Saturday, October 31, 2009

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Genre: Adult Fiction

Author Website: www.elizabethgilbert.com

One Word Review: A Waste (I know that is two words)

First Line: “I wish Giovanni would kiss me.”

Synopsis: At the age of thirty-one, Gilbert moved with her husband to the suburbs of New York and began trying to get pregnant, only to realize that she wanted neither a child nor a husband. Three years later, after a protracted divorce, she embarked on a yearlong trip of recovery, with three main stops: Rome, for pleasure (mostly gustatory, with a special emphasis on gelato); an ashram outside of Mumbai, for spiritual searching; and Bali, for “balancing.” These destinations are all on the beaten track, but Gilbert’s exuberance and her self-deprecating humor enliven the proceedings: recalling the first time she attempted to speak directly to God, she says, “It was all I could do to stop myself from saying, ‘I’ve always been a big fan of your work.’

Jess’s Review: I did something I rarely do, but I put this book down about 55 pages in and all I can say is hallelujah. I’ve been seeing this book everywhere so I thought I'd give it a try. Only in American can a self-centered and pathetic woman make the New York Times Bestsellers List by re-telling her so-called life story about being so darned depressed because she lives in a big house in the suburbs with a husband that for some inexplicable reason she just doesn’t love anymore. Picture that sentence written in whinny 4 year old’s voice and you’ll understand the way this book comes across while reading it. I have a solution for Miss Gilbert. Pull yourself off the bathroom floor or whatever other surface you are “sobbing” on and get a life, stop thinking (and writing) about yourself and try helping or serving someone else. Once you’ve done that, write a book that matters and stop inflicting your personal pity party on the American public. I’ve always known the following to be true and this book just drove it home for me: Ingratitude is one of the grossest sins and will leave you helpless and sad. Funny, but also how reading this book will leave you. In all fairness I did only make it 55 pages so if I missed some “a ha” moment that made this book worth the paper it is written on please feel free to call me on the carpet.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Genre: Adult Fiction

Author Website: www.guernseyliterary.com

One Word Review: Delightful

First Line: “We sold over forty copies of the book, which was very pleasant, but much more thrilling from my standpoint was the food.”

Synopsis: January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb….As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Jess’s Review: I can hardly find the words to express how much I enjoyed reading this book. The book is written as a series of letter, which at first I was very leery of, but once I got used to it, I fell in love. I savored reading each letter as if they were my own and when I was finished I literally hugged the book to my chest and sighed. Very cheesy moment, but true nevertheless. The characters were vivid and vibrant, and the story was interesting and moving. The book made me laugh and cry and had me wishing that people wrote more letters. Then I remembered all the great comments we get on Bookworm Nation and it made me feel better! Each of the characters finds solace in the books they have read and in the people they read them with. It’s the first book in a long time that I actually wrote down page numbers so I could go back and copy down the quotes. I’ll share a few with you….just to peek your interest so you’ll read this book…ASAP.

“I wonder how the book got to Guernsey? Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.” p.10

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.” P.53

“Mind you I cannot always make sense of what he [Shakespeare] says, but it will come. It seems to me the less he said, the more beauty he made. Do you know what sentence of his I admire the most? It is, “The bright day is gone, and we are for the dark.” I wish I’d known those words on the day I watched those German troops land….” P.63

A good book can bring people together as friends and I’m honored to call each of you who read this blog…friend!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Dark of the Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Website: www.rachelhawthorne.net

One Word Review: Entertaining

First Line: “Death hovers in the shadows.”

Synopsis: “Brittany is determined to prove herself to the Dark Guardians. And yet she's been keeping a devastating secret: She hasn't experienced any of the intense, early signs of change that mark a Dark Guardian's transformation. The only intense feelings she has are for Connor—and she's kept that a secret, too. But she knows she'll never truly have Connor's love if she's not a Shifter like him. At the first full moon after her birthday, her greatest fear is realized: She doesn't transform. Brittany is so desperate to become a wolf that she'll go to extremes she never thought possible . . . and put all the Dark Guardians in incredible danger.” -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: Book three in the Dark Guardian series follows Brittany. We get to see Brittany in a totally different light in this book. In the first two, she kind of comes across as moody and stuck-up. Once you get inside her head you begin to understand all her insecurities and the hardships she’s going through. I really came to love Brittany’s character in this book, she may be my favorite. Brittany has been in love with Connor (Lindsey’s boyfriend in books one and two) pretty much all her life, knowing she could never be with him. She is also approaching her seventeenth birthday where she will have her first transformation into a werewolf. In their culture you’re suppose to go through this with your mate, the only problem is that no one has claimed Brittany as their mate, so she has to face it alone. I really enjoyed Brittany and Connor’s story. I was a little confused with how quickly Connor came around, but I guess it all makes sense in the end.

