Thursday, May 31, 2007

Mini Reviews for Katherine and School's Out Forever

I've managed to finish two books in the last two days!

First, over the weekend, I read the 2nd book of the Maximum Ride trilogy, School's Out Forever by James Patterson. I must say, I'm hooked! I love these characters and I'm anxious to find out what finally happens to them. The third book just came out and I'm on hold at the library. I'll probaby buy it when it gets to paper book though. These first two I'm going to make my kids read. I think they'll have fun with them too.

These books are about six kids who have been genetically altered so they can fly, along with many other super powers. They are trying to escape the bad guys and trying to find out who their real parents are. Meanwhile, Max, the leader, has a voice in her head that keeps telling her that she has to save the world. What's up with that? She doesn't know yet!!! One of the kids even has a blog and while reading it you forget these are just fictional characters. Very fun.

Then, I finished Katherine by Anya Seton, one of my all time favorite books. Yes, this was a re-read for me for the Historical Fiction Yahoo group. I'm not that much into re-reading, but this one I've really been looking forward to since it's been a long time since I read it. Did it measure up to my memory? YES! I loved it just as much again. What a fascinating story this is about Katherine and John of Gaunt (son of King Edward, brother to the Black Prince Edward) during the late 1300's in England. Their son was Henry IV through which all the Henry's came, including Henry VIII.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Adding More to the Pile.....

Here's what I "bought" with my B and N gift card today:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See: everyone's been raving so I had to get it!
Plainsong by Kent Haruf: it was making a ripple among book people a few years ago.
A Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham: it just looked good! I guess it's a recent movie too.

Here's what I put on hold at the library today:

Austenland by Shannon Hale: a new take on the Mr. Darcy infatuation!
Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson: the third in the Maximum Ride triology, the 2nd of which I just finished this weekend. Fun stuff.
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini: which I know I'll love because of Kite Runner and because so many of you are saying it's amazing.

I can't wait! I'm doing nothing but reading all summer long! :)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Parlez Vous?

Booking Through Thursday

Here’s an idea from Julie:

I had an idea for a BTT question when I was taking a peek at one of my bookcases yesterday and spotted my old copy of the Aeneid in Latin sitting there. Maybe this question has already been done—but if not… Do you have any foreign language books and if so can you (still) read them?

I do have a bunch of French books from college classes, but I don't think I can read them anymore. I could read words, but not understand sentences. The Mr. has a bunch of Spanish books, but HE can still read them. In fact, he had one out recently and was reading it aloud to JJ to help her with her Spanish class. He thought it was great fun.

Monday, May 21, 2007

SHHHH.... don't tell anyone but.....

...... I bought another huge pile of books this weekend! I decided I had to check out the library sale. One of our libraries has whimpy sales, and the other one I've never been to, so I went with the girls and we came back with this pile. It was 50 cents for the kids books, and 10 cents for the adult paperbacks, and 1.00 for the hardbacks and nonfiction stuff. Pretty good I'd say. Now I hope they get read! Then maybe I'll swap some on Paperback Swap later.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Review: Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy

Book: Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy

Genre: Literary fiction

Rating: A-

It's been awhile since I've read a Binchy book, and it was fun to get back to one! I read this for the TBR challange, so that's half of them done! Six down, six to go! I had my own copy (that's the point of the challenge, right?) but I ended up getting a large print copy from the library, so this was also my treadmill book of the week. Great way to read a book.

This is the story of a handful of people who were all dining together at a quaint little cafe in a small Greek village when they all witnessed a tragic event. Because of that, they all ended up friends and told each other their background stories and helped each other solve all their problems. It's a very simple, sweet story and made me want to just go hang out in Greece for a summer! Still, not one of my favorite Binchy's. I look forward to getting caught up with some more of hers later this summer.


P.S. I'm officially chalking up The Last Living Confederate Widow as a DNF! I HATE doing that, but it's due at the library today and I just can't renew it AGAIN because I know I won't read it. Maybe if I get it out of here, it will stop making faces at me for neglecting it. Maybe.

Book Club Report

Once a month I host book club at my house. Last night we met and discussed the book Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it and most of them plan on reading the next two books in the trilogy. The last one comes out just next week! Yes!

