Monday, May 31, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 5/31

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading The Krybosian Stairpath (Colvin) and The Ghost of Blackwood Hall (Keene).  I'm listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale) and The Maze Runner (Dashner, narrated by Mark Deakin).

Since last week I've read Birthmarked (O'Brien),  A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend (Horner),  Forgive My Fins (Childs) and Howl's Moving Castle (Jones).  I listened to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling).

Other reviews posted:
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Ness)

From Traveling ARC Tours:
Forgive My Fins - Tera Lynn Childs
(Mermaids! and the cover is so beautiful)
Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

The Kyrbosian Stairpath - S.R.R. Colvin
In a refreshing change, along comes a children's book that does not rely on magic to explain the unexplainable. The Krybosian Stairpath puts forth the notion that just because you don't understand something, it doesn't mean there must be magic behind it. Knowledge and perspective can make all the difference.
Enter a world of wonder deep inside the earth as 11-year-old geologist Madison Terrence follows her pet gopher down a stairpath portal she discovers in her family's cavern. When she descends the Krybosian Stairpath, a mystery from her family's past begins to unravel. She soon realizes her arrival in the interior world of Krybos is no accident. Madison discovers that she's been pulled into a sinister plot to destroy the most beautiful place she has ever seen.

Howling's Moving Castle - Diana Wynne Jones
(I was watching the movie the other day and I realized I hadn't read the book in a very long time so I decided to remedy that.)
In the land of Ingary, where seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility do exist, Sophie Hatter attracts the unwelcome attention of the Witch of the Waste and is put under a curse. Determined to make the best of things, Sophie travels to one place where she might get help --- the moving castle which hovers on the hills above Market Chipping.

But the castle belongs to the dreaded Wizard Howl whose appetite, they say, is satisfied only by the hearts of young girls...

Castle in the Air - Diana Wynne Jones
(And what's a book without its sequel?)
Abdullah was a young and not very prosperous carpet dealer. His father, who had been disappointed in him, had left him only enough money to open a modest booth in the Bazaar. When he was not selling carpets, Abdullah spent his time daydreaming. In his dreams he was not the son of his father, but the long-lost son of a prince. There was also a princess who had been betrothed to him at birth. He was content with his life and his daydreams until, one day, a stranger sold him a magic carpet.
In this stunning sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, Diana Wynne Jones has again created a large-scale, fast-paced fantasy in which people and things are never quite what they seem. There are good and bad djinns, a genie in a bottle, wizards, witches, cats and dogs (but are they cats and dogs?), and a mysterious floating castle filled with kidnapped princesses, as well as two puzzling prophecies. The story speeds along with tantalizing twists and turns until the prophecies are fulfilled, true identities are revealed, and all is resolved in a totally satisfying, breathtaking, surprise-filled ending.

Lies: A Gone Novel - Michael Grant
(This series is so chilling and horrifying and yet so good.)
It happens in one night: a girl who died now walks among the living, Zil and the Human Crew set fire to Perdido Beach, and amid the flames and smoke, Sam sees the figure of the boy he fears the most - Drake. But Sam and Caine defeated him along with the Darkness - or so they thought. As Perdido Beach burns, battles rage: Astrid against the Town Council; the Human Crew versus the mutants; and Sam against Drake. And the prophetess Orsay and her companion, Nerezza, are preaching that death will set them all free. As life in the FAYZ becomes more desperate, no one knows who they can trust.

The Ask and The Answer - Patrick Ness
(The first one ended on such a crazy cliffhanger.)
Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor's new order.

But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer?

And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode...

The Ask and the Answer is a tense, shocking and deeply moving novel of resistance under the most extreme pressure

Sunday, May 30, 2010

May Wrap-Up

Books finished: 
The Demon's Lexicon (Rees Brennan)
This Lullaby (Dessen)
 Everlasting (Frazier)
A Golden Web  (Quick)
Birthmarked (O'Brien)

Audio books finished:
Wicked (Maguire)

My favorite book this month was A Love Story Starring My Best Friend by Emily Horner.  I really liked it how sweet and moving it was.  My favorite audio (besides the Sorcerer's Stone) was The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood.  How was your May?

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Loved it after all

The Book List is a short and fun meme that allows you to share books with the blogosphere and make a list. Who doesn't love lists? It is hosted weekly by Rebecca at Lost in Books.
 I saw this at the adventures of cecelia bedelia and I love the topic.

