Saturday, October 31, 2009

Review: The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

Book: The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: A-

For: Fun

This is the book I spent most of my time with last week during the Readathon. I have no idea why it took me most of the day to read it. It was easy reading and not the hugest book, but still, it took me most of the day.

It's about this Cinderella-type girl, working in her aunt's shop being treated as a servant, when one day, a lady comes in wanting a jewel's setting fixed. Well, stuff happens, and the jewel gets lost, and the aunt kicks her out, and she meets a street ruffian, and then some how ends up at the lady's house. Meanwhile, she also meets the prince, falls madly in love, and goes to the ball.

Hmmm.... sounding more and more like Cinderella now, huh. I guess this is actually a loose re-telling of that fairy tale, only loose enough that you really don't recognize the original in there at all!

Anyway, I enjoyed it! It was fun and engaging. I recommend it to all those of you who love YA fantasy.

Other reviews:

Friday, October 30, 2009

Randomness Takes Over

Time for some randomness I'm thinking.....

** I have two kids dressing up today and one who refuses. But that's okay by me. And I have double the candy because I bought more for The Mr.'s work trick or treating that they normally do, but they aren't this year. Just what I need, more candy. Halloween isn't my favorite. Are you a fan?

** Going to work a little late this morning so I can go to school for the Halloween parade. Second to last time for this ritual. Weird. Do you have a school Halloween parade tradition?

** Can't decide what book to read. Started to different ones yesterday. Fallen quite grabbed me. I think I'll stick with it. Did you get Fallen to review and are you reading it soon?

** Took the day off yesterday from all responsibility... for the most part anyway. It felt good, strange, but good. What's your feeling on lazy days?

** Hey, look at this! Josh vlogged! And teased about his new album and website too. It's been three years. I'm so ready. Are you sick of my Josh talk yet? (Hopefully not because it's going to get worse as this new album approaches!)

** I think we should have a readathon every Saturday! :) Anyone with me?!

** I got a new niece this week! I've lost track how many that is now... lots. How many nieces and nephews do you have?

** Heard my first Christmas ad on the radio yesterday. TV one too, but I fast forwarded. Ick. Are you ready for Christmas? Got the shopping done? Or do you wait until Dec. 20?

** Watched lots of TV last night. FlashForward live... and then Vampire Diaries later. Intense shows! What do you think? Did we get a glimpse of a teeny tiny bit of good in Damon last night?

**Survived a the church Halloween party I was in charge of. Now time to worry about the Christmas one. Any ideas for a great party for a huge crowd?

Okay. Randomness over!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

RIP IV Challenge Complete!

Well, I guess I can say I finished the famous RIP IV Challenge, even though I read different books from what I listed originally.

I only planned to read two books for the challenge, but if all these count, I did even better than that. Here's my completed list:

The Angel's Game by Carols Ruiz Zafon

All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn

The Seer of Shadows by Avi (soon to be reviewed)

Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Fun challenge!

Booking Through Thursday: Blurb

Booking Through Thursday question suggested by Jennysbooks: Something I’ve been thinking about lately: “What words/phrases in a blurb make a book irresistible? What words/phrases will make you put the book back down immediately?”

"Sensual" I like, "erotic" I don't.

"Dark and brooding" I like, "horrific and evil" I don't.

"Conflicted" I like, "controversial" I don't.

"Fluffy" I like, "political" I don't.

"Funny" I like, "irreverent" I don't.
"Suspenseful" I like, "thriller" I don't.

"Couldn't put it down" always catches my eye. Other words I like "unique," "intriguing," "must read," .... I don't know. There's a lot of good blurb words, and not very many bad ones, really.

What I absolutely can't stand is when a blurb gives away the plot/story. So, I rarely read the whole big blurb on book backs. They scare me. For instance, why why why do they give away Edward's identity on the back of Twilight? So crazy, because part of the fun of the book is Bella figuring that out, and if you read the book knowing nothing, then you get to be a part of that! But if you read the back, then bam, there you go. You know it all already.
It's also cool when very famous authors blurb books because for some reason, we tend to believe them. Very credible blurbers I guess.
I think blurbing would be a fun job though. Good word practice!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bookword Game: Voting Time!

