Thursday, December 27, 2007

Books for Christmas!

New Books for Christmas!!
(stuff we all got, not just me)

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
(both already read, but I just had to HAVE them!)
The City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Magic Street by Orson Scott Card
Half Magic by Edward Eager
Junie B. Jones and the Yucky Blucky Fruit Cake by Barbara Park
The Secret Journal of Brett Colton by Kay Lynn Mangum
A Love Like Lilly by Kay Lynn Mangum
Books 2 and 3 of the Jimmy Fincher Saga by James Dashner

Then we had $75 to spend in gift cards at Barnes and Noble, and $35 at Borders. So from both those places, we came home with:

Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld (sequel to Peeps)
Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman
Diary Queen by Catherine Murdock
The Traveler by John Twelve Hawks
Oil! by Upton Sinclair
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Utah’s Incredible Backcountry Trails by David Day

Wow! What a list! I can’t wait to get reading!

Booking Through Thursday: Highlights

It’s an old question, but a good one . . . What were your favorite books this year?

List as many as you like … fiction, non-fiction, mystery, romance, science-fiction, business, travel, cookbooks … whatever the category. But, really, we’re all dying to know. What books were the highlight of your reading year in 2007?

I was going to do this anyway, since it's and end of the year tradition with me!

Top Ten Books of 2007:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald
Zorro by Isabel Allende
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (even though it’s a re-read!)

Honorable Mentions

The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
Austenland by Shannon Hale
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors

Favorite YA Books (not counting the ones already in the main Top Ten List!)

Kiri Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
Maximum Ride series by James Patterson
Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements
A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: And The Nominees Are.....

What fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?(Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

What non-fiction book (or books) would you nominate to be the best new book published in 2007?(Older books that you read for the first time in 2007 don’t count.)

And, do “best of” lists influence your reading?

I didn't think I'd read much "new" stuff, but then I looked at my list and I actually do have a few... and they are all ones I LOVE and would be willing to put on a "best of" list:
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • Austenland by Shannon Hale
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  • Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
  • Extras by Scott Westerfeld
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
I don't think I read any new non-fiction.... I barely read any non-fiction at all. I need to really try harder with this category!

Oh, and yes, I love "best of" lists! So yes, they do influence my reading quite a bit!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My 2008 TBR Challenge List

The other day when I should have been doing many other things, I ended up staring at my bookshelves (aka. the Too Be Read Pile) trying to determine what I'd be in the mood to read this next year for the TBR Challenge. I think the rule is that they must be books I've had for six months at least... and still haven't read and I'm assuming there can be a few crossovers with other challenges.

So, here's what I've come up with for my new list of 2008 TBR's:

  1. Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
  2. Magyk by Angie Sage
  3. The Secret Hour (Midnighters book 1) by Scott Westerfeld
  4. Messenger by Lois Lowry
  5. Eugenie Grandet by Honore de Balzac
  6. Quentins by Maueve Binchy
  7. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  8. Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins
  9. The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham
  10. Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier
  11. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  12. The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards


  1. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  2. The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland
  3. The Moon Below by Barbara Bickmore
  4. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
  5. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

I can't wait to get going on a new year of reading!

As for this past year's challenge? I still have one more on my list to read, but I can't find it anywhere. I KNOW we had that book! So I may try one from the alternate list and hopefully have time to read it before the year ends. Anyway, all the results of that will be in another post!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Book Club Tonight! Skipping Christmas by John Grisham

Book Club today at my house!! All are invited! Who’s coming???

We’re discussing Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, perfect reading for this time of year. If you haven’t read the book, you may have seen the movie Christmas With The Kranks. I’ve not seen it, but the trailer makes it look pretty much identical to the book.

So, who’s thinking of skipping Christmas about now? I know that some time in the future, I’ll be skipping it because my husband has been campaigning for this for years. He’d LOVE to go on a cruise over Christmas and bag all the hoopla! Me? Well, I’d go for it, as soon as I don’t have little kids. However, I think that even big kids and/or grandkids would be hard to leave at Christmastime. I don’t know I guess we’ll see, huh?

But even if I did skip it, I don’t think I could skip everything. I’d still want to bake, and eat. And blast the music, and do crafty things, and ..... so... yeah... it might be pretty hard for me to skip it.

Well, so if you can’t come to book club tonight, there’s always the comment section! :) Let’s hear what you think! Are you in favor of skipping it or not?

Booking Through Thursday: Catalog

Do you use any of the online book-cataloguing sites, like Library Thing or Shelfari? Why or why not? (Or . . . do you have absolutely no idea what I’m talking to?? (grin))
If not an online catalog, do you use any other method to catalog your book collection? Excel spreadsheets, index cards, a notebook, anything?

I started using one a long time ago called Bibliophil. But then I gave up, and then everyone started using these other things, then I feel like I have to start all over if I want to join in with everyone, then I get overwhelmed..... so then I do nothing! So... at this point, I'm not keeping track of my books anywhere, though it does look fun and I'm always tempted.

I don't keep track any other way either! No database, no cards, no notebook! It's all in my head, and I'm starting to run out of memory space up there! I especially notice this at this time of year when I'm getting books for the kids and I can't remember if we have it already! But I love it when my kids will need something for school, or they bring home a list of possible book choices, and I can go down the list and say, "Yep, have that one! Yep, that one....that one... nope not that one... yep, that one!" But some day maybe they could get on the computer and just see what we have in our own personal library on their own! Yep, some day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I Got a Package!

