Monday, March 31, 2008

Review: The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

Book: The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: A-
What a fun kids fantasy this book was! Complete with a bunch of cool and quirky characters, some nasty villians and a kid with a misfit problem in his normal life but learns during all his adventures that maybe he's pretty special after all.
My favorite part of this book was all the riddles. I'm pretty stupid when it comes to riddles, so I didn't figure many out (though it was possible if I'd tried harder!) and let the charcter do all the figuring for me, but at one point, just before our hero was getting to it, I said right out loud, there in bed as I was reading, " I got it! I got it! Wait, wait, I need paper!!!" The Mr. looked at me sideways as I rummaged for paper and I said, "HA! I'm getting this BEFORE he does," pointing to Tick there on the front of the book. And sure enough, after flipping around in the book a bit and writing, then reading for a couple more pages, both Tick and I had it! "See!" I said all proudly, showing The Mr. He rolled his eyes and went on with his own reading.
It's stuff like this that makes this book tons of fun, along with a couple of twists and turns and a pretty intense climatic scene thrown in the mix too. Now that I'm done with it, I'll be handing it back over to my 13 year old son to see what he thinks of it. I'm quite sure he'll love it since he's loved all of James Dashner's previous stuff.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

NO! Not Jason!

It was painful for me to see Jason in the bottom three last night on American Idol. Hopefully, it freaked him out bad enough that he steps it up and can wow everyone again like he did in the beginning, 'cause I really hope he sticks around awhile longer! I know he's not as powerful a singer as some of them, but still, I love his unique sound.

In case you missed it, here's the video of just that bottom three moment. It's a pretty crappy recording, but you can see his funny reaction to the whole thing:

Booking Through Thursday: Cover Up

This week’s question comes from Julie, who asks:
While acknowledging that we can’t judge books by their covers, how much does the design of a book affect your reading enjoyment? Hardcover vs. softcover? Trade paperback vs. mass market paperback? Font? Illustrations? Etc.?

I really don't think the actual design of the book affects my enjoyment of it. It's easier to read a softback than a hardback, but I still enjoy the hardbacks of course! I

llustrations? I can take 'em or leave 'em. Some are pretty cool, but, it sure doesn't affect my enjoyment of the book.

Trade paperbacks are the best, but I sure read lots of the mass market kind too.

Fonts? Hmmmm.... if it's a really hard to read font, that could be a problem. But most books don't have a problem with weird fonts.

So, the short answer: nope! I enjoy the book no matter what, really. :)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Review: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Book: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: B+
Third book of the year finished for the TBR Challenge! I'm just barely hanging on at one book a month for that one.
So, I liked this book okay. If you're an American Idol fan, can you hear Randy saying, "It was awright for me, it was just awright." That's about how I felt.
The story is about a couple whose twins are born in the very first chapter. The baby boy is born healthy, but the daughter has Downs Syndrome. The dad, who is also a doctor, is delivering the twins late at night in his office with only one nurse to help. When he realizes there's a "problem" with his daughter, he tells the nurse to take her away to an institution and then he tells his wife that the baby girl died. The rest of the story is how everyone involved is affected by this split second decision.
My problem was I never really felt much sympathy for either the dad OR the mom. They seemed whiney and pathetic and way too "woe is me." Yes, the whole thing is sad, but still. I did enjoy the parts about the two kids and how life ended up for them. The writing was quite good, though a little sappy at times.
Anyway, it was "awright" for me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Library Thing, Here I Come

So, according to my little poll, most of you are liking Library Thing for your book site of choice. You seem to like Goodreads too, but Library Thing still wins out in the end. Therefore, I'm going to try it and see what I think. It does look like a fun place to play!

Click HERE to get to my profile. Come and find me and say hi and tell me how to find you. I'm Suey there, like I am at most places. 'Course, there's not much in my library yet 'cause that'll take awhile. And at some point I'll have to decide whether or not I fork out the money for it. It won't take me long to reach the limit. But in the meantime, I hope to get a feel for the place and if I really want to stay there long enough to make that money investment worth it.

For those who are old pros there, I already have a question. Isn't there a place to say simply whether the book you add is READ or NOT READ.... I have lots to add that I have't read yet, so it seems logical that you'd see right off that I haven't read them yet. Am I making sense? Or is that just assumed by whether or not I've rated and/or reviewed them?

Anyway, back to playing with it!

Friday, March 21, 2008

A Music Memory

The other day JJ (16 year old daughter) went to a stag dance (what I used to call a stomp back in the day) and when she came home we were questioning her as to what songs they played... and were there certain songs that they play all the time at dances . .. like it wouldn't-be-a-complete-dance-without-it kinda of song.

So, then, of course, that got us remembering the songs of our day, the ones that got played at every dance without fail. This particular one came to mind and made us giggle with all the memories from it.