This past week we've been taking suggestions over at An Adventure in Reading to find a word for:

what we call a book that would be good to leave in the bathroom to read.

The word list:

Squat Thought suggested by
Throne Tome suggested by
Books for the Head suggested by
Bathroom Book suggested by
A Can Read suggested by

Here's the poll:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Review: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney

Book: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days by Jeff Kinney
Genre: MG Fiction
Rating: A
For: Fun

Can I just say one more time how much I love these books! This fourth one does not disappoint and continues the wonderful tradition established in the first three. Our hero, the wimpy kid, Greg, writes in his diary about surviving summer. Yes, it's nice to be out of school, but he was at least looking forward to riding the Cranium Shaker on his vacation but his parents have decided they don't have the money for the beach this year. So he's stuck at home, which is made worse because he has a falling out with his best friend.

So he's left to go to the local pool, and try to start a business to make some money, and suffer through his mom's efforts to get him to do something other than watch TV and play video games.

Sounds awfully familiar! That's what is great about these books. They are so simple with hardly any plot, yet so funny because they are eerily true to life. Kids get it. Adults get it. They are wonderful for everyone.

And because I know my fellow book bloggers will love this, here's a bit I just have to quote. Greg's mom has started a book club to try to overcome the TV issue. He says:

Anyway, Mom told everyone to bring their favorite book to today's meeting so we could pick one and discuss it. All the guys laid their books on the table, and everyone seemed pretty happy with the selection except Mom.

(Pictures of books include Sudoku, video game cheats, shark pop ups, etc.)

Mom said the books we brought weren't "real" literature and that we were gonna have to start with the "classics." Then she brought out a bunch of books she must've had since SHE was a kid.

(Pictures of Little Women, Old Yeller, The Yearling and Anne of Green Gables)

These are the exact same types of books our teachers are always pushing us to read at school. They have a program where if you read a "classic" in your free time, they reward you with a sticker of a hamburger or something like that. I don't know who they think they're fooling. You can get a sheet of a hundred stickers down at the arts-and-crafts store for fifty cents.

I'm not really sure what makes a book a "classic" to begin with, but I think it has to be at least fifty years old and some person or animal has to die at the end.

And so it goes from there! Funny, funny stuff. If you have kids, they'll love this stuff. If you don't have kids, read them anyway, because you'll love it too.

Other Reviews:

It was interesting to discover how many kids on are YouTube reviewing this book. Here's an example:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Sunday Salon: Readathon Wrap Up

So, my first readathon over with, and what do I think? I thought it was great fun and went by WAY too fast! I learned that I'm a fairly slow reader, actually, and that I'm too distracted by stuff that's happening on the computer. I also learned that keeping track of number isn't my favorite part of the whole experience!

But reading with the kids for a whole day was really kinda cool, and I loved it.

Here are our final stats:

Books read: Three
Pages read: 730
Hours read: 10 to 11 or so
Hours blogged:3 or so (dumb computer started to not cooperate and that made things go so slow)
JJ (age 17)

Books read: One (Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen)
Pages read: 383
Hours read: 6 (not including her stop to watch TV and make food)
Moder (age 14)
Books read: none
Pages read: 20 (from The Maze Runner by James Dashner)
Hours read: 45 minutes
Toto (age 10)

Books read: One whole book (Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days), the second half another(The Lightning Thief), and the first half of another (Boys are Dogs)
Pages read:435
Hours read: 10 with lots of stops for food, but not including her stop to play outside with friends

Here's some questions posted by the official blog:

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?
I don't know what "hour" it was but for me it was the mid afternoon time that I really started getting sleepy. Right around 2 and 3:00 p.m. So very hard to keep my eyes open then. I loved reading in the early morning (hours 1 to 3 or so) and I got a second wind for the evening... that is until I hit the wall around 11:00 p.m. and knew I was pretty much done. I was hoping to last a little longer, but I decided to not push it.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?
I think picking YA books works. Picking great page turning ones like The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, and those like that would be wonderful for the readathon.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I thought it was very well organized this year, so I can't think of any improvements.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?
The mini-challenges were fun. I think I ended up doing 7 or 8 or so. I didn't keep track very well on that.

