Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller

Book: The Eternal Ones by Kristen Miller
Genre: SF-ish
Rating: B+
For: ARC sent for review
From: Publisher

This book makes it no secret that it's about reincarnation, which is quite an interesting topic. In this story, Haven keeps having visions of what they (her, her friends, and her dad) decide must be memories of a former life. However, some people in her town just think she's pocessed with an evil spirit. All she wants to do is run away to New York and try to make sense of some of the things she is feeling and seeing.

Once she gets there, things get complicated. It swings back and forth constantly whether the guy she finds there, (and the one she just happens to be remembering) is a good guy or a bad guy. At first this kept the plot going, but then it just started to make me crazy frustrated!

I was a little disappointed this wasn't more of a love story. There wasn't much relationship building because they supposedly knew each other for lifetimes before. Instead, it turns out to be a mystery with Haven trying to solve what happened to her in previous lives and trying to make sure it didn't happen again, and where this guy she meets falls into the whole mix.

That being said, I totally enjoyed the page turning experience that it was. I, along with Haven, was anxious to find out the truth, and to see how it all ended.

Bottom line: It was fun and well worth the reading time.

For more info on the book and its author Kristen Miller check out the official website.

Other reviews:

Steph Su Reads
Alison's Book Marks
Alexia's Books and Such

Review: Children of God by Mary Doria Russell

Book: Children of God by Mary Doria Russell
Genre: SF
Rating: A
For: Read Along
From: The Library

Time for the wrap up of this read along. The hosts' reviews can be found here at The 3 R's and here at Age 30+... A Lifetime of Books. But what do I think? Well, let me tell you!

First of all, as you may already know, this book is the follow up for The Sparrow which we read together back in March. I agree with Florinda when she says that she thinks of the two book as one book, you really need to read the second one to get the whole story.

In The Sparrow, we left Emilio Sandoz just barely beginning to function again after his experience on the planet Rakhat. It started out wonderfully and ended horridly and left him handicapped both physically and emotionally and completely bereft spiritually.

In this second book, we join him again and it appears he is making much progress with his recovery. Things are going so well! However, of course there's a group that wants to go back. And of course, they want him to go with and be part of the mission. He basically says, "Are you kidding me?? No way, no how!" Seriously. I can't even imagine the guts they had to ask him. And you must read it to find out what happens, because I won't be telling you.

Meanwhile, we flip to what's happening on the planet and how the first mission caused such a stir that civil war between the two species is imminent. We learn that Emilio isn't the only survivor of the first mission after all! And we learn that who we thought was the "bad guy" might not be so bad after all.

The thing that blows me away about these books is how spiritual they are. They both bring up so many questions about our role in the big picture of life, the universe and everything. The premise of the first one, does God really notice everything that's going and is He really part of everything, even the life of one little sparrow. In this one, it's more about our relationship with each other and who are we and do we have anything to do with other sentient beings on other planets. Are we all children of God?

Yes, some deep stuff.

Oh, and being a music lover, I also loved how music played such a big role. Music is, after all, how Emilio and company found out this planet existed in the first place. And music just might be the thing that saves everyone in the end! Music, it is a powerful thing. You know what these books need? A cd to go along with so we can hear what the author was hearing in her head. How cool would that be?

This book wasn't near as intense and grippingly heart wrenching as the first one. That being said however, there's still much pain and hard-to-read stuff. I mean, it's a civil war. It's the whole restructuring of a way of life. It's what can happen when you send people out to explore life in space! Things can get really crazy!

Bottom line: I really enjoyed it. I would probably say I still liked The Sparrow better, but only just.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Book: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: A-
For: Worldwide Book Club! :)
From: I bought it of course!

Okay, so I'm assuming that I've waited long enough now that most people have had time to read it! Still, I will separate this into spoilers and not.

First, a no spoiler (I hope) bit of a summary:

The book starts pretty much right where the Catching Fire ended... maybe a few weeks have elapsed. Katniss is still recovering from her latest experience in the Hunger Games and worrying about Peeta, whose fate we are soon to learn. She is being housed and protected by District 13, which we learn much more about in this book. From there, she must make a decision about what her role will be in the upcoming rebellion against the Capitol. From there, a bunch of twists and turns are revealed, of course, and we are a long for the ride!

SPOILERS (but vague ones)

Stuff I liked:

--Yes, there was more Gale! We saw a little bit more of his personality, saw him in action, heard his thoughts on the whole love triangle mess, felt his connection to Katniss. I wish there was more of that in Catching Fire.
-- Real, or not real.
--  Prim shining strong there for a bit.
-- Johanna (who I hardly remembered from the other book.)
-- Finnick, while he lasted.
-- the high jacking twist was interesting
-- though I was rooting for Gale, I'm still good with the outcome

Stuff I didn't like:

-- The ending... it felt very rushed and hurried and brushed over.
-- Gale's final resting place. Didn't make sense, didn't feel right.
-- Too many unanswered questions.
-- Prim, so not fair! Finnick! Also, not fair, and very down played too. Weird.
-- Sort of slow going. Not really much action except for that bit at the Capitol.... then suddenly it felt like these books again.
-- the loss of Katniss's spunk and spark

Bottom line: I don't know what to think!!! This book seriously left me feeling blah, sad, a little underwhelmed, confused. I don't know. Is this what happens when we look forward to a book just plain too much? I think a little bit it is. Still, I enjoyed it. I'm glad I was along for the ride, it was fun. The series remains amazing.

