2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 7,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

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The Sunday Post ~ sharing blog news and book haul ~ Jorie’s 17th Edition


Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer: The Sunday Gazette

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted byKimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~

It’s a chance to share News.

A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little.
Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies.

Anyone can participate as long as you:

This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little.
Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies.

Anyone can participate as long as you:

Last week on Jorie’s Reads, I:

This week, I hope to:

My Book Haul: 

  • Jeffrey Archer’s The Gospel According to Judas by Benjamin Iscariot
  • James M. Kouzes’ The Leadership Challenge (for work)
  • Holy Bible: Archaeological Study Bible-NIV: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture 
  • Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus 
  • Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes
  • Laurie Lisle’s Portrait of an artist: a biography of Georgia O’Keeffe

December Reader of the Month – Julie S.


Julie S.

This is the twelth interview for Reader of the Month.

My furthest memory of Julie S. comes from freshman year at Baylor. I’d see her in “Large Group” lectures in World Cultures I of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC). It wasn’t until second semester that we were in the same “Small Group” in World Cultures II that we talked. Julie and I became fast friends who commiserated through some other hardest assignments sophomore and junior years. From that time, I heard Julie talk about her all-time favorite book (which she shares in the interview) and the favorite books of her high school friends, too. Since college, we’ve kept in touch a little bit and met up for dinner once when we worked near each other. Naturally, we talked about reading!

1.      What’s the best thing you’ve read in the past year?

This year I read The Hunger Game Series. I don’t always buy into the “book of the moment” fads, but I am really glad that I picked up this trilogy. It was suspenseful, thought provoking, and pulled at my heart. I LOVED it! I also finally read Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code. Angels and Demons was riveting. I was less impressed with The DaVinci Code.

2.      Do you have any quirks when it comes to reading?

I don’t know if it’s a quirk or not, but I am definitely a book in hand kind of girl. I HATE reading on a computer screen and have so far refused to purchase an eReader.

3.      What’s on your bookshelf or in your book bag?

My book shelves are full of the books that I will read over and over: my favorites from childhood, school yearbooks, textbooks from my Master’s program, and really nice history books from Time and National Geographic. My nightstand on the other hand is full of random books still to be read. Most of them are crime mystery types.

4.      Who supplies your reading material?

My mom reads a lot and always gives me her books when she is finished. She is the one who talked me into reading The Hunger Games and who introduced me to the Stephanie Plum Series (which is fantastic!). Other than that, I have moved to browsing the shelves at resale shops for 50 cent paperbacks rather than buying from bookstores that charge $20.

5.      What type of reading do you usually enjoy?

I am a history buff, so I really love historical fictions. I am also addicted to “Law and Order” type TV shows, so books with similar story lines are interesting to me as well. When I am in the mood for more mindless fun, I enjoy what I call “Bubble Bath Books”. These books, like the Stephanie Plum Series, are entertaining, lighthearted, funny, and can be read in one long bubble bath.

6.      Who are some authors that you read regardless of anything?

I really like Ken Follet. His books are historical fiction adventures. I haven’t read all of his works (Pillars of the Earth is crazy long), but the ones that I have I LOVE. Jackdaws is a truly amazing story – something everyone should read.

7.      What’s on your TBR (to be read) list?

I have heard good things about The Poisonwood Bible and The Kite Runner from my friend Sarah. My friend Kristen has recommended  Assassination Vacation and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. On my night stand, I have two John Grisham novels.

8.      Can you recall a book that changed your life? How so?

This may be an odd choice, but I was instantly enthralled with The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton when I read it in 6th grade. I have since read the book probably 20 or so times and watched the movie even more than that. I was bullied a lot between 4th and 8th grade, so I identified with the Greasers. It may sound ridiculous, but I have spent my life seeking the type of friendship shared by that group of guys. I believe I finally found my “Greasers” when I joined my sorority in college. Though we have drifted over time, those women are the “drop anything for you” kind of friends we all need.

9.   What was something you enjoyed reading as a child?

My favorite book as a child was It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny. I also loved  Put Me In the Zoo and Are You My Mother. As I got older (elementary school), I fell in love with Number the Stars, Muddy Banks, and The Outsiders.

10.  Where do you like to read?

I try to read every night right before bed for 15 – 30 minutes. My bed is super comfy and reading before bed helps me to clear my head of whatever to-do lists and worries that I have for the next day so that I can sleep.