5. How many books did you read?

I only read three books. I wish it were possible to read more. Maybe I'll try more graphic novels next year and that would help the book count to be higher. But to look at the stacks I made and then only do three? Sheesh. That's sad.

6. What were the names of the books you read?
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
The Amaranth Enchantment
The Seer of Shadows
7. Which book did you enjoy most?
I liked the first two the best, and Seer was okay.

8. Which did you enjoy least?

See previous answer!
9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?
not a cheerleader this year, but they did a great job!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again?
I will for sure if it lands on a weekend that I'm home and don't have any major events going on. I think my two girls really enjoyed participating, especially my 10 year old. My son, not so much. Couldn't get him to really settle down and join the party. He bounced around us a lot though, and got after us if we stopped for any reason. It was "cheating" to get up and get food, you see!

Here's one more picture of Toto reading and you can see how her spot changed over the course of the day, from how it looked like at the beginning, which is on one of my previous mini challenge posts:

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Readathon: Seventh Update

Okay. Time for me to sleep. I do have to get up fairly early and function somewhat normally tomorrow. I know. Oh, well.

What I'm reading now: Nothing! I quit! Spent more time since the last update blogging.
Did I finish anything since last update: Yes, I finished The Seer of Shadows
How many pages read since last update: 50
How many pages total: 730 or so
How many hours/minutes read since last update: about 1 hour
How many hours/minutes total: 11 ish... I don't really know actually
What the family is reading: same as last update. JJ nearly done with Along for the Ride, and Toto still working on Boys are Dogs. Update, JJ is done! Book just landed on the floor.
What we are listening to: nothing now. It's quiet.
What we are eating: nothing now, we are done with food too!
Distractions: Hmmm.... same as before! Mostly now, we are all dragging and too tired to go on.

BUT... it's been so fun! I will do a better wrap up type post tomorrow when I can think straight!

Thanks for all the comments and cheer leading everyone! You made my day!

Good afternoon, good evening and good night! (Good morning for some too I'm thinking!)

Readathon: Mini Challenge: Five Children's Books

This challenge, as hosted by Infant Bibliophile, is to list five of our favorite children's books. Now, I'm not sure if this is supposed to be picture books or chapter books, or both, so I'll just do whatever comes to mind.

Ferdinand the Bull by Munro Leaf
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgsen Burnett
Mr. Pines Mixed Up Signs by Leonard Kessler
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

This list could be huge! Hard to stop at five!

Readathon: Mini Challenge: Music

A musical minichallenge from Fizzy Thoughts! Now you KNOW I have to do this one!

Pandora has been our friend this day. I had to have music, but we just had it on subtle and soft and without lyrics. We started out with New Age stuff like this from Vangelis:

And then we went to classical like this from Beethoven:

But then we went back to my normal Quick Mix of all favorites were we heard stuff like this:

Yep, the music has for sure been part of our day!

Readathon: Sixth Update

Well, this first readathon experience will shortly be wrapping up for me. Maybe one more update after this one and I'll be done!

Thanks for all the comments on the last update! Wow. My all time comment record! It took me awhile to realize I was the "reader of the hour" so that was funny! But thank you to everyone!

And now my update:

What I'm reading now: The Seer of Shadows by Avi... nearly done.

Did I finish anything since last update: not quite

How many pages read since last update: 153

How many pages total: 683

How many hours/minutes read since last update: 3 hours, with lots of stops and starts

How many hours/minutes total: 10 perhaps?

What the family is reading: Toto finished both The Lightning Thief and Wimpy Kid #4 since last update. She has now moved on to Boys are Dogs by Leslie Margolis. JJ is on page 280 of Along for the Ride. She had a major break because she doesn't WANT to finish it. She watched TV and made our pizza and treats.

What we are listening to: we got sick of classical and moved on to my "quick mix" on Pandora made up of all my favorite music

What we are eating: pizza, crispy treats, apple juice, peanut m&ms.... I feel a little sick....

Distractions: food, and this dumb computer that is being so so slow and making all my blog check in's take forever!!! Ug. BUT, I'm not really tired any more. That "can't keep my eyes open" feeling went away for the time being. I plan to read at least a couple more hours. But then sadly, I will have to go to bed for the night.

