Friday, June 29, 2007

Something About Me Challenge: Preliminary List

This challenge is becoming a bit overwhelming! Everyday a new list is posted, adding more books to my Want To Read list! So, like many others have been doing, I've already started reading some of these books, even though the official beginning of the challenge doesn't start until August.

My Pre-Challenge Books (including my some from my own "something about me" books that I hadn't even read yet... silly me!)

Read in June:

Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald (Suey)

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini (Suey)

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (Suey)

I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (Stephanie)

Plans for July

So Many Books, So Little Time by Sara Nelson (BookInLife)

Operating Instructions by Anne Lamont (Nattie)

Sixpence House by Paul Collins (Nattie)

A Cook's Tour Anthony Bourdain (Athena)

Biblioholism by Tom Raabe (Twiga)

My Official Challenge List So Far... I may add a couple still

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel (Maryanne)

Rebecca of Sunny Brook Farm by Kate Douglas (Stephanie)

The Writing Life by Annie Dillard (Megan)

Ida Mae.... by Ginnie Siena Bivona (Lynne)

The Stand by Stephen King (BookInLife)

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy (Raidergirl)

Tracon by Paul McElroy (Lisa)

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards (3M)

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak (Jill)

Then there's a huge list of "what I'll try to read later!" Maybe I'll post that another day.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Mini Review: Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports

Book: Maximum Ride: Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports by James Patterson
Rating: A
Genre: YA Science Fiction
This is number three of this very fun series. It just recently came out a few weeks ago. I've been dying to find out how things turn out for these cool flying kids and whether or not Max and Fang get together, so as soon as I got my hands on it, I sat down and pretty much read it in a day!
What a fun series! I love these characters! Some pretty crazy stuff happens to them, but it is SF after all. Anyway,I'm sad for it to be over, but I think the author is going to miss them too and he definately appears to be leaving it open for more books to follow.
I also think they are hoping to get a movie made, so I'll be keeping my eyes on that process.

Mine Review: The Quilter's Apprentice

Book: The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini
Rating: B+
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
My quilting buddy has talked often about this book, so I've been meaning to read it for quite awhile. I decided to finally get to it since I posted it as one of my "something about me" books for that particular challenge, though I won't go as far as to call myself a quilter. But I do quilt!
This was fun because of the quilting aspect and the history of the blocks that they talked about. I also liked the back stories of the main characters, though I could tell they were just barely touched on. But THAT'S why this is the only the first of yet another series! Of course! I think there's like 8 or 9 more to follow.
It made me want to get quilting again, which I've been neglecting lately, so I think I'll just go do that!

Mini Review: The Dragon's Tapestry

Book: The Dragon's Tapestry by Martine Bates (Leavitt)
Rating: A
Genre: Fantasy (YA I would think... though they are shelved in the adult section)
So this is the first book of the trilogy (very small books they are too... could have been one book I'm thinking!) by the author we listened to at the library a few weeks ago. I managed to check all three of them out, and breezed through this first one in no time.
It's about a girl who appears to be born an orphan, though we found out later the true story about that. In this world, a person has a tapestry woven for them at their birth, which sort of gives them a road map of their life.... without it they are "soul-less". Marwen thinks she doesn't have one... (but we as readers know that one was actually woven for her after all.) It's about a bad dragon that of course Marwen is destined to vanquish.... and he is also looking for his tapestry. There's a prince and an evil step brother and all the makings of a great fairy tale!
I really enjoyed it because it has some unusual twists and turns, and there's the whole new world created by the author which is quite different than most fantasy books I've read.
Number 2 and 3 are sitting there waiting for me now! I keep adding to my list of series to be working on. It never ends!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Two Together

Hey, look HERE to see a fun picture of my two favorite authors together, and a post by one of them describing the moment! Very fun. These ladies are great. I hope they just keep writing forever and forever! :)

Booking Through Thursday on a Friday: School Days

Since school is out for the summer (in most places, at least), here’s a school-themed question for the week:

Do you have any old school books? Did you keep yours from college? Old textbooks from garage sales? Old workbooks from classes gone by?

