Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: A Daring Outrage

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

From page 71 (large print edition) of Agnes Grey by Ann Bronte:

"Loud were the outcries, terrible the execrations consequent upon this daring outrage; Uncle Robson had been coming up the walk with his gun, and was, just then, pausing to kick his dog. Tom flew towards him, vowing he would make him kick me instead of Juno."

March Reading Recap

I had a very fun month of reading! Here's the list:

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson: When the prince is struck down with the curse, he is thrown into the decaying city of Elantris and forced to figure out how to survive.

Pillage by Obert Skye: When Beck's mom dies, he is sent to live with his uncle, and there, he discovers some pretty cool things!

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Junior decides to go off the reservation to go to school. There's lots of good things and bad things that happen because of this.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Burrows: A collection of letters in which a writer makes friends with a bunch of people on the island of Guernsey and how they lived through the German occupation.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson: A slave girl gets sold to a Patriot family in New York City just as the Revolutionary War breaks out.

Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson: How a teenage boy copes with, and overcomes, depression.

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast: Zoey gets marked as a vampire and has to now go to the House of Night boarding school as she begins the transformation into being a grown vampire.

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin: Naomi falls, bumps her head, and now can't remember anything after 7th grade. How does she re-create her life?

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: The first in the saga of Percy Jackson's adventures wherein he discovers who his dad really is and rescues the missing lightning bolt!

My favorites of the month? It's a toss up between Elantris, The Guernsey book, and Chains. All were wonderful!

What was your favorite book this month?

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Sunday Salon: A Day Late

I tried to write a Sunday Salon post yesterday, as is the norm. But I only got about six words written before it was time to head off to visit the grandparents. So, we spent the whole afternoon doing that, instead of reading or blogging, or napping. But that's okay, 'cause it's fun to go visiting too!

IF I would have written a post yesterday, I would have told you that I finished The Lightning Thief, which took me longer than expected, and started The Dead and the Gone, which so far is NOT grabbing me like Life As We Knew It, did. I'm thinking I might set it aside and try one of the other library loot books from last week, then come back to it shortly.

Or work on one of my classics challenge books, like Agnes Grey perhaps.

Besides reading, here's what else I'm doing.... I've managed to get myself hooked to a TV series no longer on TV called Firefly. We're borrowing it from the library. Lots of fun, and a very unusual science fiction show... space cowboyish.... I love the music. Anyway, just wondered if anyone else out there is familiar with it and what you think.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Remember, Remember and some Friday Random Thoughts

Just wanted to make sure you all know about Natasha's (Maw Books) huge Jodi Picoult giveaway! You really don't want to miss this one. Seven books, all signed, including her brand new one. Click here for all the details, and to enter.

Also, don't forget to go vote for the latest bookword over at An Adventure in Books. We are picking a word for the book that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the TBR pile.


Wow, I'm totally having a blast listening John Green on BlogTV right now. He's answering question after question, and even one of mine! Well, whatduya know! :) He's working on a book right now called The Sequel. Write on, John!

I want to join Carl's Once Upon a Time Challenge, because I' m getting a feeling that it's one that if you don't, you are just so out of it. But, I can't find the energy to figure out what to put on my list at the moment. So, maybe it will come. The energy I mean.

Okay, well, I was going to ramble on some more, but I got so distracted by John Green, that I can't even think straight anymore about what to ramble on about. So, I think I'll just go read... that and get ready for a big shindig I'm in charge of tonight.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Best Bad Book

Booking Through Thursday

Suggested by Janet:
The opposite of last week’s question: “What’s the best ‘worst’ book you’ve ever read — the one you like despite some negative reviews or features?”

Some people hate The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, but I love it.

Some people hate Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, but I love it.

Some people hate Twilight and etc. by Stephenie Meyer, but I love it/them.

Some people hate Eragon, Eldest and Brisingr, by Christopher Paolini, but I love them.

That's all I can think of at the moment!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Midweek Morsels: Marble Cookies

I skipped Kristina's Midweek Morsels last week, so this week, I've got to come up with something! I've been having a food struggle this week, and feel like there is NOTHING to make! Arrghh, it's frustrating.

