Friday, September 21, 2012

Rudy: My Story GoodReads:
 The inspirational real-life story of the man behind the beloved movie "Rudy, "his continued determination to make his dreams come true, and how you can dream big too.
How does a lower middle class kid, who suffered through school with undiagnosed dyslexia, get into Notre Dame and become the inspiration for millions in a Hollywood film that has become one of the most inspiring sport movies ever made? He never gave up.
For the first time, read Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger's real life story and learn the behind-the-scenes details of the ten years it took to make the movie and how that tossed him into a new career of public speaking that continues on stages today alongside world-class leaders and speakers. "
"Divided into four parts, each include details of the failures and hard lessons he's learned along the way and how hitting the reset button was often the best thing that ever happened to him: Growing up one of 14 kids in Joliet, a brief stint in the Navy opens a new world of opportunity and dreamsRudy finds a side door into Notre Dame where in a legendary moment he becomes the first player in school history to be carried off the fieldThe struggle to find a career after college leads him to his new impossible dream, to get a movie made about his life storyLaunched into a new world, Rudy finds his true calling as an inspirational speaker and reveals how losing site of his own dreams nearly derails him, but how once again, in learning another of life's most important lessons, he finds a reason to hope again-through the eyes of the next generation of Rudys"Rudy" doesn't represent some far-fetched Hollywood fantasy that most people can never attain-the power of his story comes from the fact that at heart he's just an "Average Joe." The moral is that anyone with a dream can make that dream a reality-as long as they're willing to put in the hard work, and heart, it takes to get there.
 My Thoughts:
I love the movie Rudy. Absolutely love it. I was so excited to get to read the true story of Rudy and his path to Notre Dame and beyond.  But I was really disappointed.  I didn't want to finish the book, and had to force myself to do it.  I liked reading about the real things that happened to Rudy and how he made it to Notre Dame.  However, I couldn’t stand his attitude throughout the first three quarters of the book.  I felt like he had an "I deserve this" attitude when it came to almost everything in his life.  “Because I worked so
hard and was so put down as a kid, I deserve and          am entitled to all of this.”        
Although Rudy wrote about how hard he worked and how much of himself he put into everything, I was still left with the feeling Rudy felt like he was failed by so many people in his early life (his father, his teachers and his friends) that anyone should just give him what he wants solely because he wants it really bad.  I came away from the book feeling like I don’t like this person and I wouldn’t want to be near him.  The story was good because I love to see the real story behind the movie, but I was so disappointed in Rudy as a person.  

I received a free copy of the book from in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

By Faith, Not by Sight

By Faith, Not by Sight: The inspirational story of a blind prodigy, a life threatening illness, and an unexpected gift.

I remember watching Scott McIntyre on American Idol a few years back. I was very impressed with his talent that year. The way he sang, played the piano and did group performances amazed me. So when I seen this book I was excited to read his story and I was definitely surprised with what I found on the pages of his biography.

Scott is no ordinary person. Attending college at the age of 14 and graduating at 19, he seems to excel at everything he does. When he was 7 years old he was already playing the piano at weddings and events. His blindness does not hold him back from his dreams. His ability to live a normal life despite his handicap is truly inspirational. He shares his story of faith as he faces a life threatening illness. His family is just as inspirational as him. His mom is such a great woman who encourages her children to do the unexpected. without limitations.

There were a few times I felt the book was a little drawn out and a little too "detailed". All in all, it was a good book. I think anyone who reads it will be inspired.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Letter to Gwen & A Giveaway!

Dear Gwen,

This is Mary.  My counselor Marcia says I have to write you a letter, telling you how I feel, even if I don’t end up giving it to you. So, here goes…

I feel bummed I have to write this letter because I’m not sure I’m ready to talk to you about what happened before.  I’m also half afraid that if I send this, you will answer back, and I’m for sure not ready to hear what you have to say about it.  I can’t imagine it’ll be very nice.

You can’t be surprised I feel that way.  If you are, then you are even more clueless than Paul says.

The truth is, when you were planning your wedding, and living with us after the baby was born, you were mean.  And not the ordinary sister-mean, but the kind of mean that still bothers me when I think about it, which is why I don’t really want to write this letter.

