Three of My Top Pick Must Read Books

I was reading a post over at Megan & Wendy’s blog about which 3 books that you’d want to take with you to a deserted island. Megan shared the 3 books she’d take, and I thought it would be fun to do the same. Like Megan, I chose 3 books that I love and that I could read over and over. And also like Megan, I’ve reread each of these books several times. So without further adieu, I give you three of my top choices for must read books.

Top Pick Must Read Books

If you were sent to a deserted island and could only bring 3 books with you, which would you choose? I chose my top 3 must read books - I've read them multiple times and still haven't gotten everything I need to get out of them.

We honeymooned on this island in Belize — it’s only the size of 2 football fields!

Crimson Petal and the White

This book is nearly impossible to put down! It’s such a well told story, full of twists and turns. I love historical fiction, and this one takes place back in 1870s London, where Sugar, a nineteen-year-old prostitute in the brothel of the terrifying Mrs. Castaway, yearns for escape to a better life.

Some reviewers have said that the story doesn’t really go anywhere at all, and it really doesn’t. It’s a story about life — you get to peek in and watch the lives of a variety of odd and interesting characters. It’s a character-driven book, not plot driven. And if you like books that neatly wrap up the story at the end, you won’t find it here. Which left me wanting more and more!

It’s a big book (900 pages), and I lugged the book along with us to Fiji…this is back before Kindle and ebooks were a thing. I haven’t read it in quite awhile, and look forward to getting reacquainted with the characters.

Poisonwood Bible

What can I say about this one? If nothing else, it will make you think. And it might make you sad. But it will make you feel! It’s a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.  It’s a suspenseful epic of one family’s tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

I think I’ve read this book more times than I’ve read any other book. Every time I read it I find something new to love about it.

A Prayer for Owen Meany

This is the story of two eleven-year-old boys—best friends— and while playing baseball, one of the boys hits a foul ball that kills the other boy’s mother. The boy who hits the ball doesn’t believe in accidents; Owen Meany believes he is God’s instrument. What happens to Owen after that 1953 foul ball is extraordinary.

While there are religious undertones in this book, that’s now why I like it. It’s about the humor and sorrow of life, faith, friendship and fate. I think that Owen Meany is probably the most memorable character from any book of any genre that I’ve read. There’s something about him and this story that will stay with you long after you’ve read it. The plot is complicated and the time jumping is a little confusing, but man! John Irving can tell an amazing story.

It’s hard to only pick three books that you would take with you to a deserted island, but I’ve read these so many times and I still don’t feel like I’ve gotten everything out of them that I’m supposed to. So that makes them the perfect books to take!

So what would your three must read books be that you’d take with you to a deserted island? I’m always looking for new ones to fall in love with. And if you’re on Goodreads, make sure to follow me so we can stay connected!

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#ReadItForward with The UPS Store!

This post is in partnership with The UPS Store supporting the #ReadItForward program. All opinions expressed are my own.

We are a family of fanatical readers: you’ll find Ethan curled up in his bed with a book and Lila and Mia are always asking me to read them a story. And of course as soon as the kids go to bed, I’m opening up a book. We love being able to visit different worlds and live different lives through the magic of storytelling. Which is exactly why I’m excited to tell you about #ReadItForward and what The UPS Store is doing so that everybody can read!

Share your favorite children's book with the hashtag #ReadItForward to support children's literacy with The UPS Store and Toys for Tots! Learn more.

We all have favorite books, right? I’ll read anything and everything written by Lisa See, Stephen King, and a few others, but there are some books that will stay with me forever. Books from my childhood like Where the Sidewalk Ends, and all of the Little House on the Prairie books. Books that I can’t wait to read with my kids.

Why #ReadItForward?

Share your favorite children's book with the hashtag #ReadItForward to support children's literacy with The UPS Store and Toys for Tots! Learn more.

Watching Ethan read some of his favorite stories like Love You When You Whine to the girls makes my heart melt! The gift of a book is a gift every child should have, and The UPS Store is making that possible.

Did you know The UPS Store has been getting books to underprivileged children since 2008 with their partnership with Toys for Tots? Every year they have a holiday donation drive to collect loose change and sell donation cards at their 4500 stores, and 100% of which goes to buy books for children who don’t have them. Since starting, they’ve raised more than $3 million and each year distribute nearly 5 million books.

Share your favorite children's book with the hashtag #ReadItForward to support children's literacy with The UPS Store and Toys for Tots! Learn more.

I don’t know how I didn’t know this before, but now that I do I’ll be supporting the program every year. And even if you can’t afford to donate a book, you can still support them too! All you have to do is share their favorite children’s book (either a picture or chapter book) on social media along with the hashtag #ReadItForward. And when you do that, they’ll donate a dollar….until they reach $50,000!

And you don’t have to do anything fancy. Take a photo of the cover and tweet it with the hashtag #ReadItForward. Share a selfie with their favorite children’s book on Instagram. Share a list of your favorite book titles on Facebook.  Just remember to use the hashtag #ReadItForward.

Share your favorite children's book with the hashtag #ReadItForward to support children's literacy with The UPS Store and Toys for Tots! Learn more.

So let’s see your favorite books! It’s for such a good cause and so easy to do. Get your kids involved too! And don’t forget to tag The UPS Store here:o

Even if you’re not active on social media, you can still help by donating directly here.

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Mommy of a Monster and Twins is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

My Boy

He’s reading to me. Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He loves those books. He wanted to read together, and usually he reads a page and then I read a page. But tonight, he just wants me to listen.