So today, we are making a HUGE batch of chocolate chip cookies at our house... Mrs. Fields cookies to be exact, taken from her cookie cook book. The reason? Because youngest daughter, Toto, will be portraying her in the 4th grade wax museum tomorrow night, (also the reason no Laurie Halse Anderson for me!) and if you're going to be Mrs. Fields, I'd say you better have cookies to hand out!!!

But, that's not the recipe I'm sharing here, since we all have a favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe. What AM sharing is another cookie recipe from this book that we tried last week and shared them at book club. My family went crazy for these cookies and they were gone nearly instantly. The book club people seemed to enjoy them too, and ate WAY more than they usually do!

Marbles from Mrs. Fields Best Ever Cookie Book

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 300 degrees. Combine sugars, then add butter, egg, sour cream and vanilla. Beat 'till light and fluffy. Add flour, baking powder and salt. Do not over mix.

Melt chocolate chips. Cool for just a bit, then add to cookie batter. Lightly fold chocolate in, but DO NOT completely mix in. Create the marble affect this way.

Bake for 20 min. Do not brown, transfer quickly to rack to cool.

Review: Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Book: Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
Genre: YA paranormal
Rating: B+
For: Fun

This is the book I got last December from the Secret Santa Blogger Exchange project. I've been hearing quite a bit about this series lately, so I've been anxious to see what the deal is. And yes, it's yet another teenage vampire story. In this particular scenario, kids are "marked" with a tattoo if they have the potential to become a vampire. Once this happens, if they don't head off to the vampire boarding school, they will die. Once there, they will learn all the ins and outs of becoming a vampire while the actual physical change is taking place. If this change goes wrong, they will.... die... of course!

Anyway, so our heroine is marked, and heads off to school. It is apparent right from the start that she is going to be different. Things are happening much faster than normal with her transformation. Meanwhile, she has to deal with fitting in at the school and standing up against the bullies, and dealing with her human boyfriend. You know, the usual.

Interesting premise, don't you think? I enjoyed it all just fine, but the part I didn't particularly like was all the ritualistic stuff. Many ceremonies, and creepy, mystical, all out weird stuff.

But it is a vampire story. So, I guess that's to be expected. Still.

That being said, I am still quite interested in what happens to these kids. So, if I come across it while I'm shelving at the library, I'll probably end up taking it home!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Job Hazard of Working at the Library....

..... is shelving books in the teen/YA section! Yes, I got to do this today and I came across so many that I wanted to take home and read RIGHT NOW! But, I only came home with five:

Dead and Gone by by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Tales of Beetle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

Blue Noon by Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters #3)

Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin

Thirsty by M.T. Anderson

Should I drop everything else and get going on them?

And what do I say to The Mr. who rolls his eyes at me and my attraction to YA?

Review: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book: Twisted by Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: YA

Rating: A-

For: Fun, and because I thought I would get to meet the author this week, but as it turns out, I can't go after all. It's important that I be a mom that night instead.

I must say, this was a very depressing book. Page turning and gripping, but depressing. It's about a boy who has struggled with depression in his past, often thinking and imagining ways to die. Then this particular year in high school, things get even worse. Well, at first things seem to be looking up, because over the summer, he has quite improved his looks, and the girl of his dreams is suddenly noticing him. However, a major misunderstanding happens at a party, and he finds himself in trouble the he so does not deserve. To top it all off, his dad is awful to him, and he has no real friends to turn to. It's all very sad and brings him down to his most bottom point yet.

Sad, depressing story, but well-written and thought provoking, as all of her books are! Ah, I'm so bummed I don't get to go see her.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.11: Historical Fiction

This week for Weekly Geeks: Ali asks us about historical fiction. She has a bunch of questions, but I've focused on these two:

Is there a particular era that you love reading about? Tell us about it--give us a book list, if you'd like.

