Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

Book: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: A
For: Fun
From: First the library, then I bought it, then it has pages missing so I took it back, but THEN I got it as a gift from my Secret Santa Blogger Exchange. Whew, it was a little crazy!

This book is the second in the Iron Fey series which continues the adventures of Meghan who is half fairy from the summer court. In this book, the scepter that controls the seasons is passed from the summer court to the winter, but the bad guys (the Iron Fey) steal it and the job gets blamed on Meghan, so she has to make things right. Easier said than done!

She has help from her two guys, Prince Ash and Puck, and also a bunch of other wonderfully fun characters she meets along the way.

I don't really know what else to say about this one except that it had me turning the pages and very involved and ended with a twist that makes me anxious to go right to the next one. I think the thing I enjoy most about these books are the fun characters. The story line and plot are pretty ho hum, but the characters drive it along. The love triangle is stressful because both guys are pretty cool and I have no idea which one I'm cheering for.

Bottom line: I enjoyed it a lot!

Other Reviews:

Small Review
Miss Remmers' Reviews
Avery's Book Nook
Polishing Mud Balls

Review: Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Book: Blood Red Road by Moira Young
Genre: YA Dystopian
Rating: A
For: Fun
From: Bought it at a book signing

When I went to the above mentioned book signing, blogger friend Enna Isilee from Squeaky Books was gushing her heart out about this book... a book I'd not even really heard of. Then several other bloggers at the event joined her in the gushing. I was like, wow, I better read this book or something!

So now having read it I must say I probably won't be jumping on the gushing band wagon necessarily, but I WILL say that it is one of the better and unique and crazy intense dystopian books I've read.

This story is about a girl named Saba who has a twin brother named Lugh and they have a little sister named Emmi. They live in a desolate barren part of a future Earth and one day, some really nasty dudes come and kidnap her brother. Yes, and so the whole book is her adventure, and there are many, in following him and rescuing (hopefully) him.

This future world is a nasty place. Wow. There's some really creepy people in charge, and you aren't sure who are the good guys and who are the bad, and Saba ends up fighting for her life, literally. But there's a guy and he's cool but he freaks her out and then she saves him and then he saves her and then maybe she can let herself like him, but maybe not.

This one is written in a strange no-quotation style, with lots of weird grammar much like the Chaos Walking series. It takes some getting used to, but really does make you feel immersed in their world and gets you into the head of our main character. It also reminded me a bit of Ship Breaker with the grittiness and roughness of their lives.

So yes, when you are in the mood for another fabulous dystopian, choose this one!

Bottom line: I really liked it a lot.

Other Reviews:

Squeaky Books
Birdbrain(ed) Book Blog
Rhapsody in Books
The Book Nest

Friday, December 30, 2011

Year End Number Crunching 2011

I did a pretty lousy job keeping track of the numbers this year, but I've still figured it out thanks to Goodreads. Here's what it shakes down to be:

Total Books Read: 79 (So much for that particular 100 books goal this year!)
Total Re-reads: 5 (counted in the above)
Total Pages: 31,666

Men: 31
Women: 48

Book Club: 7
Challenges: 4 (mostly RIP, though I think I did couple others and just didn't count them here)
Blog Tours: 5
Reviews for ARCs received: 9
Read Alongs: 7
Utah Authors: 19 (some of these are also included in other categories) 
On my own for fun: 41

The library: 14
My own stash: 59
Borrowed: 6

YA: 48
Adult: 31

From the YA category:
Science Fiction/ Fantasy (including dystopian, paranormal, horror, steam punk, etc.): 34
Romance: 1
Other (realistic fiction): 11
Middle Grade: 2 (some of the above books should probably be in this category, technically)

From the Adult category:
Non Fiction: 6
Classics: 4
Literary Fiction: 7
Science Fiction/ Fantasy (including dystopian, paranormal, horror, etc.): 11
Historical Fiction: 0 (are you kidding me?)
Romance: 1

My observations:

  • Well, wow. I didn't do much in the challenges area! And I read much less ARCs for review than last year.
  • Non fiction went up! I did really well reading a NF book a month for the first half of the year. I will try to do that again... well... and make it last all year long.
  • I lost ground with the amount of YA books I read and usage of the library. Interesting.
  • Most everything else stayed about the same percentage-wise compared to the past years.
  • I'm still sad about that classics number... and the literary fiction number. Gosh, why can't I fit more of those in? They end up being my favorites of the year for the most part. 
  • Wait... did I really and truly not read any historical fiction this year? Maybe I did but put it in a different category? THAT has got to change too.
  • I would have thought that even though my total number was down from last year that my pages would be about the same, but nope, they are down about 5000 too. Do you think it's the reading slump I've been in this last while? Or maybe the big trip when I thought I'd read, but just didn't? Probably.
  • HEY! But I DID do a pretty good job at supporting local Utah authors, yes? 
Have you crunched the numbers yet? How did things stack up for you?