I’m looking forward to reading Shadow of the Moon which comes out next Spring. Everything seemed to come together at the end of Dark of the Moon, so I’m curious to see what Hawthorne has in store for our characters.

Reading Order:
Book One: Moonlight
Book Two: Full Moon
Book Three: Dark of the Moon
Book Four: Shadow of the Moon

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Full Moon by Rachel Hawthorne

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Website: www.rachelhawthorne.net

One Word Review: Entertaining

First Line: “The full moon has become my enemy.”

Synopsis: “Lindsey is wild and reckless, a natural rebel—maybe because her entire life was laid out for her even before she was born. Her parents are among the most powerful members of the Dark Guardians, an ancient tribe of werewolves, and they arranged Lindsey's betrothal to Connor long ago. The next full moon is coming all too soon, and then her commitment to Connor will be final—no turning back. She should be happy . . . so why can't she stop thinking about gorgeous, brooding Rafe? When a dangerous threat on the pack escalates, so do tensions between Connor and Rafe. A fight over Lindsey is imminent, but will it be to the death?” -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: Book two in the Dark Guardian series follows Lindsey (Kayla’s best friend from book one). I was looking forward to hearing Lindsey’s story, I really enjoyed her character in Moonlight and she was enjoyable in Full Moon as well. I’m not really big on love-triangles, especially when they are really drawn out, like this one kind of was. I was getting a little tired of the back and forth, especially when the choice was so obvious. There were some good moments with Lindsey and Conner, as well as with Lindsey and Rafe. There wasn’t as much action in this one as there had been in Moonlight, but it still moved along quickly and kept my attention. Overall, I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading Dark of the Moon (which will be from Brittany’s point of view).

Reading Order:
Book One: Moonlight
Book Two: Full Moon
Book Three: Dark of the Moon
Book Four: Shadow of the Moon

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Destiny’s Path
By Frewin Jones
Release Date: November 1, 2009

Synopsis: “After an epic battle that left her home in flames and her father dead, Branwen knows that now is the time to follow her Warrior Princess destiny. But she soon finds that those she trusts most are capable of the greatest betrayal.” -GoodReads

Why I’m Waiting: This is the second installment of the Warrior Princess series. I really enjoyed book one, Warrior Princess, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Branwen will be up to now. The first book was loads of fun, well written and I really like Branwen’s character. I do hope this one has a little more romance though! If you haven’t yet, you better hurry and read book one before this one comes out!

Moonlight by Rachel Hawthorne

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Website: www.rachelhawthorne.net

One Word Review: Exciting

First Line: “Moonlight washed over us, washed over Lucas and me.”

Synopsis: “The moonlight calls to them. The full moon determines their destiny. The dark of the moon seals their fate. A secret society of werewolves. The Dark Guardians are their protectors. Betrayal will put their very existence in danger.” -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This book was recommended to me by BugHunter, and I’m so grateful. This was exactly the kind of book I was in the mood for and I thoroughly enjoyed it! Kayla is a wonderful character. Her parents were tragically killed in front of her when she was only five. She is now seventeen and trying to face her demons by returning to the woods where her parents were killed. She gets a job at the national forest and helps lead people on hikes throughout the park. She has made friends with the other “Sherpa’s” and has a major crush on their boss Lucas. Lucas was a fun character, he was dark and mysterious and yet you know you can trust him. I thought he and Kayla had great chemistry together. The book is fast paced with a lot going on. There were some twists and although some things were resolved a little too quickly I really enjoyed everything. I loved the setting and Hawthorne’s take on werewolves. I’m really becoming a sucker for a good werewolf story!! Thanks again to BugHunter for recommending this one!

This was a good clean read (there was a bit of underage drinking), without any bad language (that I can remember).

Reading Order:
Book One: Moonlight
Book Two: Full Moon
Book Three: Dark of the Moon
Book Four: Shadow of the Moon

Teaser Tuesday



Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It is open to anyone and is a fun way to get a taste of different books. The rules are simple and everyone is welcome to participate.

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. Be careful NOT to include spoilers (you don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
5. Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to the TBR lists if they like your teaser.
6. After completing your post, return to Should Be Reading and add a link in their “comment” section.

Moonlight
Rachel Hawthorne
Page 3

“His lips were almost touching mine. Almost. ‘Kayla’ he murmured invitingly, and his warm breath caressed my cheek. ‘It’s time.’”

Monday, October 26, 2009

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Website: www.richellemead.com

One Word Review: Good

First Line: “Once when I was in ninth grade, I had to write a paper on a poem.”

Synopsis: “Dimitri’s heart has gone dark. Now Rose must journey to the ends of the earth to find--and kill--her one true love... Or has the time come to join him? The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters . . . Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved? Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?

