Friday, December 31, 2010

The Lady in the Tower

This was my audio pick for the week. The Fall of Anne Boleyn by Allison Weir. Its the first time that I have read/listened to her work.

The imprisonment and execution of Queen Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII's second wife, in May 1536 was unprecedented in the annals of English history. It was sensational in its day, and has exerted endless fascination over the minds of historians, novelists, dramatists, poets, artists and film-makers ever since. Anne was imprisoned in the Tower of London on 2 May 1536, and tried and found guilty of high treason on 15 May. Her supposed crimes included adultery with five men, one her own brother, and plotting the King's death. She was executed on 19 May 1536. Mystery surrounds the circumstances leading up to her arrest.

When I purchased this I didn't realize that it was nonfiction, but I am really glad that I listened to it instead of reading. I just loved it, i found it interesting, it grabbed my attention and so much history in there that I found intriguing. The only thing that I found disappointing was that it only covered the last few months of Anne's life, I would have liked to read more about her.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. May your stockings be filled with books and you find time throughout the day to curl up and relax with a good read :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

I tried, I really did...

Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood

I have had this book on my shelf for so long (years). I purchased it during my 'quilt fiction' phase. Once I joined the Off The Shelf Challenge this was the first book that came to mind. I figured that I would start to read this book now and would be finished it in 2011 (is that legal in the challenge world?). Well I gave it 100 pages, I tried, I really wanted to enjoy this book...but there is no way that I can continue for another 500 or 600 hundred pages.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mademoiselle Boleyn and The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn

Both of these books are by Robin Maxwell. With The Secret Diary being her debut novel.

Mademoiselle Boleyn is about Anne's life in France before coming back to England. I was looking forward to reading this book, I know about Anne in England but to read about what her life might have been like before was very interesting. If I thought the lifestyle of England was bad, France was really no different, that is in the way women are treated. I found in that book a different side to Anne that I didn't see before. A little girl growing up without the love of her father and to see how her relationship with her brother developed even though living across the Channel. I guess that I should stop before I spoil this for anyone.

Part of me wishes that The Secret Diary was written after Mademoiselle Boleyn, just for connections sake. I haven't read anything about Queen Elizabeth before, so this was new for me. I am anxious now to read more about what happened between her and Queen Mary. I felt this book really made me sensitive to what Anne went through with Henry, and being a mother and having her child taken away must have been awful.

I really enjoyed both these books and hope to read more of Robin Maxwell, which I will be doing next month since I found To The Tower Born in a used book store. (I love used books stores, you never know what treasure you will find).

Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekly Roundup

I saw this post on Baffled Books and thought that it was a really good idea. In an effort to be more organized and up to date with my reviews and whatever else I want to chat about I am about to do my first Weekly Roundup post.

Reviews last week:
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (review)

Still to review:

Hold Still by Nina Lacour
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldonl
The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
The Secret Diary of Anne Boleyn by Robin Maxwell
Madesoille Boleyn by Robin Maxwell (I think that I will review both these books at the same time).

There are other books that I have read this past year and missed reviewing.

Plans for the week:

start and finish - Much Ado About Anne by Heather Vogel Frederick
finish - Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Vern
continue reading - Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood - this is part of my 2011 Off the Shelf Challenge, so hoping to finish in January, might be a problem though because I am only suppose to read a chapter a day, however I am really enjoying it and I might be finished before January.

Library loot:

I have another week for these 2 books and not sure if I have reached my max renewal or not. So I might be reading them or not.
What The Dead Know by Laura Lippman
Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I have read so many reviews on this book, all of them good. I waited until it came out in paperback, which I received last summer. Finally this week as I am getting geared up and ready for some challenges next year I figured that I had better read this one.

What can I say? It took me all of 2 days to finish it. I don't know if this is Lauren Oliver's first book, but I will definitely read more of her work. I loved the writing style, the flow of words, the twists and turns and how like a jigsaw puzzle everything fit together nicely at the end.

The book did remind me of 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and I had the same reaction, in that I wanted the ending to be different. Was it different? Did I get the ending that I wanted? Well I will never tell...

Monday, November 29, 2010

Off The Shelf Challenge

Are your books multiplying like rabbits before you even get a chance to read them? Trying to keep up with them, but can't stop buying new ones?

Maybe this challenge is for you. I know what it's like. There's so many titles and so many beautiful books out there sometimes it's hard to keep that TBR shelf under control, but if you really want to try why not challenge yourself?

