Sunday, January 31, 2010

January Wrap-Up

 Books read:

Up All Night (various authors)
Envy: A Luxe Novel (Godbersen)
Nothing Pink (Hardy)
Plum Lovin' (Evanovich)

Nancy Drew read:

Audio books finished: 

Betsy-Tacy (Lovelace)
The Great Brain (Fitzgerald)
Twelve Sharp(Evanovich)

Based on a Book Movie Reviews:

Challenges joined: 

Challenge status:
Take a Another Challenge (status: 1.5/12 tasks)
Twentyten Challenge (status: 3/20)

I enjoyed all the books I read and listened to this month, but I'd say my favorite book was Very LeFreak and my favorite audio was The Westing Game.  I hope everyone had a great month.

Angus, Thongs, and Perfect Snogging (Based on a Book)

Based on the Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison, specifically Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging and It's OK, I'm Wearing Really Big Knickers (On the Bright Side, I'm Now the Girlfriend of a Sex God in the U.S., this was an adorable movie.  The girl who plays Georgia (Georgia Groome) is so dead-on and Jaz (Eleanor Tomlinson) is really great too though with no fringe and very skinny, not quite how I pictured her.  But anyway, everyone does a fantastic job.

Georgia is planning her fifteen birthday party with her friends, the Ace Gang.  They are very silly girls who like to randomly dance and have the most awesome slang.  Georgia and Jaz are both taken with the new twins, Robbie and Tom, and set out to get their attention.  Robbie starts dating Georgia's rival, but seems to take an interest in Georgia as well.  So she resorts to trickery to make Robbie jealous and like her, but then it backfires and Georgia must try to fix it.

ATPS (for short) is co-written and directed by Gurinder Chadha. who did Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice, two of my favorite movies.  And she does an excellent job with this movie.  It does a great job of tying the two books together and the plot and characters changes are minor, Robbie and Tom are twins instead of just brother, for example.  But the story stays intact.  The only thing was the ending, which was great, but since I've read all the books I really wanted to see a little of that.  But the ending of the movie is similar to the end of the books so I can't really say anything bad about it.  This is definitely going to be one of my go to movies when I need a pick me up.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lean Mean Thirteen: A Stephanie Plum Novel (audio)

Stephanie is up to her eyeballs in men.  First, her stupid ex-husband is missing, leaving Stephanie a suspect in his possible disappearance/maybe murder.  Now Morelli has gone MIA for work reasons and Ranger is babysitting her since, once again, someone is out for her.  She seriously cannot win.  At this point, the plot is fairly familiar.  Stephanie can't catch an FTA for her life, Ranger and Morelli are dead sexy and she is confused, and someone is trying to kill her.  I honestly would have considered stopping at this book if these books weren't so darned funny.  Stephanie gets in these crazy situations and ALWAYS manages to get kidnapped, but by the grace of God, gets out of it.  And she has a new car every time.  I don't know how much longer the series is going on, but it is still very funny so I'll still keep reding.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Does My Head Look Big in This?

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full- time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.
Putting on the hijab isn't the end of the journey.  It's just the beginning of it.  p.333
This was a great exploration of one girl choosing to show her beliefs to the world and the consequences that come with those big decisions.  Amal is cool and cocky and definitely 16.  She has a typical relationship with her parents and has some great friendships at school.  She attends a prep school in Australia so when she first decides to wear the hijab she doesn't know how it will go over there.  But she works through that obstacle and a few others.

The novel is in first person and that sometimes threw the tone off for me.  Some books I don't notice it, but I was always aware of it for this book.  It made some of the conversations stilted for me.  But it was nice to be in Amal's head and see how she viewed others.  Sometimes she was paranoid that strangers were judging her and sometimes she was right and sometimes not.  There were many interesting parallels drawn to her situation and that of her overweight friend and to the Greek next door neighbor and to her Japanese friend and to some of her extended family who pretend not to be Muslim.  There was a great message of tolerance and remaining true to your beliefs and yourself.  And I learned a little about Islam and a lot about what the hijab means.

cross posted with Annie, I think

ETA: corrected

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Unofficial A-Z Challenge

I'm going to do an unofficial A-Z Challenge, just for myself and I'm not joining any of the "official" ones.  I already keep a list of books I've read and reviewed so my goal is to have at least one title in for each letter.  That's it.  But if I don't then no worries because this is just a relaxed thing for my own fun.

1st Blogoversary!

A year ago I impulsively decided to start a book blog to keep track of my reading and maybe do a few reviews here and there.  And then I discovered that there was a whole world of book bloggers and reading challenges and my blog took off from there.  It actually started off titled Joie de Livres (Joy of Books) as homage to my Louisiana roots, but I decided I needed something cuter (I like cute).   So after vast amounts of time and enegery and lots and lots of reading, the Little Bookworm is as you see it today.  It's been a superfun year and I've have a good time making friends with so many awesomely cool book bloggers.  So thanks for that and I'm looking forward to another great year!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature (audio)

Mena is having a hard time lately.  Ostracized by her church for telling on the youth group, she is also blamed for the lawsuits against all their parents and the church.  See Mena's youth group did something that wasn't very nice and when Mena apologized to the victim, all hell broke loose.  Adding to this is her new science teacher who wants to teach evolution against the objections of that church and her geeky cute science lab partner.  Mena has to learn how to stand up for herself and why it is ok to stand up for others.