1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
It's not so much that I thought I'd hate it, I just wasn't personally interested in it.  But it is my husband's favorite book and when we started dating, I figured I should read it since he doesn't read a lot of fiction.  And if he was that interested in this book, I should give it a try.  And I loved it.  I think it is one of the most brilliant book ever written.

2. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Zombies?  Not my thing.  But it got such good reviews I reluctantly read it and was surprised by how much I liked it.  It was compelling and spooky.  The main character is still a little touch and go for me, but the book itself is one of the best zombie/YA books I've read.

3.  Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
Another werewolf book, I thought.  But I needed something to listen to in the car.  So I picked up Shiver.  Wow.  This is one of the sweetest and most beautiful books.  I don't know if it was the narrators that conveyed the love and devotion the main characters felt, but every day I couldn't wait to get in the car to hear what happened next.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend

What do you do after the loss of your best friend?  It's a hard thing to deal with and Cass is having a difficult time.  Compounding her grief over Julia is having to deal with the grief of her friend's boyfriend and her struggle with her own sexuality.  She embarks on a trip from Illinois to California on her bike with her friend's ashes.  Meanwhile, back home Julia's other drama friends struggle to put on her super secret project she was writing before her death, Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad.  And the mean girl who tormented Cass in middle school is back and playing the lead.  She and Cass begin to forgive and become friends and maybe become something more, Cass learns the meaning of friendship and love.

To risk what I'd come all the way here to risk and let things get more complicated, if they had to.  To be able to say, if only to myself, what I really had inside me.  p.128 Uncorrected Galley
This was such a sweet story.  Cass is so sad and just doesn't know what to do with herself.  She feels like she doesn't belong, that her friends are only her friends because of Julia, that she is an outsider.  And it doesn't help that Julia's boyfriend is a jackass to her sometimes as he struggles to deal with his own grief and guilt.  I love how the characters are so real and make mistakes.  They react to situations in a very real way.  And Julia's struggle to understand how she stands sexually is so very touching, but it is friendship with Julia that I found most moving.  Several times I had tears in my eyes.  To lose someone who means that much to you, especially at 16 is a terrible thing.

 The relationship between Heather and Cass progressed at a very nice pace, nothing happened to fast and each girl had reason enough to take it slow.  There was nothing surprising about it though.  There were no twists or anything, but it had enough drama to make it work without being boring.  I expected more of the relationship with Cass and Julia, like there was some twist, but it was a wonderful friendship.

All in all, it was a very sweet and moving book.  I really enjoyed it and found it to be a very easy read.  Oh and the Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad sounds awesome!

ARC from Traveling ARC Tours
Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Colorful Reading Challenge - COMPLETE

I know, this is a little late, but this is a fun challenge.  It is hosted by Rebecca at Lost in Books. The challenge is to read 9 books with 9 different colors in the title.  The challenge runs from January 1- December 31, 2010.

My list so far:

1. The Blonde of the Joke Bennett Madison
2. A Golden Web Barbara Quick
3. Nothing Pink Mark Hardy
4. Scarlett Fever Maureen Johnson
5. Shades of Grey Jasper Fforde
6. Sisters Red Jackson Pearce
7. White Cat Holly Black
8. The Mystery at Lilac Inn Carolyn Keene
9. The Clue of the Black Keys Carolyn Keene

COMPLETE 12/1/2010


Gaia has just delivered her first baby as a midwife and has advanced to to the Enclave.  The first three babies born every month to every midwife are advanced to a better life in the wealthy Enclave from outside the wall where Gaia lives.  But when her parents are arrested for an unknown crime against the Enclave, Gaia's perceptions of the world are challenged and she decides she must save them.


     She consumed the last bite of her bread.  His shoulders were broad, and she could smell the clean fabric of his black coat, as if sunshine still clung to him.
     Somehow that, too, confused and troubled her.  She wanted sunshine of her own.  p.198 ARC
I knew when I picked up this book I wasn't going to be able to put it down.  It captured my attention from the first line when we meet Gaia delivering her first baby and then taking it away from its mother to the Enclave for advancement.  Conceptually, this was a great book.  It had all the elements to make for a chilling dystopian novel.  And it worked on most levels.  Maybe because I just finished The Knife of Never Letting Go that features a truly brutal dystopian society or I compared it a bit to The Giver which features a chillingly horrific dystopian society with a shocking secret, but the big reveal of the dysfunction of Gaia's world didn't have quite the impact it was suppose to on me.