I'm about ready to do the music mini challenge... and maybe check on what else is up since I last looked.

It's been a great day.

Readathon: Fifth Update

Are we really half way there? Wow.

What I'm reading now: The Seer of Shadows by Avi... I think. I'm going to start and see if it grabs me or not.

Did I finish anything since last update: Yes! I finished The Amaranth Enchantment! Fun story.

How many pages read since last update: about 110

How many pages total: 530 total

How many hours/minutes read since last update: It's been 3 hours, but I've probably only read half that time what with lunch, the computer and the nap.

How many hours/minutes total: Ummm... starting to lose track of this number. Maybe 7 or so.

What the family is reading: JJ is loving Along for the Ride and doesn't want it to end. She has 50 or so pages left. (She is taking a break now to watch Heroes.) Toto is only a few pages from finishing The Lightning Thief.

What we are listening to: Got sick of New Age and switched to classical for a bit.

What we are eating: Had grilled ham and cheese for lunch. Pondering ice cream now.

Distractions: Tiredness is the main distraction now, and Moder who is being bored at all this reading going on, and doesn't really want to join in full force.

Challenges: Did a couple more challenges a bit ago and posted pictures.

Readathon: Mini Challenge: Collection Obsession

Wendy asks what other things, besides books, do we like to collect. Just a few years ago I decided to start a salt and pepper set collection. It's still small, but growing. Here's a crappy picture I just took:

Readathon: Mini Challenge: Who Keeps Me Company?

This one comes from Nise from Under the Boardwalk.
Let's just say I don't lack for any company!
Blogging with Birdie

The Cat came back!

Moder and JJ join the fun.

Toto with the candy stash.

Readathon: Fourth Update

Oh my word, but this is going too fast!

What I'm reading now: my book choice hasn't changed yet, still working on The Amaranth Enchantment, but I'm really enjoying it and am getting close to being done!

Did I finish anything since last update: not yet

How many pages read since last update:100

How many pages total: 410

How many hours/minutes read since last update: about 2 hours or so... had some fairly large interruptions

How many hours/minutes total: 5 ish

What the family is reading: JJ is on page 103 of Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen, she's been reading a couple of hours with me now. Moder read all of 15 min with us, The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Toto was reading along quite nicely, but then friends came over and enticed her outside.

What we are listening to: streaming a New Age station on Pandora... lovely reading music I think

What we are eating: nothing interesting. I think it's time for lunch though. A sandwich of some sort

Distractions: For starters, my sister dropped by to bring back borrowed books, and then I had to give her the report on book club the other nigh that she missed. Anyway, we talked for awhile. Then Moder keeps coming in here and bouncing off the walls. Then the friends rang the doorbell... and then... I got very very sleepy and a 15 min. nap! Whew. Reading all day isn't easy! :)

There's a couple of mini challenges I'd like to do. That'll be in the next post. I'm doing LOUSY at visiting other people. Maybe as soon as I finish this book, I'll take more time to do that.

Readathon: Mini-Challenge Eat to Read

A mini challenge called Eat to Read, sponsored by Beth going on this hour. She asked what snacks we are sustaining ourselves with. Funny this would come up now because my daughter JJ just came home from her big test, got her book, sat down to read and said, "Ummm... where's the cool food? Isn't there supposed to be cool food?"

I said, "We've got M&Ms, what more do we need?" She had no suggestions! So, we are snacking on candy right now, besides the M&Ms, there's carmels, candy corn and taffy. We also have a box of crackers going at the moment. Later I think Rice Krispie Squares sound yummy. We'll be ready for lunch here in a bit too.

Anyway, so no cool food going on here. Nothing healthy either. I don't do healthy! :) (Maybe an apple later... just maybe.)