Ah, man! I can't pick a favorite. Really and truly, I love them all. But I DO love making a list! And in fact, I was thinking of making more book lists as part of a regular blog feature, so what a perfect way to start that, right here on a Weekly Geeks post! So introducing,

Suey's Top Ten Historical Fiction Novels

1. Katherine by Anya Seton (British royalty history)

2. The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye (British occupation of India)

3. Sacajawea by Anna Lee Waldo (Lewis and Clark expedition)

4. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (China)

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (The Holocast)

6. Chesapeake by James Michener (settling of the Chesapeake Bay area)

7. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Civil War)

8. The Memoirs of Cleopatra by Margaret George (Egypt and Rome)

9. Sarum by Edward Rutherford (history of Salisbury England, sweeping all eras)

10. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet (medieval England)

Wow, there's so many more to list! I need a top 50 or something! Anyway, these books are not only some of my favorite historical fiction, but some of my all time favorites of any genre. So so good! Many of them I read way "before blogging" so sometime in a dead blogging moment, I'll have to remember them and review them. Or, I could always re-read!

A member of your book group, Ashley, mentions that she almost never reads Historical Fiction because it can be so boring. It's your turn to pick the book for next month and you feel it's your duty to prove her wrong. What book do you pick?

Well, it would all depend on what sorts of books Ashley DOES like, you see. But not really knowing her that well, I would suggest Katherine by Anya Seton. It's pretty much got it all. And I just really don't know how you could call it boring.

I look forward to reading what everyone else's favorites are and adding big-time to my TBR!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kreativ Blogger Award/Seven Things I Love

I got tagged/awarded/ given the Kreativ Blogger Award from Kristina at Kristina's Favorites the other day! I like this one because I can make yet another list! :)

The idea is to list SEVEN things I love then tag SEVEN people.

Random things that I love:

1. I love those great big huge brownie sundaes you can get at some restaurants, with a big soft very chocolaty brownie and a huge scoop of ice cream, dripping in hot fudge sauce!

2. I love the sound of teenagers coming home, late at night, and knowing all are safe and well for yet another day. And that I can relax and go to sleep finally!

3. I love it when my mom gets in giggle fits, and then we all get the giggles, then we all start laughing so hard the tears stream down our faces, then when we realize we don't even know why we are laughing, we laugh even harder!

4. I love pulling away from the dock at the beginning of a week long cruise!

5. I love comments!

6. I love downloading new songs from iTunes and playing them over and over and over again until we are sick of them. Then again, maybe we never get sick of them!

7. I love the smell of new books. And old books. And in between books.

Seven people to tag even though one thing I don't love is tagging. Getting tagged is GREAT, tagging back, not so great:

Katie at Buzzing About

Stephanie at Books n More Books

So have at it people! :)

The Sunday Salon: Giveaway Winner Announced and other Randomness

First the exciting news: congratulations to Stephanie from Books n More Books! She just won the drawing for the Amazon gift certificate that I had going for my 2 year celebration. I'm excited because she is new to the book blogging world, and hopefully this will make her excited to keep posting and being part of this cool community. (But I need your email address Stephanie!) Thanks to all those who participated. I enjoyed hearing what I do that you like, and also I got some great suggestions on what to add to the blog. I'm working on those!

Second item of business: We need more suggestions for the current bookword we are creating. So be sure to drop by HERE and let us know what you think we should call a book that keeps getting bumped to the bottom of the TBR pile. Poor thing.

Third: what am I reading today? Hmmm.... nothing really. I know, tragedy! Actually, I started The Lightning Thief so I can find out once and for all what the big deal is with Percy Jackson. However, I've really just barely started, so I've yet to be yanked in. But according to many of you, that shouldn't take long, right?

Other random reading tidbits:
  • We bought Twilight, the movie and watched it again last night. I stand by all I said about it before. I love some parts and think other parts are overly cheesy. I'm looking forward to what they do with New Moon.

  • Book club on Thursday seemed especially fun. Maybe I was just in a silly mood. Maybe I was tired and slap happy, I don't know. But it was really fun. Thanks to those of you who came and joined in the silliness! :)

  • I got a couple more chapters read in War and Peace! Just so you know!

