Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Sunday Salon: October Recap and RIP Report

Wow, Yesterday was an absolute author stalker's dream! What a time I had at the first annual Teen Book Festival at the library! I got 12 books signed by 7 different authors, including Scott Westerfeld! I will tell you all about it.... in another post.

But first, a monthly recap! It's been a great month and finally, I feel like I accomplished some reading! (Thanks in part to the readathon a few weeks ago.) Here's my list of books read/finished during October:

The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby: The lives of three kids come together as they each work to solve their various problems.

The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan: Rand, Mat and Perrin are each off on their separate adventures as they all come to learn more about their special powers.

Calamity Jack by Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Nathan Hale: Jack and Rapunzel must save Jack's city from the giants.

The Mist by Stephen King: After a terrible storm, a scary mist rolls in hiding something sinister!

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner: Thomas and his friends have to figure out how to get through The Scorch before two weeks are up.

Jane by April Lindner: Jane goes to work as a nanny for a rock legend and falls in love with him.

The Naming by Alison Croggon: Maerad finds out she has special powers and goes off on a journey to outrun the evil ones.

Unbroken Connection by Angela Morrison: Michael and Leesie try to stay apart, but are totally unsuccessful.

Bloomability by Sharon Creech: Dinnie spends a year going to school in Switzerland and learns much more about life than she bargained for.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens: Two young cousins hope to inherit a fortune if the case of Jarndyce and Jarndyce is ever solved. Meanwhile, their orphan friend learns who her mother really is.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer: A wolf pack has hopes of merging to become one when their alphas mate and then hopefully working together to protect the sacred sites.

My favorites? The Shadow Rising, The Scorch Trials, Unbroken Connection, with The Clockwork Three not far behind. (As you can see, I've got a few reviews to catch up on this week!)

Today also ends the RIP V Challenge. I read more for that then I thought I would and a couple different books then I originally listed. Here's what I ended up finishing over the past two months that falls into this category:

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer
The Mist by Stephen King
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

BUT, I still didn't get to An Interview with a Vampire! Some day, I really will read that one! 

How did your reading month go?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Bit of Me(Me): CANDY!

This week's question at There's a Book:

What's your favorite candy bar?

Sorry guys, too hard to pick just one! Kind like books, or movies, or music, you know? So I have categories.

To eat while watching a movie:

To be tempted to buy while in the check out line:

To snitch from the Halloween stash:

To get in my Easter basket:

To get in my Christmas Stocking:

To provide at book club:

That's a start anyway.

Happy Candy Eating this weekend! 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Character Connection: Harold Skimpole from Bleak House

We have one more week for the Halloween edition of Character Connection as being hosted by Jen over at The Introverted Reader. So today, since I've just finished both reading and watching Bleak House, I bring you a different sort of monster and downright awful character:
Harold Skimpole

Here is a man whose sole purpose in life is to mooch off of others. He cares little for the consequences, even if it's to completely and totally ruin the budding life of a young man just ready to set out and make his fortune in the world. As long as he can sap him, or anyone else, of every scrap of money they have, he's happy. And his excuse for the behavior? Oh, he's just a mere child, he knows nothing, he's blameless in all, he's just a baby, he can't be held responsible for anything.

UGH, he makes me crazy!!!! What a creepy dude! Charles Dickens has a way with creating creepy dudes, and I think this one tops the list. Slithery slimy snake. Ew.

Here's a tiny clip I happened upon on YouTube that will give you just a taste of his ickiness:

Okay, enough of the nasty ones, next week, I'm back to the crushes! :)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Authors Pick Five: Ally Condie

Since I've been on a bit of an Ally Condie kick this week (see my review of Matched here, and a book club recap here,) of course I must do an Authors Pick Five post with her answers to the question:

What five books most are most important or influential to you?

Here are her answers:

The Top Five Books of My Life

Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
My grandmother handed me this book when I was thirteen and said, "This is what good writing is like." Stegner is everything. He writes beautifully about people who will break your heart and make you laugh and nod your head in recognition. He writes non-fiction and fiction both, and I love what he writes about the land. Later, in college, I took my senior course on Wallace Stegner and read almost everything he has written (and loved it all). But it is this book, the first I encountered, that remains my favorite.