His eyelashes are long and dark, like his dad’s. He laughs when he reads the funny parts.

His thumb rubs the page he is reading. Dirt under his fingernails that need to be cut.

He scoots closer to me. He asks if I will read the cursive writing in the cartoon on the page.

He doesn’t want his sisters to listen in – this is our time.

His pajamas are too short. He won’t stop growing! It seems that all I do is buy clothes for him…he’s getting so big.

He asks me what a word means, and I explain. He then uses the word in a sentence to be sure he understands.

He unconsciously picks at the dry skin on his lip. He laughs again as he reads, and it’s like music to my ears.

I kiss him on top of his head, breathing in the scent of him.

He tells me he wants to finish the book tonight, even though it means staying up past bedtime. I don’t say no. I love listening to him read.

More importantly, I love this time together, just me and him.

I’ve written about my alone time with Ethan before…here and here. Funny, I don’t write about the time I spend with the girls like that. I wonder why?

Why We Love The Rosetta Stone Kids Reading Program

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Rosetta Stone. I received a product and a promotional item to thank me for participating.

The girls are in kindergarten, and learning to read. It’s been a challenge to say the least. While they did attend preschool, I don’t feel like they were as prepared for kindergarten as Ethan was. So while they are expected to know all of their letters, numbers, and even some basic sight words, it’s been a lot of work. And getting them to read? Well, let’s just say that we are taking it one step at a time. Enter Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program.

If your child is getting to read or learning to read, PLEASE give the Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program a try! It's fun, educational, and kids love it!

Did you know that more than 47% of U.S. children are below grade-level reading? I know my girls are in that group. The Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program has really been a huge help. Designed for children aged 3-7, Rosetta Stone Kids online and mobile products are engaging, entertaining, and effective. It’s giving the girls a boost with their early reading skills and core literacy skills, while unleashing their creativity and boosting their confidence.

It teaches kids:

    • Phonological Awareness
    • Phonics
    • Vocabulary
    • Fluency
    • Comprehension

If your child is getting to read or learning to read, PLEASE give the Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program a try! It's fun, educational, and kids love it!

Now I know this program is working because parents can track their children’s progress. But even more importantly to me, the kids ask to play it and want to for long periods of time! They are learning, but it’s in such a fun way that they think it’s more of a treat. I also like that I can put one of them on the desktop computer and one on the iPad and they can “play” together. Even though they are both on different levels, they don’t feel like there’s a need for them to compete.

If your child is getting to read or learning to read, PLEASE give the Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program a try! It's fun, educational, and kids love it!

Lila likes “winning” and moving up in levels.

If your child is getting to read or learning to read, PLEASE give the Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program a try! It's fun, educational, and kids love it!

Mia likes that she moved up so quickly without me having to help her.

They have confidence now where as before learning to read was more of a chore they didn’t want to do.

If your child is getting to read or learning to read, PLEASE give the Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program a try! It's fun, educational, and kids love it!

Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program has really, really been a huge help for us. I want to shout a huge THANK YOU to Rosetta Stone from every mountain top I can find!

If you have a child who is getting ready to or beginning to read, Rosetta Stone Kids Reading is a must have. Seriously. And don’t just take my word for it, see for yourself. You can get a free demo download of the Rosetta Stone Kids Reading program for the first level of the program. I encourage you to download it and try it out with your children. I bet you’ll love it as much as we do!

Big News! I’m Part of the 2014 Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project!

Three years ago, Jill from Scary Mommy asked her readers if we’d be willing to support a family who may not otherwise be able to afford a Thanksgiving dinner. Of course I did. And I have every year since then. That first year, 378 families were helped and the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project and Scary Mommy Nation were born.

The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project is on it's third year, and this year Jill is releasing her third book to help promote the cause. And I'm one of the authors!

Scary Mommy Nation is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit that helps members of the Scary Mommy Community who are not able to feed their families. Since that first year, more than 4,500 families have benefitted from the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project. Last year alone, 2,765 families asked for help and every one of them got it.

And here’s the big news: On November 17, 2014 Scary Mommy will release her third book from Simon and Schuster… and I will be in it it!

Scary Mommy’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays is a hysterical collection of relatable, hilarious essays on everything from the Santa myth to being seated at the dreaded kids’ table, to easy-to-follow recipes that might include just a little something special to take the edge off (can anyone say Kahlua?), to fun and accessible gift ideas.

The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project is on it's third year, and this year Jill is releasing her third book to help promote the cause. And I'm one of the authors!

Yep, I have a recipe that is featured in the book, along with some of my favorite writers that I’m sure most of you know, too. I’m super excited about being a part of the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project I’ve supported these past years!

At only $2.99, this e-book is the perfect book to sit down with and read with a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. It’s affordable, and the most important part is that part of the proceeds of the sale of the e-book will benefit Scary Mommy Nation and the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project.

You can pre-order the book now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iBooks and it will magically appear on your device on November 17.

This is a huge deal for me because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I want everybody to be able to enjoy it as much as my family does. And I am so thankful for everything that we have, and that I can use my voice to help Scary Mommy spread the word. I hope you’ll support this great project!

For more information about the Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project, visit Scary Mommy. Whether your family needs help this Thanksgiving, you want to help spread the word, or if you’d like to donate, you’ll find everything you need to know there.

The Scary Mommy Thanksgiving Project is on it's third year, and this year Jill is releasing her third book to help promote the cause. And I'm one of the authors!