  • I submitted my first Amazon book review this week. I know, it's about time. But I'm shy like that. Some things take me awhile!

  • I'm not going to get to go see Laurie Halse Anderson this week after all. So sad. But I suddenly realized one day that my daughter has a big school event that night and it's quite important that I be there for her. Oh, well. Maybe next time.

Well, I guess that's it for this Sunday Salon! Happy Reading to you all!

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Mini Dewey Books Challenge

I just realized that Softdrink over at Fizzy Thoughts is giving us "Dewey's Books Challenge" participants a mini-challenge (so okay, I haven't been being too much attention I guess!) and that is to write a list of something about one of our Dewey books, or authors, or anything along those lines.

So since I love list making, I thought I'd go for this one, and write a list about M.T. Anderson, an author of one of my upcoming Dewey books, and one that I really know nothing about.

M.T. Anderson:

  • The M stands for Matthew and the T stands for Tobin.

  • He was born in 1967 and is from Massachusetts.

  • He writes picture books, middle grade books, and YA books.

  • His first book is called Thirsty and is a vampire book, from what I can tell.

  • He got a National Book Award, and a Printz Honor for The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Volume 1: The Pox Party which is what I'll be reading shortly, hopefully!

  • He also got many awards for Feed, which I've heard is a pretty intense, disturbing book.

  • In which John Green blogs about how he thinks Vol 2 of Octavian Nothing is the best book of the past year

  • An M.T. Anderson quote: "It's insulting to believe that teens should have a different kind of book than an adult should. Teens like challenges. They know the world is complicated, they can tell when a book is simplifying life. If we're going to ask our kids at age 18 to go off to war and die for their country, I don't see any problem with asking them at age 16 to think about what that might mean."

  • Previous jobs include: He worked as a burger flipper, a department store cashier and a radio DJ.

  • I can't find any M.T. Anderson blog, and this is what he has to say about THAT when someone else had the same problem: "I have a very New Englandy horror of self-promotion, and for that reason, I haven’t put anything about me online. No real loss
    there. An MTA-blog would be a dismal record of wasted hours and frozen chicken pot pie."

One thing is certain, I can't wait to get reading about Octavian, and then from there, one to some other M.T. Anderson books!

Adam Lambert's "Ring of Fire": Like It? Or Not?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Booking Through Thursday: Worst Best Book

How about, “What’s the worst ‘best’ book you’ve ever read — the one everyone says is so great, but you can’t figure out why?”

It's hard for me to answer this question because I tend to like everything that everyone else likes. Yes, I'm a crowd follower!

BUT, I did a read a book awhile back that I remember everyone talking about. I don't know for sure that everyone was really liking it, but it sure did get a lot of buzz. That book was The Nanny Diaries. So, I finally read it, and could hardly get through it, though I did manage it, gagging the whole way! Yeah, not my idea of a good book. It was terrible; the story, the characters, the writing. Everything. So, for those that liked this book, I just don't get it!


P.S. The response for my Blogiversary giveaway has been underwhelming, to say the least! If you haven't
had a chance to enter, come do it soon..... you have excellent odds of winning this one!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A List of Bookwords

A List of Bookwords
(to be added to as we create them)

RecommenDUD: A book you hate that everyone else loves.

CheckBook: A book that you find yourself checking to see how many more pages left, on every single page!

Memoread: A book that reminds you of another book you have already read, not necessarily in plot, but in tone and atmosphere.

A book that continually gets moved to the 'next in the pile', but never gets read.

Marginally Challenged:
a book with very little space between lines (likely, it's a public domain book/classic) giving deceivingly few pages to read

A book that you LOVE, but everyone else (well, almost everyone) HATES.

A Flick Pick:
A book you read after you've seen the movie

A book you read because you think you should in order to be well-read.

A book you buy that you forgot you already read/own.

A non-fiction book which reads like fiction.

An author you can always count on for a good read.

Throne Tome: A good book to read in the bathroom!

Midnight Special: A book with a plot makes you unable to go to sleep.

Aroma Tome: A book with a very distinctive smell.