Take a listen and raise your hand if YOU remember dancing to this song, complete with melting to the ground at a particular point, and jumping back up in the air and on with the dance afterwards!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: The End

Booking Through Thursday

You’ve just reached the end of a book . . . what do
you do now? Savor and muse over the book? Dive right into the next one? Go take
the dog for a walk, the kids to the park, before even thinking about the next
book you’re going to read? What?

(Obviously, there can be more than one answer,
here–a book with a cliff-hanger is going to engender different reactions than a
serene, stand-alone, but you get the idea!)

I have many different reactions to the end of a book:
  • sometimes I'll hold it close, smile for a minute, then be on my way.
  • sometimes, I may be teary-eyed, and I'll have to regroup before joining the real world again.
  • sometimes, I finish a book, lay it down, and immediately pick up the next one that's right there waiting, and keep right on reading.
  • sometimes, when I finish a book, I'm really looking forward to the process of choosing the next book. So, I'll pick up two or three and read the first page, or chapter, then finally decide, and it'll be on to that book!
  • sometimes, I'll be sad to finish a book and I'll leave out and look at it fondly for the next few days, wishing I was still reading it.
  • always, I'll write it down in my reading journal.

But no matter what the reaction, I always feel like I've accomplished something, just because I've finished a book!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Review: Life As We Knew It

Book: Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Genre: YA SF... sort of
Rating: A
Here's the book I read for one of my book groups this month. It's a book I'd never heard of until this past month, and then suddenly, I'm hearing about it all over the place. Funny how that happens, huh?
It's a story about the end of the world. When the moon is hit by a meteor, it throws it out of kilter, and lots of disasters start happening which cause life, as we knew it, to change drastically. The story follows one particular family and how they cope and survive. Among other things, (like the power of family and sacrifice and survival), it also presents very strong argument for planning ahead and storing food for emergencies!
So, yeah, I totally enjoyed it, even though it stressed me out a bit, just imagining going through something like this.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Reviews: Two 2nd Books

Book: Magic Lessons by Justine Larbalestier

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: A-

This is the 2nd in this trilogy about a girl named Reason, who discovers that she has some pretty cool magical powers. In this book, she also learns about an ancestor of hers that puts a bit of a twist on the whole magical delimma she is facing. Like in the first book, we get to jump from Sydney Australia, to New York City in a flash. It's fun to see the differences in culture and vocabulary between these two cities.

Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction

Rating: A

I can see why so many kids are loving these books! They are a hoot! This book, also a 2nd one in the series, continues the diary started by Gregory when he goes to 7th grade. He has to deal with his crazy older brother, Roderick, who has some sort of secret on him, and therefore Gregory has to pretty much do whatever his brother says. Not a good situation to be in!

There's more to come in this series, so stay tuned!

Review: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott

Book: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
Genre: NF
Rating: A
Now THIS is the kind of writing pep talk book that I love! In this book, Anne Lamott takes us through all the different aspects of writing that she covers in her writing classes. She gives lots of examples, she tells lots of funny stories from her own writing experiences and she actually dishes out some great advice for those thinking about writing.
I found myself wishing I didn't have a library copy so I could mark it up. There were lots of one-liners and quotes that I loved. Maybe I'll end up with my own copy one of these days, then I'll gladly re-read it!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Vote for your Favorite!

I decided to try a poll. You can find it over in the side bar there. (Sorry it's hard to read, I can't figure out how to get the text a different color!)

So, once and for all, let me know what the VERY BEST social book networking site is! I hear people talk about Library Thing, Good Reads and Shelfari all the time, and they all sound quite fun, but I don't think I could do all three. (Is there another one even? I keep thinking I'm forgetting one....)

But maybe I could handle one of them.

So, the dilemma is... which one?

Thus.... a poll!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Movie Quote Meme

Here's a fun meme I saw on Lynn's blog that I decided to go for:

Here are the rules:
1. Pick 10 of your favorite movies.
2. Go to IMDb (Internet Movie Database) and find a quote from each movie.
3. Post them here for everyone to guess (if you know them all, please don't guess every one).
4. Strike it out when someone guesses correctly, and put who guessed it and the movie.
5. No Googling or IMDb-ing. That's cheating, and that's no fun!

Some of my favorite quotes from some of my favorite movies:

1. Always pays to tell the truth, Lord. Thank you. I see that now. (Christina guessed Ladyhawke correctly!)

2. That day, she was amazed to discover that when he was saying "As you wish", what he meant was, "I love you." And even more amazing was the day she realized she truly loved him back. (Trish gets this one: The Princess Bride)

3. Better a silly girl with a flower than a silly boy with a horse and a stick. (Amy guesses right with A Knight's Tale)

4. Uh, we had a slight weapons malfunction, but uh... everything's perfectly all right now. We're fine. We're all fine here now, thank you. How are you? (Twiga gets this one with a guess for Star Wars: A New Hope)

