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July 2, 2011

What you may have missed

It's the weekend! Are you looking for a good book to read? I know with summer life gets even busier and you might have missed my blog updates (and who has time to go through the backlog of a blog roll?).  Here is a run down of what was posted this week on Girl Who Reads. I also did my monthly wrap up in a newsletter that went out to subscribers this week. You can view it here and subscribe with the button on the side bar.

Sunday:

In my June Mailbox

I listed all the books the I received during the month of June. I didn't realize how long my list of ebooks had gotten until then. A few notable items included the Alice in Wonderland tea party kit and the ARC I won at Armchair BEA of Boyfriend from Hell.



 
Tuesday:

Water for Elephants: A Novel
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

I had to wait quite a while to get the audio version from the Digital Download Library, but it was so worth the wait. I think listening to the story made the book come to life. If you have thought about trying out audio books, I recommend you start with this one.


Wednesday:

Throwaway
Throwaway by Heather Huffman 
 

This book could have become melodramatic or graphic, but Heather Huffman was able to strike the perfect balance while shedding light on modern day slavery. It read more like someone's biography rather than a fictional tale. It increased my empathy for the girls that find themselves in such a situation and reminded me not everyone is there by choice.

Friday:

 
 Book Blog Hop


I joined in on the discussion on why I keep reading a book or why I stop reading a book. Characters are an important deciding factor for me and many other bloggers agreed.

July 1, 2011

A Friday Blog Hop


I haven't done a Friday blog hop in a while so I thought I would try out Book Blogger Hop by Crazy for Books. It's a weekly meme where one question is asked and answered. I thought I would give you a bit more insight into my and my reading habits.

What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to to stop reading and put it back on the shelf?

I hate not finishing a book (as I've mentioned before, I also feel compelled to continue reading a series once I start it). That being said, I recently shelved 2 books. One I had been trying to read for more than a year and the other several months before I decided to call it quits. I always try to give a book a fair chance and read the first 50 to 100 pages.

So what keeps me reading? The characters play a big part in my decision to keep reading. I need to feel connected to them. Also if I could see myself in the story I will definitely keep reading. I read to lose myself in another world, setting, situation, etc. So a book that has good descriptions helps keep me turning the pages. I enjoy books that make me think. A book that I think about constantly because of the subject matter is guaranteed to be finished. If it is an author I read before and really enjoy, I'm more likely to keep reading even if I'm struggling to get into the story.

Why do I not finish a book? Pretty much if the above is not being accomplished in the first 50 - 100 pages then I'm likely not going to finish it or it's going to take a long time for me to finish it. One of the books I recently gave up on was because the back cover synopsis didn't sound anything like what I was reading. Maybe it would have gotten there eventually, but if that was the case, then there was way too much set-up to the story. Cookie cutter books don't often hold my interest. If there isn't a uniqueness to the plot then it will be hard for me to finish it.

I rarely don't finish a book (maybe I'm a bit of a masochist). I try to give every book a fair shot and probably way more lenient on new authors than I should be.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! Check out Crazy for Books for a list of other participating blogs. I would love to hear what keeps you reading or not. please leave a comment.

June 29, 2011

Shedding light on the subject: Throwaway

Throwaway
Throwawayby Heather Huffman
ebook
Published July 2010 by Heather Huffman
ISBN 2940011086601
Read June 2011
reviewed by Donna Huber


Wow! I read this book in 8 days. I'm not a fast reader, but I seem to read a bit faster on my Nook (maybe it is because I can read anywhere I have a few minutes). But with this book, it was the story line that had me clicking the next page. I stayed up well past midnight Monday night reading. 


Throwaway isn't extremely dark, though with its plot it so could have been. Jessie is a prostitute, but it is not a life she would have chosen had she had other options. But when she had to chose at 18 to either live on the street, never knowing where her next meal would come from or have a roof over her head and food on the table, it didn't really seem like a choice. Now, more than a decade later, she has grown weary and despondent over having no control in her life. Her pimp Spence has gotten in over his head and Jessie sees an opportunity to finally live her life.


Throwaway sheds light on a subject that is prevalent in our society, but is swept under the rug or we turn a blind eye to it (or maybe it is because we are ignorant of it). Human slavery still exists in our country. Women and children are the most likely victims. Some are bought from poor countries, where women and young girls have little or no prospects. Others are Americans born in the land of the free; yet, life has dealt them a crappy hand and they, too, have little or no prospects. The main character Jessie grew up in foster care and when she aged out of the system at 18, she found herself on the street with $47 to her name. How many other women in the sex industry have wound up there because they didn't know what else to do and it was better than starving to death? 