Yeah! My Secret Santa package arrived yesterday! The mailman delivered it right to my door and the first thing I noticed was the Star Wars stamps all over it. Cool!

So, of course I opened it. Inside I found two hard back books, one I'd heard of Peony in Love by Lisa See and one I haven't heard of, The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell... I'm so excited about both of them!

Then for the fun part... opening the card to see who they were from.... thank you so much to Lisa from Pfeiffer Booknotes! I was so not expecting hardback books! I can't wait to read them. Thanks for the bookmarks too.

This has been such a fun idea... figuring out what to send, waiting for a package to arrive and reading about what everyone else is receiving. Very fun. Way to go Nymeth!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Advent Calendar Tour Continues!

Ten days down, only 14 to go! Yep, just two weeks from today! I'm in panic mode already to get it all done!

It's been so fun seeing what everyone has come up with for their contribution to our blog advent tour! I had a hard time deciding what to do, so here's a little bit of everything.

First, I thought I'd describe our Christmas Eve ritual. Much of this started with my own family growing up, then after we got married, we invited The Mr.'s family to join us for Christmas Eve, so it's morphed into a tradition with his family. We take turns going to each other's houses every year, this year it'll be at our house!

It all begins with food, of course. For some reason, it's clam chowder with crackers and a cheese ball, some sort of salad, and also corn bread! After we eat, we have a program that includes talent performances from all family members. This can be musical instruments, stories, counting by little kids, poems, artwork show and tell, singing, etc. Then Grandma and Grandpa usually read some story like The Polar Express. We have one uncle who, for his talent, does a slide show of fun pictures from the past year.

Then, we act out the nativity! This is always a very chaotic moment! I remember one time, about four years, when we had a three year old shepherd who went totally wacko with is staff! I found the clip of it and made a little movie to share. Hopefully it will bring a little smile to you all:

After that, we open presents. The cousins draw names, so everyone gets one present. Then we eat treats and sometimes ice cream. (When I was growing up, my grandparents made homemade ice cream on a hand crank machine. So good!)

When we get home, (or when everyone else goes home,) we hang our stockings, open the pj presents, lay out a treat for Santa, and then the kids all sleep together in one bedroom, having a sort of slumber party. They take forever to get to sleep!

Now for my recipe! This is something I always make every year because my mom always made it. I don't know why, there's really not a story behind it, but it's so good and smells so yummy baking! We call them Hello Dolly Cookies, but many of you may know them as Magic Bars, or something other such variation.

Hello Dolly Cookies

Melt one cube of butter in a 9X9X2 pan. Sprinkle in a layer of each of the following:
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flaked coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts

Pour 1 can of sweetened condensed milk all over the top.Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool, cut in squares.

I always make this in a 9X13 pan, but I only add about ½ to the ingredients. I still only use one can of milk. I'm not a nut person, and normally leave them out of recipes, but if you do that in this one, it won't work. Even not being a nut person, I LOVE these things!

And finally, some music, since music is right up there on the top of my favorite things about Christmas. Here's a clip of my most favorite singer who never fails to take my breath away!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Be sure to catch everyone else coming up on the list!!

12 December - Chris (Book-a-rama)
13 December - Jill (The Well-Read Child)/Stephanie (The Written Word)
14 December - Robin (A Fondness for Reading)
15 December - Alyssa (By The Book)
16 December - Rachel (A Fair Substitute for Heaven)
17 December - Literary Feline (Musings of a Bookish Kitty)/ Stephanie (Stephanie's Confessions of a Book-a-holic)
18 December - Dev (Good Reads)
19 December - Callista (S.M.S. Book Reviews)
20 December - Tiny Little Librarian (Tiny Little Librarian)
21 December - Carla (Carla Nayland Historical Fiction)/ Susan (Reading, Raving, and Ranting by a Historical Fiction Writer)
22 December - Carolyn Jean (The Trillionth Page)
23 December - Booklogged (A Reader's Journal)
24 December - Kailana (The Written World) / Carl V. (Stainless Steel Droppings)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Five Things Meme

Wow! Stephanie tagged me! And I was even thinking about doing this one anyway because it looked kinda fun, but it's harder than it looks. Anyway, here's what I came up with:

5 Things I was doing 10 years ago:
1. trying to get pregnant again (which I did, but then had a miscarriage early 1998)
2. going to Disneyland right after Christmas, perfect time!
3. that summer of 1997 we went on our Oregon Coast road trip.... I loved it!
4. just discovering the internet and online reading groups
5. shopping for Christmas, just like I am now, though I think it was easier and cheaper then, with 3 little kids and not the four big ones that I have now!

5 Things on my To-Do List today: (some of these I can cross off as done since the day is half over now!)
1. get milk (done!)
2. go volunteer for an hour at school (done!)
3. work some more on Christmas cards
4. watch Survivor
5. get Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley off the hold pile at the library (done! Now when am I going to find time to read it????)

5 Things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. travel throughout all of Europe
2. sponser an entire family's Christmas
3. go on another cruise
4. finish the kitchen remodel project once and for all!
5. start more remodel projects... and finish them too!

5 Things I'll never wear again (or have never worn):
1. mini skirts
2. maternity clothes
3. a size 7
4. a wedding dress
5. low rider jeans

5 Favorite Toys: (current or past? I guess I'm going with current....)
1. the computer
2. digital camera
3. anything that plays music
4. GPS
5. sewing machine

I'm a lousy tagger because everyone I think of has already been tagged! So we'll go with the cop out version which is this: if you feel like doing it, do it and then let me know!