5. Does it come in black?

6. I'll come 'round sometime and get that squeak out of your door.

7. We've had one, yes. What about second breakfast? (Amy gets this one: Lord of the Rings (Fellowship of the Ring) )

8. She is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me. (BooksPlease guesses Pride and Prejudice correctly!)

9. Sticks and stones, love. I saved your life, you saved mine. We're square. (Elena gets it with a guess for Pirates of the Caribbean (The Curse of the Black Pearl) )

10. You smell like sweet red plums and grilled cheese sandwiches.

Comment with your answers. Also, let me know if you decide to try it and I'll come and guess a movie!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Review: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Book: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: A
So, I've avoided this books for.... years... however long it's been around now. I knew there was "the scene" and I thought I'd rather not read "that" scene.
BUT... my book club voted for this to be our book this month. So, I finally picked it up and read it, over the weekend, and guess what? That scene wasn't THAT bad... yes, it was icky and disturbing, but not THAT bad. So... all these years of avoiding this book, and in the end, I loved it! (Well, not "the scene" you know, but the rest of the book!)
I think most everyone knows that it's about Suzie, and how she's in heaven, getting used to things there, but mostly, she's watching how her family is doing without her. It's a great story about relationships, and dealing with loss, and coping, and loving and family. Very upbeat and inspiring in the end. I'm so glad the book club said to go for it and made me read this book after all!

Booking Through Thursday: Playing Editor

Booking Through Thursday

How about a chance to play editor-in-chief? Fill in the blanks:

Love in the Time of Cholera would have been a much better book if there was a little more.... a lot more.... dialogue.

Wives and Daughters would have been a much better book if the author wouldn't have died before she finished it!

Well, I was going to think of more, but I guess my mind just went blank! So I'll leave it at that for now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

One Year Old!

Wow! So it's been a year since I started this book blog. It's been fun and I've had a great time being able to drone on and on about books to my heart's content. I've really had fun finding and reading other book blogs and every day there's more to discover and more to add to the ever growing Google Reader list.

To celebrate my one year mark, I've changed the look of my page just a little (I've got three columns now!), added a counter finally (I decided I was curious after all if anyone was dropping by!), got rid of my ugly Yahoo avatar profile picture and added an equally ugly one of me reading, and I also finally put a picture in my header. And despite my blog title, I think I've also decided to branch forth from the "only books" rule and mention other things I'm into every now and then. Excitement, I know. But I love it when other book bloggers do that, so....

Anyway, to those who come here and read, thanks! To those who come here and comment, especially thanks!

Here's hoping that I last at least another year and that the fun of it continues.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Review: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Book: A Great and Terribly Beauty by Libba Bray

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: B+

Yet another new-to-me YA author! I've been hearing so much about this author and this series (the third of which recently came out) and seeing all the young girls hauling them around, that I bumped it up on my TBR list and read it this past week.

This story has a very unique take on the magical world. The setting is Victorian England at a girls boarding school. Yet the story is also familar in that our main character learns that she has some pretty cool magical powers. However, the powers come with a price, and bad things can happen if she uses them. And bad, bad people can find her and track her down!

I totally enjoyed this story, though I found some of it to be a bit bizarre for me and some of the magical stuff kinda went right over my head. It was pretty dark and creepy in parts too. But overall, I really liked it and am now invested in these characters and for sure I'll be wanting to find out what happens to them.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Booking Through Thursday: Hero

Booking Through Thursday

You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?

Ah, heroes! I love 'em! So, here's my list:

  • Gilbert Blythe: because he's so nice and funny

  • Edward Cullen: don't we all know why? Practically perfect in every way!

  • Mr. Darcy of course: just 'cause Mr. Darcy HAS to be on the list

  • Samwise Gamgee: he's the best friend anyone could ever have.

  • Edmond Dante (The Count of Monte Cristo): because he's so multi-layered

  • Sidney Carton of The Tale of Two Cities: I ache for him!

I'm sure I could go on and on, and I'm sure I've left someone really really cool out, but I'll stop there for now!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Buying The 13th Reality

We bought yet another book yesterday, by one of our favorite local authors, James Dashner. My 13 year old son (my 16 year old daughter too actually) LOVES his Jimmy Fincher series and so we knew that with the release of the first of this latest series, we'd be right on it!

Besides, he's doing a cool thing and donating all his royalities during this first week to the One Campaign. Click here to see the details on his blog.

And go out and buy his book, The 13th Reality, you'll love it! Your kids'll love it! Really!

(Once I get it read, I'll be back to tell you all about it!)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Review: Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Book: Moloka'i by Allan Brennert
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: A
Another one to check off the TBR pile for the 2008 TBR Challenge! I've heard so many good things about this book, and it lived up to those things. Don't you love it when that happens?!
This is the story of Rachel, a girl who is diagnosed with leprosy in the late 1800's when she's only 6 years old. She is taken from her family and banished to the island of Moloka'i where she lives most of the rest of her live. This is all about that experience, some good stuff, some bad stuff. Lots about creating relationships, losing relationships, and finding each other. I loved it! It had me teary-eyed in many places. Wonderful story!

Next time I go to Hawaii, I hope visiting this island is on the itinerary.


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