(Did you see that, Marcia? I don’t want to write this letter!)

But I guess I’ve come this far, so I might as well take it all the way.

First things first, I want to tell you that I’m not nearly as stupid as you think I am.  I might not be a genius, but I was smart enough to know that all the things you said to me were for the sole purpose of causing me pain, and I don’t get why you would do that.  How does causing me pain make you feel better?  That makes no sense to me.

I also want to say that I’m not ugly either.  I’m no super model, but I don’t look like a pug.  Making fun of how I look, and what I wear, and calling me dog breath were just you being mean for no reason, and it wasn’t true.  And even if it was, why kick a girl when she’s down?  Honestly.  I was having a hard enough time dealing with Mom and school, and that Creep you married, so I didn’t need any more.  It just made things worse. 

Is that what you wanted?
Did you want to make things worse for me?

Because you did.

Marcia tells me you had to be in a lot of pain yourself, and that was why you were spreading it around – because you couldn’t hold it all yourself.  Your arms were full.  But I’m telling you now I didn’t appreciate it.  There are nicer ways to get people to help you, and this wasn’t it.  Not by a long shot.

Did you know how close I came to ending it all?
Did you know why I ran away?

Did you care?
Maybe you do, but I’m afraid to ask.  So I’m just going to write this letter and hold onto it for a while.

Anyway, I hope things go well for you.  I do.  I hope it gets better, and your arms aren’t as full anymore.

Mine aren’t.  Since I’m not carrying your load I have enough energy to deal with my own.  Marcia says I’m making progress, whatever that means.

Good luck to you.
I mean that.

Because I think you’re going to need it.

Your Sister,

To end the week, Anne is offering TWO of you a chance to
win a signed copy of Shut Up along with a signed bookmark!

Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter!
[I changed some mandatory things.]

Giveaway will last from today until next Friday
[06/01/2012 - 06/08/2012]

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Interview With Anne Tibbets

Interview day is one of my favorite things about Book Week!
The way I do my interviews, is on FaceBook chat.
I like to interact with the author and play on their answers.
I am in green.
Anne is in black.    
   I was zoned into SHUT UP as soon as I got the email from bostick. 
Is that the normal reaction to it? 
        The reaction is either all for, or all against. In the sense that some reviewers/readers/bloggers did not want to delve into the sad and at times depressing story. I don't blame them. It's not for everyone.
        Well, you can count this blonde all for it. 
Tough and depressing times are out there. 
No since in hiding from it. 
And thanks.

        I know it took you quite a while, 3 years, to finish it. 
Did you ever think that it wouldn't get finished? 
 You're so welcome.
  Up until I held the paperback in my hand, I wasn't sure it would be published. Even after I finished writing it, it sat for another two or three years, collecting cyber dust on my hard drive. It wasn't until my book to film agent asked, "What else do you have?" that I sent it to him, "You know, I have this other book - but it's a departure and I'm not sure I want to publish it." But he loved it and pushed me to do it, and I'm glad he did.

          I felt so connected to Mary. 
I cried when she cried. I'm glad he pushed you to publish, too.
 What is a book to film agent?

         A book to film agent represents your book to television and movie studios. 
 I get mixed emotions when I hear you cried over the book - I'm glad, and I'm really sorry!

          Oh, don't be sorry. I loved the book! 
I know that you added a lot of emotion to SHUT UP for the flow. 
Was your sister really as bitter as Gwen was made to be?

    My real life sister had her moments, but she wasn't nearly as bi-polar as Gwen.
I had to take everything up quite a few notches    

   Of course.
I really liked the way that you had Mary and Paul share the book. 
Seeing things in both eyes made the scene more real. 
Was it planned that way?    
This was the only book I ever wrote without an outline. Because the story was so emotionally driven, I had to take a look at each draft as it came, making changes as they became needed. That's why it took so long. The first five drafts were only Mary. But I realized the only way to see a wider perspective was to have another narrator, and all my attempts to write as Gwen were terrible failures. So I used Paul. I loved the fact he thought so much, and said so little.
I agree. When he called Gwen out, I cheered for him!