Well check out BA Reading Challenges, and sign up today.

Also check my link at the top of this blog and see what I will be reading in 2011

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2011 Debut Author Challenge

What's the 2011 Debut Author Challenge?
  • Goal: Read at least 12 debut Young Adult or Middle Grade novels that are published in 2011
  • Time frame: The Challenge runs from January 1st, 2011 to December 31st, 2011.
  • Who can participate: Anyone! You don't need a blog to join, you can post your reviews to Amazon, Goodreads, Shelfari, et cetera.
  • More info: This challenge is hosted by The Story Siren, so check out her blog to sign up, see a list of debut novels, or see a list of FAQ's about the challenge.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

I went to the library the other day to check out Laura Lippman, I had read some reviews on One Person's Journey, and was intrigued. Before leaving the library I just had to make a quick stop at the new release section. I had heard about Still Missing, and added it to my pile. I knew it was a 7 day loan, and thinking why am I doing this I can't possibly read this in 7 days (I mean I was and still am in the middle of a couple other books - yes that is correct, a couple other books).

I started it Monday night and just finished this morning. It was a wet dreary morning, the perfect time to sit and read. Plus I just couldn't put this baby down.

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a 32-year-old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever-patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she's about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all.

Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of a psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

Still Missing is that rare debut find--a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

This novel grabbed me from the get go, it flowed, it was an attention grabber right away, I loved the characters. I loved the chapters, each of which were her therapy sessions. It was a believable story. The ending was amazing and I enjoyed it right to the last page.

Chevy Steven has her second novel coming out next year entitled Never Knowing, which I will be on the lookout for.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Jonah, Katherine, Chip, and another boy, Alex, have no preparation before they are sent back to 1483 at the Tower of London, with the promise that they can return to the present if they can repair history. They quickly discover that Chip and Alex’s true identities are the 13-year-old King Edward V and his 10-year-old brother, Richard, Duke of York. But before Chip can enjoy being the king of England, they discover that they are virtually prisoners—and that their uncle wants them dead. How can the kids repair time and return home when according to history, Chip and Alex were murdered?

This is book 2 from The Missing Series. While I enjoyed the first book, Found, I really enjoyed this one more. Maybe it is my love of English history or the mystery surrounding the princes in the Tower that grabbed my attention. There are so few clues as to what really happened to these 2 boys and I think Haddix did a wonderful job of creating this story.

There is a third book in the series Sabotaged, which has been released in hardcover already.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Common Evil by Vivian Vande Velde

Again another book that sounded interested from another blogger. I had high hopes for this book.

This novel combines two periods in French history-the 1940s and the early 1300s. Lisette Beaucaire, 13, is sent to live in the country with her aunt, since food is scarce in Paris, which is overrun by German soldiers. Although she dreads spending time with her bratty cousin Cecile, Lisette is even more dismayed to discover that her aunt is hiding Jewish and gypsy children from the Nazis. As Lisette and the children practice what to do if the Nazis arrive unexpectedly, she begins to understand the seriousness of the situation. Then she encounters the ghost of Gerard, a young knight who died in 1314. At first he is merely a spirit but gradually he becomes solid and real-and a friend. In an exciting climax, Gerard helps Lisette save the younger children from the Nazis.

There are so many rave reviews for this book that I am wondering if I missed something. I found the book interesting and well written to a certain point. I was confused about Gerard, with no real reason was given for him being there and his background was a little confusing to me.

The historical part for France was good to read about, a time that affected all ages and it is sad to think about what the little ones had to endure in the 1940's. The ending I felt was rushed and abrupt.

Monday, October 25, 2010

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This charming classic, first published in 1970, brings together 20 years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in New York City, and a used book dealer in London. Through the years, though never meeting and separated both geographically and culturally, they share a winsome, sentimental friendship based on their common love for books. Their relationship, captured so acutely in these letters, is one that will grab your heart and not let go.

A quick read that I found charming, it put a smile on my face so many times. I could just picture Helene's apartment with the bookshelves and piles of books. I have a used book store close by that I just love to wander through. Though you can't wander too much, the shelves are so close together and l am thankful the last time I was there, my son was with me to catch the pile that also toppled over when I wanted a book from the bottom of the pile. So many treasures waiting for someone to find them.