This was my pick for the World Religion Challenge for two reasons.  One, it shows the bad side of Christianity.  The judgmental "Christians" who give the rest a bad name.  Mena's formers friends are the mean girls of the church, meaning they are very popular but also very bitchy.  And no one calls them on it because it is all in the name of doing God's work, so they say.  And pardon me for saying so but this are the kinds of Christians that I can't stand.  Holier than thou and meaner than hell, the good Christians who go to church regularly and spout the Scripture but treat others with contempt and disrespect.  And that is how the church kids in her class treat Mena.  All because she wanted to put a stop to contemptible behavior.  But she takes the pushing and verbal abuse like she deserves it and doesn't realize at the beginning that she can tell them to stop.  She is so worried about what they think of her.  She reminded me of a Meg Cabot character at times.  When she starts obsessing about a boy and thinking she is not good enough for him and worrying about her friends and her parents,  Mena grated a bit.

But it's the second reason that I choose this book that is why I really liked it.  Mena's journey to reconcile evolution with the Bible and the way she was brought up so extremely interesting.  She doesn't want to sacrifice her beliefs for science, but she knows that science is right.  So she goes about figuring out how she can believe in both.  She also learns about self-respect and integrity and standing up for what you believe in. That was where this book really interested me.  I was annoyed at times when she went on and on about the boy, but I recognize that this is a YA novel so there is bound to me some of that.  But I was glad that it went deeper.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Very LeFreak (ebook)

Very is just so very.  She is very free, very fun, very irresponsible, very addicted.  She is addicted to all her technological gadgets, but she can't see the danger in allowing herself to become wrapped up in an online world while shutting down any real connections in real life.  After an altercation with one of her so-called friends, Very is sent to technology rehab.  But can Very stop being Very LeFreak and become just Veronica?
Who could sleep when a heart longed so badly and only ABBA understood? p.13 (ish on ebook)
There is a little bit of irony, I think, in reading Very LeFreak on an e-reader.  I realized it when I downloaded it and started reading it.  But anyway, I'm a big fan of Rachel Cohn and so I just had to read her new book.  I liked it a lot.  Like Gingerbread and the like, Cohn doesn't shy away from gritty details so Very LeFreak has a lot of sexual details, nothing pornographic or anything though.  But these details are important as they reflect how Very feels about herself and why she behaves the way she does.  I have had friends similar to Very; ones who want to be protected, want to be the fun ones, and who self-destruct so very fast.  So I identified a lot with her friends and I felt like I knew who Very really was.  I've heard her story before in other different ways.  And sometimes they turn out happy and sometimes not.  Very lives on the surface so she doesn't have to see what is underneath.  But I was pleased by her transition through the book.

I truly believe that there is such a thing as a technology addict.  I've borderlined on it myself until I realized what I was doing.  Compulsively checking Twitter or Facebook or my e-mail,  I've done that before.  But I have things in my life that are worth looking up from a computer screen for and so did Very though she didn't realize it at the time.  And I can believe in her breakdown because what her friend did so intrusive and wrong. I also believed in her rehabilitation.  It was good to have a young adult book about a girl not be so much about a relationship, but about the girl herself.

And for the people who said they would be bothered by her name being Very, you get use to it and it makes sense for the character.

*highlight for spoiler*
I was glad that she got together with Lavinia(Jennifer).  I was afraid that Brian, the boy she sleeps with at the beginning, would turn out to be who she ends up with and after he invaded her privacy like that, I would have been disgusted.  But the relationship between the girls seemed very organic and so surprising while not being shocking since there were a lot of hints thrown around.
*end spoiler*

Monday, January 25, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 1/25

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 reading Does My Head Look Big in This? (Abdel-Fattah), And Another Thing (Colfer) and The Hollow (Verday) and I'm listening to Lean Mean Thirteen (Evanovich), The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Keene) and Harriett the Spy (Fitzhugh).

Since last week I've finished Very LeFreak (Cohn) and The Bungalow Mystery (Keene).

Reviews posted:
Nothing Pink (Hardy)
Twelve Sharp (Evanovich)
Plum Lovin' (Evanovich)
Planet Pregnancy (High)
The Secret of the Old Clock, The Hidden Staircase, The Bungalow Mystery (Keene)

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.
 I need to stop with the checking out for now.  But I only have a few more on my holds list so it's seems I can't/won't.  Ah me.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew #1, #2, #3

I don't know if this will be a regular feature or anything, but I have a lot of Nancy Drew books to read so I'm going to doing the reviews on Sundays when I have some.
Originally written in 1930 when the first Nancy Drew book appeared, Nancy has stood the test of time.  But believe it or not, she's been updated.  The original Nancy Drew books had a language that reflected their times and were racially and culturally very un-PC.  So beginning in 1959, the Stratemeyer Syndicate began updating them resulting in the yellow hardcovers that are so familiar to everyone today. The Nancy Drew Challenge is to read all 56 of the yellow books.