Screen Plagued: A book with a character that you can only picture the movie actor who played the role.

A Lullabook: A book that makes you sleepy.

A Wanderlust Novel: A book that makes you want to travel to its setting.

A Crossover Book: A book you start in one year, and finish in the next.

A Mis-covered Book: A book with a bad cover.

A Boomerang Book: A library book that gets returned unread.

Title Block: A book that you can remember its plot, but not its title.

A Book Siren: A book that begs to be read immediately.

A History Mystery: A book where characters from the present are researching characters from the past.

A Firestarter Book: A book that inspires you to do research on the topic.

Anticipage: A book where the anticipation of it is part of the excitement of the book.

A Bookmate: A person who has the same taste in books as you do.

Book Crush: A book you totally fall in love with.

Screen-plagued: A book where you can only picture the actor from the movie as the character in the book.

The Bookword Game: And the new Bookword is.....

MEMOREAD! Our new word for a book that reminds you of another book you have already read! Congratulations to Coversgirl of Between the Covers for the winning suggestion! It was a close race, getting 34% of the vote, with Deja-book coming in a very very close second.

And now we need to figure out a word for:

the certain book that continually gets moved to the 'next in the pile', but never gets read. You know, that poor neglected book that you really DO want to read, but for some reason, other books just keep pushing it out of the way! What do you call that book?

Comment with your suggestions. Voting for this book will take place at An Adventure in Reading next Wednesday.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Review: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Book: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Winner of the 2009 Scott O'dell Award

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Rating: A

For: Fun... and because I hope to meet this author next week!

I know many of you have been raving about this book for quite awhile now, but I hadn't realized what it was about. I was expecting something along the lines of Speak, but it turns out, this book is more along the lines of Fever, 1793.

This is the story of Isabel, a slave girl in 1776. The book begins when her owner dies, and Isabel expects to now be free, since her owner said she freed her in the will. However, of course that doesn't happen and she gets sold and moved to New York. It's here that she gets all mixed up in the beginning of the Revolutionary War. She's torn as to which side might help her, the Rebels or the Patriots. She gets into a much trouble, but through it all shows a strong, brave spirit.

This book gives you a wonderful idea for what life was like during this crazy time period, and especially the awful conditions of the slaves. And the prisoners of war too. Wonderful writing, and a sense of getting "lost in the story." I loved every minute of it.

And once again, I didn't realize I was reading a book that had plans "to be continued!" Things were just getting extremely exciting and intense when it ended with those words! ARRGHH! And so, the wait begins for yet another sequel!

Other reviews:

Book Nut
One Librarian's Book Reviews
Maw Books Blog
A Comfy Chair and a Good Book
Review X
Reading is my Superpower
Becky's Book Reviews

A Look Back on Two Years of Blogging... and a Giveaway!

It's been two years since I started this blog!

It took me a long time to actually hit the button to start it because the whole idea made me a little nervous. But I knew I would have fun letting my book enthusiasm run free. And I really needed an outlet for that, so I went for it. And wow! I was soon getting comments and finding tons of other book bloggers out there! Something I totally didn't expect. It was all very exciting.

Now it's two years and 560 posts later! Here's a quick look back over the past couple of years:

Posts with the most hits:

My review of Deep and Dark and Dangerous. I'm guessing tons of kids are coming to get ideas for a book report. Other reviews on books I promoted for the book fair come in at a close second.

A Couple of Twilight Previews: Not sure why people find my blog for this, since these reviews were posted everywhere!

The first vote for the Bookword Game. The enthusiasm was high for the first vote! I'm needing WAY more votes for the current round!

Dewey, we'll miss you. I happened to catch this news just shortly after it was posted on Dewey's site, then quickly posted my reaction. It seemed I had a lot of hits that sad day.

What is Jason reading? The was first time I posted Jason's name in my title! It works to get lots of hits... but only one comment!

A couple of my favorite posts:

Literary Couples : Inspired by a contest hosted by Literary Feline.

Guess the Author Pictures : A Weekly Geek post.

Blog Advent Tour: Decorating the Tree : This past year's advent tour contribution.