There's an awesome discussion going on over at Maw Books Blog. Many people weighing in on lots of Mockingjay issues. After reading them all, I'm even more mixed up in my thoughts. I especially find it fascinating how we can all read the same book and have so many different experiences. Some thought the romance was played up, some played down. Some thought wonderful character development, some thought it was terrible. Some were weepy and sad, others not much emotion. Some thought beautiful ending, others thought a terrible one!

Definitely the best part of this book is how it's getting people talking about books and the fun of reading a book with so many at once, yes, it's a worldwide book club! I love it.

Well, and so... what did you think?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Utah Book Bloggers Party On

Once again, the wonderful crowd that is the Utah Book Bloggers gathered to get to know each other better. We met at a very windy park, ate food, talked and talked, exchanged books, and planned an upcoming project that you'll hear much about later! And once again, it was great fun!

Here's a few pictures I took. I'm sure I didn't capture everyone that was there, so sorry if I missed you!

Here's Leisha Maw and her daughter, along with Jessica from The Bluestocking Society.

Here's Melissa from One Librarian's Book Reviews, and Kim from Good Clean Reads.

Here we have Sharla from WinterWrite and Lyn from Barding Well.

Oh boy, this picture didn't turn out too great! Right into the sun!
On the left you can see Bree Despain sitting on the grass. I think Britt from Confessions of a Book Habitue is right in the sun, with Lisa Mangum to her right. Standing up in the write is Barbara Richardson.  In the pink is Jenni from Jenni Elyse. I didn't hear who is in the black sitting in front of her. Next to her, who you can't see much at all is Debbie from Cranberry Fries. And in the blue at the very edge of the picture is Julie from A Small Accomplishment.

Here's the pile of books we brought (well most of them are Natasha's!) to exchange.

This is Kika from The Book Bluff on the left and Becky from One Literature Nut on the right.

Sitting are Anna from TangognaT  and Myke from Live and Learn. (he is also the husband of long time blogger, Book Logged from A Reader's Journal, who ended up not being able to make it.)
Standing is Jason, Kim's (Good Clean Reads) husband. He was promoting a new project he's involved in that authors will be very interested in called TaleSpring.

Everyone's taking pictures! But of who?

These guys, that's who! Matt Kirby, with his ARC of The Clockwork Three, and Bree Despain with her ARC of  The Lost Saint.

Here's a picture of Natasha from Maw Books Blog!

In this one we are examining the books on the grass, trying to decide which ones we want.

More foraging for books!

Others that I remember were there, but didn't get a picture of:

Graham from Graham Chops
Catie from Book Bound

And that's all I can remember! If I left you off, feel free to yell at me bring it to my attention and I'll be sure to edit to include you!

We missed all those that couldn't come, both old and new faces! Hopefully we'll see you next time. We are thinking it will be the last Saturday in February, like last year. We hope that if we stick to the same date every year that people can plan around it. It really is a fun time and we hope to see as many of you there as can come.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Random Friday

Trivial dither this day:

** finished Mockingjay yesterday! I will wait until next week to post a review I think. But my initial impressions are a bit of a blur. Seriously not sure what to think! Have you read it yet?

** Lion King on Wednesday was all that I expected. Absolutely stunning costumes. And that African music truly does give me chills. The guy that played our Simba looked like an Osmond brother. We got a kick out of that. However, I was bugged he wasn't African American, like the kid that played little Simba was.

** Only three more episodes and our Prison Break marathon will be over. (Except I understand there's a movie called The Final Break, which I'm sure we'll hunt down.) It will be withdrawal time around here after that. The show is seriously addictive. ( I made a YouTube playlist with all the awesome music from this show, click here if you are interested.) Have I convinced anyone to watch this crazy series?

** But then it will be time for new fall TV shows, however, I don't know what I'm looking forward too. Vampire Diaries for one (did you see that Damon beat Edward in Entertainment Weekly's beastly showdown? Very fun.) Maybe Chuck, Survivor of course. But is Heroes coming back? Not even sure. Is there a new series you are looking forward to?

** Utah Book Blogger Party tomorrow! Hopefully it won't rain on us! I hope I see a bunch of new (and old) faces there! Will you be there?

** So I'm reading Bleak House, which is like 800 or so pages. And last night I couldn't resist and started The Shadow Rising which is just at 1000 pages. And I'm so dying to read Fall of Giants, which is, I don't even know, probably 1000 pages too. And Brandon Sanderson's latest book comes out this week, The Way of Kings, and what's it? Probably also 1000 pages. Seriously. This is madness. Do you enjoy huge fat books?