11.  Other than reading, what do you like doing?

I love hanging out and laughing with friends, scrapbooking, watching movies, resale shopping, and going dancing.

12.  Where can we find you online?

I have a blog at Losing 8, but I haven’t posted in a while. It chronicles my journey from queen couch potato to a legitimate jogger. I have been slacking for the past few months, so I haven’t had much to report.

13.  Would you like to make a shout out to any other avid readers that are online?

Nope

14.  What do you challenge people to read?

Gone With the Wind is LONG, but TOTALLY worth it! The story of Scarlett and Rhett is a true classic! Also, if you haven’t read The Outsiders yet you have not truly lived through a book. It is written at a 6th grade reading level, so it could be read in only a few hours. But, the story is so powerful that you will fall in love with the characters (my favorite is Dallas Winston) and they will stay with you (especially after you watch the movie and can imagine them in the bodies of the amazing cast).

15.   How about sharing five random facts about you?

– I am the only person in my high school’s history to serve as Student Council president for 2 years.

– I jogged my first 10k in December, 2011

– I am a very proud Baylor Bear. Sic ‘Em!

– Salsa is the only thing I know how to make that turns out perfect every time.

– I take a lot of pictures! 🙂

Wendy Mass’ Willow Falls/Birthdays Series


11 Birthdays, Finally, and 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass | eBranch Harris County Public Library

11 Birthdays, Finally,
and 13 Gifts by
Wendy Mass |
eBranch Harris County
Public Library

Mass, W., & McInerney, K. (2010). 11 birthdays. New York, NY: Scholastic Audiobooks. 9780545202787

 Mass, W., McInerney, K., & Scholastic Audio-Visual. (2011). Finally. New York: Scholastic Audiobooks. 9780545353984

 Mass, W., McInerney, K., & Scholastic Audio-Visual. (2011). 13 gifts. New York: Scholastic Audio. 9780545354073

Reasons for Reading:  When I sought an audiobook I could download to my iPhone Overdrive app, I first found and downloaded 13 Birthdays. Realizing this book was the third in the series, I checked it in and found the first book in Wendy Mass’ Birthday Series, 11 Birthdays with the HCPL Digital Media – eAudio, supported by Overdrive.

Summary: The first book, 11 Birthdays, is mostly narrated by Amanda, one of Willow Falls’ denizen. Her former best friend, Leo, was born on the same day. Each year, these two have celebrated their birthdays together. When they had a falling out at their tenth birthday, Amanda and Leo haven’t spoken to each other. Amanda keeps reliving the day of her eleventh birthday. Will she ever see tomorrow?  

The next book, Finally, is narrated by Rory (the girl) Swenson, a classmate of Amanda and Leo’s, and this book happens a year after 11 Birthdays. Ever since Rory can remember, she’s longed to be twelve years old. Why? Well, that’s when her parents say Rory can:

  • Get her ears pierced
  • Go to the mall with her friends
  • Babysit her next door neighbor
  • Ride in the front seat
  • Have a cell phone
  • Wear makeup

However, when she turns twelve, Rory has her own special series of misadventures as she becomes the whipping girl of Murphy’s Law.

The third book, 13 Gifts, is narrated by shy wallflower Tara. When she attempts to steal the school mascot so she can sit with the cool kids at lunch, her parents decide that she won’t get to go on her parents’ summer trip to Madagascar. Instead, Tara is sent away to Willow Falls to stay with her aunt, uncle, and cousin Emily for the summer. What a way to spend your thirteenth birthday!

What I Liked : I liked these kids and I liked the wonder generated by the magical elements in all of these books. The kids wanted to do the right thing and they’re very kind. A nice, realistic touch was the fact that there was Rory the girl (a major character in the second and third books) and Rory the boy. What school doesn’t have boys and girls with the same name?

Also, they’re young enough that these books don’t venture into PG-13 or above territory. I found the first and third books to be really strong.

What I Disliked: While I liked Rory, I wasn’t so crazy about her book Finally. I am not a parent but her parents’ concept of making “12” this special age where their daughter eventually gets to do things really seems wrong. This just didn’t seem very loving to me. Couldn’t they have let her do things gradually? Also, I hated how this poor kiddo always had the absolute worst thing happen to her. Was Mass hating on her or what?

Another thing brought to my attention by another blogger was that these kids seem to lie a lot.

Lastly, the woman of magic, Angelina, is sorta scary!