My first commenter two years ago: Lisa at Books. Lists. Life.
My most recent commenter: Boy Mom at Boys-R-Us

By the Numbers:
120 reviews

47 Weekly Geek experiences

81 Booking Through Thursday questions answered

ONLY 5 posts labeled Josh Groban! (Did I miss labeling a few? )

2 Blogger Christmas exchanges and Blogger Advent Tours participated in

Only 3 blog tours.

31 Sunday Salons

17 Teaser Tuesdays
23 random memes completed (at least those properly labeled!)

Okay. I guess I could go on and on looking back. So I'll stop now.

Anyway, it's been a fun two years. I hope to keep it up for a long time to come (even though it often gets discouraging!) Thank you to all of you who have connected, commented, followed, friended, or whatever the word of the day is, with me! You are all wonderful! :)

And to celebrate lasting two years, I'd like to give away a ten dollar Amazon gift certificate to one of my readers! But I'm going to ask for a little blogging critique from you all. So, to enter, please comment on this post with an answer to these questions (and an email address):

What do you most look forward to when visiting my blog? (Or what am I doing right?)

What should I add, change, fix, delete from my blog? (Or what am I doing wrong?)

I'll pick a random winner next Sunday.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Upcoming Stuff

Last week I asked for help choosing my next book. All my commenters were pretty much evenly split between The Guernsey Literary and.... Society and Chains. But that was okay because this week, I read them both! And what wonderful books they both were! It's been a great reading week.

And now I'm again trying to figure out what to read next! Should I continue on working from last week's list? (I did start Marked last night. I've heard so much about this series lately and am really curious what it's all about.) Or should I start all over and pick from a whole new pile? I'm kind of in the mood for a Sarah Dessen type book. Ah, the decisions!

Coming up this week, I have two F2F bookclubs to attend. Usually they are on different weeks, but sometimes, with all the crazy scheduling issues to be worked around, they end up on the same week. For one we'll be discussing Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko... one my favorite YA books. And the other one will be about Elantris. So, I'm excited.

Also this week, we'll announce the latest Bookword that you've come up with to describe a book that makes you think of another book while you are reading it. Be sure to come by and vote in the next day or two! Then, I'll have an new bookword situation for us!

And tomorrow, be sure to come help me celebrate two years of book blogging! What a party! :)

Happy Sunday reading!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Review: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Genre: Historical Fiction

Rating: A

For: Fun (though it should count for the WWII Challenge, but it's not on my official list!)

For those of you who haven't already read this book, it takes places shortly after WWII and it's about an author (made sort of famous because of her humorous wartime newspaper column) who gets a letter from a guy living on Guernsey Island in the English Channel. He's asking about a book he has, which was previously owned by her. A correspondence ensues, and she ends up creating many friendships with these people and learning all about their experiences during the war and their island's occupation by the Germans. The whole thing is told in letters going back and forth between her and these new friends, between her and her old friends, and between the friends themselves.

I loved it! Not only was it a so called "heart warming" story, but I learned a lot about a place and event that I'd never heard of before. And actually, it wasn't all heart warming either. There was much sadness and tragedy reported too.

This book made me miss the old letter writing practice. And it has made me want to visit and experience Guernsey for myself. Sounds like a beautiful place.

If you'd like to try making a Potato Peel Pie, click
HERE for the recipe!

And here's one of the authors talking more about her book:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Review: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Book: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Genre: YA
Rating: A-
For: Dewey's Books Challenge, TBR Challenge
Winner of the National Book Award

After reading all the fantasy lately, I decided I needed something more "real." Wow, well, you can't get more real than this book. In fact, I think it was a little too real for me! Quite a sad and depressing story about a kid growing up on the Indian reservation who decides to "get out" and chooses to go to the white school. Many problems ensue. He has to deal with alcoholism, deaths, physical problems. All sorts of things. Yet, even with all the depressing stuff, it's quite uplifting in the end.

Some parts of this book reminded me of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, with lots of drawings and funny "boy" humor, though be warned, this humor is a little older stuff than what you get in Wimpy Kid.