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Ten Best Bookish Events of the Year

It's the end of the year and time for reflection on the past year. You know how the news people think back on the top ten stories of the year in news? And the entertainment people think back on the top ten stories in the celebrity world? Well, here's my version of that... the top ten stories in my bookish life this past year. (I know some of them have been mentioned in yesterday's post, so hopefully a little repetition won't bother you too much!)

1. Markus Zusak Comes to the Library! We heard this news at the end of the year 2010 and couldn't believe it was even true! But come he did! We went early and stood in line to get tickets, then went early and stood in line to get in, then stood in line to get the book signed, then waited afterward for friends to get books signed. I have no idea how many hours we devoted to this event, but every one of them was worth it. This author was AMAZING to listen to, so very humble and sweet and funny and cute. He signed for SEVEN hours after his presentation, giving every fan individual attention, writing personal messages and drawing in every book. It was an author signing unlike any other, and definitely a fanatic fan's dream come true. There's talk he may come again, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed we get to have this experience a second time.

2. The Way of Kings Read along: I discovered the fun of buddy reads, or read alongs, last year, so this year it was fun to continue that. One of my favorites was reading The Way of Kings with several different wonderful, very organized, very intelligent bloggers. The questions were fun, the discussion was detailed and vigorous and I loved reading this awesome huge fat epic book together and finding that everyone loved it just as much as I did.

3. Jenny Starts Blogging! I also mentioned this in yesterday's post, but I think some of you know what I mean when I say how fun it is to see someone you've been bookish friends with for years (Jenny grew up down the street from me, then has been coming to book club for years, then started writing very fun reviews on Goodreads) finally start their own blog and join this online bookish party! I knew her particular style would take well to blogging, and I was right. She now has her own following and I've loved seeing it all happen.

4. Working at an Author Event: Finally, just a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to work behind the table sitting by the authors, at an author event at the library where I work. This is actually another thing that I would have never predicted would happen for me. I would have never believed you had you told me this was going to happen, even just a year ago. Now, I'm hoping it will just be the first of many opportunities. And here's hoping I find my grove at being on the other side of the table.

5. Beyonders launch party: I went to handful of launch parties this year, but the one in March by Brandon Mull for his new Beyonders series beat all! This is a rockin' launch party for sure! Very oriented to the kids, with a comedy troupe, support by many other local authors, slide shows, music and all sorts of craziness! It was fun to be there.

6. Christopher Paolini Experience: This was another wild and crazy event held at the library this year. It was fun to get riled up about the signing rules that came with this particular author, and then manage to get around those rules by getting our books signed at a different location! It was sort of the opposite experience as Markus Zusak, with this author who was a bit of a "rock star" complete with body guard and all, yet at the same time it was fun to be part of the hoopla and excitement.

7. Blogger party in March: 2011 was the third year we had Utah blogger get-togethers. In March of this past year, we had a gathering at the Golden Corral where we burst the seams of the private room! It was insane how many bloggers and authors showed up! It was really fun and hopefully we'll be able to keep these events going, even if the amount of bloggers continues to overwhelm.

8. Being nominated for a BBAW award: I've participated in the the Blogger Appreciation Week since the beginning. The awards part of this event is always a fun thing, but can also make one think one will never be "good enough." Well, this year I felt loved because I was nominated for best eclectic blog. Nothing much came of it, but the stroke to the blog ego was good enough for me and a highlight of the bookish year.

9. Markus Zusak tweets: Speaking of Markus Zusak... in previous years when I've wanted to learn about him, I felt very stalker-ish (what else is new, right?) trying to find his internet presence. It was sad because there really was nothing out there. No website, no Facebook, no blog, no Twitter. Well, this year, that all changed, and he started a Facebook, AND a Twitter. And just as he proved at his signing, he is also proving with his new found connection on the internet.... that he truly seems to love his fans and feels very appreciative of all the praise coming his way. If you tweet him and say something lovely about his books... he will tweet back, as I found when I tried this. In fact, he's responded to me three times. I know this seems like a small thing, but seriously, when you consider that at the beginning of the year he was really no where out there, and now he TALKS back? It's just beyond cool.

10. Becoming IRL friends with so many Utah bloggers: I've become friends slowly but surely with several Utah bloggers after meeting them at our parties, but this year, that seems to be happening even faster. I love it. I love going to the bookish events, the launch parties, the signings, and seeing all sorts of people that have become true, real, face to face friends. It doesn't get better than that. This is what this bookish blogging hobby is really all about, don't you think?