I also asked everyone the questions from the recent meme that's been going around about all the different books in their lives. I got some fun answers and plan on emailing the responses back to everyone in the group. They can use it for summer reading ideas. Fun, huh.

We discussed a little bit about what our future plans are. We won't be meeting during the summer, but will wait until school starts up again. Click here for what our upcoming plans are. They want to read something light and funny for our December book, but we all had a mind blank. Any ideas anyone?

Anyway, it was fun, as always. I mentioned to them that I've started this book blog where they can come to get ideas from all the lists I have fun making. So if anyone from the club stops by, please say hi! And enjoy!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Bookless

Booking Through Thursday

It happens even to the best readers from time to time… you close the cover on the book you’re reading and discover, to your horror, that there’s nothing else to read. Either there’s nothing in the house, or nothing you’re in the mood for. Just, nothing that “clicks.” What do you do?? How do you get the reading wheels turning again?

It's been a LONG, LONG time since I've finished a book and felt like there was nothing to read next. There's always something to read for a book group (several online, two real life) or something one of the kids has brought to me and said, "Mom, read this next!", or something from the library that has a deadline, or the masses of books I've bought and are waiting their turn, and more recently I've discovered the challenges, which is a whole new element in the book line up.

But being "in the mood" is a completely different story. Sometimes I've got all these books stacked up waiting their turn, and none of them seem right. Or I've started one or two and they just aren't grabbing me. Yes, that is sometimes a problem, and one I've been dealing with lately, so, what do I do? I just start several different ones, and which ever one grabs me first, I stick with. The problem is feeling "guilty" about one that you've left in the dust that should actually be read first.

I think this is funny, when this feeling pops up because why should one feel guilty about which book gets read first? Or which book gets abandoned? It's all for fun anyway, right? But, that's just how it goes sometimes I guess.

Right now, I'm still struggling through the book The Last Living Confederate Widow...... which is extremely slow going. And all I want to really read is the next Maximum Ride book, or Katherine for the Historical Favorites group. And that is actually a re-read which could be a whole other topic! But, who cares? I'm sick of Lucy, the Confederate widow, and I'm loving getting to know Katherine again, and Max is a great new friend too. So, there you go.

Wow, I was a bit long-winded this time. Did I even answer the question? Hmmm...

Happy BTT!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Yet Another Book List

I nabbed this meme from Bookfool because I thought it would be really fun search my brain for answers. And I was right! It was fun!

A book that made you cry: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. I remember reading this the first time and feeling very weepy at the end and thinking that is weird because up to that point I’d never felt so moved by a book. Since then, it doesn’t take much to make me cry, but I’ve re-read this book and sure enough, I cried again!

A book that scared you: I remember being a little creeped out by The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova but just a little. Blindness by Jose Saramago really freaked me out though.

A book that made you laugh: A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel has some really funny stories. I also remember laughing out loud often while reading Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynn Truss. How can punctuation be so funny? Go figure.

A book that disgusted you: The Nanny Diaries. I just thought all the characters where disgusting. But I guess that was the whole point of the book. But what really disgusts me is that it’s marketed as a funny book and I didn’t see one funny thing about that whole book. Not one.

A book you liked in elementary school: Wow. So many. But what comes to mind first is the Nancy Drew series. I remember one library day I’d run right over to that section and see what would be next! I also remember reading The Luckiest Girl by Beverly Cleary. I think my first bit of a love story and wow, did I eat it up!

A book you liked in junior high: I can’t remember exactly when I read this book, but I’ll never forget The Enchanted Cup by Dorothy Roberts. My dad randomly picked it off the shelf for me and I couldn’t believe how good it was. All about the love story of Tristan and Isolde. I was completely swept away. I’ve been trying to get my hands on a copy lately, and have only found it on Ebay. I just need to push the button and get it I guess.

A book you liked in high school: Tess of the D’urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. After that I went on to read many more of his books and just loved the tragic element of them all. So good.

A book you hated in high school: There’s not many books that I actually HATE, but I do remember reading The Great Gatsby and I just didn’t get it. I thought it was quite boring and wondered what the big deal was. To this date, I"ve never given it a second try and really I need to, just to see what my older self’s reaction will be.