Readthon:Third Update

What I'm reading now: the same The Amaranth Enchantment

Did I finish anything since last update: no no no

How many pages read since last update: 20... all while helping kids sing and do parts for our church program

How many pages total: 310

How many hours/minutes read since last update: probably about 15 minutes worth :(

How many hours/mintues total: close to three hours total now

What the family is reading: the same, The Lightning Thief

What we are listening to: nothing yet, but I'm really needing music... I think I'll stream Pandora

What we are eating: Break out the candy!!! (m&m's, taffy, carmels, candy corn)

Distractions: the church thing is over, now there should be nothing I HAVE to do the rest of the day! But Moder (14 year old) is bugging me because I can't get him to read with us, but any time he catches us doing something other than reading he says "Why aren't you reading!??? You are cheating!!"

No new mini- challenges done yet. I put The Mr. in charge of Bart's sentence challenge, but I think he is ignoring me....

Readathon: Second Update

What I'm reading now: The Amaranth Enchantment

Did I finish anything since last update: nope!

How many pages read since last update: 70 pages

How many pages total: about 290

How many hours/minutes read since last update: another hour and about 15 minutes. Sheesh, could time go any faster?

How many hours/mintues total: 2 1/2

What the family is reading: Toto still working on The Lightning Thief, Moder up, but not reading. The cat has left us. The Mr. is still sleeping... I think.

What we are listening to: nothing now

What we are eating: waffles are in the works

Distractions: time to get ready for the day. We have to go to a church thing in 1/2 hour. I'm bringing my book and will update again when I get back!

MiniChallenges done since last update: I did the intro one, and placed my pin on the map!

Visits made: Haven't made too many visits yet. Still have to figure out the reading/blogging balance!

Readathon: First Update

Sheesh, nearly two hours in already? Here's my first report:

What I'm reading now: Going to start The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry, a library book.

Did I finish anything since last update: Finished Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. Loved it! :)

How many pages read since last update: 217 pages

How many hours/minutes read since last update: One hour and 15 min. of reading

What the family is reading: Toto just got up to join the fun and is reading The Lightning Thief. She is on page 240 at the moment.

Distractions we are dealing with: Daughter JJ just left to go take the ACT test, Kitty is walking around acting like she needs attention, and I'm hungry! Oh, there's the blogging/computer/Twitter thing too. ACK!!

Readathon: Let The Games Begin!

I'm so excited to be participating in my first readathon today! Yeah!! :)

This morning, I'm reading first from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. See, this way I'll be successful and feel like I'm accomplishing something right off the bat! So far, no kids are up with me. Maybe in an hour or so. We'll see.

Already there's a mini challenge going on with a few little questions:

Where are you reading from today?

As in geographically location? Utah. As in where I'm reading? The couch!

3 facts about me …
- I have four kids, two boys, two girls. Oldest is 20, youngest is 10.

- I work a few hours a week at the library in the administrative office.

- I love music, TV, movies, chocolate, travelling, quilting, food, reading, blogging and fall! Just to name a few.

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

Um... lots. I put pictures up yesterday, but I didn't count. Like 15 or so?

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

I have no goals except to play it all by ear and see what happens, and to not stress about it all. This is fun! It would be nice if I could get a book or two read though.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?

I'm a first timer, and so advice would be cool. I'm excited just to see if I really can handle reading for a whole day.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book Club: Report on Kite Runner Discussion

Wow! What a discussion we had last night! I was totally unprepared and was left speechless!

So. First of all let's remember, I love The Kite Runner. It's one of my all time favorite books. Second of all, let's also remember, I love it when people have strong opinions. It makes things fun, especially in book club. Book club is boring when we all come and say, "Yeah, that book was pretty good. I liked it fine."

It's fun if we all LOVE the book and find all kinds of things to rave and be passionate about.

But what's really interesting is if we have very decisive lines between those who LOVE it and those who HATE it! And that's what happened last night at our Kite Runner discussion.

My problem was, I was not ready for this scenario! It left me totally flustered! I'd never thought that there would be such emotion! And because of that, I didn't respond well as far as defending my point of view.... and why I love it so much. That was frustrating to me.

Basically, those that didn't like the book (can we say hated the book?) thought it was contrived, that there were too many coincidences, that it was too conveniently solved. They hated Amir, the main character, and thought he was weak, spineless and wimpy. They were bugged by the writing, by the events and by the story. They thought the author had an agenda and that it was all propaganda, and that he didn't portray Afghanistan fairly.