But it worked on all the other levels.  The action picks up quickly and then moves right along, only stalling in a few scenes.  The characters are very real in their words and actions.  Gaia was a good girl, but she was also abrasive due to the scar on her face.  I liked her but sometimes she needed to learn to hold her tongue.  Leon was an enigma and I couldn't decide what his game was, but he was a very interesting counter for Gaia.  It was a good book and I liked it enough to read the sequel when it comes out.

ARC from Traveling ARC Tours
Hogwarts: Charms

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Audio Book/Movie)

Recently I decided to do a re-listen to the entire Harry Potter series.  It's been a few years since I've read or listened to any of the Harry Potter books and I'm in the mood now.  This is my 3rd time listening to the series on audio and my 5th time in reading them.  I love Jim Dale's narration.  He is the quintessential narrator for  the Harry Potter books, in my opinion, and he does an excellent job with the voices and manners of each character.  I could listen to him read the phone book.

Anyway, I was struck by a few things this time.  Why do the professor guard the stone with spells that 3 first years (or at least Hermoine) could do?  They are capable of more complicated magic as we see later.  Is Dumbledore setting up Harry to challenge Voldemort now so that he will be strong for later?  I'm sure the answer is somewhere.

Hogwarts: Harry Potter

I also watched the movie for the first time in a long time.  Wow, those kids look so small and young.  This was such a fun and magical movie but the acting by the children leaves something to be desired.  There is a vast improvement from this one to the latest ones, for sure, especially on Radcliffe's part.  But it is a great movie and does a great job of adapting from the book, conveying the right tone for it.

Read the Book/See the Movie

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1)

Todd can hear every thought of every man in his town.  They all can.  All the males broadcast their thoughts and feelings to everyone all the time so that it all becomes Noise.  But as Todd approaches manhood, the dark secret of his town begins to make its way towards him.
"You know what my father always says, Todd Hewitt?" he leers up at me.   "He says a knife is only as good as the one who wields it."  p.258
This was definitely an adventure book as well as a dystopian with some science fiction and war added in.  It was a sad book and sometimes a funny book.  It was a long book and I got a little tired of waiting for the secret of Prentisstown.  That dragged on a little too long and I was getting impatient.  I had half guessed it before it was told, but the other half was surprising.  I liked Todd.  He was such a boy and so very confused and nice and he tried so hard.  And I liked Viola.  She was very cool and smart.  I liked how they stood up for each other. The villains were definitely designed to get me angry and I can't understand their motives except they are insane.

The ending was such a crazy cliffhanger.  That usually makes me angry, but this one had me ordering the next book from the library.  I have to find out what happens next.  I have an idea of where the series is going so I can't wait to see if I'm right.

(highlight) SPOILER* I cried so much when Manchee the dog died.  That was so sad with his Todd?  Aw.  Break my heart.  And when Viola kills Aaron.  That was sad too.  There was so much sadness in this book
And how about Prentisstown men killing all the women. What a stupid thing to do. I guess it was out of spite and jealousy and fear, but it doesn't excuse them. No wonder they were exiled from the rest of the world. I really wonder now about the ending with Mayor Prentiss. I hope (I'm sure) Viola is alright.
. *

Hogwarts: Defence Against the Dark Arts
Another Chance

Monday, May 24, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 5/24

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Birthmarked (O'Brien), A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend (Horner), and The Clue in the Old Album (Keene). I'm still listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Rowling).

Since last week I've read A Golden Web (Quick), Mystery of the Tolling Bell (Keene) and finished (finally) The Knife of Never Letting Go (Ness).

Other reviews posted:
Everlasting (Frazier)
Tin Man (2008 mini-series)

Won from Goodreads
The Prophecy (The Watchers Chronicles) - Dawn Miller
(I'm very intrigued by this one.)
This intense, emotionally charged supernatural thriller is set in the dark city streets of St. Louis, where five teenagers are reunited by a reoccurring nightmare from their childhood. They soon learn that what was meant to destroy them would be the catalyst that drives them to embark on an epic journey of good versus evil—a journey that will open their eyes and hearts to the true power of God and the reality of evil determined to blind the world from that truth.