Kathy’s Review: So, if you haven’t read the other books you may want to read this review with caution as there may be spoilers. So, Blood Promise was a lot better than Shadow Kissed, in my opinion. It was fun to get outside the Academy and see the world a little (although there were many times when Rose would “visit” Lissa, so we were still kept up to date on everything going on back at the VA.) Rose is as consistent and tough as ever. I enjoyed her journey, and things really picked up about 300 pages in! Which brings me to Dimitir…oh, Dimitri! To be honest, I really didn’t like him in this book, obviously isn’t quite himself. Three words that come to mind are: Creepy, sad and…hopeful. I’m hopeful that things will somehow work out, but I know it’s a LONG shot. This book ends with a little more closure than last time, but defiantly still left me wanting more. Look forward to reading book five (and I’m still wondering about the length of the series…).

FYI…As usual there is some swearing (at least one “f” word), and this book has a lot more sex in it, although no one actually has sex…if that makes sense?

Reading Order:
Book One: Vampire Academy
Book Two: Frostbite
Book Three: Shadow Kiss
Book Four: Blood Promise
Book Five: Spirit Bond
Book Six: To Be Announced

Library Loot Monday

Library Loot is a weekly meme that is hosted by A Striped Arm Chair. It gives book bloggers an opportunity to share what fun books we have checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate visit A Striped Arm Chair and add your post link to their site. It’s a fun way to check out what other bloggers are reading.

October has been a crazy month with not a lot of time left over for reading. Because of this my library pile has gotten a little out of control (Thank goodness for renewals). So, below is a picture of all the books I have checked out this Monday. Hopefully I’ll have a little more time in November to do some much needed reading.

Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Website: www.richellemead.com

One Word Review: Okay

Synopsis: “Is Rose's fate to kill the person she loves most? It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since Mason's death, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She has dark flashbacks in the middle of practice, can't concentrate in class, and has terrifying dreams about Lissa. But Rose has an even bigger secret . . . .She's in love with Dimitri. And this time, it's way more than a crush. Then Strigoi target the academy in the deadliest attack in Moroi history, and Dimitri is taken. Rose must protect Lissa at all costs, but keeping her best friend safe could mean losing Dimitri forever.” -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This was just okay for me. I still liked Rose, she is a pretty consistent character and yet has matured quite a bit since the first book, although she can still be impulsive at times. I like Dimitri as well, but they are hardly together so that’s a little disappointing. The overall story kept me interested and it moved along well. Some things seemed a little repetitive and I thought the book was longer than it needed to be. There really isn’t a whole lot of vampire stuff, especially in the first half; you’d almost think you were reading about any high school setting. The storyline was kind of predictable so I wasn’t surprised with how everything panned out but the ending is definitely a cliff hanger and left me wanting more. I admit, I’m a little nervous at the length of this series. I normally don’t like series that are more than four books long. They sometimes lose something along the way and I’m hoping that book four will be a little better than book three.

Reading Order:
Book One: Vampire Academy
Book Two: Frostbite
Book Three: Shadow Kiss
Book Four: Blood Promise
Book Five: Spirit Bond
Book Six: To Be Announced

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Booking Through Thrusday


Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted at Booking Through Thursday. It asks fun book related questions each week. It’s a fun way to get you thinking about your books and share you're thoughts with other book bloggers. Once you’ve completed your post return to Booking Through Thursday and leave a comment and link. This week's question is:

If you could ask your favorite author (alive or dead) one question … who would you ask, and what would the question be?

The dead author I could have a serious gab fest with would be, of course, Jane Austen. The question I would ask is: what female character, that she wrote, does she identify with the most? I've always pictured her as an Elizabeth but the more I thought about this question I wonder if she identified with all of them in some way? If I could squeeze one more question out of her I would ask her what books she enjoyed reading.

The author, who is alive but not my favorite, who I have a burning question for would be Stephanie Meyer. I would ask her: when she set out to write the Twilight Series if she had always intended it to have four books or if she was swayed by money and the Jacob hysteria to write Breaking Dawn? I enjoyed that book the least and I think it didn't fit in with the rest of the series at all. She should have wrapped it up in Eclipse. Just my humble opinion.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday


Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. After completing your post return to Breaking the Spine and add a comment with a link to their post. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Gone (Dream Catcher #3) by Lisa McMann
Release Date: February 9, 2010

Synopsis: Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her. She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves--she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both. Then a stranger enters her life--and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...

Why I’m Waiting: I just discovered this series while roaming around good reads. I have not actually begun this series, although I have the first two in the series on hold from the library. You can usually tell how good a book is by the hold list and they both are in the 100's...I'll take that as a good sign. I did find the following comment from a fan, Laura Koenig, on Good Reads and I think it says it all....and perhaps then some. It is a long comment but very telling...