** Still one week to go before all my kids are in school. That will be a happy day. We managed to get all the goals accomplished that I hoped for at the beginning of the summer. Still wrapping up a few of them but still, we did it! Are you glad to see the end of summer or not?

** I just got a box of a bunch of little mini apricots from my mom. I guess I need to go make jam, or pie, or syrup or something! Do you have a favorite apricot thing I should make?

Okay, well. I think that's all for now! Have a lovely weekend everyone. I hope to see some of you tomorrow!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Bleak House Read Along Thoughts: Week One

Amanda, our fearless host for this read along, is encouraging us to post our thoughts on a weekly basis. (Here's her summary and thoughts so far.) I really like this idea, as it gives us mini deadlines and for me, I hope, it will help to keep me going strong through this massive book. Hopefully you, my readers, will find these regular updates fun and not overly boring. I will keep them short and sweet and in the end, perhaps you'll want to read the book too someday!

This week's assignment was to read through chapter seven, which in my book (Penguin Classics illustrated edition) was to page114. My initial reaction to the first couple of chapters was, oh dear. I didn't understand much and I could tell I would be needing to find the "Dickens groove" quickly or this would be one long book! I understood simply that there was a court case that had been in the works for years and years and that no one really saw the end to this thing ever happening. We didn't get much of a clue as to what the case entailed, but that it was just part of the court tradition to hear it every day.

But, once we were introduced to a character named Esther, I was much happier. She reminded me of Jane Eyre as she gave us her quick background. She meet up with a couple of other teenagers who were also wards of a dude named John Jarndyce (who is also somehow connected to the never ending case). As they were all being transported to his house (called Bleak House) they stopped over at the abode of the Jellyby's. And what a place that was! Loved the crazy descriptions of a household gone wild! Sounded a bit familiar actually! (Oh man, I really hope not!) Anyway, I totally enjoyed those chapters.

Then we meet a couple of other guys, both who seem not very nice. And then the last chapter, yet more characters are introduced. A housekeeper, her grandson, a maid and some lawyers looking to rent some rooms there, I'm thinking.

As all Dickens books are, it seems a bit mind boggling at first, but I know from past experiences, that if I just hang in there, all these characters and stories will somehow come together and soon, I imagine it to be soap opera-ish romp!

Bottom line thought so far: I'm liking it though it's a bit confusing.

Read along participants: What do you think so far?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Stellar Day of Reading and Watching

It's an awesome day. Not only do I have Mockingjay to look forward to reading here and there all day long, I also have THIS to go to tonight:

I am so excited. I've been planning on this for years, and it's finally here. I know I will have chills the entire time. Have you seen it? Am I right? Will it be the best Broadway show I've ever seen? 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Weekly Geeks 2010.29: Reading from the Decades

This week's Weekly Geek project is to look at books published during the decade you were born, which for me is the 60's. Sheesh, that was a long time ago! Anyway, I found this site and have looked at the books and made this list from that list, which was quite fun for me. See what you think:

Books I've Read:

Dune by Frank Herbert (won the first Nebula Award... the only thing I remember about this book... WEIRD!)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary (at least I think I read it)
Fox in Socks by Dr. Seuss (gosh, what an old book!)
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (only one of the best books ever written!)
Christy by Catherine Marshall (of course I loved this one)
The Promise by Chaim Potok (I can't hardly remember this one. I bet a re-read would do wonders.)

Books That Look Interesting and I May Perhaps Read Sometime:

The Source by James Michner (loved most of the Michner I've read already, especially Chesapeake)
Space Opera by Jack Vance
The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander (um, I know, shame on me. I only read the first one of the series.)
Up the Down Staircase by Bel Kaufman
The Looking Glass War by John leCarre
The Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck (one of the few Steinbeck's I haven't read)
The Glass Blowers by Daphne du Maurier (one of the few du Maurier's I haven't read)

Have you read any of these books? What did you think? Do you think these books have relevance today? I think the answer to that is a big resounding yes. Hey, reading books from your birth decade... sounds like a great challenge. I bet there's one out there already for this!

Oh, and hey... do you think books from this decade can be considered classics now? I think To Kill a Mockingbird definitely is anyway.  I suppose if the others have lasting/staying power, we can call them classics too.

What decade is YOUR decade? Have you read lots of books from your decade? This little assignment has made me realize I haven't read many at all from mine. Sad.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Joining The Mockingjay Frenzy

Everyone is excited about Mockingjay being released tonight/tomorrow, and I see conversations all over the book blogging universe, so I thought might as well join in.