 From Traveling ARC Tours
Birthmarked - Caragh M. O'Brien
(This sounds so great!)
After climate change, on the north shore of Unlake Superior, a dystopian world is divided between those who live inside the wall, and those, like sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone, who live outside. It’s Gaia’s job to “advance” a quota of infants from poverty into the walled Enclave, until the night one agonized mother objects, and Gaia’s parents are arrested.

Badly scarred since childhood, Gaia is a strong, resourceful loner who begins to question her society. As Gaia’s efforts to save her parents take her within the wall, she herself is arrested and imprisoned.

Fraught with difficult moral choices and rich with intricate layers of codes, BIRTHMARKED explores a colorful, cruel, eerily familiar world where one girl can make all the difference, and a real hero makes her own moral code.

A Love Story: Starring My Dead Best Friend - Emily Horner
 (I have high hopes for this one.)
For months, Cass Meyer has heard her best friend Julia, a wannabe Broadway composer, whispering about a top-secret project. Then Julia is killed in a sudden car accident, and while Cass is still reeling from her death, Julia’s boyfriend and her other drama friends make it their mission to bring to fruition the nearly-completed secret project: a musical about an orphaned ninja princess entitled Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad.

Cass isn’t one of the drama people. She doesn’t feel at home with Julia’s drama friends, and she doesn’t see a place for her in the play. Things only get worse when she finds out that Heather Galloway, the girl who made her miserable all through middle school, has been cast as the ninja princess.

Cass can’t take a summer of swallowing her pride and painting sets, so she decides to follow her original plan for a cross-country road trip with Julia. Even if she has a touring bicycle instead of a driver’s license, and even if Julia’s ashes are coming along in Tupperware.

Totally Sweet Ninja Death Squad is a story about friendship. About love. About traveling a thousand miles just to find yourself. About making peace with the past, and making sense of it. And it’s a story about the bloodiest high school musical one quiet suburb has ever seen. 

Eight Days of Luke - Diana Wynne Jones
(I love Wynne Jones so I'm hoping to love this one too)

"Just kindle a flame and I'll be with you."

It's summer vacation, but David's miserably stuck with his unpleasant relatives. Then a strange boy named Luke turns up, charming and fun, joking that David has released him from a prison. Or is he joking? He certainly seems to have strange powers, and control over fire...
Luke has family problems of his own, and some very dark secrets. And when David agrees to a bargain with the mysterious Mr. Wedding, he finds himself in a dangerous hunt for a lost treasure, one that will determine Luke's fate!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 23

Mystery of the Tolling Bell (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #23)(e-book)
Nancy's young life had been crammed with adventure.  Daughter of an eminent criminal lawyer, she was unusually sensible, clever, and talented.  p. 7/8
Nancy is asked by her father to help with a client who has been swindled out of most of her money.  But there is another mystery afoot involving a mysterious cave, a tolling bell that signals danger to any boats in the cave, and the appearanace of a ghost!  Nancy has a crazy adventure as she uncovers a perfume crime syndicate (I know) and solves the mystery of the tolling bell.

So Ned's excuse for being near Nancy in this one is that he is selling insurance to a couple of his friend's parents.  Why doesn't this kid have a normal college job?  I'm mean selling insurance is pretty lame for a kid in college.  Oh and George trips and nearly kills herself like 5 times in this book.  Good thing Nancy is brave and strong and caring or George and Bess would be up a creek.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tin Man (mini-series)

Since I read the Wizard of Oz I found this mini-series from 2007 that tied in with it.  It is a alternate retelling of that book mixed with a few elements from the movie.  DG is a waitress living on a farm with her parents when she is whisked away one night during a tornado.  She winds up in the O.Z. (Outer Zone) where she meets Glich, a man with half a brain (Scarecrow), Raw, a lion-like telepath (Lion), and Cain, who was imprisoned in a literal tin man, and is now looking for the man who put him there (Tin Man).  Together they work their way around the O.Z. with DG trying to find her way home and finding a lot more about herself than she knew existed.

This was a darker, more cynical re-imagining.  The characters are heavily flawed and can be downright scary at times.  Zooey Deschanel plays GD and I like her in general.  She has this deadpan way of speaking and she is so pretty.  Alan Cumming plays Glich in a wonderful performance.  The only one that seemed a little over the top was Kathleen Robinson who plays Azkadellia, the evil sorceress.  Or maybe that was just her costumes because some of them bothered me.

