Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

A classic, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. This was another audio book for me. I have seen the movie, it just isn't Christmas without watching this movie. I might add that the 1950's version is the best, though the Muppets come in a second.

Again this is another where the movie came first. I wanted to see what was in the book but not in the movie and I have to say hardly anything was missing. It was almost word for word the same. I wasn't too disappointed because I half expected it. I have not read or watched anything else that is Dickens so I think I will continue with his works. I just love the English way of speaking, especially when the audio is done with the english accent.

Charles Dickens, perhaps the best British novelist of the Victorian era, was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, England in 1812. His happy early childhood was interrupted when his father was sent to debtors' prison, and young Dickens had to go to work in a factory at age twelve. Later, he took jobs as an office boy and journalist before publishing essays and stories in the 1830s. His first novel, The Pickwick Papers, made him a famous and popular author at the age of twenty-five. Subsequent works were published serially in periodicals and cemented his reputation as a master of colorful characterization, and as a harsh critic of social evils and corrupt institutions. His many books include Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, Bleak House, Great Expectations, A Christmas Carol, and A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens married Catherine Hogarth in 1836, and the couple had nine children before separating in 1858 when he began a long affair with Ellen Ternan, a young actress. Despite the scandal, Dickens remained a public figure, appearing often to read his fiction. He died in 1870, leaving his final novel, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, unfinished.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I loved the movie, this is the first time that I have seen the movie before reading the book. Usually when that happens I don't even bother with the book, because really I already know the story. But since it appears they will not be making books 2 & 3 from this series into a movie I wanted to continue with the series.

However this time it was the audio book for The Golden Compass and since the library has the rest in audio I will continue that way.

Lyra Belaqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar Pantalaimon always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold, far North, young Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: She alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

I thought Lyra's character was fully developed. She is a brave and gutsy firl, which was enhanced by her upbringing. Her good friend Roger is taken by the Gobblers, along with other children, witches and armored bears, it is a suspenseful and mysterious story with an ending I didn't see coming.

I recommend this book and can't wait to read (listen) to The Subtle Knife.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson & The Olympians Book 1 in the series, The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he cant seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worsePercy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. Percys mom decides its time that he knew the truth about where he came from. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island) , where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friendsone a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of AthenaPercy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

I have always wanted to read this book and as soon as I saw the preview for the movie I knew it had to be read before I saw the movie. I was a little skeptical at first. Is this going to be another boy saves the world (like Harry Potter). It was an easy read, grabbed my attention right away. I think that if I knew something about Greek Mythology it would really have helped, I know nothing about it and I was lost a couple times. Thankfully I have kids and a husband who does.

With fantasy books I love to see what authors do and I just loved the stop off in Las Vegas, I just thought that was a really neat idea (sorry no spoilers from me).

I will probably read the rest of the series, but it didn't have me dying to continue reading like Harry Potter did. Maybe the next book will.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Book one in the Wheel of Time Series by Robert Jordan, The Eye of the World, is a reread for me. I read this book about a year ago, but just finished the audio book. There are at present 12 books in the series, with the final 2 coming in Oct 2010 and Oct 2011. I figured that if I continued with the audio books I might just be caught up by the time the final book is released. This first book is one of the smaller ones, 25 cd's long, approx 31 hours in total. One of the books I think has to hit 40 hours. Hopefully the walking that I do while reading will help me drop a few lbs.

In one short decade, Robert Jordan''s Wheel of Time has become the bestselling American fantasy series of all time-comparable in depth and scope to J.R.R. Tolkien''s legendary trilogy, The Lord of The Rings. In the THE EYE OF THE WORLD three young friends; Rand, Matt and Perrin are attacked by subhuman monsters,bestial Trollocs. With the help of Lady Moiraine, an Aes Sedai, a woman who can wield the One Power and her Warder, Lan--the young boys flee their homeland. But they are pursued relentlessly by the forces of the evil Dark One--and begin an adventure across an imaginative, fantastical world of strange wonders and deadly horror--where goodness stands on the brink of destruction--for the Wheel of Time is weaving a web in the pattern of ages, a web to entangle the world.