The Secret of the Old Clock (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories 1)
"Not many girls would have used their wits the way you did," the officer observed. p. 140 
Nancy's first case!  Although I get the impression that she's done other minor detective work before this given some of the comments her dad makes.  Anyway, one day Nancy is driving and she see a little girl run out into the road and fall down a hill.  Long story short (too late) Nancy can't help but get involved with a case about an old man who promised some people money in his will and then didn't follow through.  Nancy thinks that this must be a mistake!  And sets out to find a newer will so that her friends won't be poor and can afford stuff (but good stuff, like education and a trip, etc.).
I could go on about the influence of Nancy Drew and her history.  I've done a lot of research, but let me just say that growing up I read almost every Nancy Drew book there was or at least it seemed so.  I went through a phase where I did research and read anything I could find about the history of Nancy Drew and why she was important to pop culture and young girls.  So I have a lot of love for her.  But I will admit that these books are fairly standard by today's standards and the writing can leave much to be desired as they were eventually churned out by a bunch of ghostwriters (though they never get as bad as say The Babysitter's Club series or any of the Sweet Valley books).  I will also admit to Nancy being a busybody and a goody-goody.  She just can't help herself, almost literally.  So, of course, with a case involving poor people, old people, little girls, Nancy only wants to help them with no thought for herself.  I find it interesting that one of her original motives from the 1930 book was the sanctification of giving the Topham girls comeuppance a little interesting.  Because any impure motives are removed in this revision.
Anyway, Nancy goes to great lengths and a little danger to find the new will of Josiah Crowley and help those in need.  The End.

The Hidden Staircase (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories 2)
Nancy dashed from the table to find out. p.54
Nancy is asked by her friend Helen Corning to investigate some mysterious goings on at her aunts' house.  Between the ghostly hauntings and the disappearance of Nancy's father, she certainly has her hands full with this mystery.  But Nancy handles with her usual style and poise.

The Bungalow Mystery (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories 3)
Chuckling to herself, Nancy said aloud, "Romance and detective work won't mix tonight!"
Nancy Drew and her friend Helen are out sailing on a lake when a storm comes up.  Luckily they are rescued by a girl who, of course, has a mystery.  Her mother has died and she is going to live with her new guardians who she has never meet.  But the guardians seem untrustworthy and only interested in the girl's jewels.  Plus Nancy is asked by her father to help investigate a bank robbery!  How will Nancy solve these mysteries?  Like she always does, with courage, determination and more than a little sleuthing.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Planet Pregnancy

Told in verse, Planet Pregnancy is the story of a teenage girl who finds out she is pregnant and doesn't know what to do.  At first she tells lies and tries to gloss over it, but finally begins to accept it.

I don't usually read books written in verse, not because I have anything against them, but because I just don't.  But the cover of this book caught my eye and as I began to read, I had to read more.  It didn't take long as it is all short verse, but it was amazing.  Some of the passages I loved so much.  They express so much of what I felt when I was pregnant and when I had my son.  It brought tears to my eyes in places.  And even though Sahara can be very selfish and much too self aware, she grows as a person as her baby grows inside of her.

"My baby swims
in the Sea of Me, 
safe from tsunami waves.
I don't want it to come out.
It's too dangerous 
out here."

And on pg. 190 is my favorite, but it's too long to type.  But it is just perfect.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Plum Lovin':A Stephanie Plum Between the Numbers Novel

Mysterious men have a way of showing up in Stephanie Plum's apartment. When the shadowy Diesel appears, he has a task for Stephanie -- and he's not taking no for an answer. Annie Hart is a "relationship expert" who is wanted for armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon. Stephanie needs to find her, fast. Diesel knows where she is. So they make a deal: He'll help her get Annie if Stephanie plays matchmaker to several of Annie's most difficult clients. But someone wants to find Annie even more than Diesel and Stephanie. Someone with a nasty temper. And someone with "unmentionable" skills. Does Diesel know more that he's saying about Annie Hart? Does Diesel have secrets he's keeping from Stephanie and the two men in her life -- Ranger and Morelli? With Stephanie Plum in over her head, things are sure to get a little dicey and a little explosive, Jersey style!

I forgot the "Between the Numbers" books had a supernatural element to them.  I'm not sure what Diesel is or how Stephanie keeps getting all these hot guys.  Once again, Stephanie finds herself in an interesting situation.  Since Annie, the "cupid," is unavailable Stephanie has to fill in and do a little matchmaking.  But even when she messes up, she still manages to get things right.  Grandma Mazer and Lulu are hilarious as always and I really like Diesel, even if he is a cocky guy.   

It's a relatively short book, easily read in a couple of hours..  While it isn't necessary to read them in order with the numbered books, some of the events are referred to in the other books. 

Thursday, January 21, 2010

DelGal's A Buck A Book Reading Challenge - ABANDONED

ETA: ABANDONED I have to abandon this one.  It's sounds dumb, but I can't keep up with the $1 per book and I need to save money for other things.  Maybe next year...

I thought this was a cute idea and doesn't add to my TBR list only my piggy bank.  Hosted by DelGal's Book Reviews, this challenge wants you to pay yourself for reading. 
Here's a great way to reward yourself for reading persistence and save money at the same time. Read as many books as you'd like, there is no minimum, and there is no maximum. BUT, here's the "catch", you MUST physically take a dollar and save it somewhere safe where it won't be spent, every time you complete a book. At the end of the year, your total money saved will be the total amount of books read, ideally the more book read, the more money saved.
Now, once Dec 31 comes, you're must spend this saved money on something fun just for yourself (no paying bills, no buying gifts for someone else!), to begin the next year... Maybe more books for the new year? A nice dinner out to celebrate reading? The possibilities are endless! Finally, once this challenge completes on Dec 31st, please let your blog fans, and fellow challenge participants, know what you decided to spend your money on by posting whatever it may be. If it's $5 or if it's $100, we want to know what you rewarded yourself with for a year of hard yet enjoyable fun reading!