Here's a great interview with the author where he talks about his own experiences that this book is based on. Yes, it sounds like the story is very autobiographical.

As mentioned above, this book is one of the books on my Dewey Challenge. Here's her review.

Other reviews:

Trish's Reading Nook
The Children's Literature Book Club
J.Kaye's Book Blog
Book Addiction

and there's so many more!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review: Pillage by Obert Skye

Book: Pillage by Obert Skye
Genre: YA (MG?) Fantasy
Rating: A-
For: Fun

Here's yet another book about a kid who has an extremely dysfunctional family. He is sent off to live with his crazy uncle, and then he learns he has powers. Sound familiar? He and his two new friends end up trying to solve the mystery of the "conservatory" and the filled-in basement. What the discover causes a huge amount of trouble!

Even with the familiar theme, I enjoyed the book completely. It's a quick, fun, fast story. A perfect one for any dragon lovers out there!

This author is well-known for his Leven Thumps series (at least around here).... only the first one I've read. I met him once at a signing, but for a long, long time haven't heard or seen him around. He's a local author (I think he lives around here) but very elusive. Like, why doesn't he go to the LTUE conference thing? Hmmm... I just googled and found
this Wikipedia article interesting! There's a myspace for him that looked active for awhile, but seems quite dead now.

Here's a funny video I found of him (yes this is the guy I met) talking about Leven and Foo. It looks pretty recent too. Interesting. I need to catch up with that series!

Other Reviews:

Weekly Geek 2009.9: Quote #6

In which Hank discusses the issue of bookstores selling books too early:

"If bookstores sold books like Harry Potter a week early, J.K. Rowling would hire an army of Harry Potter mercenaries, and they would go and kill Barnes and Noble with special wands that shoot bullets out of them and are called AK-47s." (Hank Green)

Booking Through Thursday: Movie Potential

Tami inspired this week’s question:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

This one is hard for me because I'm always thinking that the current book I'm reading, whatever it is, would make a good movie!

Most recently, I thought Elantris would be good. It has it all. Exciting moments. Sweet moments. Unusual romantic chemistry moments. Political intrigue. Etc.

I think James Dashner's 13th Reality books would be great movies because there's lots of "edge of your seat" moments.

And for some good teen drama and angst, with much humor thrown in... something like Paper Towns by John Green. Hey, did you know he's writing the screen play for that right now? Yep.

However, the book I most recently read that I think would be the best movie ever is The Hunger Games! Wow... talk about an intense movie that would be! I'm quite sure this one will be a movie some day.

I have no idea on producers or directors. Actors would be fun to ponder on, but that would take me all day.

And as for a book that should NOT be made into a movie... the only one I can think of is A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle. Ha!

Speaking of movies, I watched The Seeker a weekend or so ago, the movie based on The Dark is Rising, and yes, you are all right. It pretty much had nothing to do with the book except a couple of the same characters and that the kid was looking for some signs in order to stop The Dark. Everything else was quite different and didn't resemble the book at all. Whatever.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Midweek Morsels: Mac and Cheese

Time for another recipe! This week, Kristina is asking for a recipe from a favorite chef. I don't really have a favorite chef (unless you count Mom and Grandma!) but I do have several favorite cookbooks, and so here's a recipe from one from one of them: Favorite Recipes from Quilters by Louise Stoltzfus.

Super Macaroni and Cheese

2 cups uncooked macaroni
1 med. onion, chopped
6 cups boiling water
3 Tb. margarine, melted
2 Tb. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 cup sour cream
1 1/4 cups milk
2 cups cheddar cheese

Cook onion and macaroni in boiling water for 15 min. Drain.

In large saucepan combine margarine, flour, salt and pepper, stirring until bubbly. Gradually stir in 3/4 cup sour cream, and milk. Stir constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese. Add macaroni and onion.

Put into medium casserole dish. Spread remaining sour cream and cheese on top. Sprinkle with paprika.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 min. until hot and bubbly.