The only reason that I started this series was at the insistence of 2 of my sons. Apparently this is the best series they have ever read. I did hesitate to start because it was a fantasy, along the lines of Lord of the Rings (and I alway fall asleep trying watch that one). And fantasy is just not a genre I have read before so I wasn't interested in it. But I did finally give in, I did want to quit reading just a few chapters in, it was rather boring and nothing exicting had happened it. They begged me just to read till the end of chapter 5, which I dutifully did. Well that chapter 5 just did it for me and I was hooked. Alot happened in that chapter to set everything in motion and the action never stopped.

I love the chacters Rand, Mat and Perrin. Maybe because I have sons I can relate to how crazy they are. It
is magical, mythical, action packed with a tad bit of romance (I am sure that will develop more as the series progresses).

Why am I doing a reread just a year after reading this book? Actually I have read the first 4 books, but feel that missing things, it is one of those stories that is quite intense at times. Obviously this series is like others, things mentioned in book 1 might not be fulfilled or mentioned again in another book, so listening to the boys talk about things I felt I missed somethings. Plus with the ipod I can walk, drive and clean the house while reading at the same time. Gotta say my kitchen was really spotless listening to this book.

Now onto The Great Hunt, books 2.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

I got this book, Ice by Sarah Beth Durst, from the library, I was attracted to it because it looked new and no one had read it yet (guess I might have felt sorry for it). The cover didn't thrill me much, but its about a bear and that grabbed my attention. Actually I almost didn't even read this book, since I waited so long and it was due back at the library. But on a whim I started it and am really glad that I did, in fact it took me less than a day to read. I LOVED it, really I did. The prologue starts with the fairy tale told by Cassie's grandmother, which is just a fairy tale, right? Well things happen and boy did they ever.

When Cassie was a little girl, her grandmother told her a fairy tale about her mother, who made a deal with the Polar Bear King and was swept away to the ends of the earth. Now that Cassie is older, she knows the story was a nice way of saying her mother had died. Cassie lives with her father at an Arctic research station, is determined to become a scientist, and has no time for make-believe.

Then, on her eighteenth birthday, Cassie comes face-to-face with a polar bear who speaks to her. He tells her that her mother is alive, imprisoned at the ends of the earth. And he can bring her back -- if Cassie will agree to be his bride.

That is the beginning of Cassie''s own real-life fairy tale, one that sends her on an unbelievable journey across the brutal Arctic, through the Canadian boreal forest, and on the back of the North Wind to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. Before it is over, the world she knows will be swept away, and everything she holds dear will be taken from her -- until she discovers the true meaning of love and family in the magical realm of Ice.

One of the things I found with this book was that the story just flowed nice and smoothly, there were no bumps along the way to make me think 'oh that doesn't belong there'. I loved the ending, it so worked for the story. Not only am I glad I read but I will be purchasing it to add to my bear shelf.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

I have heard alot about shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. After reading a couple positive reviews I was quite excited to get the book from the library. I am glad that I got it from the library and not spent any money on it.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf - her wolf - is a haunting presence she can?t seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human -- until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It?s her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears and the temperature drops, Sam must fight to stay human or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

The books started out not too bad, it was interesting, the story line was beggining to take shape. But then it started to drag. I didn't feel the characters really came alive, some of the story lines didn't make sense (if Grace and Olivia are best friends, why when Grace didn't hear from her for a couple days didn't she investigate), plus other odd things that didn't make sense. I really like to give books a shot, but this one I forced myself to finish just to see how it would end. Though I must admit I didn't really care how it ended at that point, at least for Sam and Grace, but I was curious about Olivia and Isabella. The story reminded me alot of Edward and Bella , which I admit I wasn't that impressed with either.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Class Pet - Battle in a Bottle by Frank Asch

Class Pet - Battle in a Bottle by Frank Asch
is geared for the young reader. I picked this up at a library sale, I honestly don't think anyone has read it. It is in brand new condition. So for 75 cents I took it home.

I loved the cover, which is main reason why I bought it, poor little mouse stuck in a bottle with big, ugly cat watching and ready for dinner.

It''s late at night and Big Gray, the monster cat, is on the prowl. Brother and sister mice, Molly and Jake, are safe inside the walls of P.S. 42, building their nests. Jake should have listened to Molly''s advice and stayed inside. But he wants nothing to do with school, class pets, or even kids. While Molly is learning the secret art of X-ray vision from Gino, Jake is getting into trouble on the playground in another tangle with Big Gray. The only place he can find to hide is inside a ketchup bottle...and that''s when the battle begins!