But it was good movie, if a little uneven, especially in the visuals department.  Sometimes they had beautiful effects and the other times the special effects were meh.  The story was very cool and I like the whole idea of it.  If you are a Wizard fan or a fan of sci-fi, I would check it out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Golden Web

Here is the story of Alessandra Giliani, a curious and smart girl living in fourteenth century Italy.  She loves to learn and is the smartest child of her household.  Unfortunately, her stepmother does not like her.  So she is locked away until she is ready to get married.  But Alessandra will not submit to this and devises a plan to go away to the university, defying society's expectations.
The cold stone of the floor seemed to grow warmer and softer beneath her knees.  And in the candlelight, after many Ave Marias, she saw a golden web cast itself like a veil over the face of the Virgin.  p.85 ARC
A Golden Web is based on a real girl who became an anatomist and a female prosector.  So it was interesting to see the few known facts about this woman turned into a book.  Alesandra was a very strong willed and kind girl and she wanted to learn but was held back because she was only a girl and her two choices were to get married or become a nun.  But she found a way around that.

I'm not one for historical fiction in general, but I liked this little book.  It did read in places like a history book, but I learned about book- making and a little about how medicine and the body was thought to work back then.  I wasn't too keen on the ending.  It seemed rushed.  But I guess it is just following along with history.

publish date April 6, 2010 Harper Teen
ARC from Traveling ARC Tours  

Hogwarts: Ancient Runes

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


It's 1855 and Camille is set to marry a man despite not loving him.  She desperately wants to continue to sail aboard her father's ships and not be tied down to land.  But on her last voyage with her father, tragedy strikes and Camille finds herself on a quest to discover the mystery of a map and an ancient stone.
Camille clicked the latches down on her trunk and glanced out her bedroom window. White haze chocked the small seaport, and the fog bells sounding across the bay echoed in her chest. Fitting weather to mark the death of her freedom." p.1 ARC
I think it says something that I finished this book and wondered immediately if there was going to be a sequel and why I didn't have it.  Then I remembered I was reading an ARC and so this book hadn't been published yet.  So yeah.  I will say that it doesn't have to have a sequel, but one would be awesome.  I liked it when a book will wrap up its storyline but still allow for more.

It also says something (maybe?) that my notes for this book read "Pirates (of the Caribbean)" + "Indiana Jones" + "romance" which doesn't make sense because there is romance in those two movie series, but it is not the point of them.  Just like it is not really the point of this book, but is still really nice.  But that leads into my next note on the title and cover for Everlasting.  The cover is really pretty.  I love the colors, etc.  But neither the title nor the cover really convey what this book is about.  It looks like some lame romance in a boat or whatever, but it's much more of a historical/adventure full of mystical objects and curses and ships and watery graves.  Don't be fooled.  This isn't some namby-pamby YA romance, this is a real adventure story that happens to have some romance in it.

release: June 1, 2010 Scholastic 
ARC from Traveling ARC Tours

Hogwarts: History of Magic

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 5/17

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week and anything of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm getting a whole lot of ARCS from Traveling ARC Tours this week, starting with A Golden Web (Quick). I'm going to try to finish up The Knife of Never Letting Go (Ness) too and The Mystery of the Tolling Bell (Keene).

Last week I read Everlasting (Frazier).  I didn't post any reviews at all.  Anyway, I started two audio books before I decided what I really wanted to do was listen to the Harry Potter audios again (for the third time) so that is what I am doing.  I'm on Sorcerer's Stone right now (obviously).

Books in the mail:

A Golden Web (ARC)- Barbara Quick
Alessandra is desperate to escape—from her stepmother, who’s locked her away for a year; from the cloister that awaits her if she refuses the marriage plans that have been made for her; from the expectations that limit her and every other girl in fourteenth-century Italy. There’s no tolerance in her village for her keen intelligence and her unconventional ideas.
In defiant pursuit of her dreams, Alessandra undertakes an audacious quest, her bravery equaled only by the dangers she faces. Disguised and alone in a city of spies and scholars, Alessandra will find a love she could not foresee—and an enduring fame.

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.

Numbers (audio) - Rachel Ward, read by Sarah Coomes
 Whenever Jem meets someone new, no matter who, as soon as she looks into their eyes, a number pops into her head. That number is a date: the date they will die.

Burdened with such an awful awareness, Jem avoids relationships. Until she meets Spider, another outsider, and takes a chance. But while they’re waiting to ride the Eye Ferris
wheel, Jem notices that all the other tourists in line flash the same number. Today’s number. Today’s date. Terrorists are going to attack London. Jem’s world is about to explode!