All stuff I didn't see or even think about. Which then makes me wonder, am I clueless? I think sometimes I am, but sometimes I just don't look for certain things and get totally wrapped up in a story and let my emotions take over.

It's an interesting thing to ponder, how we all react differently to a book. And even though I was very surprised by the the response, I thought it made for a wonderful book club experience.

So, those of you who have read The Kite Runner, where do you fall in the debate? Did you love it? Or did you hate it? Or do you fall in neither camp? I'm really curious to know now. Maybe I'm in the minority after all for loving the book?
And I'd love to know if you find your book clubs have differing opinions often, or are you usually thinking the same? And do you like it when these sorts of discussions happens, or does it make you a little nervous?

(If any of my book clubbers read this, and I know some of you do, don't be shy! Speak up and let the readers out there know how you perceived our discussion last night. )

Readathon Preparation and Plans

Okay, I finally have pictures of book stacks to show for my Readathon plans.
Here's what I MIGHT actually be able to read: short easy book fair books:

Here's what I NEED to read: Library books that are due next week:

Here's a random stack that I COULD read: a new ARC, a borrowed book, some others that are calling to me:

Here's what I WANT to read, but I really should save them, I think (I bought these for Christmas perhaps, but then decided to give them to myself for my birthday, and that's not for a few more weeks yet, so I'm not even supposed to have them out!!!):

Here's what Toto plans to read, and I also plan to read The Wimpy Kid from her stack:

Then there's JJ and Moder. They didn't make a stack. I think JJ will read Along for the Ride from my library pile, and Moder will read The Maze Runner. JJ (age 17) has to take the ACT test in the morning, but then I hope she will read with us during the afternoon. Moder (age 14) says, there's no way he can read all day, but he thinks he may join us for the evening. Toto (age 10) is extremely excited about the whole event and plans to get up with me, and read all day long.

The enthusiastic family, last week just before a hike. JJ, Moder, The Mr, with Toto in front.

Our plan is to start at 6:00 a.m. our time, and read all day, ending around midnight. Then sleeping the last six hours of the 24 hours. We have to go to a church thing at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, but I'm bringing my book! The Mr. will go about his business as usual, but hopefully we can get him to sit and read with us for a bit at some point. He is still in the middle of Drood.

I've got candy to munch on and maybe we'll make Rice Krispie Squares sometime during the day. For real food, it's just going to waffles for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner.

We'll start out reading on the living room couch, maybe go downstairs to the new book nook corner during the day, and also outside if the weather stays nice. We'll probably end up on my bed in the evening.

I look forward to seeing how I manage reading and blogging at the same time. I have no idea how people manage that. But I hope to update often, and participate in some mini challenges. Like I said before, it's going to be interesting to see what happens. I don't even know if I'll be able to read all day without going crazy. Hopefully I've thought of all the stuff that needs doing and get that out of the way today.

At any rate, I'm very excited to try! On with the show!!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Book Club: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

It's book club tonight. I'm feeling somehow rejuvenated regarding book club and am all energized to make it especially fun this year. We have several new members, and that just seems to give us all a jump or something.

I haven't blogged too much about my book club in the past... a little, but not a whole lot. I think I'm going to talk a bit more about it this year. We'll see how it goes.

So tonight we are discussing The Kite Runner. I realized at some point last year that hardly anyone in my group had read this amazing book, so I requested the book club set from the library, and we finally got our hands on it this past month.

My thoughts on the book:

The Kite Runner was the first book I ever blogged about, way before this book blog ever existed, back in the day when my little Yahoo 360 blog was just a tiny baby. I was blown away by it then, and after this re-read I loved it just as much the second time around. The quote "For you, a thousand times over!" is one that will forever stick with me.

The story is about Amir and his quest to redeem himself from a betrayal of his best friend when they were just kids. His friend, Hassan, was the definition of loyalty. Amir, on the other hand, had some issues. Issues that one can totally relate to. When the Russians invade, Amir and his father, Baba, escape to America, and start a new life. Amir never hears from Hassan again, and doesn't know what happens to him until he goes back to Afghanistan much much later when a friend of his father's calls him home.

It's then the he has the chance to "be good again."