How about your old notes, exams, papers? Do you save them? Or have they long since gone to the great Locker-in-the-sky?

Yes, I have a bunch of books from college, and workbooks. Every now and then I have a fun moment flipping through them and having memories. But then I think I really should get rid of them too. I need the space for other books!

I do have a bunch of old notebooks full of notes too, mostly from high school actually. I haven't flipped through them in a long time. I have file full of old school stuff, and in fact, I've been making one for my kids too and just yesterday I went through their stuff from this past year and decided what to save and what to chuck. I think I'm saving too much stuff, but I figure when they are older, they can go through the file again and weed it out a bit more. Hopefully they'll enjoy having some school stuff to look through, years down the road.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mini-review: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Book: The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
Rating: A
Genre: YA Fantasy
I bought this at one of the book fairs I was in charge of years ago. It's been patiently waiting a turn ever since and I've finally read it!
So, now I'm hooked to another great fantasy series.... surprise, surprise. This one is so well-written, a great style, with wonderful characters. The dginni (genie) is hilarious, with a wonderful bad attitude. The little kid, Nathaniel, has some pretty crazy issues of his own and I can see him really going places with all the magic he is learning and on his own even. I think Bartimaeus (the genie) might actually like him when it comes right down to it! Wow, they get themselves into a crazy mess in this book, with many magical creatures much more powerful than themselves.
On to book two!

Mini-Review: Austenland by Shannon Hale

Book: Austenland by Shannon Hale
Rating: A-
Genre: Romance
One of my favorites, Shannon Hale, strayed from her normal kind of book, YA fantasy, to write this very much chick lit kind of book. If you are remotely a fan of the Colin Firth rendition of Pride and Prejudice, you'll love this fun little read! It's all based on the main character's fantasy that no guy could ever live up to her Mr. Darcy ideal and her quest to try and banish that fantasy from her life. She ends up going to a retreat in England where people dress up and act for three weeks as if they were in one of Jane Austen's novels. The trick is to figure out who's acting and who's not! And does she learn to leave her idea of a perfect Mr. Darcy behind... or not? It's great fun!

Min-Review: Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald

Book: Papa Married a Mormon by John D. Fitzgerald
Rating: A
Genre: Biography
Many of you may be familiar with this author's "Great Brain" books, based on the crazy things his brother dreamed up to do. But this book is the non-fiction, but very novel-like story, of his parents. They lived in a small town in Utah with one part of the town being Mormon and the other being saloon-going, card-playing silver (and later coal) miners. It's about how these two parts of the town learn to get along, and in the end, how the two families merge their religious beliefs and also get along. I LOVED it! It was so well-written and interesting, with some fantastic stories. And yes, once again..... I cried at the end!

Friday, June 15, 2007

A New Favorite Author

Tuesday, at library day, we listened to author Martine Leavitt. She just did a simple question and answer format, and it was really fun! I love to listen to authors' stories of how they got started, their suggestions for being a writer, where they got their ideas from, etc. She was fun to listen to and had some great stories. I read a couple of her books last week, and now I've got three more to read, a fantasy trilogy of course! But they're all very small, so it should be no sweat!

I LOVE her style and way with words, so I'm excited to get going on them. After reading those three, there's two more she's written that I'll find and read... then I'll be all caught up with her books and will be standing by for her to finish more!

But first I have to finish up a couple others, and then I got anther book that was on hold, so I have to read it first.... *sigh*

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Wordless Wednesday: Ten Years Ago

As you can see from the little date at the bottom, this was taken about ten and a half years ago. Man, I miss these little kids!! (Our number 4 kid had yet to be born at this point.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A Funny Conversation

On the way to returning a video game to the store, The Mr. and the kids were remembering the history of Nintendo.