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Happy Birthday Song

Setting: Willow Falls

You might also like:

  • Ingrid Law’s Savvy
  • Judy Blume’s Just as Long as We’re Together
  • Louis Sacher’s Holes
For more on Wendy Mass’ Birthday Series, please check out the following links:

Top Ten Books Jorie Wants to Review By February 2013


Top Ten Tuesday | The Broke and the Bookish

For future Top Ten Tuesday topics & info on how to participate, click here!

  1. Wendy Mass’ Eleven Birthdays
  2. Wendy Mass’ Finally
  3. Wendy Mass’ Thirteen Gifts
  4. J. Joaquin Jackson’s One Ranger: A Memoir
  5. Siobhan Vivian’s The List
  6. Meg Waite Clayton’s The Four Ms. Bradwells
  7. Meg Waite Clayton’s The Wednesday Sisters 
  8. Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent’s What difference do it make? – Stories of Hope and Healing
  9. Kim Edwards’ The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
  10. Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer’s Between the Lines

Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night


All Through the Night by Mary Higgins Clark | LibraryThing

(A special shout out to Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer! Merry Christmas!)

Clark, M. H. (1998). All through the night. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.  9780684856605

Reasons for Reading : My mom likes reading little Christmas books. She also owns a few. Case in point: Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night. As I’ve put off reading beyond the first page of the narrative until December 22, I hadn’t gotten very far with it. However, I quickly got into this yuletide suspense story.

Summary: A chalice is stolen from St. Clement’s. A baby girl is abandoned at the same rectory. Seven years later, lottery winner Alvirah and her down to earth husband Willy don’t take a holiday from sleuthing. As Sister Cordelia, Willy’s sibling, readies for the Christmas pageant at a thrift shop/after-school center, Sister Cordelia faces the inevitable shutdown of the shelter. The donation of Kate’s home seems to be just the Christmas miracle for which they’ve prayed. Then, the tenants from “the other realm” seem to destroy this. All three of these elements meet and Alvirah’s on the case to solve these mysteries before Christmas Day.

What I Liked:  I liked this book and I found it easy to read. I appreciated that this book wasn’t gratuitous as violence was “offstage.” Not much time was spent on details and that gave readers the freedom to create the appearance of settings and costumes. Also, I liked that characters didn’t shy away from their faith but they weren’t sanctimonious. Overall, the tone is heartwarming and leaves one with warm fuzzies at the end (I hope I didn’t just spoil this! 🙂 )

What I Disliked: Maybe this was just a little too neatly tied up. I would’ve liked a few red herrings in the book. Okay, one would’ve been fantastic. Another thing (just one of my latest quirks) is that I like it when writers set a book at a certain time. So, maybe a reader who discovers All Through the Night a decade from now won’t be disturbed so much about the lack of iPads or whatever other technology is out there. The author could say 1991 and 1998.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT – Christmas Lullaby – Tom Roush.avi – YouTube

Setting: New York City

You might also like:

  • The Christmas Wedding by James Patterson and Richard DiLallo
  • Trading Christmas by Debbie Macomber
  • What Child is This? A Christmas Story by Caroline B. Cooney
  • Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
For more on Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night, check out the following sites:

The Sunday Post ~ sharing blog news and book haul ~ Jorie’s 16th Edition


Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer: The Sunday

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.
~this meme was inspired in part by ~ In My Mailbox~

It’s a chance to share News.

A post to recap the past week, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up for the week on our blog.

This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little.
Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies.

Anyone can participate as long as you:

This is your news post, so personalize it! Include as much as you want or as little.
Be creative, it can be a vlog or just a showcase of your goodies.

Anyone can participate as long as you:

Last week on Jorie’s Reads, I:

This week, I hope to:

  • Post my 16th edition of The Sunday Post 🙂
  • Participate in The Broke and the Bookish’s Top Ten Tuesday – Top Ten Tuesday Freebie (so that those too busy celebrating won’t miss a topic)
  • Review a few books
  • Share December Reader of the Month – Julie S.
  • Finish reading: Charles M. Schulz’s Lighten Up, It’s Christmas!, Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night, and John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me

My Book Haul: 

  • Jeffrey Archer’s The Gospel According to Judas by Benjamin Iscariot
  • Mary Higgins Clark’s All Through the Night (I want to review this before Christmas Day 2012 🙂 )
  • James M. Kouzes’ The Leadership Challenge (for work)
  • Holy Bible: Archaeological Study Bible-NIV: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture 
  • Lee Strobel’s The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus 
  • John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me
  • Charles M. Schulz’s Lighten Up, It’s Christmas!