What I hope we can discuss:
  • the relationship between Amir and Hassan
  • the relationship between Amir and Baba
  • the author's description of events in Afghanistan
  • the author's treatment of the different ethnic groups
  • every one's level of emotional response to the story itself
  • cultural differences and similarities

But food first, as I always say. (Let's not discuss anything until the food is in our hands!) I saw this recipe on a "new to me" blog, and decided I needed to try it. Pumpkin chocolate chip bars. I'm baking them now. They smell wonderful!

Then I decided to have some naan too. We've made this recipe several times at our house and have loved it, so I thought it would be fun to make it for the group tonight, since it's mentioned over and over again in the book. Anyway, it could be interesting. We'll see how it goes.

Fun links:

Discussions with the author, Khaled Hosseini

Trailer for the movie

This heart-wrenching YouTube video with movie clips (spoilers in this one):

Other Reviews:

Booking Through Thursday: One Question

Booking Through Thursday's Question: If you could ask your favorite author (alive or dead) one question … who would you ask, and what would the question be?

It should be fairly obvious for readers of this blog to know what my question would be. I decided awhile back that my question of choice for authors is: What five books are most important or influential to you? And then I decided to make it a regular-ish feature and call it Authors Pick Five!

Boring though the question may be, the answers, to me, are quite interesting.

So who would I ask if I could? Hmmm.... let me think..... oh yeah, that Markus Zusak author!! :) Do you think he has an email contact on his site? Nope. Would I be brave enough to send him my question if he did? Probably not. Or maybe I'd have to take about six months to talk myself into it. Yes, I'm that pathetic.

I'd love to ask John Green this question too (and I think I even already know what one or two of his answers would be) and he even has an email that he advertises, and you know what? He might even answer! Be brave, be brave!

Dead authors I'd love to ask: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens... just to name a few.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review: The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy

Book: The Forever King by Molly Cochran and Warren Murphy

Genre: Fantasy

Rating: A

Remember how awhile back I signed up for the Arthurian Challenge? So, I finally read a book that fits the genre. Did I tell you how much I love Arthur stories? I do. I love them. So it was great fun to finally read a book for this challenge. I got totally caught up in the adventure and loved it all.

This book, however, is very different from your so called "normal" Arthur story. Most of it takes place in the current day (well actually a few years ago current) where we meet a young boy, his aunt, a struggling ex FBI cop, and a very very bad man. The boy happens upon a unique looking cup of sorts, the FBI dude keeps having a nightmare, the aunt ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the very very bad man escapes.

And from there things get quite interesting!

Through the course of the book, we flash back to the true Camelot era where we learn how all these things tie together, how Merlin is involved, and a new take on Nimue that I loved. All the knights make brief appearances also. We even take an amazing trip through most all of recorded history! It's a very creative and fun way to learn about the legends and myths, though those take a bit of a back seat to the current day story. However, I thought it was fabulous and ate it all up.

Now, I want to read more. I need Tristan (Tristram?) next. I can't get enough of him. And wouldn't you know it, but this book is the start of a trilogy... of course! But I don't know if Tristan is in the other books. I guess I'll just have to check it out!

Other Reviews:

...and that's about all I could find at the moment!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Weekend in Pictures

Have you ever been to Arches National Park? It's one of my most favorite places. Here's a few pictures of how we spent our Fall Break weekend:

Review: Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown

Book: Black Angels by Linda Beatrice Brown

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Rating: A

For: ARC sent by publisher for review

One day, I got an email asking me, did I want this book, and would I be interested in reviewing it? It linked to Susan's( from Bloggin' 'Bout Books) review, and after reading that, how could I pass it up? I had to see for myself if this book was that great.

And I must say, I think I quite agree with her. It's a wonderful, heart-warming AND heart-wrenching story of three kids orphaned by events of the Civil War, who come together to survive. There's some parts that make you cringe (treatment of slaves and barbarian behavior of soldiers) and there's parts that make you cry ("Luke, can we be brothers?") and parts that make you smile (silly giggling kids.)

I loved how at first the kids are all leery of each other, yet they quickly overcome racial issues to bond and quickly become inseparable. I also totally enjoyed the historical element of this book, and how people, the kids in particular, dealt with the trauma of the Civil War. It's a very interesting and unique perspective we get with this story.