My Hunger Games story starts back in the fall of 2008 when I was listening to a podcast of Books on the Nightstand. Ann and Michael were talking about YA books, and I could tell they were sort of apoligizing for that, thinking that most listeners wouldn't be interested. I don't get that , but whatever. Anyway, I will never forget Ann's words that day. She said there's this book that even if you aren't a YA fan you're going to want to read, it's called The Hunger Games and you should "RUN, don't walk" to get it! I stopped listening right then and there, worried about any spoilers to follow, and instantly put it on hold at the library.

At Christmastime, I gave up on the hold and got it for Christmas instead. I read the whole book the day after Christmas, even though we had out of town visitors and they wanted to do stuff! Here's my original review.

Of course, then I waited for Catching Fire which was released last September, and read it the day or two afterwards. And here's what I thought of that one.

My quick take is that I enjoyed Hunger Games just a bit more because I was surprised that Catching Fire was sort of a repeat, though a fun one at that, and I totally loved it too.

As far as the Gale vs. Peeta thing, I love Peeta, but I've always felt that Gale has not been given a fair chance, and I'm really really hoping we get to know him better in this new book and that even maybe it makes all those Peeta people think twice about their choice! Maybe. Anyway, I like 'em both, so I don't care really.

I have to work tomorrow morning, so I won't get a hold of the book until the afternoon at which point, I hope I have all mom duties semi taken care of so I can just read the rest of the day. And if I have any problems getting a book, I'm really going to dislike Borders as they've promised me a copy!

What's your plan for tomorrow?

Happy reading everyone!  I hope we all love it!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Sunday Salon: What A Week It's Been

Recently I was thinking, as we all do from time to time, that I really should concentrate on reading the books I already have and stop, once and for all, acquiring more.

Yeah, so that didn't work well this week:

As you can see, they are all books I really NEEDED to get. For instance, continuation of series that I've committed to, local authors that I'm anxious to support, great bargains that I couldn't pass up, and even a "for fun" one that I just got a kick out of and will have fun blogging about I'm guessing.

So yeah, so much for that "maybe I should stop buying books for awhile" thought. Never going to happen.

This week, it's been a bad bad reading week. I didn't read much of anything. That's because it was one of the craziest weeks of the summer to date. Let me just recap for you in a nice bullet list:

  • I participated in the annual event at the local university where people come from all over to go to classes of all sorts for a very minimal fee... we call it Education Week. This means I dropped all other responsibilities and went to "school" from 8 to 4 every day.
  • My sister in law had her baby, and we visited her one night and were on call for her other kids several times, though they never ended up coming over
  • My 88 year old grandma got sick and we were all prepared to "let" her pass on. That was scary, but as far as I know, she is now doing better and maybe we won't have to say good bye just yet.
  • All three kids got sore throats and sniffles.
  • We supported the church picnic, but thankfully, I wasn't in charge this year!
  • We bought (yes BOUGHT) all four seasons of Prison Break and have continued, every night, with the marathon.
  • We sent one son off to Lake Powell for scout camp.
  • My sister came and slept over one night.
  • We went to the county fair to see if Toto's things she entered got placed. One of her pictures is going to the State Fair. We think that's pretty cool.
  • We went to the Writing for Charity even last night and supported the local authors in their endeavors to earn money for low income kids to get books. Now that was a fun thing to do!

 Toto with her picture that's moving on to the State Fair.

 Grandma, shown in the middle here, at Grandpa's 90th birthday party.
James Dashner and Shannon Hale emcee at last night's event.
 (You do know that Shannon Hale is very pregnant with twins, thus the wheelchair, right?)
On the panel you'll see (from left to right) James Dashner, Brandon Sanderson, Bree Despain, Sara Zarr, Ally Condie, Jessica Day George, Brandon Mull and Shannon Hale.

Meanwhile, the only reading I got done was between the classes on campus and that was only now and then. So I haven't much to report on that front, just trying to finish Children of God, started The Eternal Ones, and hoping to read more in Bleak House today.

But hey, I do have lots of new books to add the piles!

However, this week, everything will get dropped in favor of Mockingjay! Wow, I can't believe it's finally here! Happy reading everyone! 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

A Bit of Me(Me): Families

Danielle over at There's a Book hosts this fun meme every week to help bloggers get to know each other better. Come join us!

Here's this Week's Question:

 Do you come from a large or small family and how do you think it influenced your life?

Here's a picture of the family I came from taken nearly 25 years ago. Yes, that's me in the Micky Mouse sweatshirt, with all my 8 younger brothers and sisters. I have three brothers right after me, then it goes girl boy girl boy girl after that! My youngest sister was born after I had left the house and was in college. There's only one summer that we were all actually living in the same house together.

And here we are today, this picture taken at a family reunion just a month ago. Keep in mind, we had just been camping for three days, so we all look a little... shall we say, worn! Can you match any of these adults up with the kids in the above picture? I find it interesting that even though there's nearly 20 years between me and my youngest sister, we find that today we have lots in common. She is the one that got me started blogging. We both have the Josh Groban (and other celebrity) fascination. We love the same movies. We giggle together all the time over many silly things. Very fun.