In short - put aside a dollar for each book you read. Post in the comment section your progress if you don't have a blog, or a link to your blog. At the end of the year update us as to what you did with your saved money. That's it!

Twelve Sharp: A Stephanie Plum Novel (audio)

Stephanie Plum's 12th adventure finds her once again in over her head.  This time Ranger's daughter has been kidnapped by a psycho who wants to be Ranger.  And he also has his eye on Stephanie.  Ranger's wife shows up looking for him much to Stephanie's shock.  And Stephanie still can't apprehend someone without it turning into a big deal.  Now she has Ranger sleeping in her bed, a psycho looking for her and she has to control Lulu and Grandma Mazer.  Things are getting crazy for Stephanie Plum.

A little background: When I was 19ish I stayed with my aunt and my cousin for a whole summer.  Sufficient to say, I didn't bring enough books, but their little town had a tiny library and randomly they had the first 3 or 4 of these.  That's all there was at the time.  The cover was cool and so was the premise so my aunt checked them out for me and I was hooked.  Later I even got my mom hooked.  But by the time this book came out, I was distracted by other things and I never got caught up so that is why I joined J.Kay's Stephanie Plum Challenge.  I'm a little sorry I didn't keep up because these books are so funny.  It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud, but Lulu and Grandma Mazer can do it every time.  They are so hilarious, both saying the most outrageous things.  And, man oh man, Ranger and Morelli are so damn sexy.  Phew.  Now that's dilemma I'd like to have.

The books are getting a little predicable though at this point.  Stephanie messes up an apprehension, there's a bigger case, Ranger/Morellis something something, Stephanie is captured but manages to win.  Stephanie is actually pretty smarter and tougher than she use to be.  I just wish she could make an apprehension without messing up so much.  But I keep reading these because they are funny and I like Stephanie a lot.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nothing Pink

Vincent knows he is gay and as hard as he prays he cannot get God to fix him.  He knows his minister father and his mother would not understand so he trys as hard as possible not to be gay.  But when his father moves to a new church Vincent meets Robert and he begins to think maybe he doesn't need to be fix after all.
It won't be hard for them to see how gay I am.  They'll know right off what my sin is. p.8
This is a very short book, only a little over 100 pages, but the message is amazing.  It is set in the 1970's and so the attitudes and language reflect that. Vincent believes that he is a sinner and is going to Hell because he is gay.  He's never even kissed another boy but he just knows.  His parents believe that homosexuality is a sin and one that cannot be forgiven and so Vincent believes it too.  His parents also ignore the signs that Vincent is gay so he tries to ignore them too.  But one day at the new church Vincent meets Robert and develops a crush on him.  And as their relationship grows Vincent begins to understand that there is nothing wrong with him. 

It was interesting to see the subject of faith and homosexuality explored.  Vincent is bought up to think one way and so cannot fanthom any other ideas about what he is.  He is afraid of what his parents will think and what God thinks and tries over and over to repent but cannot understand why God won't take the gay out of him.  Vincent's faith is a huge part of this book.  And I liked the fact that he never loses that faith even when he accepts his homosexuality is not sinful; that he never feels like God has abandoned him, that He is on his side.  In a way, Vincent's relationship with Robert is almost secondary.  But Robert is a good guy and they are so wonderful together.  It is a very sweet.  And I love the story that goes with the very pretty cover.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - Very LeFreak

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

Why had Very assumed Lavinia wouldn't care?  Or had Very know Lavinia would indeed care, but chosen to disregard that by assuming Lavinia would simply never find out about the minor indiscretion?

(e-book) Very LeFreak - Rachel Cohn

Monday, January 18, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 1/18

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.
The week I'm reading The Bungalow Mystery and probably The Mystery at Lilac Inn (Keene).  I'm also reading Very LeFreak (Cohn).  It sounds like a lot, but it takes about 2 hours to read a Nancy Drew. I'm listening to Lean Mean Thirteen (Evanovich).
Since last week I've finished Splendor (Godbersen), Nothing Pink (Hardy), The Secret of the Old Clock  and The Hidden Staircase (Keene) and Plum Lovin' (Evanovich).  On audio I finished Twelve Sharp (Evanovich).

Reviews posted:
The Westing Game (audio)
Up All Night
Envy: A Luxe Novel
Splendor: A Luxe Novel

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

Does My Head Look Big in This? - Randa Abdel-Farrah

(for the World Religion challenge)
Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah's debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.

Harriet the Spy (audio) - Louise Fitzhugh, read by Anne Bobby

Harriet is determined to become a famous author. In the meantime, she practices by following a regular spy route each day and writing down everything she sees in her secret notebook. Her life is turned upside down when her classmates find her notebook and read it aloud!

Lean Mean Thirteen (audio) - Janet Evanovich, read by Lorilei King

In her rollicking 13th Stephanie Plum adventure (after Twelve Sharp), bestseller Evanovich is in top, quirky form. Plucky, bumbling New Jersey bounty hunter Plum is reunited with her two-timing lawyer ex-husband, Dickie Orr, while doing a favor for the mysterious, sexy Ranger. But when Dickie disappears from his house leaving behind only bloodstains and bullet holes, Plum becomes the prime suspect in his alleged murder. Determined to clear her name, Plum and her on-again off-again Trenton cop boyfriend, the irresistible Joe Morelli, uncover Dickie's ties to a shady group of men involved in everything from money laundering to drug running. And when Dickie's jilted business partners decide Stephanie holds the key to the $40 million they believe Dickie stole from them, she's in for a wild ride. With the author's usual cast of eccentric side characters—everything from a taxidermist with a penchant for bombs to a grave-robbing tax man—Evanovich proves once again that Stephanie Plum and her entourage are here to stay.