Moder(12 years old): The first one we had was Super Nintendo, right?
The Mr.: Right. But there was just a regular Nintendo before that.
Moder: Then we got Nintendo 64. But instead of getting Game Cube we got Xbox.
Toto (8 years old): And now we have the Wii!
The Mr.: I remember when there weren’t any video games.
Moder and Toto: No video games????
The Mr.: Yeah, the first video game I ever saw was on a thing called Atari and the game was called Pong. It was just a couple of lines and a bouncing dot.
Moder: Really? Do you still have it?


Moder and Toto: MOM! Hey, Mom... did you know that once there were no video games?
Me: Uh, yeah. That wasn’t very long ago you know.
Moder: Yeah, Dad says the first one was Atari.
Me: Yeah, we had that too. You know, once there wasn’t any DVD players.... or even any VCR movies... or even any CDs!!!
Toto: (with huge eyes and chin on the floor): Really? No movies?
Moder: What’d you do? You coudln’t watch a movie whenever you wanted? How’d you watch a movie then?
Me: We went to the theater. Or watched on TV.
Moder: There were TVs then?
Me: Uh, yeah! We had TV!! Hello! I’m not THAT old!
Moder: So, what about music?
Me: We had records, tapes and the radio. Hey, did you know we had NO COMPUTERS either!
Toto: WHAT? No computers? Wow......
Me: Yeah, we used typewriters.
Moder: Oh, yeah, I’ve seen those. Now, they are cool! So.. you didn’t have internet then either, right?
Me: Right, no computers, no internet. We got internet about the time you were born. The first computer we had was when I was in high school. Wow, that was so cool to be able to type something up and then print it.
Moder: So.... did you have ovens?
Me: Yeah.... but no MICROWAVE ovens!
Moder: So... how’d you cook popcorn?
Me: With the air popper or on the stove top.
Moder and Toto: So, with no movies, no computer, and no video games.... what’d you do?
Moder: HEY!! I know! THAT’S why you like books so much! That’s all you had to do!!!

Monday, June 11, 2007

Four Books to Talk About!

Book: I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Genre: Scifi/Horror
Rating: A-

In my ongoing quest to explore the vampire genre a little more, I picked this one up after hearing about it here on blogs in several places. Wierd how I've never heard of it before since it's been around quite awhile.

This was an interesting, quite scientific take on the vampire. There's one last man left after a plague has claimed all the other people in the world, a plague that turns them into vampires. He has carved out quite the existence in this world, and studies the vampires until he has it all figured out, he thinks.

Anyway, I enjoyed it. It wasn't quite what I was expecting, but very interesting. Short too.

Book: The Pilot's Wife by Anite Shreeve

Genre: Contemp. Fiction
Rating: B+

Finally!.... after how many years since it's been on the Oprah List? I picked this up to be my treadmill book for the week/month. But I had a hard time leaving it on the treadmill once my walking session was over!

I remember people saying this story was "earth shattering" and "shocking!" Well, I wouldn't quite put it in that category, but it was page-turning. But quite sad and depressing too, but then again, it WAS on the Oprah List, which means it HAS to be depressing, right?

Book: Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: A

I realized yesterday that this author is visiting our library on Tuesday! The kids checked out these two books (Heck Superhero too) and so I quickly read them so I can feel "in the know" on Tuesday!

Anyway, I LOVED this book. Very fairy-tale-ish. Not so predictable ending, and told with fantastic fairy-tale language. GREAT description and characters. I just loved it.

It's about this girl who cheats Death, but in the process he falls in love with her... Death that is... being an amazing looking man in black. He keeps giving her more and more days to live, meanwhile, she's trying to accomplish all there is to do in those days. Save her village, marry off her friends, and fall in love herself!

Book: Heck Superhero by Martine Leavitt

Genre: YA
Rating: A

I just read this in a couple of hours today. Another great story. I think I've found a new favorite author!