Dear Ms. McMann,

Please stop writing books. This is a very serious request. To this date, you have written and published two novels, Wake and Fade. Because of your books, I have on two occasions been compelled to read deep into the night, and in this manner I have lost two good nights of sleep. I can only conclude that any further books written by you will lead to long nights with the bedside lamp switched on, frantically reading. I will not have it! I must firmly request that you stop at once. If you insist on continuing with your flagrant book-publishing, I have a few suggestions that may alleviate the problem. Please take the following requests into account in any and all future books.

1. If there is one thing on which I really must insist, it is a general loosening-up of your writing style. This tight, exciting prose will be the death of me! If every sentence did not compel me to read the next, perhaps I would be able to put your books down long enough to get a few good hours of sleep. Perhaps you could insert some clunky dialogue?

2. Your characters must - MUST - be less compelling. In fact, it would be best if Janie and Cabel could be excised completely, and less interesting characters could be inserted in their place. If I am forced back inside of Janie's head, where I can see the fascination, terror and exhaustion that are caused by her ability to see other people's dreams, I will most certainly not be able to put your book down. And Cabel, with his terrible past and his willpower and determination to do good, both in his relationship with Janie and in his work, is much too sympathetic a character.

3. In a related note, the tumultuous romance between Cabel and Janie is much too intense. If you persist in writing about these characters, their relationship must be taken back a notch. As it currently stands, their emotions are too strong! Their sense of discovery of themselves and each other is too genuine! Their frustrations with one another are too palpable! Their sex is too sexy!

4. Slower pacing is a necessity in any future novels. Constantly throwing your readers from horrific nightmare to sweet and sexy romance to exciting mystery causes agitation and suspense, forcing the reader to keep turning pages until the very end of the book. Thank you for your time. I look forward to not reading your books in the future.

Sleepily yours,

Laura


The heavens know I could use a good page turner so I'll be excitedly waiting for the release of this 3rd book as well as the first two.


Monday, October 19, 2009

A Heartfelt Award

A BIG thanks to Mary over at Writers Butt Does Not Apply to Me, who can also be found at Literary Girls Writing Group, for nominating Jessica and I for the Heartfelt Award!! Mary has become a great blogging buddy. She always writes wonderful reviews on her blog and leaves tons of fun comments on our blog as well. It has been fun getting to know Mary! Thanks again!

So, here it goes... "Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when you're relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Heartfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside. Rules: Put the logo on your blog/post. Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside. Be sure to link your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award."

There are so many blogs I would want to nominate over and over again. So I decided to make a list (I LOVE making lists) of all the past recipiants to make sure I don't have duplicates and to help spread the love to some of the blogs we haven't given awards to in the past. I came up with seven fantastic blogs that I love to read, have great layouts, and think they really deserve the Heartfelt award!

A Manic Monday

Usually for Mondays we participate in the meme for Library Loot. I have a serious case of the book blues this Monday. The shocking truth is that I have nothing checked out from the library right now! Last week I started The Grapes of Wrath and I seriously only made it about 10 pages before I put it down. I read it once before, in college, but I really just skimmed it so I could write a paper on it and when I sat down to read it for fun, well it was just too heavy for me. Then my copy of Gone finally became available at the library and I was excited to start reading it, but last night I put it down also. I was haunted by the fact that all the adults disappear and by the 4th chapter a 5 year old girl has died and another 5 year old boy is clutching his blanket asking for his mother and all I could picture was my own 5 year old and it was just not enjoyable for me. So I went back to the sappy love story that I've read before and that I borrowed from my mom's book collection so you can see that I'm in a pickle. I have no idea what to read next to get me out of this funk. If you have suggestions please leave me one!

Since I have nothing to offer by way of Library Loot, I thought I'd put forth a discussion question. I saw a commercial over the weekend for Audible.com. Have you heard of it? It's an online book store, for lack of a better word, where you pay a membership and can stream audio books to your listening device of choice. For some reason this just makes me sad. I love holding a book. I love looking at the cover. I love that when I read, the words and characters become a part of me because I hear them in my head and not because someone is reading it to me. Kath loves the smell of books so much that she wants to make a perfume of the scent. So dear blog reader I have two questions.

Do you listen to audio books? If so, Why?

Would you ever or do you own a Kindle?

Again, the Kindle seems neat but it just makes me sad for some reason. It would solve my problem of storing books though.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

East by Edith Pattou

Genre: YA Fiction

One Word Review: In-depth

First Line: “I found the box in the attic of an old farmhouse in Norway.”