Friday, October 22, 2010

if I stay by gayle forman

I am going to have to do a better job of keeping track where I find out about the YA books that I read. I very rarely go into a book store these days since I have discovered online places so much cheaper. Unless I find something that looks interested at the local Goodwill and other thrift shops.

"what would you do if you had to choose?"

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck...

A sophisticated, layered, and heartachingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make--and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

When I started this book I didn't really have high hopes. I found the dialogue in the first 10 pages or so, rough and it left me wondering what the rest of the book would be like. All that quickly changes after the accident. From that point on jumping back and forth in time, the story just flowed together smoothly. The dialogue was so much better and realistic. I felt for so many people throughout this book, (Mia, her future, Kim, her best friend, Adam, the boyfriend and even the grandparents)

This book was one that I had to finish asap just to see what decision Mia would make. It reminded me of 13 Reasons Why for the basic reason that I somehow wanted something to happen to change the story, which I knew was impossible.

And the good news is that there is a sequel called Where She Went to be released next year.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Way, way behind

I have been so behind on my reviews. So here is a list of what I've been reading and what I thought of these books (kinda a short review here).

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand - I was so looking forward to reading this book. I read The Castaways last year and just loved it. The location of these books makes me want to take a holiday there myself. I enjoyed this book, but I found the ending predictable. The characters were good, though I would have liked to see some changes in a couple them.
This is a good summer read, perfect for sitting on the beach.

The Hunter by L.J. Smith - First time reading one of her books. This is a young adult and the first of a trilogy. I will continue to read this series since I have the other 2 books (part of the Forbidden Games series).

I decided that I should start reading some Christian fiction again. I used to only read Christian fiction but started to be disappointed with some books because they just weren't the kind of books I could sink my teeth into. So I recalled Terri Blackstock and got 2 of her books, Predator and Invention. Once I started reading Predator I remembered that this wasn't one of the authors I really liked. Both were good reads, but there were little things throughout the books that annoyed me. Maybe it was the way police procedures were protraited in these books that didn't seem real to me, or that the characters just lacked depth. I wish that I purchased some Dee Henderson books because I recall the Guardian series to be really good and I couldn't put those books down.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Models don't eat chocolate cookies by Erin Dionne

Models don't eat chocolate cookies by Erin Dionne is a debut novel that touches on friendships, family dynamics, and personal growth, it is a light, well-paced novel.

Thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn’t entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she’s forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste—because, after all, a thin girl can’t be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone . . . or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight. A hilarious debut featuring friendship, family, mean girls and even celebrity crushes, Celeste’s story is a delicious treat that doesn’t add a pound.

How does one do a good book review within any spoilers? Some books you can do that no problem, this one though is a little harder. I so enjoyed this book, it is such a sensitive subject. It was written with a little humor, soul searching and much more.

I highly recommend this book.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

A tiny girl is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913. She arrives completely alone with nothing but a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a single book; a beautiful volume of fairy tales. She is taken in by the dockmaster and his wife and raised as their own. On her twenty-first birthday, they tell her the truth, and with her sense of self shattered and very little to go on, "Nell" sets out to trace her real identity. Her quest leads her to Blackhurst Manor on the Cornish coast and the secrets of the doomed Mountrachet family. But it is not until her granddaughter, Cassandra, takes up the search after Nell’s death that all the pieces of the puzzle are assembled. A spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery,  

The Forgotten Garden will take hold of your imagination and never let go. 
Paperback, 549 pages
Published February 16th 2010 by Washington Square Press 
personal library

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton is a new favorite book of mine.

I have wanted to read this book as soon as it was released. But being cheap I waited till the trade paperback version came out. 

Kate Morton's second novel is a rich and satisfying mystery set in England and Australia of a woman's search for her identity.  A cottage on the Cornish coast is home to secrets that pull together three generations of women, despite the decades and oceans that separate them.

The story of begins in 1913 with a 3 year old on a journey from England to Australia. However no adult is traveling with her. The story jumps from 1913 to 2005, back to 1975 and even back to the late 1800's. With all that jumping back and forth the story is told without confusion. It just flows from one chapter and different time period smoothly. I finished this book in a mere 5 days and was so sad to see it end.

I got to know Neil, Cassandra and Eliza so well. I felt for Nell upon her 21st birthday when she receives shocking news that turns her world upside down. The story line with Eliza and her cousin, aunt and uncle was kinda creepy and made me sat the way she was treated.

I loved the fairy tales added to this book, something original that added so much.

