Water for Elephants and a Giveaway!

If there is one thing that I have learned through marathon training, becoming an overall healthier person, getting my heart broken and having a kidney infection, its that sometimes life is tough. But tough in a good, because I am teaching you valuable lessons and you'll be so much stronger for it, kind of way.

Like today for example: I kicked my own butt at the gym with a 70 minute spinning/circuit workout that left my muscles shaking.

It was tough but good. Oh so good.

Sometimes you gotta deal with the tough part to get to the good part.

Want another example?

Water for Elephants.

This book hurt my heart. Its so poignantly well written that I couldn't help but feel for the characters in a way that literally made me cry. The story was so real in fact, that I kept turning to the back cover to check if it was non-fiction.

I won't go into the details for those of you who haven't read it but I will say that because there were animals involved, it went from sad to gut wrenching for me. If you follow me on Twitter you know I had a really hard time with this book, almost to the point that I stopped reading it. I was so bothered and yet I couldn't walk away from it.

And therein lies the lesson. I had to deal with the tough parts because the end result-a beautiful story- was worth all the difficulty it took to get there.

Don't you just love how fiction can imitate life like that?

Other books that I have read that were a worthwhile challenge to finish:

Madness (Marnya Hornbacher)
The Glass Castle (Jeannette Walls)
An Unquiet Mind and Nothing Was the Same (Kay Redfield Jamison)
The Book of Negroes (Lawrence Hill)
Lucky (Alice Sebold)

Each of these stories , no matter how hard to read, need to be told for one reason or another. The message will touch you, and in many ways change you, the way only good literature can.

And on that note I want to share them with you.


One lucky reader will win a copy of Water for Elephants and her/his choice of one (1) of the books listed above OR two of the books listed above (if the winner has already read Water for Elephants)

How to Enter

1. Leave a comment recommending a book that really touched you (required)

Additional entries

1. Tweet the contest and leave me a separate comment letting me know that you did it

2. Like Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans on Facebook and leave a separate comment letting me know that you did it.

The giveaway is open until Friday at 11:59EST.
Residents of the US and Canada are eligible to participate.

The winner will be announced Saturday morning.

Good luck...and hey, just in case you don't win, go buy or borrow all those books any way. They are so worth it!

So tell me, what book(s) have really left an impact on you?

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored giveaway. I am not being paid to review the books nor have they been provided to me. I am sponsoring the giveaway of my own valition.


  1. I've heard amazing things about Water for Elephants and can't believe I haven't read it yet. I've been swamped in baby books, but look forward to enjoying 'fun' reading again soon!

    I like you on fb :)

  2. I had a hard time reading Push by Sapphire. It was very good, but also very disturbing and quite disgusting in some places. I'm glad I finished it, but I had a really hard time with it.

  3. I loved "A Million Little Pieces" before Oprah and all the controversy! I really want to read this book :)

  4. I really liked the Poisonwood Bible, one of Oprah's Book Club books. It's so sad yet the story is so touching and meaningful. Reading it made me a stronger person and I've read it twice more since then

  5. Water for Elephants was so difficult to me, too. I absolutely cannot stand the parts of the book referring to animal cruelty and it pains me to know that things like that probably did happen. During the movie, I also found myself cursing the animal trainer.

    That being said, nothing has touched/disgusted/angered me more than A Child Called It. If there's anything worse than animal cruelty, it's child abuse. I had to read this book for grad school and I could hardly finish it.

  6. I loved, loved, loved water for elephants. the animal cruelty just tears at my heart. have you read any of her other books?

    the glass castle was a heartbreaker. i really wanted to quit reading it but i was so invested at that point. horrible stuff.

    i really liked the art of racing in the rain. not AS serious as these others, but still great.

    thanks for sharing, i love getting book recommendations!

  7. This is not really an original one, but The Time Traveller's Wife!

  8. ive read Water for Elephants and it is excellent. I have not read any of the other ones.

    I really liked "Secret Daughter" and "Room". Those 2 books were really real and honest and just very well written!


  9. LOVED this book! HAve you seen the moive!? They do an EXCELLENT job of portraying the book, even though it's a bit different. I felt the same way, I was sad when it ended. I think what saddened me most was just thinking about aging and how fast time goes and what a simpler time it was back then. OH SO GOOD (but I already own a copy!) Great giveaway!

  10. Best book ever (in my opinion) was Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. Loved it!

  11. Redeeming Love is my favorite book also. It touched me, and spoke to my heart in ways no other book has.

  12. 'Unbearable Lightness' by Portia de Rossi. I'm normally a fiction fan, but her autobiography about her battle with anorexia and self-doubt has stayed with me. 'The Memory Keeper's Daughter' by Kim Edwards (about Down Syndrome, family secrets etc) is another one of my absolute favourites.