Saint Maybe by Anne Tyler
Another high school discovery. This story of redemption and imperfection and love is told as only Anne Tyler can do it, with beautiful detail and flawed but lovely characters and the gentle passing of years. Ian Bedloe is one of my favorite heroes in literature.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
I read this thirty-three times in third grade and have loved it ever since. I wanted to be Anne.

Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
This was the first book that made me sob so hard I couldn't breathe. The story and story-telling are heartbreakingly beautiful.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
A recent discovery--and another book that made me weep. I don't know what it was about this lovely little story that touched me to the core--the wonderful writing, the fantastic main character, the themes of storytelling and friendship and hope woven throughout. It is absolutely exquisite. And so intriguing and interesting that my seven-year-old boy picked it up and couldn't stop reading it, devouring the whole thing in a day. A classic for all ages.

Ally Condie is one of my well-loved local authors, actually living just a few blocks away from me! Her much buzzed about book, Matched, will be released on November 30. She's written several other books including Freshman for President, Being Sixteen, Yearbook, First Day and Reunion. Besides writing books, she is also mom to three kids.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Book Club Report: Meeting Ally Condie and What We Thought of Matched

As part of our city's Big Read event, we've been having several local authors come visit at the library. This past Thursday it was Ally Condie's turn! Well, so when I realized that she would be coming on a third Thursday, which is my book club night, at first I was sad and thinking, oh dear how will I work that? And then I realized, hello, book club! We can all go to hear her!

After that we realized that between us we had three ARCs of Matched, so we spent the month making sure everyone in the book club got a chance at reading it. And I was very impressed that even though several members live in neighboring towns, we manged to make it work.

That night, nine of us were able to make it to the big event. We first listened as Ally told her "road to publication" story and what inspired her to write Matched, and a little bit on her background. Then, she passed around a notepad and those that wanted to wrote down a question. She spent the remainder of her time answering those questions. Afterwards, those of us who had a copy of Matched, or one of her other books, had her sign them, and then we posed for this lovely picture:

Jenny (who writes awesome reviews on Goodreads), Alissa, Julie (A Small Accomplishment), me,
Not pictured are my sister Bethany (who was taking the picture,) 
Karen, (who wouldn't get in the picture,) 
and Kim (Good Clean Reads, who walked in just as the picture was taken!)

We then found our way to the a small discussion room where we talked about Matched, looked at all the book club sets housed in the room and started planning years down the road, talked about other stuff we've been reading this month, and passed out next month's book, The Count of Monte Cristo.

About 20 minutes or so into our discussion, Ally (along with author friend Becca Wilhite) walked in! (I had sent her an email letting her know we would be there discussing her book and told her she was more than welcome to pop in us, but I didn't really expect her to!) So that was more than cool and we quickly tried to ask her everything we been wondering about her and her book. It was very fun and made for quite the memorable book club.

Warning: spoilers ahead as I report on our questions and discussions!

Some questions we asked Ally (and I'm sure I'm forgetting a ton, I should have been writing stuff down):

**Will we find out who is responsible for flickering the picture of Ky on the computer? (Probably not until the third book)
**How do you feel about all the buzz and hype surrounding Matched? (It's exciting, but there's lots of pressure.)
**What are your tour plans? (When the book comes out, she's going to a ton of big cities to promote)
**Do you find yourself thinking and worrying about your book and characters while you are supposed to be doing mom stuff? (Pretty much able to separate the two)

General comments and observations we had about Matched:
  • we loved the world this is set in
  • we would miss ice cream!
  • we thought it was interesting to try and make life totally fair, even down to how big your neighbor's trees are
  • we enjoyed seeing the growth of the main character Cassia, over the course of the story
  • we loved the key phrase "don't go gently" and discussed its meaning for quite awhile
  • we were all fascinated with the idea of only 100 "best things" (books, poems, songs, etc.) and wondered what all the 100 are (forgot to ask Ally that one)
  • we wondered if the next installments will be more violent
  • most of us sympathized with boy character Xander
  • we thought it was interesting to get the point of view of someone raised inside the controlling government city, as opposed to one who was living outside it (as in The Hunger Games)
  • we made other comparisons to The Hunger Games, and many book club members said they liked Matched better!
Yes, it was a wonderful book club experience!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Book: Matched by Ally Condie
Genre: YA dystopian
Rating: A
For: Book club and supporting local authors
From: ARC from the publisher (to be released Nov. 30)

It's been fun to see the buzz surrounding this book and it will be interesting to see what happens once it's finally released in just over a month. I feel very lucky to have somehow ended up with an ARC of this already popular book, though I know many of you have also had a chance to read it already.