It only took an hour or so to read. It didn't flow like I would have liked, I found it a but choppy in places. From the beginning Jake has an attitude that he doesn't hide, he doesn't like anyone telling him what to do and makes that very clear. He is not a team player and wants to do what everyone else is NOT doing and that he how he landed himself in trouble (inside a ketchup bottle).

All in all not a bad book, I think it will appeal to kids with class pets. Though looking online appears to be a hard to find book, only available used.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett is the sequel to The Colour of Magic, book 2 of the DiscWorld Series.

As it moves towards a seemingly inevitable collision with a malevolent red star, the Discworld has only one possible saviour. Unfortunately, this happens to be the singularly inept and cowardly wizard called Rincewind, who was last seen falling off
the edge of the world...

I enjoyed this book more than the first in the series. It didn't alway bring the laugh out loud but I did grin alot throughout this book. The inept wizard (well not really) Rincewind along with tourist Twoflower and his ever present Luggage continue right where The Colour of Magic left off. They must journey to Unseen University where Rincewind must deal with the a spell that is stored in his head, which he didn't know was there. The Red Star is shining in the sky, what does this mean? Leave it up to Rincewind to come to the rescue.

Fantasy is still a somewhat new genre to me, especially in adult books. I have set a goal of one DiscWorld book a month, which will take approx 2 years to get caught up (I don't know if there are new books coming out or not). The only reason that I am not reading more is because of the big TBR pile that I have.

Terry Pratchett has a gift of writing that puts a smile to my face, some of the comments he makes are priceless and I really wish that I had a pad of paper with me when I am reading, but I just didn't want to interrupt the story. Next comes Equal Rites.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Shutters Island by Dennis LeHane

I haven't read a really good thriller in a long time. Shutters Island by Dennis LeHane
was published in 2003 and recently made into a movie. I wanted to read this before watching the movie. The movie looks really spooky and rather scary, suspenseful.
It took about 3 days to read this, of course when I got to the middle of the book I had to keep reading. I find that happens alot with me and a good book.

Summer, 1954.

U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels has come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane. Along with his partner, Chuck Aule, he sets out to find an escaped patient, a murderess named Rachel Solando, as a hurricane bears down upon them.

But nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems.

And neither is Teddy Daniels.

Is he there to find a missing patient? Or has he been sent to look into rumors of Ashecliffe?s radical approach to psychiatry? An approach that may include drug experimentation, hideous surgical trials, and lethal countermoves in the shadow war against Soviet brainwashing. . . .

I loved this book, I loved the ending (which I didn't see coming at all). The characters were great and well written. The story was believable and flowed together nicely. I think the movie was made to be more of a thriller, which I think works great with the book.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Inkspell by Cornelia Fluke

Book 2 in the Inkheart Series, Inkspell by Cornelia Fluke.

Although a year has passed, not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of INKHEART, the book whose characters became real. But for Dustfinger, the fire-eater brought into being from words, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller with the ability to read him back, Dustfinger leaves behind his young apprentice Farid and plunges into the medieval world of his past. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too. But the story is threatening to evolve in ways neither of them could ever have imagined.

I love this series, maybe its because of the book theme, or I've gotten close to the characters and seem to know them so well. There was a couple times where I felt it dragged on a little, but that didn't happen enough to make me stop reading. Fluke has a way of writing thats makes one feel the emotion that takes place in her stories. I have read some of her other books and can say she is one of my favorite authors.

I enjoyed the Inkheart movie, though it was changed a fair bit from the book, I don't know if they will be making the second or third book, it would be interesting if they did.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blue Heaven by C.J. Box

Blue Heaven by CJ Box
This is the first murder/mystery that I have read in a while. I read another book blog that gave it rave reviews (sorry I can't remember which one it was).

A twelve-year-old girl and her younger brother go on the run in the woods of North Idaho, pursued by four men they have just watched commit murder---four men who know exactly who William and Annie are, and who know exactly where their desperate mother is waiting for news of her children''s fate.

I did put it down a couple times till the story started to develop more, once it got going I enjoyed it. There was the mystery and suspense in there. The girl, Annie, I felt was well developed, it was like I knew her and felt for her. Some parts of the story were predictable, but the ending was different then I expected.

I liked the book, am glad that I read it and would give it 3.5/5