Booking Through Thursday: OOP

This week’s question is suggested by Island Editions:

Do you have a favourite book, now out of print, that you would like to see become available again? (I have several…)

When I was a kid, maybe 14 or 15-ish.... I was at the library with my dad and he grabbed some random book off the shelf and said, "Here, this one looks good." So, I read it, LOVED it and have never forgotten it. But now, it's out of print. I could get it on Ebay I think, but I just haven't pushed the button yet. It's called The Enchanted Cup by Dorothy Roberts. It's the story of Tristan and Isolde. I was completely mesmerized by it.

Another book that I'd love to get my hands on is Underdog by Markus Zusak. I'm not sure if it's out of print, or what's going on with this book, but whatever it is, it's a hard one to find. And if I do find it, it costs like mega-bucks, which I won't be paying.

I'm sure there's tons more, but those are the first two that come to mind!

Monday, December 3, 2007

November Recap

Here's what I managed to read in November. It's a bit heavy on the Meg Cabot... again... but she's written A LOT and I'm trying to catch up!!!

Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell. I liked this okay for crime/mysteries not really being my thing.
Extras by Scott Westerfeld. Great follow up to the Uglies trilogy that's now not a trilogy!
An Assembly Such As This by Pamel Aidan. I liked this Pride and Predjudice fan fiction much more than I thought I would. I need to read the rest to "see how the story ends!"
Small Eternities by Michael Lawrence. Book 2 to a another great YA series I've recently discovered with much mind bending alternate reality hopping.
Haunted by Meg Cabot. Book 5... I think... in the Mediator series.
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley. Newbery Award winner YA fantasy. Fabulous!
Things Hoped For by Andrew Clements. A follow up book to Things Not Seen. Great stuff!
Twilight by Meg Cabot. Final book in the Mediator series. (I wonder which Twilight came first, this one or Stephenie Meyer's?)
Party Princess (Princess Diaries Vol. VII) by Meg Cabot. Mia continues stressing about school and Michael.
Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale. Loved it!
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. Strange, but interesting book.

My favorite of the month? I'm going with Book of a Thousand Days, though as you can tell, I liked 'em all!

Kindle Anyone?

So, have you heard about the Kindle by Amazon? Or read any aritcles about it (like this one I read from Newsweek)?

What do you think? Is the electronic world going to really take over real paper books? Do you think you'd ever cuddle up on the couch, and read a Kindle? They say this one is The One... the Ipod for books, the device that will really make it happen!

I think it has some fun features, but I'm still quite attached to real, physical books! I need to put my nose in them and smell, I need to feel the pages, I need to look at cool covers, I need see stacks and stacks waiting for me, calling to me!
But, maybe the next generation won't need all that, and before we know it, books really will be obsolete.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Rolling


Do you get on a roll when you read, so that one book leads to the next, which leads to the next, and so on and so on?

I don’t so much mean something like reading a series from beginning to end, but, say, a string of books that all take place in Paris. Or that have anthropologists as the main character. Or were written in the same year. Something like that… Something that strings them together in your head, and yet, otherwise could be different genres, different authors…

I do get on rolls, but usually it IS more about a series or an author. I can't seem to come up with a time when I've been on a roll where the subject or character is concerned. Hmmmm. Lately I've been on a major YA roll, as I've mentioned before. And a Meg Cabot roll, and Michael Lawrence and Andrew Clements. Their books are definately one leading to another and another and another! I can't stop!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Couple of Reviews

Wow, I'm neglecting this blog! I guess Thanksgiving got in the way and now, instead of writing something, I'm trying to catch up on all of yours! Besides which, I should be doing Christmasy type stuff now too, and not spending quite so much time computering.

Anyway, I guess it's about time for another couple of reviews... very small and quick ones!

Book: Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Rating: A

Genre: YA Fantasy

Shannon Hale... you've done it again! Of course I loved it! This one is another re-done fairy tale, one I'm not familliar with at all, about a lady and her maid who are shut up in a tower for what's supposed to be 7 years, because the lady refuses to marry this awful mean monster-of-a-guy. The maid decides to keep a journal of their experiences, thus we have the book of a thousand days! What a strong, wonderful character this maid is too! So, yes, I loved the book. Read it!

Book: Like Water for Chocoate by Laura Esquivel

Rating: B+

Genre: Adult Lit. Fiction

I finally can cross another one off my "Something About Me" Challenge list! This book was a quick and fairly easy read, but not one of my favorites I'll have to say! Very strange stuff going on here. Reminded me of "A Hundred Years of Solitude" only much less completicated. All that magic realism going on! But, in the end, I enjoyed it still!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Blogger Christmas Exchange

I'm doing it.... how about you?

What's Cool.... and What's Not........

So yesterday over on Confessions of a Book-a-holic, Stephanie was discussing stuff that's cool, as inspired by Stephen King's fun article in Entertainment Weekly. She asked us, what do we think is cool.

So I had fun with this idea, especially after reading King's article.

So, here you go..... stuff I think is cool, compared with stuff that I think is not:

Crocs are cool, but wearing Crocs with socks (like I do), not so cool.....

Monument Valley is cool, VERY cool, but Death Valley, neat, but not cool....

Josh Groban, very cool with how he handles adoring fans, but other celebrities?..... not so cool.