With Matched we are introduced to ye another very intriguing dystopian world. The government in this world has figured out how to take away every negative bad thing that people normally deal with. In the process, they've also taken away every choice they normally make. For instance, they decide what people wear, what they eat, what they'll do for a career, when they'll die, what they can read or listen to and, of course, who they'll marry.

The book opens as Cassia is attending a special banquet where all 17 year olds go to find out who they'll be matched to for life. A surprise match happens for Cassia, but then something even more surprising happens when she is learning about her match on the computer later on at home. And now, she has no idea who she's really supposed to be matched to!

From there, we learn a bit more about how this society works, how they control everyone and that all is not as well as it may appear. Cassia begins to wonder about all the things she's been taught, who her family really is and how they fit in, and where her new friend Ky really comes from.

It's a great set up for what's to come I think! This book spends quite a bit of time on the build up and the setting and character development. There's not a whole lot of action and some may even say it's slow. But I found it to be paced just right and totally enjoyed these characters and this "brave new world".  Yes, it did have elements that reminded me of several other famous dystopian novles... like Brave New World of course and 1984, a little bit of The Hunger Games and a lot of The Giver. It was fun to see some of those influences all come together in a new way in this book.

The best thing about this book is that it makes you think about how important our every day choices are, and how we should never never take that for granted.

Bottom line: I really liked it a lot!

Other reviews:

Fluttering Butterflies
At Home With Books
Books and Movies

More from author Ally Condie here at her official website.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Weekly Report

I was going to skip a Sunday Salon post today because, well, maybe I just wasn't in the mood or something. But then I realized it's been a pretty exciting week, bookishly speaking, so I suppose I need to do a small report after all!

Monday: I got a small package from Amazon... inside was Unbroken Connection, the sequel to Taken By Storm by Angela Morrison, which I loved. I dropped everything and pretty much read it that evening.

Tuesday: I got another Amazon package. This time it had Secondhand Charm by Julie Berry, and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld. It came just in time because that evening I went to the library and listened to, met and talked with Julie Berry and had her sign this new book . She was very cute and fun. And  this coming Saturday, I hope to meet Scott Westerfeld too and then he can sign Behemoth!

Wednesday: This was the day I went to the library to retrieve book club sets of The Count of Monte Cristo for next month's discussion. I also asked them about tickets to Scott Westerfeld and found out they were all sold out, but thankfully Melissa got a couple of extras and says I can have one! Yay for Melissa!

Thursday: Book club! Yes, I hauled everyone off to the library and we listened to Ally Condie! Afterwards, we talked to her, and got our picture taken, and then went off to our corner to discuss Matched. After a few minutes, she found us and joined us for a bit! We tried to remember all the questions we had for her (we remembered most of them I think) and it was just very fun to have her join us at book club for a few minutes. Details on this whole evening coming up this week in its own post. I also plan to have my official review of Matched up this week.

Friday: I finished Bloomability by Sharon Creech, a book listed on Becca Wilhite's Authors Pick Five post which made me feel a huge need to read it. And how fun that she was also at Ally Condie's thing the night before and so I met and talked to her too. I only wish I would have known she would be there, so I could have had her sign her two books for me too.

Saturday: A cloudy raining lazy day, and so I read and read tons of Bleak House.

Sunday today: The rain continues, and I only have a smattering of pages left in Bleak House, and so, I really plan on curling up and reading it until it's done! And watch more of the movie too. And make donuts. Yes, we've a sudden craving for homemade donuts around here and who am I to squelch that?

What the family is reading this day:

Mr. Stuey: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
JJ: Reunion by Ally Condie (when she's not reading ancient Greek texts for school)
Moder: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Toto: Pendragon #9 by D.J. MacHale

How did your bookish week go?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Bit of Me(Me): Describing Me

Today's question for this fun meme over at There's a Book is:

What are three adjectives that describe you?

Well, um, I won't tell you the first three that come to mind! Because I'm thinking this is supposed to be a positive exercise! Though, they did make me laugh.