This one is a little sad though, about a homeless boy trying to find his mom who's walked out on him yet again. He lives in a bit of fantasy world that helps him to cope, but gives him quite a great outlook on life. Yes, I cried at the end.

I'm really looking forward to library day this week and hearing this author speak. She should be fantasic if her books are any clue as to her personality.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Name That Tune Answers

Here's the answers!

1. Hey Deanie by Shaun Cassidy

2. Nights in White Satin by The Moody Blues

3. The Mummer’s Dance by Loreena McKennitt

4. Heat of the Moment by Asia

5. You are Loved by Josh Groban

6. Oh, Yeah by Yello (LOVE Yello!)

7. We’ve Only Just Begun by the Carpenters

8. Get Back by the Beatles

9. Where in the world is Carmen San Diego by Rockapella

10. Beth by Kiss

11. Chim Chimani by Dick Van Dyke

12. YMCA by The Village People

13. My Sharonna by the Knack

14. Indian Reservation by Paul Revere and the Raiders

15. The Lion Sleeps Tonight by The Nylons

16. Wizards of Winter by Trans Siberian Orchestra (Yes, the Christmas Lights House song)

17. Evil Ways by Santana

18. Holiday by Green Day

19. Concerto in A Flat minor by Grieg

20. Pressure by Billy Joel

Thanks for playing!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Pondering Magazines

I used to subscribe to a bunch of magazines, but lately, I've been letting them all expire. I guess I just got sick of them. Real Simple, Family Fun, Quilter's Newsletter, Discover, etc.

But now I'm finding I miss getting the magazines in the mailbox. I REALLY miss my book magazines... one of them went bankrupt, and the other I finally renewed today (Bookmarks). Hopefully it will start coming again soon!

So, now I'm pondering what magazines are out there that I'd really like? Not your normal, everyone-reads-them type... but some really fun, interesting and unusal ones? I've been really tempted by Mental Floss (anyone heard of it) but haven't pushed the button yet.

So my question to you all is, what fun magazines are you reading? What am I missing? What do I really need to subscribe to?

Any suggestions?

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Name That Tune #1

I know this has NOTHING to do with books, but we've been playing this Name That Tune game over at the Yahoo 360 community and so I decided to make my own music video to post. I thought maybe some of you over here would be interested in joining the fun..., go ahead and see if you can name that tune! Comment with your guesses.

Summer Library Days

I was thinking the other day that it just isn't summer unless we spend every Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. at the library! We've been doing this for years, supporting the library's summer program for kids. They divide the kids up into groups; one for preschoolers, one for elementary school age, and one for teens. They come up with some kind of theme like this year it's "Unbury the Treasure" with a fun pirate theme.

In the kids groups, they have people come in and talk up some books every week, and then do some kind of performance. Once they had a fencing demonstration. Last year, they had guys dressed up in medieval costumes and they had a "fight".

For the teens, they learn about some different thing every week with a guest speaker, and always there's a couple of author visits. This week, to kick off the program, they had a local author, Greg Park, come talk about writing books and he had several copies of his books to check out. (One summer Shannon Hale came and that was before she became a big-time Newbery Honor winner. She was SO COOL!)

The kids are encouraged to make reading goals each week, and if they do it, then they get coupons for some kind of treat or activity sponsored by different businesses in the community.

My kids love it (most days) and we look forward to participating every year. I usually hang out with the teens, or have an hour to browse on my own while waiting for the kids. This year, I have to avoid browsing though, because I have so many books stacked up for the challenges and book groups waiting at home already!

Truly, it wouldn't be summer without our weekly library visit!

Booking Through Thursday: Encore

Almost everyone can name at least one author that you would love just ONE more book from. Either because they’re dead, not being published any more, not writing more, not producing new work for whatever reason . . . or they’ve aged and aren’t writing to their old standards any more . . . For whatever reason, there just hasn’t been anything new (or worth reading) of theirs and isn’t likely to be.