Wow, has it been a crazy fun year or what? I can't even imagine what this next year might bring! Here's hoping it's even a little bit as fun as this last year has been! I live for this stuff. Keep it coming! :)

I'd love to know what your top ten bookish events have been this year. Let me know if you post a list!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

End of Year Book Survey 2011

And now I give you the End of Year Survey by The Perpetual Page-Turner, something I did last year and enjoyed and something I have a feeling will be a bit of a year end tradition! Yay! It's a bit long, but hopefully some of you will have fun looking it over and join in over at The Perpetual Page-Turner and link up!

Bookish Bests

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?

This is so so hard because I read a lot that I loved, but I think I'm going to have to go with The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. And I think the reason why is because it's so different and so unlike any book I've read, that it just really made a huge impression.

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?

I was sad that upon re-reading Middlemarch, I didn't love it more. It was a disappointing re-read. I remember loving it before, but this time I just didn't. Yes, that was quite sad.

3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson surprised me because I thought it was just going to be a normal, fun, simple YA book, but it turned out to be very deep and touching and emotional and I loved it! I totally didn't expect to have the reaction to it that I did.

4. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?

I read Major Pettigrew's Last Stand early on in 2011 and ended up recommending that a lot throughout the year.

5. Best series you discovered in 2011?

The Seven Realms series, and The Kingkiller Chronicles

6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?

Cinda Williams Chima, Patrick Rothfuss, Erin Morgenstern, Jandy Nelson, Helen Simonson

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

I think Under the Dome by Stephen King was a bit out of my comfort zone and the whole horror genre is a bit new for me even though I read several this year that could be categorized as such.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?

I would say both Mr. Monster and I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells (#2 and 3) in his series, were thrilling and unputdownable.... very much so.

9. Book you most anticipated in 2011?

Underdogs by Markus Zusak... finally, I can say I've read every one of his books!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

The cover of Brodi Ashton's book Everneath is pretty awesome! This book comes out in a month!

11. Most memorable character in 2011? 

Kvothe from The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss is a pretty awesome and memorable character. I can't WAIT to get to him again in the next book!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?

The Night Circus fits this category perfectly, beautifully written by Erin Morgenstern.

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?

I don't know how to answer this one! I mean, all my favorites had an impact of some sort of another. My favorites list that I posted yesterday can be found here. Yeah, all of them made me think or stuck with me in one way or another.

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Leguin... while this wasn't one of my favorite books of the year, I know it's quite the fantasy classic so it's weird to me that I hadn't read it already.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?

I can't think of a specific favorite passage at the moment, but pretty much every word Markus Zusak writes is something I feel the need to hug close and remember.

16. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?

Hmmm... speaking of MZ, if his new book doesn't come out this year, I'll probably re-read one of his old ones... again.

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

I think there are several scenes in The Night Circus that took my breath away.

Book Blogging/Reading Life in 2011

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2011?

I didn't "discover" this blog but I did have a hand in making it happen, I think. Jenny, my IRL bookish buddy,  started blogging back in April I think it was (Alternate Readality), and hers is my best new favorite blog of the year!

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2011?

My favorite is the one I wrote for Underdogs by Markus Zusak. I love gushing about his stuff, as we all know.

3. Best discussion you had on your blog?

My discussion back in February on Edgy Books vs. Gentle Books got a pretty good response.

4. Most thought-provoking review or discussion you read on somebody else's blog?

Jenny's had some really fun discussions on her blog and one of my favorites was What's in a Smell? Very fun!

5. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

The Markus Zusak signing back in March was the highlight of my bookish year for sure.

6. Best moment of book blogging in 2011?

I think getting nominated as Best Eclectic Blog for BBAW was pretty cool.  I didn't end up on the short list or anything, just got nominated but that made me happy. Thanks to whoever it was that did that!

Another really cool moment was when Markus Zusak tweeted me back... three times! Is that a book blogging moment? Yes, I say it is.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

Oh my word, I'm getting tons of hits on the post where I listed potential book club reads for this year! Still, every week it's the most popular and I wrote it in March. I'm looking forward to doing a similar post when we are planning next year's books to see if that one takes over as the leader.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

Generally, I've always wanted my Music Stuck in my Head posts to get more love. I'd love to talk music with people as well as books, but usually my readers seem to not have much to say about music (take this post for instance!) So I've stopped those posts and just throw a song thought into my Sunday Salon journal posts instead. Which seems to work for me.... for now.