However,  trying to be serious about this question makes me nervous somehow. But I'll give it a go. So the three adjectives I've come up with are:

Causal: meaning laid back in pretty much all I do. Which isn't to say lazy I hope, but more just not stressed about certain things. My house may be clean but cluttered. My blog may be fun, not professional. My scrapbooks may be done, not beautiful. My quilts may be warm, not perfect.  My clothes may be comfortable, not cute. Get  the picture? Yes, casual, that's me.

Busy: pretty much a word that could describe us all I think. There's always lots going on which causes people ask how do I fit in the reading? Well, I'm always doing something, rarely is a moment wasted. I seem to be able to fit a lot into a small space. It's all about multi-tasking perhaps, but yeah, busy is the name of the game around here. Bored is defiantly not an adjective I know. Boring maybe... but not bored! :)

Silly: I feel like perhaps I'm going through the so called mid-life crisis. This is probably making me a little silly. It makes me embrace those celebrity crushes, and crave the rock concerts, and devour the YA romances. Sometimes I feel like I'm still seventeen, which is, if you think about it, silly. BUT, at the same time, maybe it's good in a way, and keeps me young at heart, and makes life, as I sit here at the top of the hill pondering the down hill side of it, seem like fun and not a drag. There's just not enough time left to worry about certain things, you know?

What three words would you pick to describe me?

What three words would you pick to describe YOU?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Rambling Again

Random tidbits from this past week:

** Awesome book club last night! Ally Condie spoke at the library, then we had book club afterwards discussing Matched, and she peeked in on us and hung out for a bit! She also had a friend with her, none other than Becca Wilhite whose books I've recently discovered and loved. What a fun night it was! I'll do a real post about it all next week. Has your book club had a close encounter of the third kind with an author?

** Oh my aching neck! Wow, have I had a struggle with this lately! And let me just say, it is NOT fun. Any suggestions for relief from intense neck pain?

** My two favorite singing boys have new songs! You want to hear them, right? Of course right!

** I've started watching the BBC production of Bleak House. Quite loving it. So much is going on that I totally missed in my reading of this book. Speaking of which, I still have about 200 pages left, but I feel like I'm almost done! Don't you think that's funny? I think that's funny.

** We also watched The Count of Monte Cristo this past week. Oh boy. I love that one. Any Jim Caviezel fans out there?

** Speaking of music (which I'm sure I was somewhere) I finally made a Muse playlist on YouTube... just random fun Muse videos. Have you made a YouTube playlist and shared it? It can actually be quite addicting.

Well, I'm sure there was much more rolling around in my head, but I've got to go now and wanted to post before I head out, so I will just say "the end" now.

Have a fantastic Friday!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Character Connection: Mr. Edward Hyde

This month for a Character Connection, Jen has encouraged us to highlight some of our favorite bad boys. Or vile villains, or creepy crazies, or mysterious monsters. Or at least something very quite Halloween-y!

Also, over at Age 30+, Heather's been having a monster duel between Mr. Hyde and Dorian Gray. The winner between these two is obvious to me, and so therefore for my scary Character Connection I thought I'd highlight one of my favorite very bad Bad Boys, Mr. Hyde.

In a post awhile back I talked about how fascinating the gray villains are, the ones who walk that line between bad and good. So here's the thing about Mr. Hyde, there is not one bit of gray about him,  he is totally black. His very definition and reason for being is that he is all that is bad about Dr. Jekyll, right? You take Dr. Jekyll, gather up all the bad that's in him, and you have Mr. Hyde.

So why then does he still make me feel sorry for him?

I have no idea, but I do. Maybe because he is more real than other monsters? Maybe more possible? Maybe because of the scariness in the fact that we all have those bad parts of us that most of us are able to suppress, but if we didn't or couldn't, then what or who would our Mr. Hyde be? Maybe that's why, because he is a monster we can somehow relate to? I don't know, what do you think?

It's been long awhile since I've read the book and therefore, my favorite depiction of Mr. Hyde, (and one of the reasons I'm so drawn to his character,) is actually from the musical Jekyll and Hyde. Have you seen it? Awesome stuff. And the best song, the one that gives me chills and makes me crazy and forget to breathe is when the two characters (but obviously the same man) of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are confronting each other at the end, the key moment of the whole play, a literal battle between good and evil.