Christian Bale as Batman is cool, but Michael Keaton as Batman, not cool.

Alex O'Loughlin's vampire interpretation in Moonlight....VERY cool, but Tom Cruise's vampire in Interview with a Vampire, not. (Well, I'm just assuming this since I haven't really seen it or anything!)

Riding a motorcycle is cool, but riding a moped is not.

Authors who write blogs are cool, but authors who don't are not!

Drummers are cool, but then so are guitarists, and bass players, and rockin' pianists, and celloists, and tumpeters .... okay, so musicians are cool! But singers who can't play an instrument of any kind are not!


Well, anyway, I had fun!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Preservatives

Booking Through Thursday

Today’s question comes from Conspiracy-Girl:

I’m still relatively new to this meme so I’m not sure if this has been asked yet, but I’m curious how many of us write notes in our books. Are you a Footprint Leaver or a Preservationist?

I don't mark up my books, but I wish I did. For some reason, I just can't seem to make myself do it! I love reading books where someone as left a little comment here and there, and I think it would be kind of a cool thing to do, especially if kids and/or grandkids.... or even further down the line.... read my books. They'd get to "know" me in a way. So, I should start, but, it's hard.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Review: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley

Book: The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
Genre: YA Fantasy
Award: Newbery 1985
Rating: A

I’ve been wanting to read this book forever it seems, first, because I love Robin McKinley’s books and feel the need to get them all read, and 2nd, because I read The Blue Sword a year or so ago and of course, this book is a prequel to that one. Besides, it’s a Newbery winner, so there’s another reason to read it and cross of that list of great books!

It’s about Aerin, who lives with her father, the king of Damar. She has lots of questions about her mother and the circumstances of her birth, which no one seems to want to answer. She doesn’t really fit in with her father’s household and everyone looks at her as if she is an imposter. Meanwhile, in order to find her place, she learns how to fight dragons, which plague the people now and then. Eventually, she wins the heart of her people by.... well.... you’ll have to read the book for that part!

So, yes, I really enjoyed it! I love the descriptive style, the story, the characters. Everything! I love Robin McKinley books (and her recently started blog!) Her other books I need to read next are: The Door in the Hedge, and The Outlaws of Sherwood. Oh, and Dragonhaven, her newest one, which I have on hold at the library and should be coming available to me soon I hope!!

Friday, November 9, 2007

Booking Through Thursday (on a Friday): Volume

Booking Through Thursday

Would you say that you read about the same amount now as when you were younger? More? Less?Why?

I read TONS more now than I did when I was younger. In previous years, I tried to not read so much, I felt guilty about reading too much, so I held back. At some point, I decided to bag that feeling and to just go for it and so I stepped up the reading big-time. Years ago I would just read whatever crossed my path, whatever jumped out at me from the library shelves, etc. Then I started joining online book clubs, then eventually "real" (face to face) book clubs... then most recently this year, I've discovered the challenge thing. All this has made my reading volume increase like crazy. And who knows how I find the time... I don't know.. I just do.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Book Chit-chatting!

In the mood for a little random chit-chat today!

First off, the other day I finished Extras, the fourth (I have no idea if it’s the final or not) book in the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld. A fabulous series that, though set in the future, makes an amazing commentary on our current lives. The latest book has us hanging out with a whole new character, Aya, as she is dealing with society’s newest obsession, "kicking" the best stories on their "feeds" (think blogs or Youtube Channels!) and aiming to get the most hits and be the most famous. In the process of getting her story, she stumbles upon some interesting things, and soon, Tally and her group from the previous three books, shows up to get involved! Of course I liked it a lot. These books are great!

Second, I’m finding myself totally fascinated with yet another series called The Withern Rise Series by Michael Lawrence. I’m nearly done with book #2 and am amazed by the plot line. This series is perfect if you love time traveling, and if you think it’d be cool to think of time and space in a whole new way! Be prepared for your brain to spin! It’s great and I think I’ve found yet another author to search out and read more from him!

And if that’s not enough, for one of my book clubs, we are reading a book that gives the Pride and Prejudice story, but from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. It took me a bit to get into the flow of this one (the author is almost over the top with trying to keep to a "Jane Austen" style) but now that I am (in the flow) I’m totally loving it and even though I know how the story all ends, I’m dying to read how this version of Mr. Darcy handles it all! Of course, this book An Assembly Such as This (by Pamela Aiden)... is only the first in a trilogy, so the story won’t end until I read all three! ARGGHHH!

Books sitting nearby waiting their turn:
The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
A Writer’s Life by Annie Dillard
Haunted... continuing on with Meg Cabot’s Mediator series
a pile of "Something About Me Challenge" books that I thought I’d get to, but now I’m wondering if I will or now

.... and now you know why it makes me crazy if I hear someone say, "There’s nothing to read!"

Friday, November 2, 2007

Book Club Voting

My book club is currently voting on several books to try and fill up this year's schedule. We are trying to pick three books from this list:

Blessings by Anna Quindlen

Watership Down by Richard Adams
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery
Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Any input for us? Anything that says a major thumbs up, or a major thumbs down?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

October Recap

Here's what I managed to read this month. Mostly YA books still, only two "big kid" books! Only one for a challenge, and one for a book club. Sheesh. These YA books have grabbed me big time.