A book you loved in college: This one was hard because I can’t really remember what I was reading in college. Anyway, I think towards the end of this period of my life, I discovered Anya Seton. The first book I picked up by her was Green Darkness. I loved it! Then I couldn’t get enough of her and read everything the library had by her.

A book that changed your identity: Can’t think of one here really. I was trying to remember a book that marked the point where I knew I was reading because I loved and not because I had to. I think it was during my Little House period, right around 2nd or 3rd grade I imagine. Because of these books, I knew I was a real reader!

Favorite series: Man! This one is way too hard to just name one! Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight, Inkheart, are all series that I’m DYING for the next to come out.

Favorite Horror book: I don’t read much in this genre, but than I decided that Frankenstein by Mary Shelley would fit. I loved this book. So different from all the movie depictions and the language and prose is incredible.

Favorite Science Fiction book: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Amazing book and a great series too.

Favorite Fantasy book: The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. I think all fantasy writes are influenced by these books. They’re the best of the best.

Favorite Mystery book: Another genre I don’t read much of, but I do remember going through an Agatha Christie phase, and I loved Ten Little Indians especially.

Favorite Biography: John Adams by David McCollough. I totally got wrapped up in this story and the length didn’t bother me a bit.

Favorite Coming of Age: I love them all! Okay, what came to mind was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and more recently A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park.

Favorite Classic: This is one of my favorite genres, so it’s hard to pick a favorite here too, but Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is somewhere there at the top! I read it for the first time in 8th grade and didn’t understand a thing. Then a few years ago I read it again, and loved every bit of it. It has it all, mystery, mistaken identity, love, betrayal.... everything.

Favorite Romance: Besides my current obsession with Twilight, the other one that came to mind is The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye. An amazing love story.

A book not on the list: Are you kidding?!! :) Ummmm..... well..... hmmmm.....there’s just too many......

Eight Things About Me, Interesting or Not

Hey, Stephanie tagged me! Cool! So, here goes.

Here are the rules:

1: Each player starts with 8 random facts/habits about themselves.
2: People who are tagged, write a blog post about their own 8 random things, and post these rules.
3: At the end of your post you need to tag 8 people and include their names.
4: Don't forget to leave them a comment and tell them they're tagged, and to read your blog.

One thing that most people find interesting is that I’m the oldest of nine kids. I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters. Life was never dull growing up. I seemed to always be babysitting someone. But it was mostly fun. My youngest sister was born during my first year at college.

My life in high school, and college too, was band. I was a major band geek. I played the clarinet and loved it. In college I was in the marching band for three years. Very fun.

I’ve compiled the life histories of my grandparents, both sets of them. I interviewed them on tapes and then put it all together with pictures and pedigree charts and recipes and whatever else I could think of. One set died just after I got done. The other set has done lots of living since then and I really need to update!

I love loud music and I especially love being alone in the car so I can BLAST it! I also love loud movies and will pick a theater to go to depending on their sound quality. I think I’m DONE with dollar movie theaters because I can’t even hear a thing at those places. Ick!

Other things I love to do besides reading and blogging is quilting, making movies on the computer, baking, seeing new places, and geocaching.

I’m a Star Wars geek. I got hooked as a 12 year old seeing that awesome movie for the first time and have loved anything to do with Star Wars ever since. Sometimes I forget that those movies are make believe and are not depicting real history!

I’m a huge Josh Groban fan and will be wishing my summer away so August 28 can get here because that night I’ll be seeing him in concert! YES!

One of my dreams is to spend an entire summer in the British Isles seeing and doing everything there is possible to do. I was lucky enough to take a trip there, for just a couple of weeks and it wasn’t NEAR long enough. So, when the kids are grown and the husband is retired and if we have any money left by then, this is on the list of To Do’s.

And now I'm going to break the rules because I don't have a very big network of friends yet and so I think most of them have already done this or been tagged! So, if you happen to be reading this and you HAVEN'T done it yet and you think it looks fun, go for it and let me know so I can be sure to come visit!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Gift Card Shopping

I got a Barnes and Noble gift card for Mother's Day! Yeah! So now comes the major question of what to buy? Any suggestions? It's not so simple as just go and see what jumps out! I have to decide if the book is worthy of purchase, or would it be better just to get it from PBS, or would it just be the best if I got it at the library? You see, it's just not too easy!