Heather Hoffman does a wonderful job of opening the reader's eyes that not all the women we see on the street as being there by true choice. She could have been overly detailed and exploitative with this subject. Yet, she spins a tale full of compassion and understanding. My heart broke for Jessie and Gabe, the man who was sent to arrest her, but falls in love with her. Though he has a few more resources than the average person, through him the reader can see ways they can help girls in similar situations.


You can tell that this subject is close to the heart for Heather Hoffman. She offered Throwaway for free at Barnes and Noble so that everyone could have access to this story. At the end of the story there are several websites and organizations listed should readers want to get involved in ending modern day slavery and helping the people that find themselves in bondage.


Buy Throwaway at Amazon
(it's FREE)

Donna Huber, founder & publisher. Donna is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour. She reads most genres, but her favorite books are psychological thrillers and stories that highlight the survival of the human spirit against unbelievable circumstances.



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June 28, 2011

Running off to the circus: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants: A NovelWater for Elephants by Sara Gruen
audio book, narrators: John Randolph Jones, David LaDoux
Published June 2006 by Highbridge Audio
ISBN 9781598870626
Listened June 2011

If you are considering trying audio books, I think this would be an excellent one to start with. I loved the narrators, they really added something extra to the story. Also this story is meant to be told orally and listening to it really makes it all come to life.


I was a bit worried when I decided to listen to this book. I don't usually like books that involve animals, mostly because of the guaranteed heart fail. Not only does this book have animals, it is set in a circus. Having worked as a zookeeper, I learned some of the not so nice things that happen to circus animals. Then add to it, the story is set during the Depression. All of these had me cringing a bit. But who hasn't dreamed of running off to the circus? 


I was hooked in the first few minutes of the reading. I could tell that it would be a story I would lose myself in. I have to say though I was a little annoyed with the music playing in the background. Particularly with the older narrator as it made it difficult for me to hear him clearly.


Oddly enough, it was the scenes of the older Jacob that had tears coming to my eyes, rather than the animals. It sucks to be old and his story is probably far more common than not. Though I did cringe every time August had a scene with Rosie. I was also a little shocked at the debauchery that took place at a circus (today it is such a family event).  


The descriptive nature of the story had me feeling like I was there at the circus. I could smell the popcorn. hear the cheer of the crowd, and when I closed my eyes I was in the menagerie with all the sights and sounds that come with a tent full of animals. More so than any other audio book I've listened to, there was a mini movies running through my mind. 

I went to see the movie a couple of days after finishing the book. I don't usually like to see the movie version so soon after finishing a book because the details of the book are so fresh in my mind. But I have to say, the movie was so well done that I fell even more in love with the story. The movie left out the parts that I found annoying in the book (in particular the back and forth between the old Jacob and young Jacob). I do have to say that I was a tiny bit upset that BoBo was cut from the film. I think he might have been my favorite animal


Have you read the book and seen the movie? What did you think about the changes? Did you have a favorite animal?
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June 26, 2011

In my June Mailbox

This is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren to share the books we have received. I only participate once a month. Check out The Story Siren's blog to see what other people have received in the mail.

Thanks to winning several giveaways during Armchair BEA, I have been receiving goodies in my mailbox all month. Possibly my favorite prize I won during Armchair BEA was the Alice in Wonderland tea party kit.


In addition to the tea party kit, I also won a ARC of Boyfriend from Hell by E. van Lowe and a grab bag of 5 adult fiction novels (those haven't arrived, yet). I attended an author reading/book signing and purchased the book Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones. Also, a couple of authors sent me paperback copies of their novels to review: Love Child by A. M. Torres and The Evolution of Charlie Darwin by Beth Duman. 

Water for Elephants: A NovelThe Peach Keeper: A NovelMy number finally came up at the digital download library for a couple of audio books I had been on the waiting for list for, including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen.

The list of ebooks is gradually increasing between the free books I find at the blog Nook Deals, request from Netgalley.com, and received for review from authors. I'm slowly making my way through the ones I received this month, which included...
The Gift of Joy - Young Adult VersionThe Gift of Joy by Valerie Maarten
Journey to the Well: A NovelJourney to the Well by Diana Wallis Taylor
Stuck in the Middle (Sister-to-Sister, Book 1)Stuck in the Middle by Virginia Smith
Invisible (Ivy Malone Mystery Series #1)Invisible by Lorena McCourtney
Dating Mr. DecemberDating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley
This Fine Life: A NovelThis Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson 
The UndertakerThe Undertaker by William F. Brown
We, Robots, a novella of the SingularityWe, Robots by Sue Lange

Looks like I have a lot of reading ahead of me. Good thing I'm on vacation this week. I hope to whittle the pile down, but it will probably keep growing as I see more books I want to read.
I'll be sending out my monthly newsletter later this week, so make sure you're signed up for it.



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