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins: Newbery Award Winner, I loved it!
Diary of a Whimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney: all the rage these days... very popular with the kids.
Paint the Wind by Pam Munoz Ryan: another great story by a great author.
The Ninth Key by Meg Cabot: the 2nd in the Mediator series.
Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements: a boy wakes up invisable, then falls in love with a blind girl.
Love, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: Stargirls story continues.
Reunion by Meg Cabot: the 3rd in the Mediator series.
A Crack in the Line by Michael Lawrence: another YA series that I stumbled upon and am now hooked to!
Darkest Hour by Meg Cabot: the 4th in the Mediator series
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell: great classic saga about relationships
Evening Class by Maueve Binchy: another fun Binchy book.

My favorites of the month? Hard to say. Wives and Daughers for sure. Out of the YA books, I really liked Things Not Seen, A Crack in the Line, and Criss Cross. But they really are all good.

On to November!!

Booking Through Thursday: Oh, Horror!

Booking Through Thursday

What with yesterday being Halloween, and all . . . do you read horror? Stories of things that go bump in the night and keep you from sleeping?

I thought about asking you about whether you were participating in NaNoWriMo, but I asked that last year. Although . . . if you want to answer that one, too, please feel free to go ahead and do both, or either, your choice!

I would have to say that I don't read "real" horror... you know... the really scary, graphic, stuff. I do like regular old suspense, and things that perhaps border on horror, but not your main stream horror!

And no, I haven't found time to participate in the NaNoWriMo thing, though it does sound fun.

Inheritance Trilogy

Yeah! Finally, some info about the next book in the Inheritance trilogy by Christopher Paolini..... which isn't going to be a trilogy after all! But we still have to wait almost a whole year for the next book. Sheesh!

Click HERE for the video.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mini Reviews for a Bunch of Books!

Book: Evening Class by Maeve Binchy

Rating: A-

I just love Maeve Binchy's books! Even though I got majorly stuck right in the middle of this one, with many other book distractions, once I picked it up again, I finished in just a day or so. This story is about a bunch of different people whose lives come together with the creation of an Italien evening class. Not my most favorite book of hers, but still... great story and great characters.

Book: Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements

Rating: A

An interesting YA novel that grabbed from the beginning when our main character wakes up to find himself invisible. He goes on to figure out what happened and how to resolve it... meanwhile, he falls in love with a blind girl! There's more to the story in Things Hoped For... which I need to now go find quickly! I loved it!

Book: Shadowland.... and The Ninth Key both by Meg Cabot

Rating: A- first book, B for the second one

These are the first two books in Meg Cabot's Mediator series. I really enjoyed the first one, getting the characters established and so on.... but the second one was a little too slow or something, the story not as engaging. Nevertheless, I'm hooked and will keep reading the rest. I've got to find out more about Jesse, the hottest ghost ever!

Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Rating: B+

I can't remember if I talked about this one already, but if I did... here I go again! Here's an amazing simply story... the diary of a kid trying to survive 7th grade, and it's getting amazing attention! My 7th grade son LOVED it and wants to read it over and over again. This was our hottest selling book at the recent book fair and Scholastic can't keep them in stock. I think there's going to be a sequel... of course!

Booking Through Thursday: Read with Abandon

Booking Through Thursday

Today’s suggestion is from Cereal Box Reader

I would enjoy reading a meme about people’s abandoned books. The books that you start but don’t finish say as much about you as the ones you actually read, sometimes because of the books themselves or because of the circumstances that prevent you from finishing. So . . . what books have you abandoned and why?

Rarely do I abandon books, but several do come to mind:

The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver: I didn't like the story
American Gods by Neil Gaiman: made me too squeamish, I may try again another day
Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus: I liked the story, but thought it would never end and I wanted to read other things
Flush by Carl Hiaasen: boring
The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky: got distracted and just never finished!
The Wings of a Dove by Henry James: too hard!
Peter Pan by James Barrie: another one I mean to finish some day!
Scarlett by Alexandria Ripley: didn't like it at all!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Live and In-Person..... Typography

I wasn't around last week, so I'm doing both this week's and this week's question.

Booking Through Thursday


Have you ever met one of your favorite authors? Gotten their autograph?
How about an author you felt only so-so about, but got their autograph anyway? Like, say, at a book-signing a friend dragged you to?
How about stumbling across a book signing or reading and being so captivated, you bought the book?

YES! I have met a couple. My daughter and I stood in line for over 2 hours to met Stephenie Meyer and she signed copies of both Twilight and New Moon. That was cool. Also, we met Shannon Hale and she signed our Goose Girl book. She is so great!

We've met a couple other local not-so-famous authors at the library, but didn't have books for them to sign. Oh, and I have a couple of friends that have written books, so of course they've signed my copies!

Having a friend drag me to a book signing, not THAT would be interesting!

I think that no matter the book, if I hear an author talk about their book, I'm always instantly captivated and want to find that book somehow. No wonder authors spend so much time promoting and cruising the country when they get a new book. They know it works!


What’s the worst typographical error you’ve ever found in (or on) a book?

I just read one just the other day but I can't remember what it was! I think the worst errors in a book are ones that the goof almost makes sense, so you go, "WHAT?" while you're reading, then stop, think, look again, and then realize that it's a goof. Or you sit there and wonder if it's a goof.

Anyway, they sure are annoying and sometimes you do wonder where the proofreading was and how certain mistakes can get by.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Review: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

Book: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
Genre: Classic
Rating: A+

I think I'm officially adding this one to my all time favorites list! I really liked it the first time I read it, but this 2nd go around, I really REALLY liked it!