The Girl with the Mermaid Hair (audio) - Delia Ephron, read by Sarah Drew
Sukie Jamieson is obsessed with her appearance. She checks her reflection in windows, spoons, car chrome—anything available. So when her mother gives her a full-length mirror that once belonged to her grandmother, Sukie is thrilled. So thrilled that she doesn’t listen to her mother’s warning: "This mirror will be your best friend and worst enemy.” Because mirrors, as Sukie discovers, show not only the faraway truth but the truth close up. And finding out that close-up truth changes people. Often forever.

This World We Live In - Susan Beth Pfeffer

The heart-wrenching companion to the bestselling novels Life As We Knew It and The Dead & The Gone.
It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. Miranda and her two brothers spend their days scavenging for food and household items, while their mother stays at home and desperately tries to hold on to the ordinary activities of their previous life. But they all know that nothing is truly normal in this surreal new world they live in.
The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A little something

There's not going to much here this week.  This actually might be it.  There's no real reason.  I've got stuff to read and I'm trying to read it, but I don't feel like speeding through.  I also can't settle on an audio book right now.  I want to listen to Oryx and Crake, but I'm a little daunted after the epic books I just finished.  Anyway...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

YA Book Bloggers Debut Book Battle - Round 1 Bracket 12

I was a first round judge in the YA Book Bloggers Debut Book Battle from the Shady Glade.  The two books up for judging by me and my partner Diana from Stop, Drop, and Read! were Eyes Like Stars and The Demon's Lexicon.  I have to say that I liked both, but the winner was ...

Eyes Like Stars!

While I loved the plot and the writing of The Demon's Lexicon and thought it was a great book, I gave it to Eyes Like Stars for having a very original concept and such distinct characters.  It is a slower reading book then Lexicon, but it is a very absorbing book. 

Monday, May 10, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 5/10

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week and anything of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
I have been doing Teaser Tuesdays for quite a while now, but I've started posting quotes from where I am in the books I'm currently reading on my tumblr daily so that is sort of taking the place of the Tuesday posts.  What I'm trying to say is that I won't have post everyday like I have been doing because I'm staying a way from most memes for a while.  I might go back to TT.  I don't know right now.

This week I'm reading Everlasting (Frazier) and The Knife of Never Letting Go (Ness).  I'm listening to Heroes of the Valley (Stroud).

Since last week I finished This Lullaby (Dessen) and The Clue in the Crumbling Wall (Keene).
On audio, I finished The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children (McGowan) and Lord Sunday (Nix).

Other reviews posted:
The Year of the Flood (Atwood) (audio)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Baum)
Wicked (Maguire) (audio)
The Wizard of Oz (movie)
The Secret in the Old Attic (Keene)

Books in the mail:

Won from GLBT Challenge
My Invented Life - Lauren Bjorkman
With Roz and Eva everything becomes a contest—who can snag the best role in the school play, have the cutest boyfriend, pull off the craziest prank. Still, they’re as close as sisters can be. Until Eva deletes Roz from her life like so much junk e-mail for no reason that Roz understands. Now Eva hangs out with the annoyingly petite cheerleaders, and Roz fantasizes about slipping bovine growth hormone into their Gatorade.

Roz has a suspicion about Eva. In turn, Eva taunts Roz with a dare, which leads to an act of total insanity. Drama geeks clamor for attention, Shakespearean insults fly, and Roz steals the show in Lauren Bjorkman’s hilarious debut novel.

ARC from Traveling ARC Tours
Everlasting - Angie Frazier
Sailing aboard her father’s trade ship is all seventeen-year-old Camille Rowen has ever wanted. But as a girl of society in 1855 San Francisco, her future is set: marry a man she doesn’t love, or condemn herself and her father to poverty.

On her final voyage before the wedding, the stormy arms of the Tasman Sea claim her father, and a terrible family secret is revealed. A secret intertwined with a fabled map, the mother Camille has long believed dead, and an ancient stone that wields a dangerous—and alluring—magic.

The only person Camille can depend on is Oscar, a handsome young sailor whom she is undeniably drawn to. Torn between trusting her instincts and keeping her promises to her father, Camille embarks on a perilous quest into the Australian wilderness to find the enchanted stone. As she and Oscar elude murderous bushrangers and unravel Camille’s father’s lies, they come closer to making the ultimate decision of who—and what—matters most. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

Mothers Day Myspace IconsHappy Mother's Day!!  I hope it is a good one.
My husband, the little boy and I are spending the day with my mom and dad and my mother-in-law and sister-in-law and her finance.