If you could have just ONE more book from an author you love . . . a book that would be as good any of their best (while we’re dreaming) . . . something that would round out a series, or finish their last work, or just be something NEW . . . Who would the author be, and why? Jane Austen? Shakespeare? Laurie Colwin? Kurt Vonnegut?

I know this isn't too creative an answer, but I really have to say Jane Austen. I would LOVE something else by her, especially if it lived up to her best. What fun would that be?

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Have You Seen This Yet?

For fans of The Golden Compass..... have you seen the trailer for the movie? It looks pretty good!

Reviews: The Pale Immortal and The Lost City of Faar

Book: The Lost City of Faar (2nd book in the Pendragon series)by D.J. MacHale
Rating: B
Genre: YA Fantasy

I read the first of this series a couple of years ago. Since then, my kids have totally devoured the whole series and have said, "Mom, you gotta read the rest of them!" So finally I picked this one up.

I must say though, it didn't grab me as much as the first one. This series is about a 14 year old kid, Bobby Pendragon, who learns he is the Traveler from Second Earth. As such, he is chosen to move between worlds to help solve various problems that crop up and and to try and save everyone from be destroyed by the major evil bad guy!

This 2nd one was fine, but just not as exciting as the first. My kids LOVE them though and read them one right after the other. I may give it a break before I go on to the third!

Book: The Pale Immortal by Anne Frasier

Rating: B+
Genre: Suspense/Fantasy

It's kinda funny how I ended up with this book. We were at a BB game for our son, and my husband noticed a mom reading, so knowing I'd too shy to ask her about it but knowing I'd be curious, he up and asked her what she was reading. So she said it was a "light, for fun" vampire book and we started talking about the trend for vampire books lately.

Since then, I kept thinking about it and wondering if it was a good one or not. So finally, I ordered it from PBS and read it as soon as it came.

This is the story of small town with a legend of a vampire in its past. It's about a recluse author who can't go out in the day because he has that disease... allergic-to-the-sun thing. It's about a 16 year old kid who gets mixed up with the wrong crowd and who is trying to find out who he is. All in all, an interesting plot, but...

.... my feeling is that this it not really the kind of vampire book I'm in search of. It was a bit too gory for me. I want mysterious, romantic, haunting, with just a touch of creepy. This was a bit too crude and over the top for my taste. (Definitely not light and for fun!) The "traditional" vampire genre may just not be for me, but still, I'm curious about it and will keep looking!

Friday, June 1, 2007

Awards Challenge: Sign Me Up!

I can't believe I'm doing ANOTHER challenge. This makes three for me, which, I know, is nothing compared to what some of you other book crazies do! But, they really are quite fun, aren't they?

This challenge is all about reading stuff that has won an award of some kind. Hosted by 3M and all the details found here.

I made up the list for this challenge using only books I already have (except two and one is on the way from PBS!)

So here's my list for THIS challenge (which I'll also put on the sidebar soon):

1. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood (Booker 2000)
2. Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (Pulitzer 1972)
3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon (Pulitzer 2001)
4. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (Booker 1989)
5. Possession: A Romance by A. S. Byatt (Booker 1990)
6. The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (National Book Award 1993, Pulitzer 1994)
7. All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy (National Book AND NBCC both in 1992)
8. The March by E.L. Doctorow (NBCC and Pen/Faulkner both in 2006)
9. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Newbery 1985)
10. Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse (Newbery 1998)
11. The Twenty-one Ballons by William Pène du Bois (Newbery 1948)
12. Miracles on Maple Hill by Viginia Sorenson (Newbery 1957)
1. The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman (Newbery 1987)
2. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (Newbery 1977)
3. The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (Newbery 1974)
4. Lindbergh by A. Scott Berg (Pulitzer/Biography 1999)
5. March by Geraldine Brooks (Pulitzer 2006)
Wow! I can't wait to get started!


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