I highly recommend this book and will be reading more by this talented author.

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

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alice I Have Been by Melaine Benjamin

Alice I Have Been by Melaine Benjamin
Alice Liddell Hargreaves's life has been a richly woven tapestry: As a young woman, wife, mother, and widow, she's experienced intense passion, great privilege, and greater tragedy. But as she nears her eighty-first birthday, she knows that, to the world around her, she is and will always be only "Alice." Her life was permanently dog-eared at one fateful moment in her tenth year-the golden summer day she urged a grown-up friend to write down one of his fanciful stories.

That story, a wild tale of rabbits, queens, and a precocious young child, becomes a sensation the world over. Its author, a shy, stuttering Oxford professor, does more than immortalize Alice-he changes her life forever. But even he cannot stop time, as much as he might like to. And as Alice's childhood slips away, a peacetime of glittering balls and royal romances gives way to the urgent tide of war.

For Alice, the stakes could not be higher, for she is the mother of three grown sons, soldiers all. Yet even as she stands to lose everything she treasures, one part of her will always be the determined, undaunted Alice of the story, who discovered that life beyond the rabbit hole was an astonishing journey.

A love story and a literary mystery, Alice I Have Been brilliantly blends fact and fiction to capture the passionate spirit of a woman who was truly worthy of her fictional alter ego, in a world as captivating as the Wonderland only she could inspire.

This was an interesting novel, it got rave reviews so I was excited to read it. But I gotta say I really had a hard time getting into this book. I just found the relationship between Alice and Mr. Dodgson rather disturbing. At first I thought it was just me, but I searched a little harder and did find some reviews that had the same feeling as myself. After Alice got older and didn't associate with Mr Dodgson anymore I liked the book much better. An interesting life for Alice and I do have to admit that I never knew Alice was based on a real person. I have never read Alice in Wonderland before, but now it is part of my March to read pile.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Great contest

Check out this link for a great contest.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

I listened to the audio for this book. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. I do have to say that this is really the first time I did the audio and I loved it. I put it on my ipod and listened while cleaning the house. I think that I like the audio and will do it again (enjoy having a rather clean place to boot.)

I have read Nicholas Sparks books before and I find them to be predictable. Sometimes a happy ending and sometimes not. I found this book not one of his best. There are so many glowing reviews for this book and I didn't think it was that good. Most likely I won
't be picking up any of his books in the near future, the ending was somewhat depressing and sad. I don't really want to say too much more, not that anyone is reading this blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Constant Princess by Phillippa Gregory

The Constant Princess of Phillippa Gregory
is the first in the Tudor Series, though wasn't written in order. I have read The Other Boleyn Girl before and was looking forward to reading this series in order.

Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both rulers and warriors. Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land.

Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur's wife grows ever more bearable. But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur's young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother's daughter and her fighting spirit is strong. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.

Philippa Gregory proves yet again that behind the apparently familiar face of history lies an astonishing story: of women warriors influencing the future of Europe, of revered heroes making deep mistakes, and of an untold love story which changes the fate of a nation.

I enjoyed this book, it did grab me right away even though at times is was lacking something (though I can't say what). I felt for Princess Catalina to not have control of what would happens with her life and to be in a country so far from family. She was very determined that she would one day be the Queen, even after the death of Prince Arthur, but the near constant mention of this was a bit much after awhile. But all in all, I liked it, will continue with the Tudor series, Gregory has a gift for story telling, her books are easy to read and full of history, which I like. How much to believe as actual history, I guess is up to the reader.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Deliverance by James Dickey

The setting is the Georgia wilderness, where the states most remote white-water river awaits. In the thundering froth of that river, in its echoing stone canyons, four men on a canoe trip discover a freedom and exhilaration beyond compare. And then, in a moment of horror, the adventure turns into a struggle for survival as one man becomes a human hunter who is offered his own harrowing deliverance.

One of Time Lifes 100 Novels. I was told by my family not to read it. Since we are a canoe tripping family and I actually went on a trip last year and hope to go again this week, they didn't want to freak me out. So was I freaked out? No I wasn't. I found the book a little slow going at the beginning, but it quickly picked up speed. I finished in a couple of days. I found it suspenceful enough, but slow in a few places. The ending was interesting, though I thought there might be a twist of some sorts, but there wasn't. Only a couple characters were well developed, the other 2 I didn't know much about, even the bad, it would have been nice to know a little about them, who they were and why they did what they did.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Abel's Island by William Steig

Abel's Island by William Steig is one of the 1977 Honor Award Winner.

