Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

I hope you all have a wonderful and magical Christmas day!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Jacob T. Marley by R. William Bennett

Ever wonder about Jacob Marley, the reason why Scrooge is visited the three spirits and his soul is saved? Here is the story of what happened with Marley and why he was able to offer Scrooge the chance he did.

This was really well done. It fit nicely with The Christmas Carol. It is written in the same style and tone as the Dickens' tale. The Christmas Carol is one of my favorite holiday stories and I had never really given Marley much thought. He just appeared in the story as a minor character, but really he is very important. Because he is the one who offers Scrooge the chance to redeem himself. I enjoyed reading how Marley really effected Scrooge's life and contributed to Scrooge's attitude and outlook and his overall ruthlessness. This was a wonderful addition to the Dickens' story and it is a great holiday tale.

from NetGalley

Friday, December 23, 2011

Holiday audio books

I've been listening to some old favorites this holiday season. Instead of doing individual posts of books I've already reviewed I thought I'd put them all here.

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, read by Elaine Stritch.
The Herdmans are the worst kids in town and somehow they end up mixed up in the Christmas Pageant. Everyone thinks they are going to destroy the pageant but they end up showing everyone the true meaning of Christmas.

I never read this book as a child, but the movie was a favorite growing up.  I discovered that is was based on a book within the last few years and of course I had to read it. It is as delightful as the movie and I hope that it is a favorite for my kids one day.  I like the narration of Elaine Stritch. At first it caught me off guard how much older she sounds than the narrator of the book is supposed to be. But she does such a fine job that it doesn't really matter in the end.

A Christmas Story by Jean Shepherd, read by Dick Cavett
This is one of my favorite Christmas movies is based on a series of short stories by Jean Shepherd (who narrates the movie). Jean Shepherd is one of my favorite retrospective authors and I love his books. And all the stories contained in this compilation should sound familiar to anyone who has seen the movie. From Red Ryder and his bb gun to Grover Dill, the bully all the stories are here. It's fun listening to them and I really like Dick Cavett's voice and the sound effects that go into the audio book.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 12/19

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm reading Anna and the French Kiss (Perkins) and Christmas in High Heels (Halliday). I'm listening to A Christmas Story (Shepherd).

Last week I read Jacob T. Marley (Bennett) and listened to The Penderwicks (Birdsall) and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Robinson). I reviewed Heavy Weather (Wodehouse) and Forever (Steifvater). 

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

 The four Penderwick sisters are spending 3 weeks of their summer vacation at a cottage on the estate of Arundel.  There they find adventure and new friendship with, Jeffery, the son of Arundel's owner, Mrs. Tifton.  But Mrs. Tifton does not approve of the Penderwicks and their tendencies to get into trouble.  

This was an adorable book.  I love the Penderwicks and thought they were a delightful group of girls, from Rosalind, the oldest to Batty, the youngest.  All the girls had very distinct personalities.  Rosalind, 12, is the caring oldest sister who is beginning to like boys. Ferocious and smart Skye, 11, is next followed by aspiring author Jane, 10. And last is Batty, 4, the sweet and adorable yet trouble prone youngest.  They were all great characters and I was happy to go along with them on their summer vacation.  I also like Jeffery and thought he was a sweet boy who really needed his mother to listen to him.  Mrs. Tifton is not a likeable character but I think there might have been more dept to her character than could really be explored in a short childrens book.  That was the great thing about this book.  Even the characters who were not fully explored, i.e. most of the adults, seem to have hidden depths and a real back story. That is is so rare to find and is, I believe, the hallmark of a well written book.
6 hours, 44 minutes
Susan Denaker is the narrator and she does a delightful job of bringing the Penderwicks to life. I liked all her voices for the characters and the book was really fun to listen to on my daily commute.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Heavy Weather by P.G. Wodehouse

This installment of the Blandings Castle Saga finds the house in an uproar as usual and is a sequel to Summer Lightning. Ronnie Fish still wants to marry Sue Brown over the objections of his aunts. But when they bring his mother into the mix and Ronnie suspects Sue of being in love with someone else, it all comes crashing down.  Meanwhile, a variety of people are steal trying to steal Gally Threepwood's manuscript, some to destroy it, other to publish it.

These books are so amusing.  I really do enjoy them. They are the perfect easy and funny read when I'm in the mood for light reading. Usually Wodehouse's books are sequels but this one is for Summer Lightning. And it took me a little to remember what happened in that book, but it's not hard as Wodehouse is not meant to be complex.  I"m happy that Sue and Ronnie worked it out and Gally is really growing on me. And Lord Emsworth's obsession with the Empress of Blandings is always amusing.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Steifvater

Sam and Grace have been through so much together and now they face a challenge that means life or death.  Isabelle's dad has found a way to eliminate the wolves and with Grace still shifting, it becomes imperative that Sam, Cole, and Isabelle find a way to save the wolves.

This was a great ending to this series. I was actually expecting a much sadder ending.  While it was sad enough that I cried, it was still hopeful and I didn't mind the fact that a finite ending wasn't given to Sam and Grace. Real life doesn't work that way and so books don't have to either. Though I did find Sam and Grace, well Sam in particular, much more frustrating. His inability to do something made me want to shake him. Isabelle and Cole are really my favorites. They are much more sarcastic and proactive and I love them for it. Sam and Grace's pure sweet love is wonderful to read and I love them too, but sometimes you need a bit of grit in your romance.

12 hours, 10 minutes

Read by Jenna Lamia, Pierce Cravens, Dan Bittner, Emma Galvin, Maggie Stiefvater

The same cast from the previous book returns and they do a great job. Each manages to embody their character and they play them beautifully. The audio books are great for this series because the actors really manage to convey the emotions well. I enjoyed this audio series a lot.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 12/12

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library..
This week I'm reading Jacob T. Marley (Bennett) and Sweetly (Pearce). And I should finish listening The Penderwicks (Birdsall) this week and I'll start the Best Christmas Pageant Ever (Robinson) after that. 

Last week I finished Heavy Weather (Wodehouse). And reviewed Every Other Day (Barnes).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Every Other Day by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

What if Buffy was only Buffy every other day?  That's pretty much the premise behind this book.  But it's pretty awesome.  Kali is kick ass on some days and on the others she is an ordinary human.  She doesn't know why but on her hunter days she is compelled to seek out the things that go bump in the night and kill them.  But it's one on of her ordinary days that she finds that a classmate is infected with a chupacabra, a virus-like organization that sucks the blood out of people and erases their memories.   Figuring that she can kill it on her hunter day, Kali takes it into her body only needing survive the chupacabra's draining until the next sundown.  But she finds that it's presence changes her in ways she could not predict.  Aided by some new friends, including a sort-of psychic, her older brother and his girlfriend, the girl who originally hosted the chupacabra, Kali begins to seek out the truth behind her origins.

I am a huge Buffy fan.  And I love the idea that superhero is only a superhero some of the time.  It makes the hero(ine) much more interesting.  I was surprised by the direction that this book ultimately takes, but surprised in a good way. Kali legitimately has a reason to complain because basically her life changes from day to day without her control.  And she wants to know if she is alone or if there are others like her.  But she and her dad have a frosty relationship so she can't ask him and tip him off. The answer actually comes from a surprising source and I love that. Kali is a great character whether she is the hunter or not and she is very much a teenager despite her unusual nature.  This is a fun read, not too gory or over the top, but just right with a unique concept.

From NetGalley

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekly Round-Up 12/5

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
This week I'm finishing Heavy Weather (Wodehouse). And I'm listening to The Penderwicks (Birdsall).

Last week I reviewed All These Things I've Done (Zevin).