Synopsis: “In the rural villages of Norway, there is an ancient belief that children inherit the qualities of the direction in which they are born. Nymah Rose, the last daughter of eight siblings born to a poor mapmaker and his superstitious wife, was a North-born baby. It is said that North-born babies are wild, unpredictable, intelligent, and destined to break their mothers' hearts because they all leave hearth and home to travel to the far ends of the earth. To keep her close, Rose's mother lied and told her she had been born of the obedient and pliable East. But destiny cannot be denied. One day, a great white bear comes to the mapmaker's door to claim Rose's birthright.” –GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This is a retelling of an old Norwegian fairy tale called “East of the Sun, West of the Moon.” I was first introduced to this story when I read (and loved) Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George.

Pattou’s retelling really takes on a life of its own and it was easy not to compare it with George’s version. Overall, I really liked the book, but felt it was a little long in parts. Pattou provides a really in-depth version of the story, which gives you the opportunity to really get to know the characters. The story rotates between five different points of view (Rose, White Bear, her Father, her brother Neddy and the Troll Queen). In a way I was grateful for the rotating narratives, it helped move the story along, and also gave you an insight to a lot of the characters that you normally wouldn’t have. On the other hand it was almost a bit too much, I would have preferred maybe only two. I liked Rose, thought she was a smart character who makes the best of her situation. She teaches herself new skills, languages and even how to play musical instruments. I liked the white bear, although I felt that they cared about each other but not in a romantic way, so that left me wanting more.

If you like re-tellings then you will probably enjoy this. I would also highly recommend
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Are you watching Vampire Diaries?

Is anyone else watching Vampire Diaries? I'm six episodes in and loving it! I admit it is gory, but what else do you expect when you're dealing with vampires!! I think they have done a fantastic job with casting, I couldn't have chosen three better actors to play Stefan, Elena and Damon. I think Damon is perfect! He really pulls off the whole "evil vampire" while still being charming and...likable. Stefan really gives Edward a run for the money (he is MUCH hotter than Robert Pattinson) and he does a great job of playing the nice guy, yet not being wimpy. Elena is also great, she has spunk! I like that she has a normal reaction to the whole vampire thing, she doesn't just except it. They also have great chemistry together.

I've only read the first two books in the series, so I know a few things have been changed for the TV show, like in the book Elena has a little sister and in the show its a little brother. What other things have been changed? I really need to get on the ball and finish reading the books! I think this would definitely fall under the "guilty pleasure" category. There are some things I don't care for, but overall I am a huge fan.

So, what are your thoughts? Have you been watching? What do you like, don't like? Who's your favorite character? Do you like the books or the TV show better?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Retro Friday Review

Retro Friday Review is a weekly meme hosted by Angieville. This focuses on classics, out of print books or just old favorites that don’t get the attention they deserve. This Friday’s review is:

I decided for today’s RFR I would focus on two books written by the great Julie Andrews (Sound of Music, Mary Poppins). When I was in elementary school I stumbled upon Whangdoodles and Mandy and was so impressed. She really is an amazing author with a vivid imagination and a gift for storytelling.


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
First Published: 1974

Whangdoodles are a “fanciful creature of undefined nature,” who are very wise, kind and love life. When people stopped believing in them they were forced to create a special land full of other forgotten critters. Three children and an old professor go on a quest to find the Whangdoodle and head into a fun adventure.

I remember reading it for the first time and being completely blown away by the whole new world Andrews created. I loved all the little critters she came up with and how important and fun it is to have imagination. In some ways it is your typical fantasy novel: you have your good guys and bad guys, magical creatures, beautiful landscapes and of course a quest. But, it is also very original, creative and full of fantastic writing.

Mandy
First Published: 1971

Mandy lives in an orphanage where everything is predictable and comfortable. As she gets older she gets more restless and decides to go on a little adventure over the orphanage wall. It is there that she finds a rundown cottage which she decides to care for and make her own. She enjoys her cottage and the feeling of belonging that she finds there and decides to keep it a secret from her friends at the orphanage.

Mandy was completely different than Whangdoodles but also very memorable. I loved the little lonely cottage Mandy discovers and takes upon herself to care for. I can picture it in my mind and wish I had my own little cottage just like hers. The cottage is a lot like Mandy. Both alone, no one to properly take care of them and both have the potential for beauty and happiness. To protect her secret Mandy lies about where she spends her time and when she becomes ill no one knows where to find her. It is then that she realizes she has a secret admirer whom she never knew she had.

Both Whangdoodle and Mandy are packed away in storage, but I think next time I’m home in Utah I will have to re-read them. Both are such cute imaginative stories, ones I look forward to sharing with my kids.

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted at Booking Through Thursday. It asks fun book related questions each week. It’s a fun way to get you thinking about your books and share you're thoughts with other book bloggers. Once you’ve completed your post return to Booking Through Thursday and leave a comment and link. This week's question is:

When’s the last time you weeded out your library? Do you regularly keep it pared down to your reading essentials? Or does it blossom into something out of control the minute you turn your back, like a garden after a Spring rain?

