids to come to your child's birthday party dressed as clowns so that your child will tramatized for their whole life?  Do you let your children watch It (ok now that movie is cheesy and I recognize the actor who plays the clown but then..) and then not even thinking about it you by said child a clown doll?  Are you crazy or just really mean?  Come on Mom you traumatize me and then wonder why as a teenager/adult I will have nothing to do with clowns?  Really?


Do you know any normal people who put on crazy make up and then play with kids?  I don't think so.  Demented thats what they are!!


Even dogs in clown costumes are scary.  That dog used to be nice and sweet, but now he is Cujo.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Book Review: Queen of Your Own Life


Summary:
“Queen of Your Own Life is a philosophy, a decision and an invitation to happiness for women who have made the tough but rewarding journey to the midpoint in their lives. Kathy Kinney (best known as Mimi on The Drew Carey Show) and Cindy Ratzlaff (marketing genius behind the launch of The South Beach Diet) have been best friends for more than thirty years, and have helped each other navigate the ups and downs of their lives with humor and grace.”

This book is geared to women who are over 40 and entering the second half of their life. However, even though I am not 40, I think that this is a book every woman should read regardless of their age.  The authors do an amazing job of helping women fix the problems in their life that are preventing them from being truly happy. 

As a woman I usually blame my happiness or unhappiness on my circumstances.  If I had a better job, or a boyfriend, or was finished school, then I would be happy.  This book explains why thinking like that is unhealthy and counterproductive to being happy.  We as women need to take control of our life and our happiness.  This book shows how instead of wishing life were different, we should stop and assess where we are and where we have been.  We may be surprised at "bad things" that happened that actually brought us good changes and "good thing" that actually caused us heartache.

After assessing our life, we need to pick out our positive traits and proudly display them.  We also need to figure out what kind of woman we want to be and start being her.

I love the idea of having a crowning party.  I can just see a bunch of women sitting around eating snacks and drinking wine.  The Queen to Be has a crown on her head and might be wearing a broach.  The guest all watching as the excitement builds!  The Qeen to Be is now offically a queen and with her new title, she says "From this day forward, I will remember I am an extraordinary woman - beautiful, intellegent, brave, and powerful.   With the wisdom and tools I have gained,  I am excited to embark on the adventure that is the glorious second half of my life.  I am now truly, the Queen of my life!"

I think this is a great book for lifting your spririts and for helping you decide how to change your life.  This is a MUST read for all women!   Rating: Photobucket

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sunday Stealing




It's that time again. Leave me a link if you steal this, so I can read your answers!!  I got this form Cute Stuff, who got it from the host (click on banner) and he stole it from someone.


36. If you suddenly became single or are single, do you think you could last in a relationship for 12 months or more?  Yes

37. Do you forgive or forget?  Forget

38. Do you trust people?  No, everyone lies

39. What are you not looking forward to? My oral Spainish presentation

40. Do you get mad easily?  Sometimes

41. Tell us about the last time you were told you that you have pretty eyes.  It ha been a while

42. Do you have strange dreams?  Yes

43. Ever licked someone's cheek or forehead?  LOL  Yes

44. Tell us about the last time you fell asleep in someones arms.  I always fall asleep in someones arms

45. When did you last play a game?  We played Life a couple of weeks ago

46. What do you have on you at all times?  My cell phone

47. Do you go out in public without getting all dressed up?  I get dressed, not really dressed up.

48. Do you like fruity or minty gum?  Minty

49. Favourite musician or group?  Can't narrow it to just one

50. Do you like anyone?  I like lots of someones

51. Favourite computer game?  Cubis

52. First album you ever went and bought with your own money?  Janet Jackson IF

53. Think back five months ago, were you single? No married 10 years in Dec

54. Do you believe in celebrating anniversaries?  Read 53.

55. Do you think someone is thinking about you right now?  Of course

56. Last thing you bought?  Easter Basket Supplies

57. Are you a jealous person?  No not really

58. Does it take a lot to make you cry?  Yes

59. Do you have a friend of the opposite sex you can talk to?  Yes my hubby

60. Have you ever had your heart-broken?  Yes

61. Have you ever done something while drunk that you still cannot believe you did?  Not that I remember

62. Is there anyone you secretly wish you could be spending your time with right now?  Not secretly but I do wish I was with someone

63. Do you text?  Yes

64. Do you wish someone would call or text you right now?  Sure

65. Is your life anything like it was a year ago?  No not reall. We were in San Diego and I was preggers.  Now we are in TN and Mason is almost 10 months old.