Weekly Geeks 2009.9: A Quote a Day: Quote #5

In which John talks about mean things he and his brother Hank did to each other when they were kids:

“According to my mom, the meanest thing Hank ever did to me was try to kill me with a hammer and the meanest thing I ever did to him was spill some red cough syrup on his bed spread and then hug him too hard.” (John Green)

The Bookword Game: Voting

This week, the Bookword we are voting on is:

a book that reminds you of another book you have already read, not necessarily in plot but in tone or atmosphere or writing. It might even be a connection that only you can notice.

Thanks to everyone who suggested a word!

Here are the nominees:

Book-clone by Farmlane Books

Deja-book by Chris

ReminiscentRead by Joy

Doppelbook by Jan

SimulaBook by Terri B.

Twin Tome by Wendy

Twin Tale by Chantele

SamePage Book by John Mutford

Memoread by CoversGirl

Brother Book by Julie

Match Book by Kristi

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: On Manners

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:

Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! Please avoid spoilers!

From Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson page 59:

"As the other men argued about Parliament and letters of protest and counterletters and counter-counterletters, Shabbywig stabbed at the last pieces of tongue on his plate and shoved them in his mouth. He turned in his seat to look at me, held up his plate, and grunted."

Weekly Geeks 2009.9: Quote #4

In which Hank ponders the Super Bowl:

"Every time the Super Bowl comes around, once a year, it eats up more than a hundred and fifty lives. Interestingly, according to a video I just watched, people have spent about that much time making Wikipedia. The largest collection of knowledge in the universe was created in the same amount of time it takes for a hundred million Americans to watch the Super Bowl. Huh?!? I don't understand!" (Hank Green)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.9: Quote #3

Quote #3: In which John answers a question about his wife, which he has nicknamed "the Yeti". (For some reason, all my favorite Nerdfighter quotes have been John so far. Hmmmm.... surprise surprise.)

“ ‘If the Yeti were a vampire, would you want her to bite you so that you could spend eternity together?’ Well, first off, your question presumes that I’m not a vampire, which offends me. I mean, how do you know that I’m not a vampire? I’m very pale. I’ve got bronze hair. I mean, I’d be pretty fat for a vampire, but it’s totally possible.” (John Green)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Sunday Salon: What to Read Next?

Hard to believe it's Sunday again and yet another week has flown by.

Reading-wise I've been doing pretty good the last few days. I finished Elantris by Brandon Sanderson on Friday (review found here) and Pillage by Obert Skye yesterday. After all the fantasy I've been reading lately, I decided I needed something "real" so then I picked up The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It's possible that one may be a little too "real"! But a fast quick read and I'll be done with it today.

So here's some of the books yelling the loudest for me to read next:

The Painted Veil by Somerset Maugham

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Marked by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

The Guernsy Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

Many of you have been having fun asking your readers to pick your next book. So now it's my turn: Which one of the above books should I read next? Please comment with your pick! But be fast, 'cause I'll be ready really soon to start it!

Be sure to stop by Wednesday for voting on our next Bookword! Suggestions being taken right now at An Adventure in Reading for what to call a book that reminds you of another book you already read.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Weekly Geek 2009.9: Quote #2

Another John Green quote about being an author and promoting his books. (Willy is his dog.)

“You know, once you finish a book, they want you to transform from an extraordinarily pale nerd who sits in a basement and writes all day to some kind of like selling machine. So, I’m trying to practice a little bit, but really all I wanna do is stay home, make videos, eat Peeps, and hang out with Willy.” (John Green)

Weekly Geeks 2009.9: A Quote a Day: Quote#1

For Weekly Geeks this week, we are revisiting another theme from the past and posting a Quote a Day! Last time when I did this, I just did my favorite random book quotes. This time, I would like to try a theme which is going to be John Green/Hank Green/Nerdfighter quotes. Some of you might understand them, some will just think I've lost my mind and then some of you I might even turn into Nerdfighters!

Quote #1:

“I don’t like reindeer. They seem like regular deer, only more dangerous. I don’t like elves unless they are played by Liv Tyler. And I really don’t like toy soldiers. Toy soldiers freak me out.” (John Green)


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