The were moments where I was worried that it was bordering on the preachy side, but it never really quite crossed the line, so that was good. And I yearned for a bit more story about the kids in the future, but I suppose that would be a whole different book.

I really appreciate the opportunity I had to read this book! It was wonderful!

Other Reviews:

Okay, and I know there were more, but now I can't seem to find them! But if you'd like to learn more about the book and the author, click here for the official website.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Weekly Geeks 2009.40: Tools of the Trade

Book blogging, as a concept, is essentially pretty simple: If you have Internet access and an opinion about a book, you can be a book blogger. However, actually maintaining a book blog is much more complicated -- our blogs are labors of love that require a lot of time, energy and devotion. For this edition of Weekly Geeks, I want to focus on the little things that make your blogging and/or reading life a bit easier. Do you use sites like GoodReads, LibraryThing or Shelfari to organize your books? Do you swear by Book Darts? Couldn't live without your Book Buddy? Love connecting with other bloggers on sites such as Twitter? Tell us about what makes your blog tick. Is there something specific that keeps you organized or inspired?

Interesting questions. What do I use to keep organized, and to stay inspired?

I love Goodreads. I find it very fun and easy to use. I use it to keep track of what I'm reading, and to quickly see what others are reading. I also use it for my F2F group. But LibraryThing I tried, and it made me a bit crazy. There's too much there or something. And besides, it costs money. I've never tried Shelfari at this point.

Book Darts? Book Buddy? Haven't heard of them. What am I missing? I guess I'll have to go investigate.

Now Twitter is interesting. I resisted, as many of us do. But when I finally joined, I quickly learned that Twitter is not really a place to "say what you are doing" but to see what everyone else is thinking. After connecting to many other book bloggers there, I discovered that it is like an ongoing chat where several bloggers at any given time are having a bookish conversation. You can join in if you are moved to, or just "eavesdrop" as I find myself mostly doing. It's fun. But having said that, it's also very annoying....creepy automatic followers. Icky. However, I do like to do my own bit of stalking, because it's quite fun to keep track of one's favorite celebrities!

I would die without Google Reader these days, and still, I'll never ever get caught up. But it is the only way to keep track of other bloggers.

But what makes my blog tick? Comments keep me going. And events like the readathon coming up. And having my own small features that keep me thinking and brain storming is very good. And just plain connecting with other book fanatics. That's what makes this blog tick.

I'm not completely sure if I went the right direction for this question. but that just where it took me!

What makes YOUR blog tick?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Suey's Top Tens: Chunky Classics

Suey's Top Tens: Chunky Classics

(where classic means published 50 or more years ago and chunky means more than 500 pages)

1. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

2. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy

3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

4. Middlemarch by George Eliot

5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

6. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

7. Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

8. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

9. Tess of the D'urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

10. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Friday, October 16, 2009

Review: All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn

Book: All the Lovely Bad Ones by Mary Downing Hahn

Genre: MG paranormal

Rating: B+

For: RIP IV (even though it wasn't on my original list!)

This is the third Mary Downing Hahn book I've read, and though it was good and fun, I still liked the other two better. The Old Willis Place is still my favorite, with Deep and Dark and Dangerous second place.

This one started out pretty creepy with a couple of kids who have come to spend the summer at their grandma's supposedly haunted inn. They don't believe in that stuff, but decide to have fun pretending to be ghosts and freaking out all the guests.

It got creepy when they started sensing something else going on, something that they weren't creating themselves. A cold, evil feeling, a rustling in the woods, a sinister presence.

Well, of course you know, it turns out there really ARE ghosts, and they have quite the story to tell. Quite the sad story. It reminded me of a ghost walk I took when I was in York, England, and the guy told us some pretty gut-wrenching stories. The inn in this book has very similar stories.

So, it was good, and like all Mary Downing Hahn books, just creepy enough to keep the kids reading, but not so scary that they can't sleep. I love that.

Other reviews:

Musings of a Book Addict

Books and Other Thoughts

Reading Junky's Reading Roost


Related Posts with Thumbnails