Alice I have Been - Melanie 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.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Nook

Well, I got a Barnes and Noble Nook for Christmas this year. And, of course, I personalized it right away. So behold Deep Thought.

It is really cool and I love it.  So far I've only downloaded a couple of free books and I added an e-book I had bought a couple of months ago (Cleolinda's M15M Wizards) with no problem.  I'm planning on buying very carefully and starting with the free samples and if I like what I read then I will buy it.  I wish my local library would get Overdrive e-books or something and then I could check out books from them.  But anyway, it works really well, though there is a little lag time in changing pages but nothing that bothers me.  And the battery lasts a long time.

My only real problem came on Christmas day when it fell off the desk it was charging on and the metal part of the power cable broke off from the rest of the cable (which really shouldn't have happened).  And since it was over Christmas it was impossible to find someone to help me.  So when I finally got to the right department, the guy was like No problem and they had a new USB cable at my house the next day.

But anyway, now it is fine and I like reading on it a lot.  It's not like reading on a computer screen.  It actually looks papery.  So far, it's been a worthy investment.

So books that I have downloaded are:
Mysteria - Mary Janice Davidson
Suite Scarlett - Maureen Johnson (I've read it and listened to it but it was free for a limited time)
My Soul to Lose - Rachel Vincent
Mother Carey's Chickens - Kate Douglas Wiggin
A Little Princess - Frances Hodgson Burnett
Very LeFreak - Rachel Cohn

And samples I have download are:
Dani Noir - Nova Ren Suma
The Maze Runner - James Dashner (I'm pretty sure I will buy this one) 
The Wizard of Oz - Frank L. Baum
Shades of Grey - Jasper Fforde (and this one)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Splendor: A Luxe Novel

A spring turns into summer, Elizabeth relishes her new role as a young wife, while her sister, Diana, searches for adventure abroad. But when a surprising clue about their father's death comes to light, the Holland girls wonder at what cost a life of splendor comes.
Carolina Broad, society's newest darling, fans a flame from her past, oblivious to how it might burn her future. Penelope Schoonmaker is finally Manhattan royalty—but when a real prince visits the city, she covets a title that comes with a crown. Her husband, Henry, bravely went to war, only to discover that his father's rule extends well beyond New York's shores and that fighting for love may prove a losing battle.
In the dramatic conclusion to the bestselling Luxe series, New York's most dazzling socialites chase dreams, cling to promises, and tempt fate. As society watches what will become of the city's oldest families and newest fortunes, one question remains: Will its stars fade away or will they shine ever brighter?

The sun faded from the sky and the light around them grew purple and soft, and she began to feel that they might go on, just as they were, for a very long time. p. 386
I really enjoyed this entire series.  Thankfully, someone knew it was a good idea to stop at four.  If it had kept going then it would have become tedious.  But Godbersen found the perfect ending for all her characters.  And while some got the happy ending you'd expect, some got the ending they deserved and I was happy to see that.  All to often, the direction of the plot is turned in order to let everyone have a happy ending.  But that's not what happens in real life and certainly not in this book.  So I was glad for that.  I think Penelope and Henry, who have more and more reminded me of a Rhett and Scarlett, deserve each other for all the chaos they have inflicted on each other and everyone else.  I'm glad Elizabeth finally got the right man who will love her forever and that Diana had the sense to get out when she did.  And so I would say that this series was definitely worth reading and worth my time.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Envy: A Luxe Novel

The saga of Manhattan's elite at the turn of the 20th century continues.  The Holland sisters are each bereaved in their own ways, each for extremely different reasons.  Penelope Hayes is feeling triumphant as is Carolina Broud.  But each girl will have to deal with a dramatic turn in her life and, as always, society watches their every move.
She was unsteady at first, but she kept on bravely and didn't look back. p.260
This series is compared a lot to Gossip Girl and for good reason, but it reminds me, in ways, of Dangerous Liasions and the like.  There are a lot of manipulations on the part of Penelope and she is really the one who sets everything in motion.  After having blackmailed Henry into marrying her, she is desperate to keep him so she concots many plots to dispute Diana Holland, the girl Henry really loves, and make herself look better.  Really Penelope would have been better off leaving Henry alone.  Why she felt she had to marry him, I don't know.  I understood why she had to keep him though.  At that time, a divorce would have been such a scandle and Penelope traps herself into her own situation.  I was getting such a Scarlett/Rhett vibe from Penelope and Henry in this book, it was a little weird.

The Hollands were less interesting in this book especially Elizabeth.  I expected such a great showing from her especially at how Rumors ended, but she fell flat.  Although I do hope she marries Teddy somehow.  She should have married him in the first place, because the whole Will plot was stupid in the end.  And Diana was ridiculous trying to somehow keep Henry and never really getting it.  He is trapped and he will never be better than who he is (like Nate in GG).  So I'm hoping for something more interesting in Splendor, the last book.