Here I give you two versions. This first one is simply the song in all it's intesnity (keep in's just one guy singing):

And here, though you can't hear the song as well, you can get a feeling for how it is acted on the stage (these clips are both sung and acted by Robert Cuccioli, who is amazing):

In browsing through YouTube to find these clips, I've found all sorts of other songs from this musical and I feel like posting them all. But I won't. I do think I'll mention though, that the most famous and well known song from this musical is This Is The Moment, sung by the doctor just before he goes through with the experiment. Beautiful song.

Anyway yes, I have this weird fascination with Mr. Hyde, scary though he is. Who's your favorite monster with not-a-bit-of-gray bad boy?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Review: Jane by April Lindner

Book: Jane by April Lindner
Genre: Romance (it's shelved under YA but I think not)
Rating: A-
For: Fun
From: The library

The idea behind this book is to take the story of Jane Eyre, give it a modern setting, and change Mr. Rochester into a rock star. Yes, it's quite the fun premise.

The interesting thing about this book is how close to the original it is. Actually, sometimes I wished it would have changed things up just a bit (besides the rock star thing), but still I totally enjoyed it.

Jane has been going to an art school when her parents are both killed in a car crash. So she finds herself needing money and so she goes looking for a nanny job. Because of her isolation from all things pop culture, she is chosen to be the nanny for long time rock icon Nico Rathburn.

And... if you've read Jane Eyre.... you pretty much know what happens from there!

This was  fun quick read, and one that I was totally in the mood for. Mostly, it just made me want to read the original again and perhaps re-watch the Timothy Dalton version of the movie just so I can hear him say "Oh my cherished preserver!" one more time. (This is a long-ish clip but if you want to remember this particular intense scene it's from 1:40 to 4:00. I promise, you'll want to watch it!)

Yes, as fun as these re-tellings are, they just don't have the punch of the originals. Surprise surprise.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it a lot!

Other Reviews:

Janicu's Book Blog
Book Harbinger

Author April Lindner's website.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Review: The Naming by Alison Croggon

Book: The Naming by Alison Croggon
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: A-
For: Read along
From: Paperback Swap

It seems like I heard about this one quite awhile back from a friend on Goodreads. So I decided I wanted to read it and began to accumulate all the books of the series (I think I'm actually still missing #4) but still I didn't get to them. Finally, a month or so ago, Danielle from There's a Book decided to do a little contest and read along, which of course I decide to jump into.... because you know, I haven't jumped into enough things already or anything.

However, I'm thinking the timing was just not right for this book, for me, simply because I just finished that huge Shadow Rising major fantasy story, and maybe I just needed a break from the fantasy thing for a bit. And since that one was so enjoyable for me, I had a hard time not comparing.

That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, just not as much as I expected to. 

It's a familiar plot. There's girl who begins the book as a slave, but then is rescued by a mysterious man who tells her she is actually a powerful Bard (which I understand to be the same thing as a sorcerer.) And then they are off on a journey to, I'm not sure what, to save the world! 

Oh man that was a cynical summary!

I really enjoyed the richness of the writing, the descriptions and the weaving of words. I'm still not totally invested in the characters though I think I will get that way quite soon, and I found my attention wandering during some of the back history and world explaining parts.

Of course my favorite part of this story so far is the dark and mysterious man! Yes, he has a story that was touched on, but not very much delved into. I look forward to getting to know him better and to see what becomes of him and his new charge.

Here's a few questions that were put up for discussion as part of the read along:

What did you think about the introduction to the book and the possibility of its basis in reality?
I guess my book doesn't have an introduction, because I don't know at all you are talking about! I just went and looked to see if I missed something and nope, there's no introduction. There's a bunch of stuff at the end... maybe I should read that? :)

What did you think of the characters? Primarily Maerad, but also the supporting cast as well.

I  thought Maerad was great, very strong and very powerful. It did seem, though, that she figured out that whole power thing awfully quickly. I would have liked to see her struggle with understanding it all a little longer.

Was there any person in particular you cared for more than the others?

I'm very drawn to Cadvan. I think we've just seen the tip of the iceberg with him. It's going to be fun to get to know him better in subsequent books.

Having read the book, would you have made the choice Maerad did to leave Gilman’s Cot?
Oh yes, for sure! Anything would be better than staying in that awful place.

Are you surprised by Maerad’s choice to leave with Cadvan knowing where she came from?

I think she was desperate to get out no matter the way. I think she felt drawn to him from the first and felt quite willing to leave with him. 