        It needed to happen, and nobody else in the family was capable of doing it.

    The scene in the mall, With the boy from Children's Place, did that really happen or was it fiction? [When Mary looked in the window and saw a beautiful girl looking back at her.]    

   This is where it gets dicey. I will admit that I once ran away to the mall to try and get a job and there was a teenage boy who got me some change so I could call home. And I will admit to once seeing myself in (it was an elevator window actually) and not recognizing myself. But they didn't all happen together and at once. If that makes sense.    

     It makes perfect sense. 
Do you feel like your childhood is all just a jumble of memories out of place?    

    Parts of it are, absolutely. Parts feel so vivid it was like they were yesterday. But I had to play with the timeline quite a bit, since Mary has to deal with so many issues in the course of 1 school year.
  That was how I was able to bring her to the brink so quickly. It took me much longer.
I understand. 
I struggled growing up.
 I tried to end it all twice and spent a few months in a hospital.
 I think that is why most of my memories are a jumble.
        Blocking out pain, I guess.
When you are pumped with that much adrenaline and what have you, it's hard to pin down each moment. I'm so sorry to hear. That must have been very rough.
       I can tell you from experience, pinning down each memory and re-living it,
 isn't all it's cracked up to be either.
        I'm no shrink, but my 2 cent advice is acknowledge, plow through, and carry on!

     In SHUT UP, it kinda seems like a big part is missing near the end. 
When Mary's parents finally kick Gwen out, what prompted it? 
What made them realize what Gwen was doing to the family?

    Good question!
There must have been a conversation between the mom and dad that neither Paul or Mary saw. I had always imagined it was them talking about why Mary must have taken off, and them finally realizing what the difference was between Mary before, and Mary after Gwen had left and came back. And not just Mary - what about Paul? Even he got into trouble. So it was my thought that they had to decide between trying to help Gwen (who didn't even want their help), and trying to help the other kids in the family. And since Gwen had ideas of her own, they cut the apron strings in an attempt to salvage what was left of the others. But since neither of the narrators were there to hear this conversation, I tried to put in clues in the dialogue.
          See, I thought that maybe the Burns had talked to them.    

    Maybe they did! They should have!    

I think that Mrs. Burns *knew* what was going on. 
When Mary flinched. I felt her emotion.
Mrs. Burns did know. 
That was why she gasped. She had it all figured out then. 
But a lot of times, just because you "know" something, doesn't mean that you're convicted enough to get your hands dirty, and get into the middle of another family's mess....
 but I don't think it's a far stretch to say that Mrs. Burns had a few choice words for Mary's parents. 
I can totally see that.
Oh, I bet she did. I would.
        I see myself making choices for my family to break the cycle. Do you?
Every day. Every single minute. I started writing this book after I had children of my own. I think it was a way to exorcise my supposed demons, if you will.

                I do wonder what happened when Gwen got to SC, though. 
Was The Creeper there to meet them? 
Did she get help with her emotions? 
Did they stay together?

        That's for the reader to decide. ;)

        As bad as I feel for Mary and Paul and Rose, I feel for Gwen.

        I feel for her too. She was suffering so deeply she couldn't put words to it.

    Thank you, Anne, for taking the time to chat with me today.

                Thank you too!    
  Isn't Anne just *great*?!?!
I really enjoyed talking with Anne, and hope you learned a little about her as well.
Come back tomorrow for my review of Shut Up! 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dear Diary ~ A Page From Mary's Diary

Dear Diary,

Today Gwen reached a new level.  Just when I thought she couldn’t get any worse.  She told me I was a waste of skin.  Then she laughed.

I was so shocked for a minute I just stood there like a dummy.
A waste of skin?

I immediately thought what I would look like without any skin, and then it occurred to me that I’d be dead.  Without skin my innards would fall out and plop onto the floor, and then I’d shrivel up like a mummy.  Just a pile of dried up bones.  Is that what she wants me to be?  A dried up pile of bones?  Does she wish I were dead?  Because that was what it sounded like.

She must really hate me to wish me dead.  I can’t figure out why.  It must be my big ugly mouth she’s always complaining about.  I didn’t realize I was that horrible – I must be, if she’d rather have me dead than to hear me speak.