Being part of a big family is so much a part of who I am that I'm not sure I even have words to describe it. I fulfill the "first child" role to the T. I've always been the bossy one, the organized one, an over achiever (back in the day, not sure that fits me now) and all the rest of the traits oldest kids have. It was fun growing up with a tons of kids, there was never a dull moment. Sometimes it made me crazy though, and I really got sick of tending everyone. But really it's a lot of fun.

My dad comes from a family of 12 kids, and each of those kids had families similar to ours. That means I have I think about 72 first cousins on that side. Now, can you imagine how fun those family reunions were when I was growing up? 

Now I myself have four kids, which some people may think is also a big family. Around here in Utah though, it's right down the middle average. As for me, I think it's just perfect! :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Review: Mistwood by Leah Cypess

Book: Mistwood by Leah Cypess
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: A-
For: Fun
From: the library

The thing that I enjoyed about this book is the fact that its premise/plot/storyline was much different from most of these sorts of books I've been reading lately. There was no new girl who meets a mysterious boy and falls in love. There was no girl who discovers she is half something else and the mysterious boy is all something else!

Instead, we have a girl who is from the beginning, a shape shifter. The whole purpose of her existence, from the dawn of time, is to protect the king and his family. But, something happened years before the book opened, that messed things up, and now she is confused and having a bit of amnesia and needs to figure out what's really going on.

And that's when things get really interesting, when we find out what's really going on. There's twists and surprises galore. I would be curious to know if all those who think they are amazing predictors can predict what ends up happening in this one! Very fun.

Bottom line: I really liked it a lot!

For more on author Leah Cypess, here's her website.

Other reviews:

Gamila's Book Review
Charlotte's Library
Steph Su Reads

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BTT: Reading Questions Meme

Booking Through Thursday is a meme today! Just what I needed because I'm so blog drained right now. Anyway, here it is:

I got this from Lorette‘s blog and couldn’t resist adopting it for all of you.

1. Favorite childhood book?
Mandy by Julie Edwards (Andrews)

2. What are you reading right now?
Children of God by Mary Doria Russell   and   The Eternal Ones by

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
Nothing at the moment, they all came up and have been read or returned!

4. Bad book habit?
Maybe a little rough on the books?

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Children of God
Son of the Shadows
Body for Life

6. Do you have an e-reader?

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
several at once

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Gosh, there's so many favorites. Maybe Coop by Michael Perry

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
now and then, not really often

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
literary fiction, YA

13. Can you read on the bus?

14. Favorite place to read?
couch or bed

15. What is your policy on book lending?
in moderation!

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?

18.  Not even with text books?
Maybe, probably, I think so.

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
That would be English

20. What makes you love a book?
amazing characters, and awesome writing

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
amazing characters and awesome writing

22. Favorite genre?
literary fiction, YA, fantasy

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
more non fiction

24. Favorite biography?
John Adams

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
reading Body for Life right now

26. Favorite cookbook?
Family cookbook compilations

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
I don't know on this one

28. Favorite reading snack?
M and M's

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
Maybe most recently with Shiver... didn't really ruin, but it wasn't as good to me as everyone was saying

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Not often

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I don't like to, but I will if passionate enough

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
French ( I could in college) or Spanish

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I've read half of War and Peace :)  I don't know. What intimidating?

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
can't think of one at the moment

35. Favorite Poet?
Robert Frost

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Usually around five or so

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
LOTS and LOTS of times

38. Favorite fictional character?
Eugenides, from The Queen's Thief series, at the moment, but there's so so many

39. Favorite fictional villain?

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
fluffy YA books

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
not long at all, a day or two maybe

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
The Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
big people crowds, conversations around me

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Pride and Prejudice, Lord of the Rings

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
Probably around $100

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
Not often at all. Not a fan of spoiling

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
blatant crudeness and lewdness and nothing is happening

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

52. Name a book that made you angry.
The Nanny Diaries

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
I'm sure there's one buy it's not coming to mind!

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
ALL reading! :)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Writing for Charity: Bloggers Invited

Calling all Utah Bloggers (and anyone else interested and in the area)! There's an awesome event happening this Saturday (Aug.21) called Writing for Charity. Nearly all our amazing authors will be there, and so it's a perfect time to meet them and support them in this fun event. They are hoping to raise tons of money to buy books for kids in disadvantaged areas of Utah and to personally deliver those books at assemblies they plan to do at various schools. Cool, yes?

If you are interested head on over to the website to learn more and to register. My plan is to talk my family into going to the evening event with me. I think they'll do it!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Read Along: Children of God by Mary Doria Russell (Half Way Post)

As you know by now (if you hang here very often anyway) I'm reading this book, Children of God, which is the sequel to The Sparrow, along with a bunch of other book bloggers. A couple of days ago, Heather from Age 30+... A Lifetime of Books posted some questions on her blog to get a discussion going. So I thought I'd answer a couple of those questions and just list random thoughts so far, even though I'm not done yet, but rather am about 3/4 of the way through.

