Wednesday, March 31, 2010

March Wrap-Up

Books read:

Rampant (Peterfreund)
Fire (Cashore)
Hush, Hush (Fitzpatrick)
Heist Society (Carter)

Based on a Book Movie Reviews:

Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland 

Challenges completed:

Alice in Wonderland Challenge (8/8 tasks)
(I also won a prize from this challenge.  Exciting!)

Well, I had a good month.  My favorite book was Lord Sunday followed by Heist Society.  I love a good heist.  I did quite a bit of reading this, thanks in part to an incredible (for me) 6 books in the last full week of March.  All and all, not too shabby.

Nancy Drew March Recap

I'm a quarter of the way through the books so I'm feeling pretty good about that.
Questions that I have asked: Is Nancy Drew really a good detective or is everyone else just really dumb?  Why do the villains want to confess so badly?  Are the police resentful that an 18 year old girl does all the dirty work for them or are they grateful?  Do they mind taking orders (or "suggestions") from her?  Why is Carson Drew so famous and well-regarded?  Does Ned mind that he is really only there for the muscle? 

10. Password to Larkspur Lane
11. The Clue in the Broken Locket
12. The Message in the Hollow Oak
13. The Mystery of the Ivory Charm
14. The Whispering Statue

I also reviewed the old 1930's Nancy Drew movies for fun.

Nancy Drew: Detective
Nancy Drew: Reporter
Nancy Drew: Trouble Shooter
Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Dead-Tossed Waves

Living in a lighthouse with her mother, Gabrielle (Gabry), has always felt safe from the Mudo, the zombies who live outside her town.  She's been warned about the dangers outside and so she is afraid.  Until one night tempted by her friends and a boy she likes, Gabry crosses the fences for a night of fun that ends up changing her life and those around her forever.
Mudo is supposed to mean "mute, speechless," a word passed down from the traders and pirates who used to fill the harbor.  But the creatures trailing me, the people-who-once-were, are anything but mute.  They're nothing but noise - moans of hunger.  p.81
The Dead-Tossed Waves is the sequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth, but told from a new perspective about 11 years after the first book.  The protagonist feels the same though.  I found Mary in the first book to be a whining annoying child and I found Gabry to be the same.  So much whining, so much time spent wishing. I guess she gets it from her mother.  But if you can move past that, the story is pretty good.  It's the same world as before, zombies everywhere hungry for human flesh; people living in small towns behind fences.  In this book, though you get to see more of the outside world and how it works.  Mary's village was isolated and she was brought up to believe that they were the only ones so it was nice to see more of the larger world and the government that was set up to protect the people.  I wish they had been more of that though.  There was a whole of description about the Mudo and the hunger for flesh and a whole lot of discussion about what they really are, but not enough about how the world actually functions.  Maybe in the next book?  I hope so.  It seems like Carrie Ryan is pushing farther out into this world that she has created in each book.  The first book was action packed and felt very closed, a little claustrophobic.  This was more open but still had that enclosed feel to it.

Hogwarts: Transfiguration
What's In a Name Challenge
Young Adult Challenge
Dystopian Challenge

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 3/29 + 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'm actually waiting on a couple of tour books so my reading might change this week.  In the meantime, I'm going to read The Clue of the Tapping Heels (Keene) and Scarlett Fever (Johnson).

I'm still listening to The Year of the Flood (Atwood) and Wicked (Maguire) though I'm having trouble with the discs on Wicked so I might have to switch to reading which I'd rather not do.  I started Shiver (Stiefvater) because of my problems with Wicked so I'd at least have something to listen to in the car.

Wow, last week was a great week for me.  I read Into the Wild (Durst), Lord Sunday (Nix), Buddha Boy (Koja), The Dead-Tossed Waves (Ryan), The Haunted Bridge (Keene), and The Blonde of the Joke (Madison).  6 books in one week!  That might be a record for me.

Other reviews posted:
The Mermaid's Madness (Hines)
Nancy Drew: Troubleshooter
Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase

Books in the mail:
Won from Juju at Tales of Whimsy.  So excited!
Donut Days - Laura Zielin
Emma has a lot going on. Her best friend’s not speaking to her, a boy she’s known all her life is suddenly smokin’ hot and in love with her, and oh yes, her evangelical minister parents may lose their church, especially if her mother keeps giving sermons saying Adam was a hermaphrodite.
But this weekend Emma’s only focused on Crispy Dream, a hot new donut franchise opening in town, where Harley bikers and Frodo wannabes camp out waiting to be the first ones served. Writing the best feature story on the camp for the local paper might just win Emma a scholarship to attend a non- Christian college. But soon enough Emma finds the donut camp isn’t quite the perfect escape from all her troubles at Living Word Redeemer.