What do I like so much about it? First off, the characters. They are wonderfully drawn people that you totally come to love/hate/get annoyed with, etc. There's our heroine, Molly, who is just so likable and normal amongst so many crazy people, who you want to "win" in the end so bad! Then there's her step-sister, Cynthia, who you can't completely decide if you like her or not. She's overshadows Molly, which makes you crazy, yet she knows and says, "so sorry" all the time. Then there's the brothers with completely different personalities, one of whom you come to really really like before it's over, even though he gets a little mixed up there in the middle! Then there's the annoying stepmom, the doting dad, the fun squire, the meddling spinster sisters..... ah... it goes on and on!

Secondly, I just love the soap opera-ish plot and story line. Lots of stuff going on, granted, lots of it is quite predictable, but you know, that's okay with me!

Anyway, we'll be discussing this one at book club tomorrow night, and watching a couple of clips from the movie, so I'm excited and anxious to find out if any body else enjoys it like I do!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Where've I Been?

It was Fall Break this past weekend, and we took off for an adventure. Take a peek here.

Now, this week is book fair and only a gazillion or so other things, so I'll be scarce until next week, then it will be major blog reading catch up for me!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Random Book ChitChat on a Friday

So, I've totally immersed myself in "Wives and Daughters," loving it as much this second go-round as I did the first many years ago. Meanwhile, "Evening Class" is getting totally neglected. I can't seem to get emotionally involved in that one, and I know so many of you LOVE that book! It's the only one I'm reading for a challenge (Something About Me) right now, so I need to finish it! I need to get going on another Award Challenge book too. I'm not doing so well on all the challenges lately. And there's so many more that are tempting me: The Cardathon one, the Decades one, the 888 one, just to name a few.

But as you may know, I'm doing my own challenge which is basically, The read-as-many-YA-novels-in-a-month's-time-as-you-can Challenge! The book fair starts in a week, and I like to have read some of the new books that Scholastic is promoting, so that's taken up a lot of reading time. I've really enjoyed the books this time though... sometimes they are promoting fluff ones, but this time, they've been really good.

Anyway, as soon as that 's all over, maybe I can get back to some of my regular reading lists. I am nearly done with the TBR Challenge though, I only have two left. However, one of them I can't find! It's making me wonder if I ever had it in the first place... #8 of the Unfortunate Events series. I just assumed we had them all, but maybe we never ended up with that one. Anyway, I need to finish that series one of these days.

Books on hold that I'm really anxious to get my hands on are: Extras by Scott Westerfeld, Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale, and Dragonhaven by Robin McKinley. Oh, and the 2nd book in Meg Cabot's Mediator series. Hopefully they'll start showing up soon... well... maybe after book fair would be good!

I guess that's it for the book chitchat of the week! Have a great reading weekend everyone! We're told it's going to snow here, so my plan is to curl up and read, read, read!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Decorum

Booking Through Thursday

Do you have “issues” with too much profanity or overly explicit (ahem) “romantic” scenes in books? Or do you take them in stride? Have issues like these ever caused you to close a book? Or do you go looking for more exactly like them? (grin)

I would say... Yes, Yes, Yes, and..... um... No... !

Yes, I do have issues with too much profanity and overly explicit scenes. BUT... I can take them in stride... up to a point. Now, defining that point is where I get flustered. I hate... HATE... that F Bomb word with a passion, but I've stuck with many a book where it's used quite a bit, however, I've also closed the book and put it down if it shows up so much that I start feeling icky.

As far as the romantic scenes... I'm thinking most of the books I read steer clear of this... some come close.... but not quite.... you know. So I haven't really had to face the "should I stop reading" decision regarding this one. So obviously the answer is no to that last question, I don't look for these kinds of books. I DO look for nice romantic love story books though! But that's a different category, right?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

September Recap

My Cabots: trying to catch up and read them all

How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot
Shadowland by Meg Cabot (the first in the Mediator series)

My favorite: Shadowland... very excited to start this series... waiting now for the 2nd one to become available at the library.

My YA’s/Teens: for Book Fair preparation

Incantation by Alice Hoffman
The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn
Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney
Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

My favorite: Song of the Sparrow... another take on the King Arthur story

My Challenges: really falling behind with these!!!

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
Sea Glass by Anita Shreve

My favorite: I really liked them both, but I’d say Angle of Repose edged out Sea Glass just a bit!

One left over: read for no reason but just because someone somewhere mentioned it and I thought... "sounds good!"

Castle Dor by Arthur Quiller-Couch and Daphne du Maurier: another take on the Tristan/Isolde story, a story I can’t resist in any form!

Friday, September 28, 2007

My F2F Book Club Schedule

Here's what we're pondering for our reading schedule this year:

October: Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (this one is underway, so therefore is NOT in the pondering stage!)
November: Mallory's Oracle by Carol O'Connell
December: Skipping Christmas by John Grisham
January: Blink, The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcom Gladwell
February: Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

March: 1776 by David McCullough
April: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
May: ?

Comments? Suggestions?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Bunch of Mini-Reviews of Various YA Books!

So, you may remember awhile back I mentioned that I'm reading a pile of YA books in order to prepare for the book fair that I do over at the elementary school. So, I've been working on those, but haven't been posting on them. So here's a little run-down of what I've read so far:

Incantation by Alice Hoffman: a little, very quick-reading book about the religious unrest and Jewish perscution in Spain during the 1500's. It was a great insight into what happened there at this time, but somehow, the style made me just not really care about the characters. And it bugged me that I didn't care. Hmmm.... not sure exactly what it was about the writing, maybe just aloof, or something.