Warning: possible/probable spoilers.

Heather asks:

Over and over in this book (and in THE SPARROW) characters reiterate that they did not mean to do harm, or they did things with the best intentions.  Do their good intentions make them less responsible for the outcome of their actions?  Do intentions mean anything in the long run?

Well, good question. I think they are still responsible for what they've done, and there's been a lot of people doing a lot of bad things. But it does make me more sympathetic to them when they voice their thoughts that they didn't mean too, or that they didn't realize what they were doing. Especially in the case of Supaari . I'm feeling quite nice towards him, and that really really surprises me. However, the Danny guy? Hmmm... at this point, not so nice towards him... but that may change as I come to the end of this book maybe? I guess we'll see.

Halfway through the book the author begins to reveal this history of the war through conversation that take place in the future between the Jesuits and Suukmel and Sofia. The author stated in an interview that she wasn't particularly pleased with the way this section turned out but that it was the "least bad" way to write it.  Did this narrative tool work for you?  

I'm a little bugged that there's actual "spoilers" in the middle of the book itself! WAIT! I'll think, and I'll look at the year and where where they are and whose talking and then, bam, you know a little about the end. Bugs me, yes. Could there not have been a better way?

Russell never tells us what happened to the UN party that showed up at the end of The Sparrow and sent Emilio back to Earth. What do you think happened to them? Why does Russell leave the fate of the rescue party a mystery?

Sadly, I think Supaari had the right idea when he thought he may have accidentally "created a market."  Maybe that's why it's left a mystery, because she knew we couldn't handle much more of that!

Other random thoughts:

-- As I said above, I'm surprised at how well I'm liking Supaari this go around. At least so far. 
-- Introducing kids in the mix has been interesting. And it's making me nervous at the same time.
-- I can't believe they kidnapped him!!
-- I'm suddenly reminded of Avatar while reading this.... but I never thought about it while reading The Sparrow.
-- I thought for sure Sophia and Emilio were going to pass each other in space, but now it appears that's not going to happen. I'm scared for what IS going to happen though, even though I have no idea what it is!
-- YUCK I really can't stand Carlo. What a creep!
-- Lots and lots of deep thoughts to ponder again, just like in the first book. 
-- I'm getting a little time confused. Anyone else having that problem?
-- I find myself wanting to talk like these characters, yes? :) Someone feels like a post in that talk would be fun to try!

Well, anyway. I'm really enjoying it and feels like the book is flying by. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr

Book: Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
Genre: YA
Rating: A-
For: Support Local Authors
From: I bought it.

This is the story about a girl, Sam, who's the daughter of the local pastor. All her life she feels like her family has had to act perfectly and put on a happy face for all the church goers. But things are not so happy. The book opens shortly after her mom has been sent to rehab for alcoholism. And her dad doesn't seem that bothered by it. But of course Sam is really upset by it all, and the faith that she has grown up with all her life is challenged.

But then something even worse happens in the neighborhood to challenge that faith even further, and things seem to go from bad to worse. Sam doesn't know if she can weather the storm.

It's a bittersweet story with lots of emotion and deep questions to ponder (which is the Sara Zarr trademark I've learned.) It's a simple, quick book and so when you are in the mood for more of a "real life" story, this is it.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it.

Other Reviews:

Maw Books Blog
Book Addiction
One Librarian's Book Reviews
Reading Junkie's Reading Roost

Review: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner

Book: A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: A-
For: Book Club
From: I bought it.

Sadly, I've come to the end of this series, at least the end of the books that currently exist. (Is there more to come? I think so, but I'm not totally sure.) And I must say, this particular book was my least favorite in the series. Part of that may be because Gen was hardly in it, but also because it was much more political in nature and much less relationship driven.

This one follows Sophos' point of view as his family and kingdom and existence is all in jeopardy. Now I love Sophos and all, and I actually wondered from The Thief (where he was a main part of the story) to now what was going on with him. He was hardly mentioned. But at the same time, the best parts of this book were once again when Gen appears. The bantering between him and Sophos had me laughing out a loud at times, and gosh, I so wanted more of that!

However, my brain did lots of wandering during all the political talk and maneuvering. There's also a lot of geographical description and so why oh why is there not a map in these books? All good fantasy books have a map, right? Yes, a map would have helped!

But still, I enjoyed it. The best thing about these books, besides the wonderful character of Gen, is the unique style. Sort of a detached, hands off feeling. It creates emotion and drama in an unemotional writing style. So hard to explain. But it's very different. And also, we the readers have to figure a lot of stuff out on our own, there's not a lot of explanation for us. Which means there's many "OH!! I get it now!" moments. It's a great example of the whole "show don't tell" mantra.

Anyway, I'm going to miss Gen... a lot. I may just have to start over and read The Thief again. I would love to read that one again knowing what I know now about it all. I think I'd get a big kick out it!

And in case you're curious, after reading all four books this summer, I think my favorite would have to be second one, The Queen of Attolia. I think because there was much unbelievable stuff going on in that one, and  it was more about relationships and tortured souls and surprises galore. Yeah, I think maybe I'll have to read that one again too!

In the end, I'm glad we decided to read this series for our book club's summer assignment. I hope the rest of the club members have had (or are having) fun with them. I'm really looking forward to our discussion coming up in just a month!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Looking Forward

So this weekend, I've been completely wrapped up in Children of God, the sequel to The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I'm already having that same feeling I had with the first book, that feeling that something awful is going to happen. It makes for quick, breathless reading, I tell you. And now and then I have to stop just to ease the tension.

But more on that in it's own post sometime this week as we hit the half way mark with the read along.

Overall it's been a good reading week. I finished three books this past week that I need to review soon:

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr
A Conspiracy of Kings by Megan Whalen Turner
and Mistwood by Leah Cypess

This week my plan is to start Bleak House for that read along, and get through the first assignment at least. Also, I've made a small start on The Eternal Ones, an ARC I got awhile back which I thought didn't come out quite yet, but no, it came out last week. So maybe I should read it.

Oh, and then I got Body for Life from the library because my sister is starting to do that plan, and I thought maybe I'd try it too. Ha. I don't have much faith in myself, so I will most likely sabotage it all before it even starts. But we'll see. Anyway, I've read quite a bit of that too.

One month until my book club starts up again! Yay!
A week and a half until Mockingjay! Yay!
School starts for the kids very soon! Yay!
Two weeks until the blogger party! Yay!
A week and a half until I get to see Lion King, the musical! Yay!
Four days and it's my anniversary! Yay!
Two weeks and my oldest turns 21! Yay? Crap.

Wow. Lots to look forward to. What you are looking forward to in the next few weeks?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Bit of Me(Me): Oh, The Places!

Today, Danielle, who hosts this fun meme over at There's a Book, asks this question:

If you could travel anywhere in the world for 24 hours, where would you go?

Okay, so this 24 hour thing is just too much of a limitation, don't you think? That's like barely long enough to escape to my mountains that are literally five minutes away! But that's not a bad idea, escape to the mountains for 24 hours, just me, my books, maybe some music, and lots of good food!

BUT, if I had a little longer? Here's what I'd do:

If I had TWO WEEKS, there's so many places I'd go. Some that top the list are:

  • The Boston area including Cape Code and Plymouth Plantation
  • The greater New England area
  • Prince Edward Island
  • French Canada
  • Ohio
If I had ONE MONTH I would travel all over mainland Europe. Wow there's so much I want to see there:
  • San Sebastian Spain and visit our family friend who's been begging for years for us to come.
  • Paris, just because
  • Switzerland, where my great grandpa is from
  • Italy, and eat just like Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Greece, ancient ruins and Pompeii
  • Austria, the Sound of Music of course
  • The Netherlands, and the Secret Annex, and where my great grandma is from
If I had a WHOLE SUMMER I would love to spend the whole thing in Great Britain. Here's what I'd do:
  • see every castle I can
  • breathe the air in Ireland and take tons of pictures
  • Camelot ruins, and any other Arthur "sites" I can find
  • Loch Ness
  • explore the moors
  • every literary site I can dream up
  • learn London inside and out
  • oh man, I guess that's a start. There's so much I can't even remember it all now!
Okay, so I cheated a little (a lot) on this question, but it was fun!

Where would you go? 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Friday the 13th Edition of Random Rambles

So, I keep having the feeling that on Friday's I should post something silly and frivolous (as if my whole blog isn't that already!) but I'm stumped. Should I do random one week and music stuck in my head one week? Should I add TV Talk to the line up? Movie reviews? Or celebrity crushes, or maybe a rant now and then? Hmmm... you tell me. What do you want from me?

Perhaps a little bit of all of it? It is Friday the 13th after all, might as well throw caution to the wind.

Music Stuck in My Head
This one song was seriously going over and over and over, in my head, all night long:

TV Talk

Anyone watch SYTYCD last night? Let's just say, my favorite did NOT win. Oh, well.

Movie Review

The last movie I saw (big screen I'm talking here) was Charlie St. Cloud. Yes, we had to go see the Zac dude. And I really enjoyed it. Nice tear jerking movie. Somewhere I read that critics think Zac has a "monotone" face. Seriously? I think he has wonderful expression. Whatever. It was a nice movie. I loved the sailing scenes. Anyway, if you are a Zac fan, you should see it.

Celebrity Crush

No new ones to report. Just the feeling the fascination for the latest still. Having a little withdrawal symptoms at the moment. Need to find season 3.


Can they charge any more for college textbooks these days? Seriously. I'm feeling like they just aren't asking for quite enough money yet! Actually, I think we've been pretty lucky so far. JJ is taking a Greek and Roman Lit class and many of those I was able to find from Paperbackswap and good deals on Amazon. Also, we may even get her most expensive psychology book for free from a neighbor. So... let's just say it could be worse.