This is a tough one. I try and go through my library each time we move (which is every 1-3 years). Since we move so often I have to keep my collection under control and mainly just keep my favorites. For the most part I get all my books from the library, there are of course a few must-buys. Since I do have to keep it under control my library looks a little small at the moment. Below is a picture of my bookcase, most of the books there are keepers but there are a few I will probably give away before the next move. The other picture is of books I own but haven’t read yet.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Heart’s Blood
By Juliet Marillier
Release Date: November 3, 2009

Synopsis: “This is a stunning gothic love story based on the legends of Beauty and the Beast. Whistling Tor is a place of secrets, a mysterious, wooded hill housing the crumbling fortress of a chieftain whose name is spoken throughout the district in tones of revulsion and bitterness. A curse lies over Anluan's family and his people; those woods hold a perilous force whose every whisper threatens doom. For young scribe Caitrin it is a safe haven. This place where nobody else is prepared to go seems exactly what she needs, for Caitrin is fleeing her own demons. As Caitrin comes to know Anluan and his home in more depth she realizes that it is only through her love and determination that the curse can be broken and Anluan and his people set free.” -GoodReads

Why I’m Waiting: For those of you who know me, you know that I have a very big weakness for fairy tales and their re-tellings. So, of course when I heard that one of my favorite authors, Juliet Marillier, was writing a book based on Beauty and the Beast I couldn’t have been happier. Marillier is a fantastic writer and I know she will create a wonderful world with rich characters, magic, and of course romance. I’m looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Heart’s Blood!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince? by Melissa Kantor

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Website: www.melissakantor.com

One Word Review: Okay

First Line: “I tapped my pen against my lips, debating whether or not Cinderella is actually friendless.”

Synopsis: “When high school sophomore Lucy Norton’s father remarries, Lucy’s life is turned upside down. She and her father move from their West Coast home to a suburb on Long Island. With a small basement, unlimited chores, a blank social calendar, and a huge crush on the dashing prince of the varsity basketball team, Lucy’s life has the makings of a Cinderella story—complete with two bratty stepsisters and a wicked stepmother. So isn’t she supposed to get the prince? And go to the senior prom?”

Kathy’s Review: I’ll start with the things I liked. I liked Lucy, for the most part. I like the interactions she has at home with her family, and surprisingly they were more entertaining than her interactions with her classmates. The overall story moved along quickly (although I did skim over some), but was fairly predictable.

I’m trying to figure out what to say without giving away spoilers. I thought it was awkward that Lucy didn’t have ANY friends, and then the hottest guy in school likes her and all of the sudden she has a million friends. She had been at school long enough you’d think she would have made at least one friend; I just thought that was kind of odd. I didn’t really care for the ending. I think things were wrapped up too quickly and didn’t really make a lot of sense. Although I didn’t think Connor was the best match for Lucy, he did seem genuinely interested so I was confused with how everything played out. I also never understood Sam. He was kind of a jerky quite guy who was hardly in the book, then *bam* he’s all over the place. I guess the author was saying that maybe Prince Charming (Connor) isn’t all he’s cracked up to be, and maybe you should be looking for someone who you actually have things in common.

Overall, just okay for me.

Teaser Tuesday



Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It is open to anyone and is a fun way to get a taste of different books. The rules are simple and everyone is welcome to participate.

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. Be careful NOT to include spoilers (you don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
5. Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to the TBR lists if they like your teaser.
6. After completing your post, return to Should Be Reading and add a link in their “comment” section.

If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince?
Melissa Kantor
Page

“Cinderella does not get weekends off.”

Monday, October 12, 2009

Library Loot

Library Loot is a weekly meme that is hosted by A Striped Arm Chair. It gives book bloggers an opportunity to share what fun books we have checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate visit A Striped Arm Chair and add your post link to their site. It’s a fun way to check out what other bloggers are reading. Below are just a few of the books I have checked out this Monday.