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 21, 22

The Secret of the Old Attic (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #21) (e-book)
 "Oh, I hope my plan works!"   She sighed.  "I can accomplish two missions if all goes well."  p. 51 e-book
Nancy is asked to solve the mystery of some missing music.  Mr. March needs money to take care of his orphaned granddaughter and Nancy can never resisted a mystery with children and/or orphans.  At the same time, she is asked by her dad to help solve a mystery of corporate intrigue.  It seems a top secret formula for making synthetic fabric has been stolen.  It's up to the young sleuth to solve them both and help the Marches out of financial ruin.  I think she's up to the task.

The Clue in the Crumbling Wall(Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #22)
"Oh, Nancy!" Mrs. Gruen sighed.  "Your love of mystery will prove your undoing!  You must be more careful."  p.85
Was Hannah ever married?  I mean, she took care of that one girl before she took care of Nancy and she doesn't seem to be ancient.  Around late 50's, early 60's, maybe?  Maybe she married young and her husband died in some war.  Anyway...
Another case with children!  This time involving an 8 year old juvenile delinquent.  I didn't know such people existed in River Heights.  Nancy is asked to find a famous dancer who disappeared several years ago.  The lady will herit a castle if she is found, but Nancy only has 3 weeks to find her!  There is also a clue from the previous owner of the castle indicting a great treasure so Nancy is determined to find that too. 
I swear Bess and George only exist to make Nancy look good.  George gets lost, but Nancy finds her way surely.  Bess is scared but Nancy is fearless.  At least George is willing to go along with things.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children (audio)

Sol and Connie move to a new town with their father and stepmother and meet the old lady down the street whose dog is playing with a very strange bone.  When Sol identifies it as a human bone, it leads the siblings down a very strange path.

This was a very cute, fun book.  It's an updated reimagining of the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale.  Sol is very clever although lacking in confident after a failed science project and Connie is a typical little sister, although not unsympathetic to Sol.  They are stuck with their dim father and his new wife in a new home.  And when Sol discovers the bone of the neighbor's dog, they follow a path that readers will recognize from the Hansel and Gretel story.  I really liked it.  It only took a couple of hours to listen to and it was so much fun.  I would recommend it to kids or anyone who likes children's book and fairy tales.

Friday, May 7, 2010

This Lullaby (e-book)

Remy doesn't believe in love after watching her mother marry five different times.  She has rules about how relationships should go and in what order.  Now she is getting ready to leave for college and she doesn't want to have any attachments before she goes.  That is until she meets clumsy, adorable Dexter and she wonders if she might have been wrong all along.
I had no illusions about love anymore.  It came, it went, it left causalities or it didn't.  People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say.  p.48 e-book
I feel really bad.  I liked This Lullaby, but I didn't love it.  It was okay.  It was good, not great; it was sweet, but not affecting.  I think I'm too old for this book.  I don't say that a lot about YA, but I think I would have loved this book when I was 16.  It was a sweet book, very predictable.  There was nothing surprising about it for me.   I wish that it had expounded more on some of Remy's real issues like what happened to her at that party and the fact that her mother never really explained her father to her.  I think it was missing a few key plotlines.  For me, it was like listening to a teen conversation and wanting to say "No. No.  This is how it works,"  but you can't because they have to find out for themselves.  There was a distinct lack of adults in Remy's world to help her which is the source of her problems.

But like I said, I liked it, but I didn't love it.  16 years ago though, I would have thought it was brilliant.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies
What's in a Name

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Year of the Flood (audio)

Told in alternating voices, The Year of the Flood is the story of Wren, Toby, and the Gardeners before and after the "waterless flood" strikes down most of humanity.  We learn how they survived lived their lives and how they survived.  A sequel/companion to Oryx and Crake, we learn the backstory for some side characters and what happens after the flood.

I didn't read Oryx and Crake first.  I meant to, then didn't, then got The Year of the Flood not realizing it was the second one.  I don't think it matters.  This book fills in information not given in the Oryx and Crake and gives a different perspective of the end of humanity as we know it.  I don't know if it would have made a difference or not.  I am intensely curious though about it and it's next on my list of audio books.