One summer day, newlywed mice Abel and Amanda are out for a picnic in the woods when they are caught in a sudden storm--a "full-fledged, screaming hurricane" to be precise. As they take refuge in a cave, a wind scoops up Amanda's scarf, and Abel foolishly lunges from safety to retrieve it. So begins William Steig's Newbery Honor Book Abel's Island, the ensuing adventures of this rather foppish mouse as he comes head to head with nature. Amazingly, Abel is swept up in a stream, then a river, then eventually marooned on an island (about 12,000 tails long). He is sure that his rescue is imminent: "It's certainly gotten around that Abelard Hassam di Chirico Flint, of the Mossville Flints, is missing," the society mouse speculates. But he is not so lucky. What will this intelligent, imaginative rodent do to get off the island and back to his beloved Amanda? He busies himself with finding ways to get to shore (including bridges, boats, catapults, stepping stones, and gliders); figuring out what he should eat (everything from mulberries to roasted seeds); and investigating where he should take shelter (in a rotten log). As the weeks and months go by, he misses his books, his paintings, his comfortable stuffed chair, his stylish clothes (now damp, torn, and lumpy), but above all his precious wife Amanda, whom he thinks about constantly. As the mouse faces his new life Robinson Crusoe-style, Abel discovers what it's like to be in tune with the natural world as well as his true nature, and what it's like to return, fortified, to his real home and to the arms of the one he loves. Along the way, readers can't help but rediscover the joys of being alive. (Ages 8 and older, but an engaging read-aloud for younger children, too)

This is a charming book and I loved it. Can't wait one day to read it chapter by chapter to one of my grandkids. The writing style by the author I really liked. The story flowed smoothly throughout the book. I felt compassion for Abel, missing his wife and all the comforts from home. It was a great learning lesson for Abel to figure out how to survive on his own and to show that no matter the situation you are in, you can survive if you want to.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Here is one of the 2001 Honor Winners - Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

One summer day, Opal goes into a supermarket and comes out with a scraggly dog that she names Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, her preacher father finally tells her ten things about her absentee mother, and Opal makes lots of unusual friends in her quirky Florida town. And because of Winn-Dixie, Opal grows to learn that friendship -- and forgiveness -- can sneak up on you like a sudden storm.

It was a quick and easy read and an enjoyable one to boot. I read the condensed, movie version of the book and wish that I had gotten the original one. I guess that means I will have to keep my eye open at my favorite used books stores.

It is a story of love, friendship, forgiveness and just going that step further to help someone else instead of always yourself.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Crispin - The Cross of Lead

The 2003 Newbery Winner - Crispin - The Cross of Lead by Avi and I think is was a well deserved win.

In fourteenth-century England a nameless thirteen-year-old peasant boy, who thought he had little to lose, finds himself with even less. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he has been declared a "wolf''s head," meaning that anyone can kill him on sight. To remain alive the boy must flee his tiny village, taking with him only his newly revealed name -- Crispin -- and his mother''s cross of lead.

I am not into medieval time period books, though I am trying to broaden my horizons, so started this with an open mind. It grabbed me right away. I felt for Asta's son as he lost his mother, his only family. Then to be accused of something that he did not do and then to be labeled a 'wolf's head', it was hard not to feel compassion for him. I had a hard time putting this book down. I wanted to see what was going to happen and with each page turn the mystery only deepened. The characters were real and believable as was the landscape which totally matched the time period. The wide range of emotions I felt throughout the book was amazing - grief, sorrow, compassion and vengance, just to name a few.

I see there is a sequel and I am off to find it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

This was the 2005 Newbery Winner. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata, I started this book with no idea what it was about. It was an honest story, told my Katie a 10 year old girl. It follows life with her sister Lynn, her parents and little brother. Life is not easy, there was laughter and tears in this heartbreaking story.

I enjoyed and will be sure to look for more from this author.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley

I loved this book. The Sisters Grimm - The Fairy Tale Detectives. This is the first book in a series and so far I think there are 8 books. I definitely plan on reading them all.

"For Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, life hasn't been a fairy tale. After the mysterious disappearance of their parents, the sisters are sent to live with their grandmother - a woman they believed was dead! Granny Relda reveals that the girls have two famous ancestors, the Brothers Grimm, whose classic book of fairy tales is actually a collection of case files of magical mischief. Now the girls must take on the family responsibility of being fairy-tale detectives. Their first case? A roller-coaster ride of an adventure to stop a giant from destroying their new hometown."