Then I got to thinking: maybe I’d be doing everyone a favor if I were just a pile of dried up bones.  At least then, they wouldn’t have to complain about the waste of my skin.

Would it help them if I were dead?
It sure seems that way, especially whenever Gwen tells me stuff like this.

I’ve got to go, Rose just came into our room, and Mom is yelling at me because I forgot to clear my dishes after dinner.

There I go again.
Wasting my skin.
Wish I knew how I could change their minds.
See you later, Diary.


 Ugh! I really don't like Gwen right now. 
Do you? 

Tomorrow is interview day!
See you then!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Shut Up Teaser

"I used to like to skateboard alone in the side yard, which was this large cement slab with half brick walls on either side.  It was quiet, out of sight from the inside of the house, and perfect for riding a skateboard back and forth a thousand times, and maybe doing a few tricks, or roller blading in circles, depending on your mood.  I liked it there because it got me away from Rose, who I was stuck sharing the same bedroom.  Rose was always following me around and wanting to play baby games, like dolls.  Luckily for me, Rose didn’t like to skateboard.
             Paul did, though.  Some days he would skateboard too.  I thought Paul was pretty cool, so that was always fun.  Then one day, long before the baby, long before the pregnancy, and long before Gwen and The Creep were forbidden from seeing each other, The Creep strolled into the side yard as I was skateboarding. 
He usually just hung all over Gwen.  I couldn’t think what made him want to come to the side yard.  I didn’t think he was there to skateboard.  I saw him coming from the courtyard and quickly sat on the brick wall against the house, sliding the skateboard back and forth as casually as I could with one foot on the concrete.   I didn’t want to ride in front of him; if I fell, the teasing would have been endless.
            “So,” The Creep said, crossing his arms and leaning back on his heels.  “What are you doing?”
            “Skateboarding,” I said, rolling my eyes at him.  Dumb question -- there was a skateboard right in front of me. Duh!
            “All by yourself?” he asked.
            “Yeah.  Sometimes Paul or Ralph come out and do it too.”  I thought maybe if he knew others could show up he’d take a hike.  After staring at him for ten seconds in silence I realized he wasn’t budging.  Drat.
He grinned.  “Is Ralph your boyfriend?” He looked like he was about to laugh.
            I felt my stomach turn sour.  He was making me feel weird again.  He did that a lot.  That’s why I thought he was creepy.  Just then, my foot slipped from the skateboard and it rolled away, banging against the wooden gate a few yards off.  I stood up and got it, feeling The Creep’s eyes on me.  I sat back down quickly, with my back against the house, trying to act like it didn’t bother me.  He strolled over to stand in front of me again.
            “No. Ralph isn’t really my boyfriend,” I said, watching him approach.  I didn’t want to tell him that Ralph had kissed me on the cheek just the week before in the bushes.
            “Do you like him?”
            I kept my eyes on the skateboard and started the back and forth rolling I was doing before, but it wasn’t the same.  It didn’t feel right anymore.   
            “I think he kinda’ likes me.” I was sorry for saying that the second the words came out. I knew The Creep was having fun with me, but couldn’t think how to make him go away.
            The Creep smiled, proudly displaying his newly straightened teeth, but they still had the white scars from wearing braces too long.  “Ralph likes you, eh?”
            I nodded, looking back at the skateboard, but giving up trying to slide it back and forth.  He probably thought I was too ugly for a boy to like, just like Gwen did. 
            I could hear Gwen call me a fat cow and pushed it from my mind, answering, “Yeah.”  I rested my foot on the top of the skateboard.
            “Do you like him?” he asked again.
            “He’s nice.”  I shrugged, blushing.  I didn’t want to talk with The Creep anymore.  Well, ever, really.  Why didn’t he just leave me alone?
            “Have you kissed him?” 
            I laughed too loudly and picked up the skateboard, setting it in my lap, as if adding it between him and me would help.  “No!”
            “Aw, come on!  Pretty girl like you? With blue eyes like that? You’ve kissed a boy before!”