The Old Willis Place by Mary Downing Hahn: I really enjoyed this story about a couple of kids living on their own, when a new girl moves in next door and things start happening. It's a ghost story, with lots of chilling parts, but not TOO chilling, perfect for kids I'd say. Lots of twists and turns and surprises. Great story! And a great lesson learned at the end too.

Code Orange by Caroline B. Cooney: My first book by this very popular teen author. (Well, she's not a teen but she writes for teens... but you know what I mean!) Anyway, at first I was turned off by the subject, but then I really got into it. It's about this kid who has to write a report for school about a disease and he ends up picking smallpox. He discovers an old medical book with an envelpe that has a smallpox scab in it. EWWWW!! Anyway, things get going crazy from there! It was quite the page turner and so I ended liking it after all.

Shadowland by Meg Cabot: The first book in the Mediator series. This one I read not necessarily for the book fair, but just for my own Meg Cabot fix of the month! What is it about her books that I love so much? Hmmm... anyway. This book starts the adventures of Suze and her new life in California. Her problem? She can see dead people... ghosts who are stuck here for some reason and her job is to help them solve whatever is causing them to be stuck and move them on to where they should be. There's a bunch more books to follow, so I' m guesssing she has many ghost problems to solve down the road. Now I just need to find that second book!

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell: I'm still in the process of this one, but I can tell you already that I'm loving it! Of course it's because it's about King Authur, Lancelot, and company! This one told through the eyes of Elaine of Shalott in a very poetic, lyrical style. We see all the familiar characters portrayed a little differently, especially Gwynivere, who we are NOT sympathtic to at all this time. Anyway, I'm anxious to be done with the computer so I can go finish this one!

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke: Also still working on this one, by one of my favorite authors. However, this story isn't grabbing me quite as much as her other stories. Not sure why, could be that I'm too distracted, could be that it's written for a much younger audience than some of her others, I think. But anyway, still a really cute story about a girl whose ambition it is to be a knight. And she has just begun an adventure that I'm guessing will help her in that endeavor!

Review: Sea Glass by Anita Shreve

Book: Sea Glass by Anita Shreve
Rating: A
Genre: Literary Fiction
For: Both the TBR Challenge and the Something About Me Challenge
I'm finally catching up on some Anita Shreve books! The first one, A Pilot's Wife, I liked so-so, but this one, I really liked. I cared about the characters, and loved how all their lives came together, and apart, at the end.
This story takes place just as the stock market crashes in 1929 and how all the different characters deal with this tradgedy and how their lives are affected. It also centers around the mill workers strike and how that fires them up and gives them something to live for, yet also makes a complete mess of their lives.
Anyway, it is a sad story, but still, I enjoyed it and I think that if I lived by a beach, I could really get into collecting sea glass!
I've got a couple more Anita Shreve books on my shelves waiting for me, and soon, I'll be getting to them!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Sunshine and Roses

The reverse of last week’s question:

Imagine that everything is going just swimmingly. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and all’s right with the world. You’re practically bouncing from health and have money in your pocket. The kids are playing and laughing, the puppy is chewing in the cutest possible manner on an officially-sanctioned chew toy, and in between moments of laughter for pure joy, you pick up a book to read . . .

What is it?

Can I say the same book as last week? No?

Well, then. When things are happy, that's when I want to just get going and read EVERYTHING!! I pile all the books I'm anxious to get to around me on the bed, and I thumb through them all, feeling them, smelling them, reading the blurbs. And then whichever one calls to me the loudest, I start reading!

So I guess for happy times, there's no specific book (unless the answer is that same as last week!) and it's just that feeling of wanting to accomplish a lot and get reading like crazy and work on that never ending TBR pile!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Book Club Tomorrow.... My House!

So tomorrow the "neighborhood" book club (I need to think of a better name!)is gearing up for yet another fun year of reading! We'll be meeting here at my house and dicussing ALL THREE Twilight books. We are inviting the young teen girls in the neighborhood, and our daughters and new friends that haven't come before but are major Twilight fans. I'm so excited! We are going to have quite a housefull.

I'm planning on doing some trivia questions, sharing Stephenie Meyers FAQ answers from her website, playing some of her playlist music she's listed on her website, discussing the all important Edward vs. Jacob question, and eating lots of yummy snack junk food!

So, my question to you, my book blogging friends, is this: If you were coming to my Twilight book club tomorrow, what would you have to say about these books? What would your input be? Are you "thumbs up" or "down"? Are you pro-Edward or Jacob? Why do you think Stephenie Meyer is having such amazing success with these books? What's going on with that? What's her secret?

I'd love to know what you all think!

If we have time tomorrow night, we may even discuss Harry just a bit too. But I have a feeling Bella, Edward and Jacob will take over. I also hope to plan our upcoming reading year. I let you know what we decide.

Here's a video that's full of fun Twilight books quotes:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Author Blogs

I may be a bit slow, but I'm just now discovering some great author blogs! I love 'em! It's so fun to read about their normal lives and their writing processes and their journey through the publishing world. I'm learning that for me, the love of reading isn't just about the books themselves, but about the authors behind the books. I find it fascinating to compare the style of different authors and once I find a style I love, then to go out and read every book by that author. I think we're all that way. But having this added dimension of reading their blogs really adds to all that. I love it!