As an aside, I did find some of the historical trivia thrown in very interesting.  For example, women had to wear stocking with the swimsuits on the beach and couldn't show any flesh.  And I love the description of all the clothes.  It seems so beautiful if stifling.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge - COMPLETE

*whistles* What? Nothing to see here.
Yes, I am seriously joining another challenge.  But this is the kind of thing I love.  Don't judge me.
Anyway, The Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge, hosted by Ready When You Are, based on a simple idea--read a book, see a movie based on the book, include both in your review. Whether yours is a book blog or a movie blog, this could be a way to add some spice to your posts, expand your outlook, have some fun. Mostly, have some fun. And there are levels! I love levels.  I'm joining at Film Festival: eight books/movies.  To be chosen from the following:

1. Harriet the Spy
2. A Little Princess
3. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
4. Password to Larkspur Lane/Nancy Drew: Detective
5. The Hidden Staircase
6. The Wizard of Oz
7. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
8. Howl's Moving Castle

COMPLETED 6/3/2010

To be chosen from the following:

1.  Harriet the Spy
2.  Auntie Mame
3.  A Little Princess
4.  Stardust
5.  Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
6.  Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
7.  The Witches
8.  A Wrinkle in Time
9.  The Neverending Story
10. The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
11. Holes
12. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz/Tin Man
13. The Last Unicorn
14. Madeline

Up All Night

Six YA authors take on the concept of an all-nighter.  What happens in the wee hours of the night into the morning?
"Phase 2" by Peter Abrahams is the story of a family who experiences a tragedy and need help to move on.
In "Not Just for Breakfast Anymore" by Libba Bray, four teenage girls have a crazy night in search of a rock band and one reveals the secrets of her new life after her parent's divorce.
"The Vulnerable Hours" by David Levithan explores the intangible feeling that sometimes comes for staying up all night and the secrets will all keep inside of us.
"Orange Alert" by Partricia McCormick tells the story of a girl who wants to learn to drive and her stepfather's increasingly uncomfortable interest in her.  But after an all night drive, she learns to take back the power that belongs to her.
In "Superman is Dead" by Sarah Weeks, a teenager babysitting his little brother has to deal with the death of pet and the birth of a new brother.
And lastly, "The Motherless One" is a comic by Gene Luen Yang that shows Monkey's quest to understand his origins.

There is such freedom in learning you can leave.
David Levithan -"The Vulunerable Hours" p. 124 Up All Night

This was an excellent anthology.  I loved most of the stories, but was especially impressed with David Levithan, Libba Bray, and Sarah Weeks' stories.  They all gave a great sense of that feeling that you get in the middle of the night when you are just awake and there is that possibility of everything.  Levithan's story in particular drives home this point so I'm going to choose him as my favorite and pick Are We There Yet? as my read for Take Another Chance Challenge:
Find an anthology of your choice. Read at least 5 entries in the anthology. Of the 5 entries you've read, pick your favorite one and then find a book by that writer and read it. (If your first choice doesn't have a book, then pick your next favorite until you find a writer that has a book.) Write about the anthology, your favorite pick from the anthology, and the book you read by your favorite pick.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Westing Game (audio)

When the wealthy neighbor of an apartment complex dies, he leaves behind a will naming sixteen people as his heirs.  All they have to do is find out who murdered him to collect the inheritance by playing his game.

Written in 1978, The Westing Game won a Newbery in 1979. So this book is as almost as old as I am and yet this is the first time I've ever read it.  I liked it.  I was very interested in the outcome of the book.  It reminded me of It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World except not with a car race or anything.  The heirs each get clues and they are suppose to figure out who took the life of the millionaire.  I expected the ending I got, but I loved the characters.  Some of them turned out to be different than I expected.  The only thing was that some of the language was pretty un-PC, which is to be expected from a book written in the 70's.  I thought the solution was pretty clever though and I'm glad there was an epilogue.  I like knowing what happens to the characters.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Splendor

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

The skirts of the women all around them brushed up against one another to form a solid wall of fine pastels; their mouths, and whatever they were whispering, disappeared behind their fans.  Light twinkled from the jewels that sat on Penelope's wrists and neck and waist and hair.

p.50 Splendor Anna Godbersen

Monday, January 11, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 1/11

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 reading Splendor (Godbersen), Nothing Pink (Hardy), and The Secret of the Old Clock (Keene).  I'm still listening to Twelve Sharp (Evanovich).  Since last week I've read Envy (Godbersen).  

I posted reviews for The Midnight Twins (Mitchard), Betsy-Tacy (Lovelace), The Great Brain (Fitzgerald), and A Year Down Yonder (Peck).

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.  Very slow week this week, I didn't get a lot of reading done during the holidays and I didn't visit the library at all so I only got one book last week.

Blue Noon - Scott Westerfeld (Of course, I have to finish out the series.)

The darklings will hunt once again.
The secret hour when time freezes arrives every night at midnight in Bixby, Oklahoma. It's a dangerous time, when five teenagers are the only humans awake and dark creatures crawl out of the shadows, but at least the midnight hour is regular and predictable. Until suddenly, the blue time comes . . . in the middle of the day. The noise of school stops. Cheerleaders are frozen in midair, teachers brought to a standstill. Everything is the haunted blue color of the midnight hour. The Midnighters can't understand what's happening, but as they scramble for answers, they discover that the walls between the secret hour and real time are crumbling. Soon the dark creatures will have a chance to feed after centuries of waiting, unless these five teenagers can find a way to stop them. A desperate race against time, a mind-blowing mystery of paranormal logic, a tale of ancient evil and spine-chilling sacrifice: blue noon is the exhilarating third volume in the Midnighters series by acclaimed author Scott Westerfeld.

Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature - Robin Brande, read by Kalli Vernoff

Your best friend hates you. The guy you liked hates you. Your entire group of friends hates you.

All because you did the right thing.

Welcome to life for Mena, whose year is starting off in the worst way possible. She's been kicked out of her church group and no one will talk to her—not even her own parents. No one except for Casey, her supersmart lab partner in science class, who's pretty funny for the most brilliant guy on earth.

And when Ms. Shepherd begins the unit on evolution, school becomes more dramatic than Mena could ever imagine . . . and her own life is about to evolve in some amazing and unexpected ways.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

GLBT January mini-challenge

So the GLBT Challenge has issued its first mini-challenge which is to write a paragraph or two on why this challenge and/or this issue is important to you.  Honestly, I'm not sure what to say.  I originally signed up for last year's challenge to learn something new and I enjoyed what I read so much that I wanted to do it again.  I read some fluffy books (The Straight Road to Kylie) and some books that touched on serious issues, like parental rights over a child of a lesbian couple (Between Mom and Jo).  And I thought that the exploration of the different aspects of a gay person's life were interesting.  There are so many facets and consequences of coming out and some books handle it so well.  So as I'm trying to move out of my reading niches and explore more genres, I found that GLBT books were so varied and yet so much like "straight" reading, but touched on issues that those books can't. And there are so many great GLBT books that I haven't read yet so I guess that's what this is important to me.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Year Down Yonder (audio)

Mary Alice and Grandma Dowdel from Peck's Newbery Honor, A Long Way From Chicago, return.  This time Mary-Alice is sent to live with Grandma Dowdel while her father looks for work.  Her brother Joey, whose point of view A Long Way From Chicago was told, is gone and Mary Alice is alone with Grandma.  Told in several short stories about Mary Alice's year with her grandmother, we get to experience life in a small rural town and her "hard hearted" grandmother.  But Mary Alice learns that her grandmother is more than she appears when her grandmother finds a way to do good works under the cover of only doing her part.  A Year Down Yonder is a wonderful old-fashioned book and I loved it.  I would recommended it to anyone.

*for the Rainbow Connection Challenge and the Take Another Chance Challenge and the Audio Book Challenge

Friday, January 8, 2010

Reviews by Year

2010 Audio Books

The Great Brain (audio)

The best con man in the Midwest is only ten years old. Tom, a.k.a., the Great Brain, is a silver-tongued genius with a knack for turning a profit. When the Jenkins boys get lost in Skeleton Cave, the Great Brain saves the day. Whether it’s saving the kids at school, or helping out Peg-leg Andy, or Basil, the new kid at school, the Great Brain always manages to come out on top—and line his pockets in the process. -Goodreads

I read this book when I was in fourth or fifth grade and I vaguely remember what happened.  Well, really I only remembered the "water closet" story since I was fascinated by the idea that people didn't always have indoor plumbing.  But the rest of the stories were familiar in a way.  The Great Brain tricks people into giving him money in some way that they don't know they are being swindled.  He is a Tom Sawyer type, for sure.  He also got on my nerves.  I was tired of him doing good deeds for greedy reasons and kept waiting for him to get his just reward, which he does, but not when he deserved it, in my opinion.  Also his brother, John, was not too bright (but then he is only 8) and Tom took advantage of him a lot.

Another thing was how often they say the words "Great Brain."  Tom refers to his great brain and John says Tom will use his great brain a lot.  This might be a product of having listened to the audio version and so I noticed it more, but they say it a lot.  They also don't use contradictions when they speak and that was made more apparent by the audio version.  And that bothered me for some reason.

Anyway, while it was nice to revisit an old childhood favorite, it didn't really translate that well for me as an adult.  So this one might be better left to the kids.

*for Shelf Discovery and the Rainbow Connection Challenge

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Betsy-Tacy (audio)

Betsy hopes that whoever moves into the house across the street will have a little girl just her age. And the little girl who moves in is just her age. Her name is Tacy. She is very bashful, but she likes to listen to Betsy's stories—wonderful stories that the girls love, and that they keep as their own special secret.
After a while, it's hard to remember a time when Betsy and Tacy weren't best friends.

This was my first Besty-Tacy experience.  I never read them as a child though my sister loved them.  They are very sweet, old-fashioned stories, full of childhood delicies and innocence.  The reader, Sutton Foster, did a great job conveying the wonder that 5 years must feel at the big and small thing in life.  Betsy is a lively little girl with a great imagination while Tacy is a shy child who follows along with Betsy.  But they compliment each other very well and are very loyal to each other.  I really enjoyed this little book and I think I will continue with the series.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Midnight Twins (Book 1)

Meredith and Mallory are identical mirror twins born on the cusp of midnight New Year's Eve making them born in different years.  Growing up inseparable with wildly different personalities, the twins are able to speak to each other telepathically and dream each other's dreams.  But on their thirteenth  birthday, something strange happens and a fire disrupts the twin's telepathic powers while they gain new ones.  But something strange is going on with one of the town boys and the twins must figure out the clues from their visions to save lives.
Without being able to speak aloud, Mallory and Meredith were already speaking to each other in what would become their private language. p. 6
I love the concept of this book.  My husband is an identical twin and although he and his brother don't have supernatural powers, there is a "we-ness" to their lives that I can never understand.  They don't think in the singular necessarily.  So it was interesting to see the extreme of this explored.  The Midnight Twins are deeply attached, but they fight a lot so it was a very realistic portrayal of sisters.  But they are fiercely loyal and protective.  And when they get their new powers, they have a hard time for one because now they are different from each other and secondly, because they don't understand what it going on.