This book grabbed my attention right away. It had the mystery, suspence, adventure that I found very entertaining. It is hard to give a review without any spoilers. Lots of different characters but not overpowering. The story flowed nicely right to the end.

Now I am on the search for a book The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tale book. Guess I am off to my favorite used book store first off. For any books that cost over $10 I head to this favorite store of mine. I call it the fire hazard store, piles and piles of books everywhere. It is in an old house, one of the upstairs bedrooms is just children's books. I could spend hours in there looking for a hidden treasure, and I have found many. I once asked the owner about the fire department, I was took they come and do regular inspections and the place passes.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

This is the 2010 Newbery Winner, When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

“I am coming to save your friends life, and my own. I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter”
That’s the letter that Miranda receives first and they keep coming.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect with this book, especially being the Newbery Winner for this year. I enjoyed the story, the characters were good, though a couple could have been developed more. There was mystery, suspense, a good story all round. Left me wondering how it was going to end and I was happy with that. My only disappointment was that Miranda had a favorite book, also a Newbery winner, A Wrinkle in Time, which pretty well gave away the story and ending. I haven’t read it yet, in fact I am awaiting its arrival via the postman and it is part of my February reading .

I have started a Project Newbery. I would like to read all the winning books and the honor as well. It might take away, but thats okay. So far 2 down and lot more to go. :))

Monday, January 25, 2010

looking for jj by Anne Cassidy

I found this book at Value Village and it sounded interesting.

"dark, chilling and clever" Celia Rees caught my eye because I have read only one of her books and enjoyed it. So I thought that was a good reference and bought it. I like getting books cheap.

Three children walked away from the cottages on the edge of the town toward Berwick Waters. Later that day only two of them came back.

I enjoyed this book, but I didn't love it. It was a good story, I felt for jj throughout the books, but then feel that I should have been feeling sympathy to the other girls family and heard there side of the story. But since this book was about jj that might not have worked.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Winner of the 2009 John Newbery award.

This is the first time I have read Neil Gaiman, he writes both youth and adult fiction. I will most likely read some of his adult works, he is an interesting author and I like his style.

I am not good at writing book reviews, hopefully the more that I do, the better I become.

This is a fantasy, which is a new genre to me. I have to remind of something that I read while I took my Intro to Children's Lit course "The writer of fantasy creates another world for characters and readers, asking that readers believe this other world could and does exist within the framework of the book. The acceptance of this other world requires of the writer an ability to make the imaginary universe so credible that we wish it were all true. for sheer pleasure we believe" (from A Critical Handbook of Children's Literature by Rebecca J. Lukens)

Nobody Owens was raised in the graveyard, kinda reminds me of The Jungle Book (which I have never read and might read now). One of the things I loved about this book was what was written on the tombstones.

Miss Letita Borrows, Spinister of this Parish "Who Did No Harm to No Man all the Dais of Her Life. Reader, Can You Say Lykewise?"

Digby Poole "As I Am So Shall You Be

Joji G Shoji " I was a stranger and you took me in" pg 48

There were others that I can not remember (of course). I would love to see a sequel to this book, the ending has left that possibility open and I have grown fond of Nobody Owens

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

I read Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett as required reading for a course. I enjoyed it the first time and again the second time and even the third time. I loved the quirky comments that put a smile to my face. The characters stood out and I am on the lookout for a little cat and rat figurine to put on my shelf.

This year I will start to go through the DiscWorld series, starting with The Colour of Magic. This time I am recording some of the quirky comments and quotes that grab my attention.

Here are some of them:

Page 165
It was a backwards memory of an event in his future too terrifying that it had generated harmonics of fear all the way along his lifeline.
This was not the event, but it was good practice for it.

" `Why must you always panic ?' asked Twoflower petulantly.
`Because the whole of my future life just flashed in front of my eyes, and it didn't take very long, [...].'"
- Rincewind panics

Kring - "What I'd really like to be a ploughshare. I don't know what that is, but it sounds like an existence with some point to it."

Page 199
Rincewind speaking to Twoflower
"Don't you get scared of heights?" he managed to ask.
"No" he said, "why should I? You're just as dead if youfall from forty feet as you are from four thousand fathoms, that's what I say."