So what are some fun author blogs that you all have discovered? I've just recently added Meg Cabot and Scott Westerfeld to my line up. I've been reading Shannon Hale's for awhile, and Colleen Gleason's a bit.

So who else do I need to get added to my blog pile and start reading?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Comfort Food

Booking Through Thursday

Okay . . . picture this (really) worst-case scenario: It’s cold and raining, your boyfriend/girlfriend has just dumped you, you’ve just been fired, the pile of unpaid bills is sky-high, your beloved pet has recently died, and you think you’re coming down with a cold. All you want to do (other than hiding under the covers) is to curl up with a good book, something warm and comforting that will make you feel better.

What do you read?

The first thing I thought of was Pride and Prejudice. I would want something happy, funny, familliar. I would also not mind reading Twilight, or parts of it, when I'm feeling bad. Really, any kind of nice, happy, romantic and brainless book would work!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Big Read

When I went to the library yesterday, I saw a table with a sign that said "Take Your Free Book." Free? Wow... I felt like asking someone, "Are you sure?"

But yep, our library is participating in the Big Read project and is giving away copies of the latest one, My Antonia by Willa Cather. I snatched one up in a hurry along with pamphets and other materials they had there to promote.

I left all happy with my free book thinking, "how cool is that?" I hope they continue on and that the program is succesfull for them. They are doing a TON of stuff geared around this book in the next month. I hope I can get to some of it.

How I'll Be Spending My Eveing.....

Going to see Muse tonight! Here's a little taste of what we're in for....

Do you think my eyes and ears can handle it? I'm excited..... and nervous. This is going to be a different kind of crowd than what I've been experiencing so far this summer! I may feel a little out of place! And as much as I love loud, I'm taking the ear plugs this time!

But wow.... you gotta love that guitar playing! Especially the bass!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

A Meme

Here's a recent meme that's been going around, one that made me think and think, so I figured I'd better join in!

If you could have super powers what would they be and what would you do with them? (Please feel free to be selfish, you do not have to save the world!) To just never get tired and always have a constant energy reserve!

Were you to find your self stranded on an island with a CD could happen...what would your top 10 bloggers island discs be?

All three Josh Groban cds
The Beatles #1s Album
Carpenters Greatest Hits
Pirates of the Caribbean Soundtrack (first movie)
Bateman Begins Soundtrack
The Secret Garden Broadway Show Soundtrack
Any Mannheim Steamroller Christmas cd
A compilation of Tchaikovsky’s greatest works

If you were a smell what would it be? The cool, fresh smell of the air after rain

What bird would you most like to be? A meadowlark, they seem so happy!

If you were a bird who's head would you poo on? Sheesh, I don’t know! Osama?

Are there any foods that your body craves? Chocolate. Chocolate. Chocolate.

What's your favourite time of year? Autumn, I love everything about this time of year!

What's your favourite time of day? Morning, after everyone else if off to school and work.

If a rest is as good as a change which would you choose? I’m sort of in the mood for a change! Ewww.... scarey!

If you could have a dinner party and invite any 5 people from the past or present who would they be? (Living or deceased.) Wow, I’ve so stressed on this question!

King Authur, so I can get the REAL story (I DO believe in him!) and if he can’t make, it he can send any one of his knights in his place!
Helen Keller, (but her interpreter doesn’t count) because she would be so inspiring to learn from!
Abigail Adams, because I think she is an amazing lady.
Mandy Patinkin, because I just think he’s cool.
And Josh Groban, of course, so he can sit at my piano and sing to me... I mean... to all of us!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Misc. Book Thoughts for the Day

What I'm thinking today, regarding books anyway:

  • I need to read one other Markus Zusak book.... Underdog. It's on Amazon for a mere $80! What's up with that? Out of print already? Rare, and collectible? Hmmmm.....
  • Like I mentioned in a previous post, I'm starting to gather a bunch of YA books to read over the next few weeks for the book fair. I hope I find some great ones!
  • Bud is getting off to a good start in his AP English class and has read Animal Farm, and The Lord of the Flies so far. Next up is Robinson Crusoe.
  • I'm so excited for my book club in a couple of weeks! We'll be talking about Stephenie Meyer's books and every one is buzzing! I hope to have a ton of people here.
  • When will the next Eragon and the next Inkheart books be out? I'm going to go crazy!
  • I decided to make good use of my Amazon Wishlist this coming holiday season, something I've not really done before. It will be interesting to see if it is beneficial. Do you think someone will buy me the Underdog book? I'm going to put a bunch of piano/music books on there too I think.

I guess that's all of my main book thoughts for today!

Have a great weekend people!

Review: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

BOOK: The Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Rating: A

Genre: General Literary Fiction

For: both the Awards Challenge and the Pulitzer Challenge

Pulitzer Prize in 1972

I've had this book on my shelf for quite awhile now and it feels good to have finally read it! I must say, I really enjoyed it a lot! This story about a handicapped man writing his grandmother's history kept me totally interested all the way through. It's mostly about the grandma and her life in the late 1800's trying to make it the wild west with a man who has big dreams that never seem to get fulfilled. I thought her husband was great! But he did drive her crazy and in the end some not too good things happened. Then, the story would flip to the current time (1970) and we'd learn more about the guy writing about his grandma and the struggles and problems he is facing.

I've read one other Wallace Stegner (Crossing to Saftey) and totally enjoyed that too. I'll have to continue to add his books to my list!


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