66. Go back one year on your blog. Leave us a link to your favorite post.  Only d my blog since July

67. You can only drink ONE liquid for the rest of your life, what is it? I probably should say water but I really like Dr. Pepper

68. Tell us about someone that you have lost contact with someone you wish you didn't.  I got back in contact with her.

69. What is the last thing you said out loud? DO THE DISHES!!!

70. Will this year be better than last?  Hope so.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Drumroll please...

And the 3 winners of Just Let Me Lie Down are
* Kayla
* Tabatha
* Glenda

Congrats!!  You have 48 hours to respond to the email I send you or else random.org will pick a new winner.  Thanks for entering my giveaway!!

Book Blog Hop

I am participating in this week's Book Blog Hop hosted  by Crazy for Books!!  Head over their and add yourself to the McLinky if you want to join.  If you are visiting me from the blog hop, leave me a comment with a link to your blog so I can check out your blog and return the love.  BTW...My giveaway of Just Let Me Lie Down, ends tonight at 9 pm eastern.  Have a great weekend, thanks for visiting, and enjoy my blog!!

Are You Wearing Blue?? The Autism Book Giveaway

Since today 4/2 is World Autism Awareness Day, I am giving away 3 copies of The Autism Book by Dr. Robert W. Sears.  The book summary says "What every parent needs to know about early detection, treatment, recovery, and prevention." 

In Jan of 2008, I was taking a class classed called Working with Children with Special Needs.  One of the assignmnets was a book report.  So I had asked my mom to look on amazon.com and see if she could find any interesting books.  She called me a little while later that she found a book and it was about Jacob.  My son was almost 22 months at the time.  She said the child in the book lined up his toys and then would leave them and if anybody touched them he would freak out and throw tantrums.  When I asked her what the book was she wasn't sure but was going to look it up again.  She called me a little later and said it was about autism. 

This was a turning point in our family.  If you don't have expereince with speacial needs and the bureaucracy involved, it is a very time consuming endeavor.  Starting in May 2008, Jacob was receiving home therapy 5 days a week for 3 hours a day.  In November 2008, Jacob was diagnosed as autisitic by Children's Hospial of San Diego.

However in March 2009, when Jake turned 3 he no longer qualified for special needs services. He is now in a early intervention class for 3 & 4 year olds at the elementary school where my other kids attend.  But he is a typical child not classified as a special needs student.  He still has some issues with behavior and social abilities but he has made huge strides.  This is an example of how important early detection and early intervention services are!!

How To Enter:


Mandatory Entry:
*Follow me with GFC. Leave me a comment saying that you are a new/old follower and your email address. (I will notify the winner by email.)


Extra Entry:
* Tell me your experience with Autism for 2 extra entries.  (leave 2 comments)
*Follow me on Twitter or Networked Blogs for 1 extra entry (up to 2). Leave a seperate comment for each. (Each comment counts as an entry.)
*Tweet about the giveaway for 1 entry Leave a comment with the link to your tweet (You can do this once a day up to 10 times)
* Putting my button on your blog counts as 2 entries. (Leave 2 comments)
* Blog about giveaway 3 entries (Leave 3 comments)







HURRY UP and Enter!!! LOL Contest ends  Friday 4/16 @ 9 pm Eastern.  Check back then for my review of this book also.








**Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for my honest review. I was given the opportunity to review and giveaway this product because of my membership at The Product Review Place**