Wild Orchid by Cameron Dokey
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler



What Would Emma Do? By Eileen Cook
Sea Change by Aimee Friedman
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? By Melissa Kantor

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Belle by Cameron Dokey

Genre: YA Fiction

One Word Review: Charming

First Line: “I’ve heard it said—and my guess is you have too—that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

Synopsis: “Belle is convinced she has the wrong name, as she lacks her sisters' awe-inspiring beauty. So she withdraws from society, devoting her time to wood carving. Secretly, Belle longs to find the fabled Heartwood Tree. If carved by the right hands, the Heartwood will reveal the face of one's true love. During a fierce storm, Belle's father stumbles upon the mysterious Heartwood -- and encounters a terrifying and lonely Beast. Now Belle must carve the Heartwood to save her father, and learn to see not with the eyes of her mind, but with the eyes of her heart.” –GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: This was a fun retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I really enjoyed Belle’s character, she was very likable. I also really enjoyed her family and her two older sisters. I like the side story of April and Dominic, I do wish something more would have happened with Celeste. The ending came up too quickly and I thought it was all wrapped up a too fast. I would have enjoyed more time and interaction between Belle and the Beast. It was very well written though and had a great fairytale feel throughout the whole story. I love the Once Upon a Time series! They are all a little too short, but still a fun way to revisit some of your favorite fairy tales.

Throughout the whole book I kept thinking I had read it before, as I thought more about it I realized the story is very similar to
Beauty by Robin McKinley. There are some differences, but I was surprised by just how similar they really were.

Deep Blue Eyes by Janette Rallison

Genre: YA Fiction

Author Website: www.janetterallison.com

One Word Review: Good

First Line: “I got up at 4:30 in the morning to see Anjie off.”

Synopsis: “When a rebellious teenage girl and her good-looking brother move into the neighborhood, Holly discovers that turning sixteen brings as many problems as it does privileges.” -GoodReads

Kathy’s Review: I could be wrong, but I think this was Rallison’s first published book. The main character Holly is an active LDS girl who is very excited to turn sixteen so she can start dating, driving and is just another step closer to attending college at BYU. When a new girl moves into her neighborhood she is excited to make a new friend. Although they are both LDS, Emma is not active and leads a very different lifestyle than Holly. It was really a nice story about friendship, forgiveness, compassion, and understanding. I enjoyed Holly’s character and that she was a good friend to Emma when everyone else wanted to forget her. It’s a good example of being someone’s friend and still holding to your own values. The romance in the story was nice, although pretty subtle. Overall a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon read. If you enjoy Rallison’s other novels then you will probably enjoy this as well.

Cover Comments: I'm not a fan of the cover or the title. Neither reflect the story, in my opinion. So, don't let the cover turn you off, it really is a good book.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Alpha and Omega by Patricia Briggs

Genre: Adult Fantasy-Fiction

Author Website: www.patriciabriggs.com

One Word Review: Okay

First Line: “The wind was chill and the cold froze the ends of her toes.”

Kathy’s Review: This is a spin-off from the Mercy Thompson series. This follows the story of Anna and Charles, the Marrok’s (leader of all werewolves) son and hit-man. The story rotates point of view (which I enjoyed) and although it is rather short we learn a lot and it almost has the feel of a full-length novel. Anna was “changed” without her constant and has spent the first year being passed around the male wolves in her pack and the rest of the time being abused and trained to think she was nothing. Then Charles comes along and reveals that she is an Omega.

I enjoyed the story but it wasn’t my favorite. There was a lot of talk about sex and references to Anna’s previous abuse (although neither in any great detail), so that was a bit much. I don’t know what it is with Briggs and rape, but it seems to be a major plot line in her stories. I’m debating if I’ll read the rest of the series. Not sure if Anna or Charles really drew me in enough to continue reading. Course, it seems I say that about her books and then I go out and read them anyway.

Reading Order:
Prequel: Alpha and Omega (On the Prowl)
Book One: Cry Wolf
Book Two: Hunting Ground

Friday, October 9, 2009

Retro Friday Review

Retro Friday Review is a weekly meme hosted by Angieville. This focuses on classics, out of print books or just old favorites that don’t get the attention they deserve. This Friday’s review is:

Jane Eyre
by Charolette Bronte

First published: England 1847

Synopsis: Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead and subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield Hall, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a richer life than that traditionally allowed women in Victorian society.

Jess's Review: The one thing I took away from all the wonderful comments yesterday is that we can all agree that Jane Eyre is a phenomenal book. I really just love Jane's character. She's had a hard life but it hasn't made her bitter. She is kind...even to those who don't deserve it and it makes her more dignified. She makes others around her more likeable. She knows and has confidence in herself. She is guided by her principles and is willing to see them through. She deserves to be happy and in the end she is! Jane Eyre has everything. A strong female character, a passionate love story, mystery, and a moral. What else could a reader ask for? Well, those are the reasons I love Jane Eyre....what about you?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Booking Through Thursday

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted at Booking Through Thursday. It asks fun book related questions each week. It’s a fun way to get you thinking about your books and share you're thoughts with other book bloggers. Once you’ve completed your post return to Booking Through Thursday and leave a comment and link. This week's question is:

Discuss!
I was wanting to try a certain author and wished I knew someone who had read her works so I could get a recommendation when it occurred to me that having a “YOU ask the question” Booking Through Thursday might be fun. Each participant could ask a question they’ve wanted to discuss with other readers. Perhaps, like me, you’d like a recommendation of a certain author’s best work, or perhaps you LOVE a certain genre or series but no one else you know does and you’d just like to discuss it with someone. Or perhaps you want to try a new genre and would like recommendations from seasoned readers.