Shantal at Booknerds are pretty too gave me 2 new awards. Thanks so much!  Check out her blog and how pretty and stylish it is.

I'm giving the Beautiful Blogger Award to:

I'm giving the Stylish Blogger Award to:

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.
I didn't check anything out worth noting.  My son is in a Scooby-Doo phase so I got a bunch of TV episodes and movies for him.  Oh and Ponyo because we love Miyazaki.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew movies (1939)

There were two more movies starring Bonita Granville as Nancy Drew from 1939.  I liked the first one, Detective, ok but the rest quickly got on my nerves.  Nancy is an idoit, Carson Drew is overbearing and mean, the police chief is a condescending ass, and there is no Hannah or Bess or George.  Though I really like the Ted Nickerson character for some reason.  The resemblance to the books is negligible.  Normally, I like old movies and can make allowances for certain eccentricities of the time period, but not these.  While not the worst movies ever, I found myself saying Nancy Drew you are an idiot over and over and I'm not happy about that.

Nancy Drew: Troubleshooter
Nancy goes with her father to help out an old friend who has been accused of murder.  She meets up with Ted who is down at the lake with his family.  Of course, she ropes him into helping her solve the mystery and clear her family friend's name.  Of all the movies, this was my least favorite.  Nancy is most annoying and she is mean to Ted and there is the casual racism of this era on display in the character of Apollo, the handyman on the farm.  I hate seeing African-American characters like this.  It is one of the main reason I didn't like this movie.

Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase
While you would think that this would have some relation to the book it is titled after, you would be wrong.  There are two sisters named Turnbull and that's about where the similarities end.  Because of some weird stipulation in their father's will, at least one of the sisters has to spend every night in the house for 20 years before they own it.  Nancy sticks her nose where it doesn't belong when a man is murdered at the Turnbull's place.  She blatantly meddles in a police "investigation" when she makes Ted write a suicide note so the sisters will stay in their mansion and not give up their eligibility to outright own it and then give it up for a children's hospital.  She gets Ted in trouble a whole lot and, in the end, he is the one who rescues them both with his cleverness.

The Hidden Staircase (Book/Movie)

Excuse the double posting of reviews. I'm counting this towards the Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge.

The Hidden Staircase 

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.  Helen plays a fairly prominent role as Nancy's helper, but she doesn't really do any deducting.  That's all left to Nancy as she is the braver, smarter one.  And, of course, the young sleuth solves the mystery to everyone's satisfaction with her usual style and poise.

Nancy Drew: The Hidden Staircase
While you would think that this would have some relation to the book it is titled after, you would be wrong.  There are two sisters named Turnbull and that's about where the similarities end.  Because of some weird stipulation in their father's will, at least one of the sisters has to spend every night in the house for 20 years before they own it.  Nancy sticks her nose where it doesn't belong when a man is murdered at the Turnbull's place.  She blatantly meddles in a police "investigation" when she makes Ted write a suicide note so the sisters will stay in their mansion and not give up their eligibility to outright own it and then give it up for a children's hospital.  She gets Ted in trouble a whole lot and, in the end, he is the one who rescues them both with his cleverness.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Buddha Boy

Jinsen is the new "weird" kid at school who Justin is stuck with as a partner for a class project.  But the boys become friends despite Jinsen's oddness.  Justin is embarrassed at first to have to work with Jinsen but through Jinsen's art, they become friends.  But the other kids at school pick on Jinsen because he is different and Jinsen doesn't fight back and Justin can't understand why.  As Jinsen teaches Justin about Buddhism, he begins to understand more about his new friend and his way of life. 
Karma means that what you do today, and why you do it, makes you who you are forever: as if you wre clay, and every thought and action left a mark in that clay, bent it, shaped it, even ruined it ... but with karma there are no excuses, no explanations, no I-didn't-really-mean-it-so-can-I-have-some-more-clay.  Karma takes everything you do very, very seriously. p.13

Buddha Boy is a short little book packed with a great message. It's about understanding people who are different from you.  It's about a boy with a troubled past and a boy who befriends him despite his own reluctance.  The writing is choppy like how a teenage boy would write or speak, but I liked Justin and Jinsen.  There is a lot about karma in the beginning of each chapter.  I think it's good though that it was short because I doubt the concept could be drawn out any more.

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Mermaid's Madness (Princess Novels #2)

We all know the story of the little mermaid who fell in love with a human and sacrificed her life so he could be with another.  But the story is wrong.  Here is the story of a mermaid poorly used in her life and driven to madness by the magic used to turn her human and her love's betrayal.
It's up to Talia, Danielle, and Snow to save the queen and the kingdom and fight against the merpeople before it's too late for everyone.
Talia followed, throwing words like knives.  "And you didn't think to warn us about a murderous mermaid?" p.47

A very clever take on The Little Mermaid fairy tale, The Mermaid's Madness is based on the old original darker fairy tale, but twists it into a even darker and more delightful story.  The mermaid goes crazy and kills her beloved and then declares war on all humans.  So the three princesses try to stop her by finding the witch who originally turned her human.  There are all kinds of twists and turns and I love Danielle, Talia, and Snow.

I liked this sequel to The Stepsister Scheme.  It had a lot of action.  My only real problem was even though it was action packed, there were parts that felt bogged down and I can't explain why I feel that way.  Because something was happening on almost every page.  So maybe it was just me.  My only other complaint is that Danielle really didn't have a reason to be there.  She doesn't really do anything, but I guess she is the "official" princess on the ship so she had to be there.  I don't know, but I hope she does more in the next book.  There is a little unrequited love subplot that I am curious about and that I like a lot.  It makes it more emotional and adds some tension.

Hogwarts: Care of Magical Creatures
Take Another Chance

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Into the Wild

Julie has been raised keeping the Wild under her bed and knowing that fairy tales are real.  After all, her mother is Rapunzel.  But now the Wild has escaped and is trapping people into fairy tale roles, Julie's mother included.  And it's up to Julie to rescue her mother and save the world from the Wild.
She couldn't walk into the Wild and intentionally use fairy-tale items.  She'd only be making things worse. p.76
I picked this up on the recommendation of Bookworm Nation and I'm glad I did.  It was a very cute book.  I liked the take on what would happen when the characters escape from their fairy tales and the idea that they are trapped there in an endless cycle.  It would be interesting to read the story of how they escaped.  That would make an excellent book. But the "what happens later" concept of this book was also fun.

Into the Wild was obviously written for a younger set than what I usually read.  It definitely has more of a kid's book feel to it.  It reminded me a lot of Labyrinth.  There are even some similarities in plotting and in the dénouement.  Julie is a fun and feisty character and I like how she used her difference from everyone else to help her mother.  And, of course, it was fun to see the fariy tale characters in real life and how they survived and what they became.  That was one of the main reason I liked this book.

Hogwarts: History of Magic
Rainbow Challenge

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Autism Awareness Challenge - COMPLETE

PageTurners is hosting the Autism Awareness Challenge since April is Autism Awareness Month and I'm going to join. This is an important issue striking children and it is important for people to become aware of it.

Starting April 1st 2010

Read and Review a book or multiple books dealing with ASD or learning disabilities.
Link your reviews in our comment box

They have some book suggestions over on their blog. I've read Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin.

Lord Sunday (Keys to the Kingdom 7)

The House is falling apart, and when it is is destroyed, all existence will be destroyed with it.  Arthur Penhaligon and his friends Leaf and Suzy are caught in the chaos, separated by events but drawn together in their fight to survive.  They must use every power at their disposal - magical or practical - to defeat the enemies attacking them from all sides.
For Arthur, the biggest challenge come from Lord Sunday, the most elusive of the Trustees of the Will.  Lord Sunday's magic is unlike any Arthur has encountered before - and his secrets have the potential to destroy not only Arthur but also the people he holds most dear.
On Monday, Arthur Penhaligon was just an ordinary boy thrust into an extraordinary situation.  From Tuesday to Saturday, he emerged as the Rightful Heir to the Architect who created everything within the House.   Now, on Sunday, he will face a choice of astonishing proportions - the remarkable conclusion to the a completely unforeseen adventure.

On the seventh day, there was a choice.
He stood above Arthur, holding the writhing Keys in the net with his left hand, while his right was held tight around a small object that he wore on a chain around his neck. p.72
Monday I checked this book out at 5:30 p.m. and started reading almost right away.  I was done at 10:30.  I HAD to find out what happened.  When we last left Arthur, he was trying to wrest the Sixth Key away from Superior Saturday during a battle in the Incomparable Gardens.  Now comes the thrilling conclusion to one of the best series that I've read.  I am very happy with how it turned out.  The only I can't figure out is why the narrative was split up between Leaf, Arthur, and Suzy.  I mean, I was glad to know what was going on, but I can't figure out why it was necessary.

Anyway, a lot of the time a series will end and it will be such a disappointement.  Like I wasted so much time on this series and this is the ending I'm given.  But not with the Keys to the Kingdom.  I was very excited by the ending, surprising in a good way  Just right, I think. 

I'd like to say more but I really don't want to spoil anyone.  OK, here are few things in white.  DON'T highlight unless you want to read the MAJOR SPOILERS.*
I liked how Arthur became the New Architect and put a part of himself into a boy so that he could live out his life on Earth.  I wonder though how that will play out.  Because if Arthur is immortal, then eventually he will have to go back to the House and merge with the New Architect.
I was not surprised that Dame Primus turned out to be the Architect.  I think everyone had figured that out, but I was surprised that the whole thing was a suicide plot to release the Old One so She could return to nothing.  It was such a great twist.  And the part where she bit into the apple.  I could almost hear the crunch and the silence.  So great.  I guess if the Trustees had done what the Will said in the beginning, then it wouldn't have been such a big battle.  But who knows who they would have chosen to the Rightful Heir and thusly the New Architect?  I can't really blame them for not wanting to aid in their own destruction.
And, hahaha, I love the ending with Suzy.  She is so great.

Hogwarts: Charms

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Another Remake a Book Cover Contest

Princess Bookie is holding a second Remake a Book Cover Contest and I love those so I'm entering again.  This time she specified what books could be used.  I choose Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles.

Here's my entry:

Photo credit to Kat Forsyth

Teaser Tuesdays - Lord Sunday

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

Arthur was just  about to look away when he saw the small book on the far end of the shelf, a book that shed a soft and rippling blue light.  He opened both eyes to make sure of what he was seeing.

p.33 Lord Sunday Garth Nix

Monday, March 22, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 3/22

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 Into the Wild (Durst), The Haunted Bridge (Keene) and Lord Sunday (Nix, when I get it).  I'm still listening to The Year of the Flood (Atwood) and Wicked (Maguire) and will be for a while as they are both long books.

Since last week I've read The Whispering Statue (Keene), Going Bovine (Bray) and The Mermaid's Madness (Hines).

Other reviews posted:
Heist Society (Carter)
The Truth about My Bat Mitzvah (Baskin)
The Mystery of the Ivory Charm (Keene)

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.  I'm doing pretty good getting through what I have checked on.

Liar - Justine Larbalestier
(I've heard good and interesting things about this book.  I've liked the other Larbalestier books I've read.)
Micah freely admits that she's a compulsive liar. And that may be the one honest thing she'll ever tell you. Over the years she's duped her classmates, her teachers, and even her parents. But when her boyfriend, Zach, dies under brutal circumstances, the shock might be enough to set her straight. Or maybe not. Especially when lying comes as naturally to her as breathing. Was Micah dating Zach? Or was Sarah his real girlfriend? And are the stories Micah tells about inheriting a "family gene" real or are they something that only exists in her mind?
Breathtaking in its plotting, and narrated by one of the most psychologically complex young women to emerge since Sybil, Liar is a roller-coaster that will have listeners grasping for the truth. Honestly. 

Buddha Boy - Kathe Koja
(the last of my World Religion Challenge books)
Justin spends time with Jinsen, the unusual and artistic new student whom the school bullies torment and call Buddha Boy, and ends up making choices that impact Jinsen, himself, and the entire school.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew 13, 14

Questions:  Is Nancy Drew really a good detective or is everyone else just really dumb?  Why do the villains want to confess so badly?  Are the police resentful that an 18 year old girl does all the dirty work for them or are they grateful?  Do they mind taking orders (or "suggestions") from her?  Why is Carson Drew so famous and well-regarded?  Does Ned mind that he is really only there for the muscle?  Discuss.

The Mystery of the Ivory Charm (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #13)
 She always has close calls when she solves a mystery! p. 179
Nancy and her friends go to a circus where they meet a young Indian boy and his cruel father.  But when the boy runs away to Nancy, she must solve the true mystery of who he really is and why the ivory charm is so important to his father.  I wasn't too fond of the whole maharajah storyline.  It felt a little weird to me and quite a bit of it was unPC by our standards.
There is also another mystery about an abandoned house and a woman who thinks she is psychic.  Just your average mystery of Nancy Drew.

The Whispering Statue (Nancy Drew Mystery Stories #14)
Bess stepped back and looked at Nancy admiringly.  "Your hunches are so often right it startles me."  p.47
The mystery starts right away when Nancy and her friends are invited to figure out why a friend of Carson Drew is not receiving the money she is entitled to from an rare book dealer.  Nancy, with her friends, travels to a yacht club and goes to work for the man under an assumed identity completed with a dark wig.  Oh Nancy and her crazy disguises.  While she is there, she seeks to solve the mystery of the theft of a statue that whispers and happens to look exactly like the young detective.  With a little danger and some excellent detective work, Nancy wraps it all in a jiffy.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Sailor Love (GLBT March mini-challenge)

For the March mini-challenge of the GLBT Challenge instead of reading and reviewing a manga dealing with that subject I've decided to talk about one of my favorite series of all time, Sailor Moon, and the relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Urnaus.

In both the anime and the manga, as civilians Mirchiru (Michelle US) is a very girly and beautiful musician and Haruka (Amara US) is an androgynous race car driver.  Everyone who meets Haruka thinks she is a boy and it leads to some confusion and hilarity especially when Usagi (Serena) and Minako first meet them.  In the manga and in the Japanese anime, it is established that they are in a relationship with each other.  There are many moments, some funny, some very touching, to establish their relationship.  It is taken as natural and normal.  They obviously love each other and they have the most mature of the relationships shown in Sailor Moon.

When it came time to dub their episodes in the United States in 2000, however, their relationship was changed to "cousins" since it was believed that a lesbian relationship would not be acceptable for a children's cartoon even though there is nothing overt about their relationship other than some hand holding and a little "couple" talk.  This made for some very interesting changes especially in the episode with the love challenge which was changed to the friendship challenge with only male/female couples besides Michelle and Amara.  It also made the animation seem off since they would talk about one thing, but the images invoked a different sort of tone.  There were also many changes of Haruka flirting with Usagi where Amara would say something about flirting with Darien (Mamoru) in order to make her "straight."  It was a ridiculous change.  I doubt that they would include the relationship if they re-dubbed the series, but I would hope they wouldn't make them cousins because it is just creepy.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Going Bovine

The streets of New Orleans are like a collage - all kinds of people, things, and colors bumping up against each other, overlapping till they make something new. p.142
Well, Libba Bray has range.  This definitely proves it.  So different from her other novels yet so much like how her blog and story stories read.  If Tom Robbins had written this book, I would have believed it better; believed it completely.  I would have lived in that world.  But Bray sets up a different world with a tenuous grasp on reality and that is a world that I find hard to live in.

I loved the characters.  I felt so bad for Cameron.  No one saw him suffering because he wouldn't let them and then bam!  He was fatally ill.  And then this beautiful angel girl told him that there was a cure if he would go on a road trip and, oh yeah, save the world along the way.  Of course, he goes.  That is an unignorable proposition.  The road trip was hilarious.  It was such a college road trip, the road trip from hell.  Gonzo, Cameron's little person friend with hypochondria, is funny and I like how their relationship changes but they are still best friends.  It lead to a couple of great moments.  I think Bray did a good job writing as a teen boy.  There were some moments that felt a little hesitant like she wasn't sure about being a boy, but it was mostly good.
Let me just tell you that they are some genuinely genuine moments, some hilarious WTF moments, some exciting moments and a few teary moments.  It's a book that makes you think and you can't go wrong with a book like that.

**(Highlight for) SPOILERS Do not read this if you really want to enjoy this book. I'm serious.
I think the point of this book is to say that reality is what you make it.  That what you believe happened is what happened and that while Cameron may have hallucinated the whole thing, it didn't make it less real for him.  That if he believed it happened, then it happened.  For a minute I thought it was going sci-fi and that there were parallel worlds where Cameron roadtrips to save the world in one and is dying in a hospital in the other.  But then I figured that no, he is just dying in a hospital room and the whole book is what his diseased mind and the morphine have conjure up for him to feel better.  But it is the experience that changes him and allows him to die in peace.  I couldn't really buy in the the whole "fire giants" thing until I realized what was happening.  Like I said, if Tom Robbins had written this world, I'd have believed it, but as it was I couldn't just do that.  I don't think I was meant to.  There are mega-hints all of this book so it shouldn't come as a surprise, but I loved the finale all the same.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Truth about My Bat Mitzvah

Seventh-grader Caroline Weeks has a Jewish mom and a non-Jewish dad. When Caroline's nana dies around the same time that Caroline's best friend, Rachel, is having her bat mitzvah, Caroline starts to become more interested in her Jewish identity.
I had never heard my grandmother speak like that.  The stories she told about her life, about her family, always sounded like stories.  Like books at a far end of the shelf, not real  I had never heard my grandmother sounds as she did now, like a little girl.  p. 116
 This was a sweet little book.  Caroline is sad when her grandmother dies and she receives a Star of David necklace from her.  Slowly she begins to explore her Jewish identity as her best friend prepares for her bat mitzvah.  She begins to understand the grown-up relationships around her are not as simple as she assumed.  She wonders if she has the right to become bat mitzvah because her family is lax about keeping the customs and religious days and her father is not Jewish.  But then, with the help of her friends and family, she starts to decide that maybe it is okay to be Jewish and that she has the right to be.

Hogwarts: Muggle Studies

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Heist Society

Three months ago, Katrina Bishop pulled off her greatest con and got herself a new life at a boarding school.  But her old life has tracked her down.  It seems her father is the number one suspect at the top of a one name list who is accused of stealing the priceless art collection of a very dangerous man.  It's up to Kat and her band of light fingered friends to find painting and save her dad.  Even if the job is next to impossible.

The assembly of a crew is a monumental event in a young thief's life.  There are meetings and phone call.  Plans, and occasionally, a celebratory cake.  p.132
Ally Carter has style.  I'll give her that.  Her writing style is so distinct to me that the minute I opened this book, I knew it was going to be great.  Kat is like a reverse Cammie, having lived her whole life on the wrong side of the law.  Her family is a family of the greatest thieves in the world and Kat was following along until she decided she wanted to be normal.  The book picks up at the start of the action (thank God) when Kat is being expelled from the boarding school she conned her way into.  From there, it's like Ocean's 11 with teenagers and it is awesome. I know that it was optioned for a movie, but it would make a great TV show too.  I like crime shows where the criminal is sympathetic and I had to feel sorry for Kat.  Stuck with doing an impossible job to save her father from a very bad man, she really does an awesome job.  There was a bigger mystery set up too that wasn't really resolved and I can't wait to see what Carter has in store next for Kat and her crew.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Hogwarts Reading Challenge - COMPLETE

I saw this on Amanda's blog and I couldn't resist. A Hogwarts Reading Challenge? Say what? So awesome.

Challenge runs from March 8, 2010 to December 13, 2010

In the Hogwarts Reading Challenge you are a student of the school. You will be sorted into houses. Each book you read must fit in to the subject of one the classes. You do not have to read books that fit all the subjects. Each book equals one point (toward the house cup).  Harry Potter books are worth 25 points.

The Classes

Transfiguration - read any book that has trans or figure in its title, is about shape shifting, has a shape shifter in it, or is about anything having to do with changing one thing into another

+ The Dead-Tossed Waves  Carrie Ryan
+ The Blonde of the Joke Bennett Madison 
+ Shiver Maggie Stiefvater 
+ Howl's Moving Castle Diana Wynn Jones 
+ Sleepless Cyn Balog 
+ Sleeping in Flame Jonathan Carroll 
+ Clockwork Angel Cassandra Clare 
+ Virals Katy Reichs 
+ White Cat Holly Black
+ Another Faust Daniel and Dina Nayeri

Defence Against the Dark Arts - read any book that has defence(defense), dark and/or art(s) in its title, read any book that is about self defense, war, history of war/marital arts, murder mysteries

+ Liar Justine Larbalestier 
+ Graceling Kristen Cashore 
+ Leviathan Scott Westerfeld 
+ Beautiful Malice Rebecca James 
+ The Year of the Flood Margaret Atwood 
+ The Knife of Never Letting Go Patrick Ness 
+ Sapphique Catherine Fisher 
+ Mockingjay Suzanne Collins 
+ Low Red Moon Ivy Devlin
+ Blockade Billy Stephen King
+ Poison Study Maria V. Snyder 
+ The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner Stephenie Meyer

Charms - read any book that has charm in its title, any book that deals with gives something or someone a new aspect (for example the nerdy guy become a handsome doctor)

+ Lord Sunday  Garth Nix 
+ Wicked Gregory Maguire 
+ Birthmarked Caragh O'Brien 
+ Angel Star Jennifer Murgia
+ Incarceron Catherine Fisher
+ Princess of Glass Jessica Day George
+ The Extraordinary Secrets of April, May and June Robin Benway
+ The Candidates Inara Scott
+ No Going Back Jonathan Langford
+ Delirium Lauren Oliver
+ Matchless  Gregory Maguire
+ A Season of Gifts Richard Peck
+ Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Potions - read any book that has potion in its title, cookbooks count but you must cook at least one recipe out of the book

Astronomy - read any book that has astronomy in its title, books about planets, stars, etc, sci-fi

+ This World We Live In Susan Beth Pfeffer

History of Magic - read any book that has history or magic in its title, books about magic, witches, etc

+ Into the Wild  Sarah Beth Durst
+ Perchance to Dream Lisa Mantchev
+ Frost Moon Anthony Francis 
+ The Demon's Lexicon Sarah Rees Brennan 
+ The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Frank L. Baum 
+ Everlasting Angie Frazier 
+ Nocturne L.D. Harkrader 
+ Shadowland Alyson Noël
+ Dark Flame Alyson Noël
+ Red Hood's Revenge Jim C. Hines

Herbology - read any book that has herb in its title, again cookbooks count and again you must cook at least one recipe out of the book

+ The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children Keith McGowan

Arithmancy - read any book that has arithmancy in its title, any book with a number in its title, any book that deal with numbers or math

+ The Eternal Ones Kirsten Miller

Ancient Runes - read any book that has ancient or runes in its title, books about historical places like the pyramids, Stonehenge, great wall of china, or any book about symbols

+ A Golden Web Barbara Quick
+ The Maze Runner James Dashner
+ Shadow of the Sun Laura Kreitzer
+ The Red Pyramid Rick Riordian

Divination - read any book that has divine in its title, any book about psychics or psychic abilities, tarot reading etc

+ Insatiable Meg Cabot 
+ Gone Lisa McMann 
+ Inside Job Connie Willis

Care of Magical Creatures - read any book that has magical or creatures in its title, about supernatural beings

+ The Mermaid's Madness - Jim C. Hines 
+ Bones of Faerie - Jannie Lee Simner 
+ 13 to Life - Shannon Delany 
+ Forgive My Fins Tera Lynn Childs 
+ Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg Gail Carson Levine 
+ Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand Gail Carson Levine 
+ Sisters Red Jackson Pearce 
+ Fairies and the Quest for Neverland Gail Carons Levine 
+ Extraordinary Nancy Werlin 
+ A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens 
+ Miracle on 34th Street Valentine Davies

Muggle Studies - nearly any book works here, what better why to understand Muggle than to read what they read
+ The Truth About My Bat Mitzvah - Nora Raleigh Baskin 
+ Going Bovine - Libba Bray
+ Buddha Boy - Kathe Koja
+ Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan
+ Scarlett Fever - Maureen Johnson
+ Anything but Typical - Nora Raleigh Baskin
+ Alive and Well in Prague, New York Daphne Grab
+ This Lullaby Sarah Dessen
+ A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend Emily Horner
+ The More You Ignore Me Jo Brand
+ Donut Days Lara Zielin
+ Mackenzie Blue Tina Wells
+ The Secret Crush Tina Wells
+ Friends Forever? TinaWells
+ The Girl with the Mermaid Hair Delia Ephron
+ Virgin Territory James Lecesne
+ Adios, Nirvana  Conrad Wesselhoeft
+ The DUFF  Kody Keplinger 
+ My Invented Life Lauren Bjorkman
+ Dylan and the Baby Doctor Sherryl Woods
+ Mostly Good Girls Leila Sales
+ The Kid Table Andrea Seigel
+ Shopgirl Steve Martin
+ The Education of Madeline Beth Williamson
+ Deadly by Julie Chibbaro

Harry Potter (worth 25 points)

+ The Sorcerer's Stone (audio)
+ Chamber of Secrets (audio)
+ Prisoner of Azkaban (audio)
+ Goblet of Fire (audio)
+ Order of the Phoenix (audio)
+ The Half-Blood Prince (audio)
+ Deathly Hallows (audio)

I was sorted into the Ravenclaw house!  which is my favorite house.
I was Sorted!
Get Sorted By The Hogwarts Sorting Hat!

I'll keep my list here on this post.

Total: +276

Teaser Tuesdays - Going Bovine

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

It's sarcastic, and I know sarcasm hurts your happiness, but it feels kind of good to do it, like stretching a muscle I haven't used in a while. The corners of Library Girl's lips twitch into something resembling a smirk, an expression that feels one hundred percent real.

p.218 Going Bovine Libba Bray

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekly Round-Up 3/15 + 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.
This week I'm reading The Whispering Statue (Keene) and Going Bovine (Bray).  I'm listening to The Year of the Flood (Atwood) and Wicked (Maguire).

Since last week I've read Fire (Cashore), Hush, Hush (Fitzpatrick), Heist Society (Carter) and The Truth of My Bat Mitzvah (Baskin).
I've listened to Breathing Underwater (Flinn) and One for the Money (Evanovich).

Other reviews posted were Nancy Drew, Detective and Nancy Drew, Reporter, two old movies.

Beverly at The Wormhole gave me the Happy 101 Award and the "Your Blog is sooooo Kewl" Award.  Thanks so much.  These always brightens my day.

Chrissie at Chrissie's Corner gave me the One Lovely Blog Award.  Thanks so much!  I appreciate it a lot.

Books in the mail:
From Carrie Ryan, I got The Dead-Tossed Waves (squee) and some great swag.  This has move swiftly up my TBR list. Here are some pics:

From the Library is my weekly listing of what I checked out from the library recently.
A few newer titles this week.   I have so much to read.  I need to stop.

Going Bovine - Libba Bray
(Printz winner and one of the currently one of the best YA authors)
Cameron Smith, 16, is slumming through high school, overshadowed by a sister “pre-majoring in perfection,” while working (ineptly) at the Buddha Burger. Then something happens to make him the focus of his family's attention: he contracts mad cow disease. What takes place after he is hospitalized is either that a gorgeous angel persuades him to search for a cure that will also save the world, or that he has a vivid hallucination brought on by the disease. Either way, what readers have is an absurdist comedy in which Cameron, Gonzo (a neurotic dwarf) and Balder (a Norse god cursed to appear as a yard gnome) go on a quixotic road trip during which they learn about string theory, wormholes and true love en route to Disney World. Bray's surreal humor may surprise fans of her historical fantasies about Gemma Doyle, as she trains her satirical eye on modern education, American materialism and religious cults (the smoothie-drinking members of the Church of Everlasting Satisfaction and Snack 'N' Bowl). Offer this to fans of Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy seeking more inspired lunacy.

Look Both Ways - Jacquelyn Mitchard
(I liked the first one though it was a little scary.  Can't wait to read this one.)
Mally and Merry Brynn thought that with the death of David Jellico, their nightmarish visions of the future and past were gone for good. Now, Merry's only worries revolve around cheer tryouts, and Mally has slipped back into her homebody, tomboy ways.

Then a cheerleader lands in the hospital. And a mysterious, beautiful mountain lion is maimed.

When they begin to suspect their friend Eden was involved in both events, Merry and Mally are catapulted back into a world of visions that they do not yet understand. And this time, they must race to prevent the people they love most from unspeakable tragedy.

Scarlett Fever - Maureen Johnson
(loved Suite Scarlett and she is so awesome)
Ever since Mrs. Amberson, the former-aspiring-actress-turned-agent, entered Scarlett Martin's life, nothing has been the same.

She's still in charge of the Empire Suite in her family's hotel, but she's now also Mrs. Amberson's assistant, running around town for her star client, Chelsea - a Broadway star Scarlett's age with a knack for making her feel insignificant.

Scarlett's also trying to juggle sophomore year classes, her lab partner who is being just a little TOO nice, and getting over the boy who broke her heart.
In the midst of all this, her parents drop a bombshell that threatens to change her New York life forever...

I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason -  Susan Kandel
I Dreamed I Married Perry Mason is the debut novel in a hip, sexy, smart and, yes, cozy mystery series with a great hook. Think Sex and the City collides with Murder, She Wrote.
All that writer Cece Caruso really wants to do is complete her biography of mystery legend Erle Stanley Gardner, find a vintage 1970s Ossie Clark gown to add to her collection, and fix the doorknob on her picturesque West Hollywood bungalow. Then a chance visit with a prison inmate who knew Gardner lands her right in the middle of a 40–year–old murder and another case where the blood is still warm. In fact, Cece finds the body. This brings her into irresistible contact with her inner personal sleuth and shows how crime and greed can reverberate through several generations of a single family.

Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
(can't wait to read it)
Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born ...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sleuthing Sundays - Nancy Drew movies (1938/1939)

I thought I'd do a little something extra in addition to reading all the original Nancy Drew books and watched some of the movies that were inspired by the girl detective.  First up are the first two movies starring Bonita Granville from 1938/1939.

Nancy Drew: Detective
Based on the Password to Larkspur Lane,  there are significant changes to Nancy's personality and the personality of Ned, now Ted, and her father.  She is given a hard time by all the men, a lot more so than in the books and they treat her like a little girl most of the time.  That bothered me because Mr. Drew always supported Nancy and encouraged her to sleuth, but in the movies he doesn't do that.  Ted is more of a foible and talks back to her and goes along reluctantly.  He is also her next door neighbor.  I know that these movies would have to be based on the orginal text of the books, but I doubt Ted (Ned) would have ever been so mean to Nancy.  He is rather good looking though and they obviously like each other.  Nancy tends to use her feminine wiles and "women's intuition" a lot and it usually backfires, but she would never behave that way in the books.

The plot similar to the book but there is no Bess or George or Helen so Ted is her companion.  Mrs. Eldrigde promised Nancy's school some money and then she disappears so Nancy sets out to find her despite the protests of her father and the police chief.  She, of course, finds out what happened and there is much excitement in the meantime.  It's a fun movie though not the greatest portrayal of Nancy Drew.

Nancy Drew: Reporter
Nancy goes on an internship to a newspaper and goes to court where she hears about a murder case.  An old lady was poisoned by a photography chemical.  A young lady named Eula Denning is accused though she says she didn't do it.  Nancy notices a man with cauliflower ear at the inquest who later hits Nancy's car and drives away.  Nancy chases him down and gets money for repairs, but notices that he is acting suspicious.  She later hunts down the can of poison that would have the real killer's fingerprints on it, but it is stolen from her.  Nancy puts Ted in the boxing ring with the man to find out more and then sets up the man and his girlfriend and so the mystery gets solved.
Same changes as with the above movie, but fun.