If you’ve read The Lord of the Rings Trilogy in part or in it’s entirety did you draw any similarities?
 Yes, there are lots of simliarities, with both Lord of the Rings and the Wheel of Time that I'm currently reading.It makes you wonder how much authors all influence each other. I'm sure it's just something that happens. But the self isolated city in the forest reminded me of Rivendale, the elf city from Lord of the Rings. Of course, that story has no Maerad counter  part, but Cadvan is a bit like a mixture of Gandolf and Aragorn.

 The Naming is primarily a fantasy novel, how would you compare it to other popular fantasy novels out currently and to which ones?

It's basically a main stream epic high fantasy type and follows the pattern very closely for that type of book. However, urban fantasy is very popular right now, and this is nothing like those.

What aspects of Allison Croggon’s writing did you enjoy the most or least?

Very rich description, a lot of depth. I really enjoyed it for the most part. Very beautiful writing.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it, despite its few slow moments.

Other Reviews:
There's a Book
The Elliott Review
Bird Brain(ed) Book Blog

Monday, October 18, 2010

Review: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Book: The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
Genre: YA Dystopian Fantasy
Rating: A
For: Fun... oh and to Support Local Authors
From: Bought it at Borders

Wow, I've been looking forward to this one for awhile. With the way The Maze Runner ended, I was anxious to find out what was next for Thomas and company.

And let me just say, it wasn't pretty. Page turning reading for sure, but some very ugly stuff happens!

And now beware: major spoilers for The Maze Runner follows, but hopefully not major ones for The Scorch Trials:

So Thomas and his Glade friends find themselves in yet another confusing situation. They thought they were rescued, but of course, life isn't quite that easy for them. Instead, they are given a very small set of directions and told to basically run. And from there, the whole book is just one thing after another that's thrown at them.

To top it off, they can't figure out who's really the bad guys and who's the good. Or what the purpose of their quest really is. Or if they can trust anything or anybody. They are in one huge awful mess. It's harsh and ruthless.

But despite that hopeless feeling, I loved it and couldn't put it down. I think many people have a let down sort of feeling with a book two of any trilogy or series. I didn't at all with this one. It was a wonderful breathless ride! I must warn you though, I'd stay away from reading it before bed.

Bottom line: Loved it!

Other Reviews:

Well Read Reviews
Squeaky Books
My Pile of Books

Follow James Dashner's blog
Or his tweets... if you want!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Sunday Salon: Simple Report

Hey all you book people! How's your reading week been? I've had a pretty good one, and have read (almost) three books.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner came out on Tuesday, so of course I didn't waste any time getting a hold of it. I then spent much of Wednesday and most of Thursday reading it. Totally enjoyed it despite the ruthless things that happen to the characters!

Jane by April Lindner became available at the library on Wednesday, so I fit that one in, being quite in the mood for something of that nature. It was a very fun remake of Jane Eyre with the Mr. Rochester role being filled by a rugged rock star.

Finally, I wanted to do a read along with Danielle from There's a Book for The Naming by Alison Croggon, and suddenly the date for that book's discussion happened this week! So I've been cramming for it, and have just a few pages to go today to call that one finished. I'm liking it okay, but after reading the Wheel of Time series so recently, it pales just a bit.

Anyway, full reviews on all of those coming up this week!

Today, I plan to spend more time.... again.... on Bleak House. I know I can just knock that one off easy if I actually give it some attention. I also rented the movie done by the BBC, and I wonder if watching the movie will help me get my enthusiasm going for it again. Anyway, it will be done soon I hope.

Coming up this week I'll be meeting both Julie Berry and Ally Condie at our library, so I'm excited about that. I'm working on talking the shy monster that always creeps up out of making an appearance.

For book club this week, we'll be talking about Matched by Ally Condie and then next month's selection which I'll be passing out to everyone is The Count of Monte Cristo. So, I plan to start that this next week especially since my 15 year old son is currently struggling through it and I need to read along with him so we can discuss. I suppose this is called an impromptu mother/son book club? Cool. We hope to get the movie for that this week too.

So that's my bookish report for this lovely Sunday. Happy reading to you all this week!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

A Bit of Me(Me): It's All About Music... AGAIN!

Can a person post too much about music? I think not, just like we can't post too much about books, right?