I am extremely impressed with Flood.  The individual stories of Wren and Toby are so intriguing and I became deeply invested in their stories.  The story of their lives with the Gardeners, an eco-vegetarian group, and then how they each survived the flood was brought out at just the right measure.  Both women were sympathetic characters who each survive some disturbing things.  The world they live in has desexualized sex and sex is sold as if it were nothing along with drugs and other commodities.  They are the corps who control all the goods and services and the privileged people who work for them and live in their compounds.  And then there is everyone else who live in the pleeblands, the commoners.  It doesn't really get into how the virus that kills off most of the people is made (I think that is mostly in Oryx), but it tells how some people survived.

The audio was narrated by three people, Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol, Mark Bramhall, and they did an excellent job providing voices to Wren, Toby, and Adam One.  I really like their voices and how they were so solemn.  There was even recorded versions of the hymns they sing in the book so that was neat.  It was a very well done audio version of an excellent book.

Hogwarts: Defence

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (e-book)/Wicked (audio)/The Wizard of Oz (movie)

Amazingly enough this was the first time ever reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  I don't know why.    I found it to be a very sweet, simple story although with more parts than the 1939 movie.  Dorothy lands on the Wicked Witch of the East and collects the Silver Shoes (not ruby) and is off to see the Wizard of Oz.  She meets her iconic friends, The Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Lion along the way.  They see the Wizard who tells them to kill the Witch of the West, Dorothy accidentally melts her (although she throws the water because she is mad) and then they all go back to the Emerald City.  The three companions get what they already had (their wishes) and Dorothy gets to go home with the aid of the shoes.  It's a classic story that I know I would have liked when I was little.  The characters are very simple, Dorothy is about 10, I think, and it has some good adventures.

Hogwarts: History of Magic
Another Chance

Wicked is the story of Elphaba, the girl with the green skin and how she became the Wicked Witched of the West.  From her birth in Muchinland to her childhood in Qualding country, her education at Shiz University and her rebellion against the Wizard and finally her exile to Winkie country, here is the story of the Wicked Witch of hte West.

I've read Wicked before, a long time ago.  I remember it being very tedious in the beginning and good after Elphaba gets to Shiz University and meets Glinda.  My memory was right for the most part.  I decided to listen to Wicked this time around instead of reading it.  The thing about audio books is that they are not forgiving of tediousness.  And I forgot how many philosophical questions are apart of Wicked.  And how Gregory Maguire will use 50 words when 5 would do.  So frankly what I probably skimmed over when I read it, I was almost forced to blunder though in the audio.

But it really is a good book.  I like Elphaba's story even if she, herself, is a hard character to like and I feel sympathy for her.  Glinda is what you would expect and the entire thing is a surprise and a very grown-up take on the old childrens classic.  It is full of conspiracy and adultery and death, of political intrigue and oppression and dictators.  My big problems is that I'm always waiting for Dorothy.  But she is such a small part of this story, almost not worth mentioning except for that bucket of water.  But I would read it instead of listen to it.  It's not the narrator's fault.  He does a fine job.  This just does not lend itself to the audio format very well, in my opinion.

As far as how it relates to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the events work out closer to the book, with her sending out her familiars, but for different reasons in each book.  There are also a lot of story elements borrowed from the musical too.  The Witch doesn't enter the story until close to the end.  I listened to Wicked before I read Wizard of Oz and kept picturing what I heard in Wicked as I read Wizard.  It's worth it to have both books on hand to do a comparison reading.  It is very interesting how Maguire took a simple children's book and created something as deep as Wicked.

Hogwarts: Charms
Another Chance

I decided to round this all by re-watching the 1939 musical with Judy Garland.  I haven't seen this movie in so long.  I remember when it would be an event when TBS would play it and we would make cookies to watch it.  Good times.

The music is so great with almost every song being a classic.  "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" is one of my favorites.  Did you know that Shirley Temple was originally offered the role of Dorothy but her studio wouldn't let her go so it went to Judy Garland?  How different this movie would have been.  Temple was actually closer to Dorothy's age, but she wasn't the singer that Garland was. 

It is still a beautiful movie.  Everything is so brightly colored and amazing.  The story is changed from the book to be Dorothy's dream instead of really happened like in the book.  So there is a long introduction before the tornado, all done in sepia.  The Witch is in the story more instead of only appearing at the end and the events of the book are condensed.  Still it follows along with the book fairly well and is a good adaption of it.  Of course, I might be a little biased.

 Read the Book, See the Movie