I would love to discuss the Classics. I have read some Classics that are so wonderful that they change my outlook on a subject or on life in general, and then I've read other Classics that drive me up the wall. In other words, when they are good they are great and when they are bad they really stink! One such Classic that I've held back reading is Wuthering Heights. Some people love it...mostly characters in other books love it...and then people I've talked to hate it. What's a girl to do? Am I missing something if I continue to scorn this Bronte Classic?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Waiting On Wednesday




Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. After completing your post return to Breaking the Spine and add a comment with a link to their post. This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Going Rogue: An American Life by Sarah Palin
Release Date: November 17, 2009

Synopsis: From her humble beginnings to her time in the spotlight as the first female Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin has led an extraordinary life. Going Rogue will recount her political experiences, her time as Mayor of Wasilla and as the first female governor of Alaska, as well as her rapid rise on the national stage during the 2008 campaign. Additionally, she’ll share insights into the personal challenges she’s faced including balancing her time as a working mother, recognizing the war’s impact with her son serving combat in Iraq, having a child with a disability and supporting her teenage daughter through an unplanned pregnancy.Palin has received much attention through the media, but never before has her complete story been told in her own words. The memoir will be both a personal and political chronicle of her life.


Why I’m Waiting: I hope that I will not upset the Book Blog Gods by picking a non-fiction book for my WoW pick. If you've read my bio you know that I'm a news junkie....especially when it comes to political news. The 2008 Presidential promised to be one of the most exciting in several decades where neither an incumbent or a vice president was running. From the moment John McCain announced his running mate and I, with the rest of the world, went, "Who?" I was totally fascinated by her. Sometimes my fascination was what I imagine feeling at witnessing a train wreck and sometimes I felt oddly awestruck by her guts. She incites such anger from the far Left and such loyalty from the far Right that I really can't figure her out. My hope is that she is honest in the book and sheds some light about what the crap happened during the campaign, especially the Katie Couric interview. I have not the slightest intention of purchasing this book, I'll wait for it at the library, but apparently lots of other people do because she is #1 on Barnes and Noble and #1 on Amazon for pre-orders.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Teaser Tuesday




Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It is open to anyone and is a fun way to get a taste of different books. The rules are simple and everyone is welcome to participate.

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. Be careful NOT to include spoilers (you don’t want to ruin the book for others.)
5. Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to the TBR lists if they like your teaser.
6. After completing your post, return to Should Be Reading and add a link in their “comment” section.

The Gable Faces East


by Anita Stansfield
Page 80



Of all the women to be feeling this way about, it had to be one with a will as strong as a mule, and a determination that no man could match. But oh, how she wore those breeches!”




I'm not normally a Stansfield fan but I've read this book before and it is a dramatic and outlandish love affair that gets me every time.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Library Loot Monday



Library Loot is a weekly meme that is hosted by A Striped Arm Chair. It gives book bloggers an opportunity to share what fun books we have checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate visit A Striped Arm Chair and add your post link to their site. It’s a fun way to check out what other bloggers are reading. Below are just a few of the books I have checked out this Monday.












This week I have quite the eclectic mix of books I'm reading. Two are books that I have read before and wanted to read again. Two are books that the cover caught my attention on the library display and so they came home with me.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Video Footage of Anne Frank

While I was surfing through different book blogs I stumbled upon At Home With Books. They had this amazing post about Anne Frank. Apparently a couple of weeks ago the Anne Frank House posted this video footage of Anne, I guess its the only video footage that they have. To be honest I have actually never read The Diary of Anne Frank. I have a hard time reading sad stories, I've started it a few times but have never gotten through it. Anyway, below is a blurb from YouTube about the video.

July 22 1941. The girl next door is getting married. Anne Frank is leaning out of the window of her house in Amsterdam to get a good look at the bride and groom. It is the only time Anne Frank has ever been captured on film. At the time of her wedding, the bride lived on the second floor at Merwedeplein 39. The Frank family lived at number 37, also on the second floor. The Anne Frank House can offer you this film footage thanks to the cooperation of the couple.

A couple winters ago I was able to go to Germany with my brothers and sister-in-law. While there we visited the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp. This is actually the camp where Anne and her sister Margot died. They have a small headstone and memorial there. All of the building had been torn down, although there are still huge burial mounds and a pretty amazing museum. While I was there I also picked up a copy of her diary, I really should sit down and read the whole thing, she has a pretty amazing story to tell.




 
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