So I find myself letting you in on some more of my music favorites because today, the question over at There's a Book for the A Bit of Me(Me) is:

What music gets your toes tapping?

I'm going to take this very very literally, and give you some examples of music that I seriously can't sit still to.

First up is DJ Tiesto... he plays a computer, yes? And his concerts look like they would rival Muse's in the way of visual stimulation. This song is his remake of He's a Pirate from The Pirates of the Carribbean soundtrack. My favorite part comes at about 2:08 minutes in:

I Just Can't Get Enough!!! If you've been reading lately you know that I'm in the middle of rediscovering Depeche Mode. I can't believe I didn't love them more in the 80's.

Bad Romance, Glee Version... come on, you know you want to get up and dance to this!

Of course, there must be some Muse in my toe tapping (or should we say head banging) post. This one you'll have to wait for a bit till the toe tapping part starts, but that's okay, because you'll be treated to Chris's awesome harmonica intro! Love. This. Song.

Of course, once again, I could go on and on, so I'll just stop here. Let me know if you listened to any of these songs and found yourself literally tapping your toe and wanting to dance.

Happy Saturday to you all. Now I'm going to go pretend it's last week, and read all day! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Four Things Meme

Have you been seeing this one going around? It's been a long long time since I've been tagged, and a long long time since I've done a meme of this sort. But Ibeeeg from Polishing Mud Balls tagged me, so hey, I'm joining in! Perfect for a frivolous Friday post.

4 Things That Are In My Purse:
 1. bookmarks for my blog that I carry around but never have the guts to give anyone
2. a wallet that is ripped up and falling apart
3. gum
4. a little notebook

4 Favorite Things In My Bedroom:
1. a six shelf bookcase full of TBR books
2. a TV which gets watched by all the kids as they lay all over my bed
3. a king size bed that needs replacing!
4. the old rocking chair that I rocked all my babies in

4 Things On My Desk 
(that would be cool to have my own desk, but the desk is a family one with):
1. two computers
2. various and sundrie office supplies
3. video games
4. lots of garbage papers

4 Things I've Always Wanted To Do (but haven't yet):
1. See Kurt Bestor in concert (BUT... I just bought the tickets!!!)
2. Travel all of Europe and see as many historical and literary sites I can.
3. Start a little craft business.
4. Get skinny again.

4 Things I Enjoy Very Much At the Moment
1. having older kids that can pretty much take care of themselves
2. getting book club started again after a summer break
3. working at the library
4. cooler fall weather... finally!

4 Songs I Can't Get Out Of My Head:

4 Things You Don't Know About Me
(seriously, what's left to tell?)

1. When I was in Kindergarten, I won an award for never missing a spelling word, and another award for never missing a day of school.
2. I really really hate celery.
3. I didn't have to get glasses until I was about 22 years old.
4. I don't get sick very often (now watch me get sick today or something!)

4 Bloggers I am Tagging:
Lisa from Lit and Life
Rob and Heidi
Talbie's Pick of the Week
Boy Mom from Boys-R-Us
And anyone else who feels the urge to participate! :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Authors Pick Five: Julie Berry

After recently reading and loving her book Secondhand Charm, I knew my next victim of Authors Pick Five would be Julie Berry. Here's her answer to the question:

What five books are most important or influential to you?

What a great question! I appreciate that this doesn’t ask me for favorites, since they’re as many and as varied as my tastes in food. Whatever is in front of me in moment, and yummy, can be my current fave. Influence has more permanence.

1. The Confessions of Saint Augustine. I’m only about halfway through this, but I keep going back to the beginning and starting over because the opening takes my breath away. Saint Augustine of Hippo’s closely analyzed and candidly expressed devotion is music to my soul. It’s also arguably the first foray into memoir and autobiography we have in the Western world, and for its literary merit alone, it’s a treasure.

2. The Histories of Herodotus. Here’s another work I haven’t quite finished. I listened to all I could on audiobook, but had to stop because half the library’s set of cassettes was garbled with heat and age. This gave me such a better perspective and context for understanding ancient writings, from The Iliad and The Odyssey to the Old Testament. What a rich foundation for all stories and storytelling traditions that followed after.

3. Ovid’s Metamorphoses. When I read this in college it made me blush, but I’ve learned so much about story archetypes, about classical mythology, and about oddity in stories from this slim and naughty little book.