I expected Mallory and Meredith to be older, but there are only 13 throughout the book.  But because of the some of the events of the book I wouldn't recommend this to anyone under 15, maybe 13.  I read this one in a day until the wee hour of 1 a.m. and, frankly, I was a little scared.  There is a major creepy factor and it hit on a couple of my fears.  So maybe I shouldn't have read it at night before bed.  But it was really good and I had a hard time putting it down.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays - Envy

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along!
Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

Her cheeks were flushed from the champagne she had drunk at dinner, and because she was unused to removing her clothing without the help of her maid, she found herself repeatedly subsiding into giggles and fits of hilarity.  Eventually her companion crossed toward her and began to slowly undo the ribbons himself.

p.2 Envy - Anna Godbersen

Monday, January 4, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 1/4 + awards

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 didn't read anything last week or listen to anything.  I didn't really have a lot of time.  So this week I'm going to try to read Envy and Splendor (Godbersen) and listen to Twelve Sharp (Evanovich).

Nothing from the library this week.

Jill of The O.W.L. gave me The Circle of Friends Award.  Thanks so much!

A Buckeye Girl Reads gave me the Happy 101 Award.  It is so cute.  Thanks!

List 10 things that make you happy.
1. My family
2. My dogs
3. Doing craft type things
4. Reading
5. Playing on the computer
6. Sunshine
7. Warm covers
8. Hot chocolate
9. Shopping
10. Sleeping late

Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Audio Books

1.   Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace, read by Sutton Foster
2.   The Great Brain by John Fitzgerald, read by Ron McLarty
3.   A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck, read by Lois Smith
4.   The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, read by Jeff Woodman
5.   Evolution, Me and Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande, read by Kali Vernoff
6.   Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King
7.   Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King
8.   Nancy's Mysterious Letter by Carolyn Keene, read by Jessie Birschbach
9  . The Mystery at Lilac Inn by Carolyn Keene, read by Laura Linney
10. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, read by Anne Bobby
11. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King
12. The Sign of the Twisted Candle by Carolyn Keene, read by Danica Reese
13. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg, read by Jan Miner
14. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King
15. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King
16. Plum Spooky by Janet Evaonvich, read by Lorelei King
17. Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn, read by Jon Cryer
18. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich, read by C.J. Critt
19. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, read by Jeanna Lamia and David Ledoux
20. Graceling by Kristen Cashore, narrated by David Baker, read by full cast
21. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, read by John Mcdonough
22. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, read by Bernadette Dunne, Katie MacNichol, Mark Bramhall
23. Lord Sunday by Garth Nix, read by Allan Corduner
24. The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan, read by Laural Merlington
25. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
26. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
27. The Maze Runner by James Dashner, read by Mark Deakins
28. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
29. The Girl with the Mermaid Hair by Delia Ephron, read by Sarah Drew
30. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
31. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordian, read by Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgren
32. Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine, read by Hannah Gordon
33. Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand by Gail Caron Levine, read by Rosalyn Landor 
34. Fairies and the Quest for Neverland by Gail Caron Levine, read by Rosalyn Landor  
35. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale 
36. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale  
37. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, read by Jim Dale
38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, read by Jim Dale 
39. A Season of Gifts by Richard Peck, read by Ron McLarty

2009 Wrap-Up

So I've had a good year. To see all the books I've reviewed, click here.  I read 85 books this year and listened to 35 audio books for a total of 120.  I reviewed 12 movies (here).  I completed 12 challenges.  I feel good about what I've done in my first year with this blog and I'm looking forward to the next year.  Thanks everybody for reading along with me.

Challenges completed:
2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge (25 books)
2009 Young Adult Book Challenge (12 book)
2009 Audio Book Challenge (12 books)
Take a Chance Challenge (9/10 tasks completed)
Everything Austen Challenge (6 book and movies)
GLBT Challenge 2009 (6 books)
R.I.P. IV Challenge (2 books)
The November Novella Challenge (4 novellas)
Garth Nix Mini-Challenge (6 audio books)
Scott Westerfeld Mini-Challenge (2 books)
Much Ado about Shakespeare Challenge (6/6)
Christmas Reading Challenge (6 books)

Challenges joined that carry into 2010:

Pretty Little Liars Challenge (status: 0/8)
Stephanie Plum Reading Challenge (status 0/7)
Alice in Wonderland Challenge (status: 5/8 tasks)
The Shelf Discovery Challenge (status: 0/6)

Challenges that start January 2010:

GLBT Challenge 2010  (8 books)
2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge  (50 books)
World Religion Challenge   (5 books)
2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge  (75 books)
Twentyten Challenge  (20 books)
Take a Another Challenge  (12 tasks)
E-Book Challenge 2010  (6 books)
Audio Book Challenge 2010 (12 books)
Read Your Name Challenge  (6 books)
The Nancy Drew Challenge  (56 books)
What's in a Name Challenge 3  (6 books)
Rainbow Connection Challenge  (7 books)