* Okay, so who was it that unfollowed me and made my nice even follower number back to an ugly uneven one? Hmmmm???

* Utah peeps! Have you RSVP'd yet? Come to the party! Aug. 28!

* They say it's going to cool down around here. I'm ready.

* Only a week and a half and kid #4 starts school. The next week, kid #2 starts. And finally, the next week kid #3 starts. How's that for spreading out the joy?


Yes, I'm reading them.

.......Okay, scary random frivolous silly post over. Have a lovely weekend one and all!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BTT: Evolution

Today's Booking Through Thursday question:

Have your reading choices changed over the years? Or pretty much stayed the same? (And yes, from childhood to adulthood we usually read different things, but some people stick to basically the same kind of book their entire lives, so…)

I haven't done a BTT question in forever, so how about I try it today?

Well, hopefully my reading choices HAVE changed over the years. It would be sad if I ended up just reading the same old same old year in and year out. Don't you think? So how has it changed?

First of all, I used to read WAY more classics. I feel bad that my classic book consumption has been sliding drastically in recent years. So obviously, it's not that I don't want to read them. It's just that they don't seem to be getting the highest priority.

Instead, I seem to be reading much more YA than in years past. I think it's obvious why, because there used to not be this huge overwhelming amount of amazing YA books as there are now. Yes, that genre has changed, and  I've been there to participate.

Years ago, I remember really being into the romantic suspense/mystery novels (like Phyllis Whitney books, etc.) and now nothing I read really fits that category. I was always into fantasy, but lately that seems to have escalated. I used to read way more historical fiction than I do now, and frankly, I miss those.

It makes me wonder what the trend will be ten years from now and how everything will change again. I look forward to the ride!

How has your reading changed over the years?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weekly Geeks 2010.27: A Cover Study

This week over at the Geeks, Becky has come up with a list of different ways to ponder book covers. Normally, I'm not that into covers. I do, however, love it when people compare similar covers, but I can't ever think of them on my own. BUT, I do love to compare covers of the same book. Awhile back I did this with Jane Eyre for another Weekly Geek assignment, and it was really fun. So today, I want to do that again and compare all the different covers of The Book Thief. Which one is your favorite?

I think those last two are a bit creepy. And the first two, they're okay. But the middle two, I really like. I have no idea what editions all these are from, or where (what country) they are from. I'm clueless and too lazy to look it up. Anyone know?

Want to join the geek party, head on over and link up your post.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Review: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Book: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Genre: Memoir
Rating: A
For: Fun
From: I bought it.

Thanks to the movie (which I probably won't even watch until it comes out on DVD) I finally decided to read this book once and for all. I've been avoiding it all these years because I felt like it would be too whiny and too much "woe is me" and "oh my life is so bad so let me just run around the world for a year to fix it" and so on and so on.

Well, so, it was a little bit of that. And I still think that people who read this who may be going through the same thing (I mean how many people suffer terrible divorces all the time?) and see how she solved it, might be thinking, well, lucky you for getting to just run away from it all. Know what I mean?

It was better than I thought though, because all this time I thought she just up and left her husband (whereas it was actually after the divorce mess was all over) and I thought she had kids for some reason too, which I just really couldn't deal with reading about someone who leaves her kids to "find herself" no matter the situation (well, except abuse of course.)

BUT, all that aside, I totally enjoyed this book! First off I loved the writing. I mean, I really really loved it. She totally has a way with making you feel like you are right there with her, and she has an amazing ability with smilies and metaphors and stories and descriptions and everything. Wonderful.

But wait. Does everyone even know what this book is about already? Just in case, it's the author's year long journey for balance in her life following a terrible messy divorce. First, she spends time in Italy learning about pleasure, mostly in the form of eating. Then she goes to spend time in India learning Yoga (not just the stretching poses we all know, but the whole shebang) and then finally she ends up in Bali Indonesia where she hopes to learn how to balance the two and ends up finding love instead (or along with I should say I suppose.)

I really enjoyed her stories about all the people she meets (I could never do that)  and especially what she experiences in Italy and Bali. The Indian/Yoga section was a little over my head and a little too strange for me. I've never understood the whole not talking and sitting still for hours and hours, and how that brings you understanding and spiritualness. Just don't get it.

Anyway, so I was pleasantly surprised. And I'm now curious to hear "the rest of the story" which is in another book if I'm understanding right. And hopefully some day I can be lucky enough to go "find myself" in travelling.

How about you?

Bottom line: I really really enjoyed it!

Here's the movie trailer if you haven't seen it yet:

For more on author Elizabeth Gilbert here's her website.

Other Reviews:

Maw Books Blog
Book Nut
My Fluttering Heart
Book Journey
.... and a gazillion others! (I love how so many reviews say "so I'm probably the last to read this book" and they read it years ago! Yeah, so maybe I'M the last!!)


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