9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?

I didn't discover anything new in this area of book life! Unless I'm totally forgetting something. What is something new I should have discovered this past year?

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

I didn't make it to 100 books this year, but that's okay. I did read a lot of very big books, so that's kind of to be expected I think. What I really liked that I did this year, even though it wasn't a conscious goal when I started the year, was to participate in several buddy reads/read alongs. Very fun stuff. Thank you to all my reading buddies!

Looking Ahead...

1. One Book You Didn't Get To In 2011 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2012?

I think The Wise Man's Fear, the next Kingkiller book, by Patrick Rothfuss, will be read very soon in 2012.

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2012?

I'm really looking forward to John Green's book The Fault in Our Stars, also Shannon Hale's Midnight in Austenland. I'm also anxious for Partials by Dan Wells, and I'd love for the next Way of Kings book to be done in 2012, but I'm not sure that's going to happen. Oh, and I really hope Markus Zusak finishes Bridge of Clay!

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2012?

I want to change my blog's look really really bad. I'm very scared to mess with things, but we need a makeover!

Well. Hopefully you made it this far in my survey answers post. Let me know if you decide to do a post of your own!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: The Year's Favorites

Even though I hope to read a couple more books this week, I'm going to go ahead and list my favorites of the year as it stands right now, and link up over at The Broke and the Bookish where the topic this week is Top Tens of the year! Head on over to check out everyone's lists and link up your list!

My tradition from past years... to separate out YA from other books, so I get to double the size of my favorites! Here they are, in no particular order:

Top Ten Favorite "Big Kid" Books

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson
3. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
4. Room by Emma Donoghue
5. Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
6. Under the Dome by Stephen King
7. The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy
8. I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells
9. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
10. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Top Ten YA Books

1. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
2. Bruiser by Neal Shusterman
3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman
4. Entwined by Heather Dixon
5. Variant by Robison Wells
6. Underdogs by Markus Zusak (one part new to me, two parts a re-read)
7. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak (a re-read)
8. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
9. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
10. Skellig by David Almond

Top Ten "New to Me" Favorite Authors Discovered in 2011

1. Cinda Williams Chima
2. Emma Donoghue
3. Erin Morgenstern
4. Patrick Rothfuss
5. Robison Wells
6. Heather Dixon
7. Jandy Nelson
8. Stephanie Perkins
9. Cassandra Clare
10. Elana Johnson

What a wonderful reading year it's been!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Our Christmas Book Loot

And I thought we weren't  going to get as many books this year as last:

These are the books the whole family received, not just me. Here's a list in case you can't see them well (though clicking on the picture helps that too:)

The Doctor Who Visual Dictionary
The Most Human Human
Daughter of Smoke and Bone
The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Clockwork Prince
Clockwork Angel
Steve Jobs
Shadow Moon
Shadow Star
Shadow Dawn
The Iron Daughter
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Slaughter House Five
Okay for Now
Return to Exile
Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever
The Iron Queen
City of Fallen Angels
City of Glass
Destiny of the Republic

Whew. I really better get out of my reading slump FAST!

And here's what I got from my Secret Santa Exchange blogger.... who only revealed herself as Heather:

What a perfect present, because as you know I've recently had a little issue with The Iron Daughter, what with the missing pages from the book I had and then the store where it came from being totally out. So when I opened this up and saw a new copy of this book, I was very excited and have since been reading pretty quickly through this book! I'm very excited about the other book too, which also makes me giggle, because it's the same book I gave to my exchange person!

Thank you Heather!

Thank you Deanna and Jenny and Santa Claus and SIL Katie and Grandma and Grandpa and everyone! It's been a wonderful bookish haul!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Here's hoping you are all having a lovely
 weekend with friends and family!
Happy Holidays to you all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Saturday Salon: Merry Christmas!

I decided to do my salon journal post a day early and share my random thoughts this Christmas weekend. I'm writing on Christmas Eve Eve. We've had a bunch of college boys over eating pizza and playing cards and it's been fun. Tomorrow on Christmas Eve we'll be off in the evening for a family gathering. Party on!

Outside my window: It was a beautiful day today. Clear and blue and very very cold! Still no snow though, but we got enough of some wetness the other day to clear the air, which is very nice indeed.

I am listening to: A random Christmas music mix that has been going all day long, and also someone just turned Ghost Hunters on the TV. They are having a marathon! Who knew!??

Song of the week: Love this version of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen:

TV Talk: I watched the finale of Terra Nova. Pretty intense, but that whole show is pretty just ho hum for me. Oh, well. Haven't watched much else this week, but we did go see Sherlock Holms and that was fun. