Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Life As We Knew It (The Last Survivors 1)

Miranda is a typical sixteen year old, obsessed with swimming and figure skating. But when a meteoroid crashes into the moon knocking into a closer orbit to the Earth, her life changes drastically. Suddenly all the creature comforts of everyday life are gone and her family must learn to survive on less. But will they survive a cold, harsh winter?

I cannot express how much I loved this book. I didn't want to bring it back to the library. It was a touching look at what one family does to survive in the midst of the end of their world. The book starts in the spring and ends in the middle of winter. Told in diary form from Miranda's, the daughter, point of view, Life As We Knew It goes through how the world outside changes and how Miranda's personal world shrinks until she learns what is truly important in life. Her emotional growth is so wonderful and she goes from a typical selfish teenager to a caring sacrificing woman in about eight months.

What I had to say on Twitter sums it up:
@lilbookworm: "Life as We Knew It" is my new favorite book of the year . I love it so very much.
@lilbookworm: I love it like cake, sad beautiful wonderful cake. "Life as We Knew It" read, love, thank me later.

Recommended by The O.W.L.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Garth Nix Mini-Challenge Completed List

Post your completed lists here.  Thanks for joining!

Teaser Tuesdays - Ophelia

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

 "Hamlet's sudden departure was strange and unwelcome news.  My hope that we would be reconciled grew dim, and I was filled with new regrets."

p.172 Ophelia - Lisa M. Klein

Garth Nix Mini-Challenge Reviews

 Post your reviews here.  Enter name and title of the book + your direct url.  Thanks and happy reading!

ETA: I'll be closing this at the end of March.  I'm done and no one else seems to be participating which is fine. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

Garth Nix Mini-Challenge - My List - COMPLETE

For my part of this challenge, I'm going to re-read all the Keys to the Kingdom books.  The challenge only calls for 3 books, but I want to prepare for Lord Sunday.

1. Mister Monday
2. Grim Tuesday
3. Drowned Wednesday
4. Sir Thursday
5. Lady Friday
6. Superior Saturday

Garth Nix Mini-Challenge

One of my favorite series of all time is the Keys to the Kingdom series.  The last book, Lord Sunday, is out in March so I thought now is a good time to do a Garth Nix mini-challenge.  The challenge is to read any 3 Garth Nix books by April 30, 2010.  Easy, right?  It starts today.
To join enter your name in Mister Linky below and your challenge post.   I'll have another post for reviews.

What I'm Reading 9/28 + an award

What are you reading Mondays? is a meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.
Check out J.Kaye's Book Blog for what others are reading.
This week I'm reading Ophelia (Klein) and Generation Dead (Waters).  I'm listening to The Wish (Levin).

Since last week I've finished Wings (Pike, review soon) and Beastly (Flinn).  On audio, I finished Life As We Knew It (Pfeffer, review soon).  Last week was an all Alice week so the reviews for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There, Alice in Wonderland, and Alice Through the Looking Glass went up.


Bookworm Nation has given me the Friendship Bear award.  Thanks so much!  I love Bookworm Nation.  They have great reviews and a very pretty blog and are extremely nice and friendly.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Books in the Mail

I won some books from The Brain Lair.  I am super excited since they look so good.  Thanks so much!

Ghostgirl: Rest in Popularity by Tonya Hurley

Charlotte Usher feels practically invisible at school, and then one day she really is invisible. Even worse: she's dead. And all because she choked on a gummy bear. But being dead doesn't stop Charlotte from wanting to be popular; it just makes her more creative about achieving her goal.

If you thought high school was a matter of life or death, wait till you see just how true that is. In this satirical, yet heartfelt novel, Hurley explores the invisibility we all feel at some times and the lengths we'll go to be seen.

Ghostgirl: Homecoming
Charlotte Usher discovers that the afterlife isn't quite what she pictured when she's forced to intern at a hotline for troubled teens. Before she can officially cross over, she'll have to be a source of guidance for one such teen. The problem is she doesn't have much advice to offer since dying hasn't exactly boosted her confidence level.

But when Hawthorne High's leading, love-to-hate cheerleader Petula and her gothic little sis' Scarlet find themselves suddenly resting-in-peace in comas, Charlotte's opportunity to save them will prove to be the risk of a lifetime-for all of them.

Murder by the Glass by Michele Scott

The poisoning of a Napa Valley bride has oenophile Nikki Sands researching what may have been a killer bottle of wine.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

From the Library 9/26

From the Library is my (formerly Friday, now) Saturday listing of what I checked out from the library this week.  Mostly audio books and a lot of fractured fairy tales,  I'm in the mood for them.

Fairest (audio) - Gail Carson Levine, read by Sarah Naughton and a full cast (I've actually listen to this before, but it was so good I'm going to revisit it.  I can't imagine reading it since it is full of song and it is so beautiful to hear them sung.)

 In the kingdom of Ayortha, who is the fairest of them all? Certainly not Aza. She is thoroughly convinced that she is ugly. What she may lack in looks, though, she makes up for with a kind heart, and with something no one else has–a magical voice. Her vocal talents captivate all who hear them, and in Ontio Castle they attract the attention of a handsome prince – and a dangerous new queen. In this masterful novel filled with humour, adventure, romance, and song, Newbery Honor author Gail Carson Levine invites you to join Aza as she discovers how exquisite she truly is.

L.A. Candy - Lauren Conrad (Don't judge me.  Although I think this is going to turn out like that time I read Pamela Anderson's book, I'm going to read it anyway. P.S. I've only watched The Hills like twice.)

 Los Angeles is all about the sweet life: hot clubs, cute guys, designer . . . everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can't wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun.
When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a "reality version of Sex and the City," they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please!
Soon Jane is TV's hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara—free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood premieres—and she's lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane's spotlight.
In a city filled with people chasing after their dreams, it's not long before Jane wakes up to the reality that everyone wants something from her, and nothing is what it seems to be.
L.A. Candy is a deliciously entertaining novel about what it's like to come of age in Hollywood while starring in a reality TV show, written by a girl who has experienced it all firsthand: Lauren Conrad.

The Name of this Book is Secret - Pseudonymous Bosch (Possibly this will be too Lemony Snicket for me, but I will try it anyway. ETA: I mean, it will be too derivative of Lemony Snicket.)
Warning: this description has not been authorized by Pseudonymous Bosch. As much as he'd love to sing the praises of his book (he is very vain), he wouldn't want you to hear about his brave 11-year old heroes, Cass and Max-Ernest. Or about how a mysterious box of vials, the Symphony of Smells, sends them on the trail of a magician who has vanished under strange (and stinky) circumstances. And he certainly wouldn't want you to know about the hair-raising adventures that follow and the nefarious villains they face. You see, not only is the name of this book secret, the story inside is, too. For it concerns a secret. A Big Secret.
Once Upon a Marigold (audio) - Jean Farris, read by Carrington McDuffie  (my fairy tale kick)
Christian is gaga for Princess Marigold. But he's just a commoner, and no match for royalty. Heck, he lives in a cave with a troll! And now he's discovered another reason to put his love-soggy heart on ice: Queen Olympia is scheming to take over the kingdom--and she'll bump off her own daughter to do it. Can Christian foil her diabolical plans?
Not only is Christian discovering things about Olympia but also about himself. It is these secrets that let him be with Princess Marigold.

Oryx and Crake (audio) - Margaret Atwood, read by Campbell Scott (I have no idea how I ended up with this, but the only thing I 've ever read by Atwood is the Handmaid's Tale so I guess I'll try so more.)
In Oryx and Crake, a science fiction novel that is more Swift than Heinlein, more cautionary tale than "fictional science" (no flying cars here), Margaret Atwood depicts a near-future world that turns from the merely horrible to the horrific, from a fool's paradise to a bio-wasteland. Snowman (a man once known as Jimmy) sleeps in a tree and just might be the only human left on our devastated planet. He is not entirely alone, however, as he considers himself the shepherd of a group of experimental, human-like creatures called the Children of Crake. As he scavenges and tends to his insect bites, Snowman recalls in flashbacks how the world fell apart. While the story begins with a rather ponderous set-up of what has become a clich├ęd landscape of the human endgame, littered with smashed computers and abandoned buildings, it takes on life when Snowman recalls his boyhood meeting with his best friend Crake: "Crake had a thing about him even then.... He generated awe ... in his dark laconic clothing." A dangerous genius, Crake is the book's most intriguing character. Crake and Jimmy live with all the other smart, rich people in the Compounds--gated company towns owned by biotech corporations. (Ordinary folks are kept outside the gates in the chaotic "pleeblands.") Meanwhile, beautiful Oryx, raised as a child prostitute in Southeast Asia, finds her way to the West and meets Crake and Jimmy, setting up an inevitable love triangle. Eventually Crake's experiments in bioengineering cause humanity's shockingly quick demise (with uncanny echoes of SARS, ebola, and mad cow disease), leaving Snowman to try to pick up the pieces.

The Storyteller's Daughter - Cameron Dokey  (my fairy tale kick)
Once upon a time, there lived a king whose heart was heavy. He had been betrayed by the woman he loved. Though the queen's schemes were discovered before she could deprive her husband of his life, her dying curse killed something deep within him: his ability to love and trust.
And so he makes a terrible resolution: He will take a bride for one night only. In the morning she will face a horrible fate. Then he will choose another. Nothing can change his course, until one brave woman steps forward. Shahrazad, the Storyteller's Daughter.
Steeped in the ancient art of her mother's people, Shahrazad embarks upon a perilous course. With words alone, she will seek to restore the king's heart. As she tells her tales a bond forms between them that neither can deny. But will it be strong enough to hold them together when unexpected danger erupts?

 Twelve Sharp (audio) - Janet Evanovich, read by Lorelei King (for the Stephanie Plum challenge I will planning on a read and listen.)
Welcome to Trenton, New Jersey, where bounty hunter Stephanie Plums life is about to implode. FIRST A STRANGER APPEARS While chasing down the usual cast of miscreants and weirdos Stephanie discovers that a crazed woman is stalking her. THEN THE STRANGER REVEALS HER SECRETS The woman dresses in black, carries a 9mm Glock, and has a bad attitude and a mysterious connection to dark and dangerous Carlos Manoso....street name, Ranger. NEXT, SOMEBODY DIES The action turns deadly serious, and Stephanie goes from hunting skips to hunting a murderer. SOON, THE CHASE IS ON Ranger needs Stephanie for more reasons than he can say. And now, the two are working together to find a killer, rescue a missing child, and stop a lunatic from raising the body count. When Stephanie Plum and Ranger get too close for comfort, vice cop Joe Morelli (her on-again, off-again boyfriend) steps in. Will the ticking clock stop at the stroke of twelve, or will a stranger in the wind find a way to stop Stephanie Plum....forever?

 The Wish (audio) - Gail Carson Levine, read by Ariadne Meyers  (I've liked everything I've read or listen to by Levine and this sounds cute.)
Ah, the ancient mysteries of life. Why are the popular people popular? What's different about them--what makes them special? In The Wish, award-winning author Gail Carson Levine (Ella Enchanted, Dave at Night) explores the age-old question with a simple premise: a girl who is granted one wish by an old lady on the subway wishes to be "the most popular kid at Claverford." As is the fate of many who are granted only one wish, Wilma doesn't think through her wish carefully enough. While she is now adored by boys and girls alike, she is a mere three weeks away from graduating from Claverford. At Elliott, her next school, she'll be back to her lowly, oft-ridiculed self. Tension builds for Wilma until her graduation-night dance, the night before her popularity--and maybe even her relationship with her wonderful new boyfriend--will invariably come to a screeching halt. This fun, witty, insightful novel thoroughly examines the nature of "popularity," and what it means to be true to yourself. It's not just because of the old woman's spell that Wilma ponders, "'To thine own self be true.' But who was mine own self? That's what I wanted to know." Wilma is a funny, smart, no-more-awkward-than-most character with whom young readers of all social echelons will identify completely. When her popularity runs out (and the spell does end), her true friendships remain, and she's left standing on her feet.

Ophelia - Lisa M. Klein (for the Much Ado about Shakespeare Challenge, I have always loved Ophelia for some reason)
Ophelia is young, vivacious, and falling in love with a prince who cannot return her affections without arousing suspicion. And so they meet in secret—embracing in stairwells and castle turrets, reaching passionately for each other under the cover of darkness. His name is Hamlet; her name is Ophelia. And if you think you know this story, think again. Because when bloody deeds turn the court of Elsinore into a place of treachery and madness, Ophelia alone will find the means to escape, with nothing more than the clothes on her back…and one very dangerous secret.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Alice Through the Looking Glass (Based on a Book)

A almost-straight adaptation of Through the Looking Glass, this version stars Kate Beckinsale.  One night Alice is reading Through the Looking Glass to her daughter and goes through the mirror and into the Looking Glass world.  There she meets the Red Queen, the White Queen, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, as well as Humpty Dumpty and the White Knight.

This is a trippy movie.  I first saw part of it one day when I was home sick and feverish and I wasn't entirely sure if I dreamed it or not, which is entirely appropriate for this book.  It is a dead-on accurate movie with all the dialogue coming straight from the book.  It is a little odd with Kate Beckinsale claiming to be seven, but then the whole thing is odd.  Alice wanders through the chessboard meeting all the characters and getting poetry recited to her a lot.  Her hair changes on each square and sometimes her clothes.  The costumes are very good and bright.  The only thing missing is Diana, the cat.  It is very rare to have a movie that doesn't change anything from the source material and is acted out with perfect seriousness.

* I watched this to fulfill this part of the Alice in Wonderland Challenge: Watch and review one live action (already released) movie version of Alice in Wonderland.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pretty Little Liars Challenge - ABANDON

This is a book series that I've been trying and failing to read for some time now.  Maybe this will push me into it.  Hosted by Trisha at Trisha's Book Blog, here are the guidelines:

- This challenge is to read all of the Pretty Little Liars series. You can not count books that you have read prior to the start of this challenge. Sept. 24, 2009. Challenge closes Dec. 31, 2010. Here are the books:

*Pretty Little Liars
*Heartless (January 19th,2010)
*Heartless (2010)

* Oh and there are prizes.  If you finish the challenge, your name goes in to win all the books in the series.  Pretty cool!

ABANDONING 10/9/2010 I'm never going to get around to this series this year. :(

Alice in Wonderland (Disney 1951) (Based on a Book)

One of my favorite movies growing up, I was happy to revisit Alice in Wonderland for the challenge.  It has held up pretty well.  The songs are lively and it still makes me sad when Alice cries in the forest.  Not a true adaption of Alice in Wonderland, but a combination of elements from both Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

*just in case highlight white areas for spoilers

Alice is bored with her tutor and decides that a world of nonsense would be fun.  When she sees the White Rabbit, she follows him and falls down a rabbit hole.  There she encounters the locked door, a cake labeled "Eat Me," and a big problem.  After drinking she grows to a large size and cannot fit through the door. So she cries huge tears and then spies a bottle labeled "Drink Me" and she shrinks right into the bottle!  Alice is carried away through the doorknob and meets many crazy creatures including Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the Mad Hatter and March Hare, the Cheshire Cat (my favorite), and the Queen of Hearts.  After almost losing her head to the Queen of Hearts, Alice is awoken by her tutor and goes off to have tea.

Actually a good portion of the movie is from Through the Looking Glass, but Disney picked the parts that are least terrifying.  There's no Jabberwocky in this movie, though the Cheshire Cat sings the Jabberwocky poem.  My favorite parts are the flower garden and the Walrus and the Carpenter.  I always like the white rose since she is so beautiful and I felt sorry for the little oysters even though they are stupid.  So it was nice revisiting Disney's Alice in Wonderland.  I watched it with my little boy, but he was bored by most of it so it's not quite up to 2 year old standards. Maybe one day...

*cross posted with Annie, I think

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass & What Alice Found There

I can't remember the last time I read Alice in Wonderland.  It is a strange book because basically Alice wanders around Wonderland just running into these odd characters.  Mostly she is looking for the beautiful garden she sees through the keyhole, but has trouble finding it.  She meets the White Rabbit, the Caterpillar, the Duchess, the Mad Hatter and the March Hare, the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle and the Gryphon, and attends the trial of the Knave of Hearts.  Alice is a very curious and proper sort of girl and there's a lot of manners commentary and poetry recitation.  It's still a fun book and one of my favorites.
Favorite quote: the whole book is one giant favorite quote, but I especially liked this time:
"Begin at the beginning," the King [of Hearts] said gravely, "and go on till you come to the end; then stop."

The second half of the book isn't really a sequel.  It's more a companion books since Alice doesn't go back to Wonderland, but rather Looking Glass World.  This story has a little more direction since Alice is playing the part of a White Pawn in a great chess game.  When she arrives in Looking Glass World, she meets the Red Queen and is made apart of the game.  When she reaches the eighth square, then Alice will be made into a Queen.  Carroll even sets out the moves at the beginning of the book so they can be played out by the reader. 

Favorite quotes:

"I don't know what you mean your way, " said the [Red] Queeen, "all the ways about here belong to me-" p.175

"And if he left off dreaming about you, where do you suppose you'd be?" p.207

"Always speak the truth - think before you speak - and write it down afterward." p.283

Of the two books, Through the Looking Glass is my favorite.  I always liked the idea of the chess game and most of the characters are familiar as they are either in the Disney movie or are nursery rhyme characters. In this story, Alice meets the talking flowers, the Red and White Queens and Kings, Tweedledum and Tweedledee, Humpty Dumpty, the Lion and the Unicorn, and the White Knight.  Although my two favorite characters are in Wonderland, the Caterpillar and the Cheshire Cat, I have always like the White Queen.  She is amusing and nice and I like how she lives backwards.  Everyone is odd, of course, and wants to recite poetry to Alice, so much so that she gets tired of it.  At the end at Alice's party, there is a joke about meeting the mutton that reminds me of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe "Let's meet the meat."  I wonder if Douglas Adams was influenced by this book.  Anyway,  it was nice to revisit one of my old favorites and if you never read either, I recommend that you start reading right now.  After all, all ways here are my ways. ;)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - Beastly

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

Because what would happen me if he couldn't fix it? I didn't believe for one second in Kendra's second chance. If my father couldn't fix it, I was finished.

p. 54 Beastly - Alex Flinn

Monday, September 21, 2009

What I'm Reading 9/21 + Awards!

What are you reading Mondays? is a meme hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.
Check out J.Kaye's Book Blog for what others are reading.
  This week I'm planning on Beastly (Flinn), Wings (Pike), and, if there is time, Generation Dead (Waters).  I'm listening to Life as We Knew It (Pffefer, Bauer).  I was listening to Everlost (Shusterman) but the narrator's voice was giving me a headache so I'm switching to the print whenever I get a chance. And then I don't know.  Suggestions for audio books?

Since last week I've finished Alice in Wonderland (Carroll) and that's it.  I'm not sure what happened, life I guess. I abandoned Tattoo (Barnes) since I couldn't get into it. Anyway, I also finished Messenger (Lowry) on audio.  The review for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Grahame-Smith) went up and so did The Taming of the Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You double review.

If you are a regular follower of my blog, then you can look forward to all Alice in Wonderland review week this week.


I got the Spread the Love Around award from Tam at Bailey's and Books.  Thanks so much!  Tam has a fun blog and she is also doing the Everything Austen Challenge. 

So I'm passing this on to
Books Obsession
The Zen Leaf
Thoughts on YA Literature
Trisha's Book Blog

Speaking of Trisha at Trisha's Book Blog, she gave me the Let's Be Friends Award this week as well.  Thanks Trisha!!  We have become friendly after I helped answer a couple of questions she had.  In addition to her book reviews, Trisha has a Giveaway of the Day post which is really nice.  

Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers.

So I'm passing this on to:
A Buckeye Girl Reads
Bookworm Nation
Gofita's Page
Layers of Thought
One Reader's Trash is Another Reader's Treasure
Stephanie's Written Word
That Chick that Reads
The O.W.L.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Abandoned - Tattoo

From the book:
Bailey Morgan isn't the type of girl who shows a lot of skin, but somehow, she ends up in a dressing room at the mall with her friend Delia applying a temporary tattoo to her lower back. Never one to suffer fashion doubt, trendsetter Delia knows exactly where she wants her own tattoo: on her stomach, right where her shirt ends—can you say "midriff"? Annabelle, the quiet one, chooses the back of her neck, and tomboy Zo plasters hers on the top of her foot. The tattoos will last for three days, and Delia's sure that with them, the four friends will absolutely kill at the school dance.

Unfortunately, killing is just what someone has in mind, and Bailey, Delia, Annabelle, and Zo are in for the battle of their lives. Along with her tattoo, each girl receives a gift—a supernatural power to help them in their fight. As Bailey's increasingly frightening dreams reveal the nature of their enemy, it becomes clear to the girls that it's up to them to save the world. And if they can get Delia to stop using her newfound power to turn gum wrappers into Prada pumps, they might actually stand a chance.

I read the first 60 pages, but in the end I didn't care enough to go on. The premise was interesting, but there wasn't enough set-up for me and the tone rang strange for me. Obviously other people liked it since there is a sequel, but it's not for me.

Skimmed - Lessons from a Dead Girl

Leah Greene is dead. For Laine, knowing what really happened and the awful feeling that she is, in some way, responsible set her on a journey of painful self-discovery. Yes, she wished for this. She hated Leah that much. Hated her for all the times in the closet, when Leah made her do those things. They were just practicing, Leah said. But why did Leah choose her? Was she special, or just easy to control? And why didn’t Laine make it stop sooner? In the aftermath of the tragedy, Laine is left to explore the devastating lessons Leah taught her, find some meaning in them, and decide whether she can forgive Leah and, ultimately, herself.

This is not my kind of book in general.  I don't like to read books about childhood abuse or anything like that. So I checked it out with every intent of reading it, but I ended up skimming it and that was enough.  It was good from what I can see, but I'm not really interested in reading in depth about a girl's self destruction and her basic mission to bring her friend down too.  The topic of a child abusing another child is not one you see everyday and that was an interesting aspect of this book.  I felt sorry for both the girls and it is one of those situations where both of them are lost and scare and hurt and don't understand what to do about it.  There are many others who have read it and liked it.  It's not that I didn't, I just wasn't interested enough to do more than skim.

See also: 
Book Zombie

Saturday, September 19, 2009

From the Library 9/19

From the Library is my (formerly Friday, now)Saturday listing of what I checked out from the library this week.

Everlost (audio) - Neil Shusterman, read by Nick Podehl (been hearing a lot about Shusterman lately so I thought I'd start here)
Nick and Allie don't survive the car accident...but their souls don't exactly get where they're supposed to get either. Instead, they're caught halfway between life and death, in a sort of limbo known as Everlost: a shadow of the living world, filled with all the things and places that no longer exist. It's a magical yet dangerous place where bands of lost children run wild and anyone who stands in the same place too long sinks to the center of the Earth.
When they find Mary, the self-proclaimed queen of lost kids, Nick feels like he he's found a home. But Allie isn't satisfied spending eternity between worlds. Against all warnings, Allie begins learning the "Criminal Art" of haunting and ventures into dangerous territory, where a monster called the McGill threatens all the souls of Everlost.

Life as We Knew It (audio) Susan Beth Pfeffer, read by Emily Bauer (Jill at the O.W.L. reviewed this recently and it looked good)

It's almost the end of Miranda's sophomore year in high school, and her journal reflects the busy life of a typical teenager: conversations with friends, fights with mom, and fervent hopes for a driver's license. When Miranda first begins hearing the reports of a meteor on a collision course with the moon, it hardly seems worth a mention in her diary. But after the meteor hits, pushing the moon off its axis and causing worldwide earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanoes, all the things Miranda used to take for granted begin to disappear. Food and gas shortages, along with extreme weather changes, come to her small Pennsylvania town; and Miranda's voice is by turns petulant, angry, and finally resigned, as her family is forced to make tough choices while they consider their increasingly limited options. Yet even as suspicious neighbors stockpile food in anticipation of a looming winter without heat or electricity, Miranda knows that that her future is still hers to decide even if life as she knew it is over.

The Dead and the Gone - Susan Beth Pfeffer (sequel to Life as We Knew It.  I like to have all the books if possible.)
Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Life as We Knew It enthralled and devastated readers with its brutal but hopeful look at an apocalyptic event--an asteroid hitting the moon, setting off a tailspin of horrific climate changes. Now this harrowing companion novel examines the same events as they unfold in New York City, revealed through the eyes of seventeen-year-old Puerto Rican Alex Morales. When Alex's parents disappear in the aftermath of tidal waves, he must care for his two younger sisters, even as Manhattan becomes a deadly wasteland, and food and aid dwindle.     With haunting themes of family, faith, personal change, and courage, this powerful new novel explores how a young man takes on unimaginable responsibilities.

The Midnight Twins - Jacquelyn Mitchard (My sister mentioned this book and it sounds cool.)

Meredith and Mallory Brynn, are mirror twins born on either side of midnight one New Year's Eve. They have always been inseparable. But after they are nearly killed in a mysterious fire on their thirteenth birthday, the bond that has always joined them unravels. They begin to have visions and dreams that reveal the deep secrets kept by the people around them. Meredith and Mallory realize they have each been given a gift: Mallory can see deep into the past, Meredith can see the future. But when they discover that one boy is not what they imagined, their lives will be changed forever. If they can survive…

Wings - Aprilynne Pike (I don't remember where I heard about this first, but it is being made into a movie with Miley Cyrus so, of course, I needed to read it before that happened.)

Laurel was mesmerized, staring at the pale things with wide eyes. They were terrifyingly beautiful—too beautiful for words.
Laurel turned to the mirror again, her eyes on the hovering petals that floated beside her head. They looked almost like wings.
In this extraordinary tale of magic and intrigue, romance and danger, everything you thought you knew about faeries will be changed forever.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Taming of the Shrew / 10 Things I Hate about You

Did I know this was a play within a play?  I'm not sure.  But let me tell you that I am slightly appalled by the content.  I guess back in the day, it was ok to basically torture your wife into submission, but that is decidedly not ok now.

So Katherina is a big witch, a shrew if you will, who is mean to everyone and has a sharp wit.  Her younger sister, Bianca, cannot get married until Katherina is married first.  Along comes Petruchio who decides that Katherina should be his wife as she has a lot of money.  He decides to tame her with starvation and sleep deprivation, all in the name of love, till she submits to him.

There is also Bianca's subplot about two men who want to marry her  Hortensio and Lucentio pretend to be tutors to get close to her.  Through a slightly complicated plot, Lucentio wins her hand and they are married.  In the end, Petruchio proves that he has the most obedient wife.

So I think it can be said that this is not one of  my favorite plays although I think Katherina and Petruchio deserve each other.  Katherina is a b***h to everyone without actually meeting them and she is very mean to her sister and Petruchio is fairly insane just in general.  One day she is going to slit his throat while he sleeps.  I have no doubt.

Since I listened to the play, I thought it would be fun to watch one of the all time greatest movies.  I speak, of course, of 10 Things I Hate about You, the masterpiece starring Heath Leger and Julia Stiles.  I forgot how funny this movie is.  It's more "based on" and is definitely not an straight adaption, which is good because it would be ridiculous if it was.  The characters are very similar, Katerina is straight-up mean (with reason we find out), Patrick is a thug (with a heart of gold-ish), but Bianca is much more annoying and is really more horrible to her sister than her sister is to her.  I would  have been mean to her to if I was Kat.  The character of Hortensio is transformed into arrogant model Joey Donner and Lucentio into sweetie Cameron.

In this version, Patrick is paid to take out Katerina so that Bianca can date.  She is out right mean to him and softens up later.  But after he refuses to kiss her (and rightly so, she is threw up early) she gets mad and Patrick sings "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" to win her back and then she flashes her teacher to get him out of detention.  So he really tries to win her with kindness and she is angry later when she finds out about him being paid (and rightly so).  Thus the titular poem "10 Things I Hate about You" is written

Julia Stiles and Heath Ledge are so good and so beautiful in this movie.  I especially thought the scene where Cameron and his friend decide if Patrick is a "pretty" guy or not was funny.  And I love the ending and the fact that they both gave as good as they got.  The music is fantastic.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Messenger (audio)

Six years after Gathering Blue finds Matty living in Village with Seer, the blind man.  Once a peaceful and welcoming, the villagers are becoming angry and mean.  They have voted to close Village against newcomers.  Now Matty must convince Seer's daughter, Kira, to come back with before Village closes.  But Forest has given Matty a warning against entering its depths.

*highlight white for spoilers

After being a little disappointed with Gathering Blue, I was happy with Messenger.  It was so sweet and good and answers many questions.  It's funny because Gathering Blue and Messenger seem so different from The Giver, but together they give a complete picture of this world.

A big motif is names.  In The Giver, names are handed out and are reusable unless the person has committed an unthinkable travesty.  In Gathering Blue, length of names is based on age.  So the young tikes have only one syllable names and the older they get the more syllables their name becomes.  In Messenger, once a person reaches a certain age, they get their true name which signifies who they are and what they do.  So Jonas has become Leader and Kira's father, Christopher, is Seer.  All Matty wants is to become Messenger, which he thinks (hopes) is his true name.  But Matty is destined for greater things and it is interesting to see the little thieving funny boy grow up into this sweet and loyal young man.

I admitted to crying when Matty dies on Twitter.  I was so saddened when that happened, but I am amazed by the choice he makes to heal everyone.  It is a  poignant moment in the book and I wonder what it means for the world at large.

All in all, there is an a big difference between the villages shown earlier in the series and Village in Messenger and it was good to see what happened to Jonas.   But I don't remember a mention of Gabriel.  And I'm pretty sure Leader and Kira get married.  I was highly satisfied with the ending of this series even if it was sad.

David Morse is the narrator and I loved his sad, gentle, reassuring voice.  He was a great choice for narrator and he did an excellent job with the vocals.

BBAW Book Discovery

This week I am participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  Today's post is: Today we encourage you to blog about a book you read only because you discovered it on another book blog.  Preferably, this will be a book you loved!  You might also write a bit about the blog you discovered it on!

I've written a review of Skin Hunger already and I don't have much more to say about it.  There are many books that I've read that were recommended by other bloggers and I do a poor job of recognizing where I got titles from, but I do remember that Skin Hunger was recommended by Sue at Great Books for Kids and Teens.  She had a favorable review of Skin Hunger and it seemed like it was my kind of book so I put it on my list and I'm glad I did.  It was a sad and creepy story with so much going into it.  The two time lines involved and it was interesting to see how they intersect.

Sue reads some great books and has two great blogs,  Great Books for Kids and Teens & Book by Book.  So thanks Sue for recommending such awesome books.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW Reading Meme

This week I am participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  Today's post is the BBAW Reading Meme.
We encourage you to be creative with this!  Please choose one or two questions to answer or try to answer all the questions in five words or less.  Or choose a picture to answer a question!  Brevity is the goal of today! 

  • Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

  • How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?

  • Fiction, Non-fiction, or both? Fiction
  • Hard copy or audiobooks? both

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW Interview Swap - Stone SouP

This week I am participating in Book Blogger Appreciation Week.  Today's post is the blogger interview swap.  My partner is Katrina from Stone SouP, a much more adult book blog than mine.  Thanks Katrina for being my partner!

 Here is my interview with her.  Check out my half on her blog.

Tell me about your blog.
Stone SouP is as varied as my thoughts are, hence the name and slogan ("Throw everything into a pot ... and simmer"). I do try to limit myself to topics that I might write about in my fiction, topics women tend to be interested in. Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's thought-provoking, sometimes it's sweet. I talk about interesting things I've done or learned, or the weird places my mind has gone, or I tell a funny story (usually on myself -- I have a knack for saying and doing stoopid things). And always, always we talk about books: what I'm reading, what my readers are reading, what we want to be reading.

What kinds of books do you review?
My reading list is eclectic, so you might find anything, but I only review books I can recommend. If I hated a book, you won't see it mentioned (though it might show up on my giveaway shelf). I review a lot of literary and women's fiction, though rarely romance per se. I like writers like Michelle Richmond and Joshilyn JacksonJodi Picoult and Sarah Strohmeyer. But I've also reviewed horror, young adult, paranormal, suspense, science fiction ... you name it! I think the only genre I haven't tried yet is graphic novels, and I have one on my TBR shelf.

I see that you are an author.  What kinds of books do you write?
Technically, I'm a writer, not an author, because I haven't published yet. I write ... well, it's a little hard to explain. I write upmarket women's fiction, which is a fancy way of saying mainstream literature geared toward women that blurs the line between commercial and literary fiction. My current WIP (work in progress) has a strong dark humor thread. It's called East of Jesus, and it's a fast-paced, quirky look at psychological abuse for a female reader who might daydream about wielding a chainsaw on that jerk down the hall.

What is your favorite book so far this year?
Gosh, that's a tough one! I've read so many great books this year. But I think my personal favorite was The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.
What book are you looking forward to that is coming out soon?
Again, that's a harder question than it sounds, but I suppose the one that's most killing me to wait for is Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, the author of The Time Traveler's Wife. I've emailed my bookseller twice to say, "Is it out yet?" I think Sept. 29 is never going to get here!
If you could be one literary character, who would it be?
Lorna Doone, who not only got the guy but found out she was an heiress as well.
Who is your favorite Winnie-the-Pooh character?
Piglet. He's so small and fearful, and not very smart, but because he's got a huge heart and a bucketload of optimism, nothing keeps him down.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Thanks for reading -- not just the entry or the blog, but for reading books. The industry would crumble if it weren't for individual readers who open the covers of a book, hoping to find a new world.