            I felt my face turn hot.  Now I was sure he was making fun of me.  I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt I was far from pretty.  Gwen reminded me daily.  My teeth were crooked, my hair was a short mousey brown, and no one could even see my eyes behind my glasses. “I have not!” 
            “Sure you have!  How old are you now, thirteen?”
            I looked at The Creep and rolled my eyes, laughing too loudly again.  “I’m twelve.”
            The Creep took a step forward and leaned in, as if inspecting my face.  “No!  Twelve?  You look at least thirteen.”
            I looked down at the skateboard and rubbed the top with my fingertips, using my other hand to push my bra strap back under my tank top.  I wanted to go back to practicing skateboarding but felt glued to the brick wall.  I shifted slightly, feeling the pockets of my cut offs rub against the brick wall.  I flipped the skateboard over in my lap and ran my fingers across the smooth British flag painted on the bottom.  “I’m only in the sixth grade.”  
            The Creep moved closer.  He stood right in front of me, his hands at his sides.  I bit my thumbnail and looked up at him.  He smiled.  I wanted to back up but had no farther to go.  “When I was in the sixth grade, I don’t remember any of the girls looking like you,” he said.
            I felt my face flush and my stomach churn.  The brick wall was like fly paper, with my rump stuck to it.  I wanted to get out from in front of The Creep, but couldn’t move.  My breath quickened, and my heart pounded in my throat. 
            “Yeah, right,” was all I managed to say.
            “Those are nice shorts you’re wearing,” he said, eyeing my long legs up and down.  His hand moved toward my knee just as Gwen appeared behind him, out of the front courtyard.
She stood at the end of the side yard and rested a hand on her hip.  Gwen’s big brown wavy hair and super long bangs were the exact opposite of her skin tight jeans and tee shirt.  She was like an upside down carrot.  “Mary?” her eyes bore into The Creep’s back. “What are you doing?” Gwen’s usual nasty tone was not lost on me. 
“Nothing!” I answered quickly.
            To my relief, The Creep took a step back and crossed his arms again.  “Mary has a boyfriend,” he said, his voice instantly changing.  He sounded just as irritated as Gwen.
            “I do not!” I protested. The Creep cackled, head leaning back as he laughed.  With long strides he walked to Gwen and slung his arm across her shoulders, turning her back to the front courtyard.
            “Ralph from next door.  Though, I think she has a thing for me.” The Creep led Gwen away.
            “The little slut,” Gwen said.  Then they were gone, back into the house and out of my sight.
            I felt hot tears swell in my eyes.  I did not have a thing for The Creep!  I hated him!  He was a total jerk!
I sat on the brick wall, shaking.  I wanted to punch The Creep.  I wanted to slap Gwen.  I wanted to scream! 
Instead, I got up and flung the skateboard at the wooden gate.  The faded avocado green paint chipped, and the wood dented as the skateboard skidded across the fence and slapped onto the concrete, landing upside down and rocking back and forth as it settled.
            I saw the damage to the fence and burst into tears. 
Now I’m going to get grounded for denting the fence, when all I’d wanted to do in the first place was practice my skateboarding."

Sounds amazing, huh?
Tomorrow will be a diary entry by Mary.
Hope you stop back by!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Shut Up Week!!!

Hey blonde stalkers!
I would like to welcome you all to Shut Up Week!

Shut Up

Mary's older sister, Gwen, has royally screwed up her life. Not only is Gwen pregnant at seventeen, but she's also decided to marry The Creep who knocked her up.

Now Mary is powerless to stop her family from imploding. Her parents are freaking out, and to top it off The Creep has a gross fascination with Mary while Gwen enjoys teasing her to tears for sport.

Despite her brother's advice to shut up, Mary can't keep her trap closed and manages to piss off Mom so much it comes to blows.

Mary doesn't know what to do, and all her attempts to get help are rejected. When she finally plans her escape, she fails to consider how it could destroy them all.

Monday ~ Teaser
Tuesday ~ Interview with Anne Tibbets
Wednesday ~ Mary Diary Entry
Thursday ~ My Review
Friday ~ Letter to Gwen / Giveaway

Hope everyone comes by everyday!