So, what are some recent books that are worthy of a "real" purchase? Maybe some not so recent ones also?

Let me know what you think! Of course, I'll let you know what I end up with!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Avalon High by Meg Cabot

Book: Avalon High by Meg Cabot
Genre: YA
Rating: B+
So I went to the library on Friday evening with my 15 year old daughter, JJ, and she was picking out last minute stuff for school. I happened upon the Meg Cabot section and just had to get one, just for the heck of it. I must have been in a Meg Cabot kind of mood, something quick, light, fun and easy. I ended up with this one about a new girl at this high school and the crazy story she gets mixed up in that sounds A LOT like the King Arthur story! Anything to do with King Arthur is great, right?! Anyway, it was a fun weekend splurge!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A Review: The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier

Book: The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: A
I've had this book hanging around forever and therefore, it ended up on my TBR Challenge list. It turned out to be one of those books that I wonder why it took me so long to get it. I loved it! I loved the story about the past and the present connecting in a mysterious way. I loved learning about the history of this little corner of France. I loved the characters and felt their pain. Needless to say, I'm glad I finally picked it up and actually read it!

Friday, May 4, 2007

My "Something About Me" Book List

I've finally come up with the following books for the Something About Me Challenge. Not easy! I always struggle with deciding whether to pick books I’ve read already, or picking ones I WANT to read... so I did a little of both.

My List of "Something About Me" Books:

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini. My other consuming hobby, after reading, is quilting. I’m not very good at it, but it sure is fun to do! This book is the first in a series called The Elm Creek Quilters Series, and my friend seems to love them, so I’ve been wanting to give them a try.

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. No one else has listed this book yet have they? I admit, I’ve been swept up (or should I say sucked into? LOL!) in the whole Twilight books thing! I love them! I love teen romance stories! I love Stephenie’s style! I hope to write like her some day. (In my dreams...) I’m also finding that I’ve been increasingly attracted to the whole vampire genre and I’m really anxious to read some more books like this.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte. I couldn’t list books about me without some kind of Victorian era classic. It’s truly my favorite genre. I picked this one because it’s about time I re-read it and because there’s just something about this one that gets to me. Something about doomed romance and haunted characters, and ghosts and all that good deep stuff.

Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald. Being from Utah, I find it funny that I’ve never read this book, written by the author of Great Brain fame. I’ve heard it’s wonderfully funny and that fans of the Little House series (I’m thinking that’s many of us) love it. It’s non-fiction but I think loosely based on his family stories.

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. Twice a year, I run the book fair at the elementary school. Often, I’ll read some of the book fair books and then talk them up. Last time, after talking about several books, a student raised her hand and said, "Did you read anything that WASN’T fantasy?" I realized that I hadn’t! I love YA fantasy and so I’ve picked this one because it’s been on my list forever to get to and maybe this will help me to finally do it! (Yes I know I’m supposed to read the books on everyone else’ list, but I figured I could read stuff on mine too!)

Anyway, so there you have it! Hopefully these books say a little bit about me!

A Review: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Book: Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiement by James Patterson
Genre: YA SF/Fantasy
Rating: A-
I needed a book like this right about now; something fast, easy and fun! I read this book in a couple of days and am now on the lookout for the sequel. The story is about 6 kids that have been genetically inhanced so they can fly, along with many other powers. They are living on their own but trying to figure out where they came from and who their families are. In the meantime they have to keep escaping from the bad guys, Erasers, who are wolf men. And there's something about saving the world (reminds me of Heros) but we haven't been told much about that yet! Fun stuff!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: R.I.P.

Booking Through Thursday

No, not
THAT kind of R.I.P.

Reading. In. Public.

Do you do it? Why or why not?

Yes, of course I do!!! However, sometimes I get distracted doing some good people watching. I'm more distracted by that then by noise (like TV, blasting music, screaming kids) at home. Reading at the dr. is hard for me sometimes because usually I'm too nervous. But I do read while waiting for kids' lessons, at the pool, at the park, on the plane, etc.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Watermelon sculptures at the midnight buffet on our recent cruise.


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