4. The works of C. S. Lewis, most notably the Narnia series and Mere Christianity. I’m always interested in where fantasy meets theology. Lewis is one of the people I’m eager to meet in heaven.

5. I’m going to cheat here. The collected works of P.G. Wodehouse, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Jane Austen, and the Bronte sisters. I’ve read many other books I’ve loved that fall outside this roster, but if any one of these had focused on gardening at the expense of writing, I’d be impoverished today. (If, that is, I were somehow to know what I’d missed … one of those time travel snafus. How many other great writers that could have been never were? Hm.)

Julie grew up on a farm, the youngest of seven kids. Now, she lives with her very own family of four boys in Massachusetts and is hard at work fulfilling her writing dream. Julie's second book, Secondhand Charm, just came out this week. I recommend it to you all, especially those that love a fun and unique fairy tale type story. Her first book, The Amaranth Enchantment, is also delightful.  She also has what looks like a very fun series of graphic novels called The Splurch Academy for Disruptive Boys, which is illustrated by her sister, Sally Gardner. How fun is that!? You can learn more about Julie Berry at her official site, and follow her blog here. I look forward to meeting her next week at our library!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Review: The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan

Book: The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan
Genre: Fantasy (of epic and high proportions!)
Rating: A
For: my personal Wheel of Time quest
From: bought from Amazon

The Wheel of Time turns... and turns... and turns! Whew, what a book series this is! My original goal... to get done at least by the end of this year so I could be caught up and start being part of the excitement as Brandon Sanderson releases the final books.

Yeah, right. So much for that. If it takes me a month to read each book, and I give them a month or so break in between and there's 11 Robert Jordan books... what do you think? Two more years? :) Maybe by then all of Brandon Sanderson's ending trilogy of books will be in paperback! Not a bad idea!

Okay, so in this, the fourth installment of this epic series, we have all our main characters split up and separated as usual, all with their own little missions to accomplish. However, they do start off pretty much all together in the city of Tear, which I found quite cool. But each one ends up going off on a different quest.

**Rand and Egwene and Mat much search out a mystical Aiel city with the hopes of getting answers to their never ending questions.
**Perrin and Faile and Loial are off to see what's going on at Two Rivers and hopefully save the day.
**Min is stuck at the White Tower, trying to act like a girlie girl to disguise herself, and the things that she experiences there are not pretty at all.
**Elayne and Nynaeve take a boat ride to an awful city called Tanchico where they meet a new character who we must determine.... is she bad or good? Thom and Julian are with them, to protect them by order of their respective boys! Love it.

So we bounce around from place to place, following each of these different missions. And can I just say, I'm so much getting into the flow of this story now. The language, the culture, the politics, all of it. But of course, my most favorite aspect of these books are the amazing characters. I already told you about my love for Perrin. Ah Perrin. But they are all very cool, and very different. Their interactions with each other seems to have heightened in a big big way with this book. And the flirtations going on! Whoa! What a blast that is! I loved it!

So I think we are to deduct that Rand must be smokin' hot because he has the women falling all over him. And he has his pick from about four that really really want him now. Who will he pick? And who am I rooting for? (Well actually, he thinks he has picked somebody, but you know, I think that's going to change here shortly!) Ah, it's so much fun! (Yes, it's a little different from the normal love triangle... is there such a thing as a love pentagon? One guy, four girls?)

And Mat is just a goof ball and silly and adds much comic relief to it all. The things he's been dragged into! Poor guy! And I'm still waiting for him to find his love interest. That will be interesting.

I needed more from Lan. He's a very minor character in this book, and I just KNOW there's a book where his story will be told. I need more! And Min, I am also intrigued by her and though she had quite a part to play in this book, I wished there was more. And boy is she left hanging... cliff hanger for her story! Beware!

Lots of Trollocs to fight, lots of Aiel background, lots of scary creepy Forsaken people, lots of flirting like I said,  just lots and lots of fun. Definitely my favorite book so far. I am so hooked. I don't care if it does take me two more years to get through them all. I'm invested. Yes, much more to come from me with these books. I hope you are all not bored to death with my going on and on about them, but better yet, maybe I'll get a few more of you to join me in the ride!

Bottom line: I loved it!

Other Reviews:
(some with very different takes than mine! Did we read the same book?)

Adventures in Reading
Kay's Bookshelf
The Wertzone


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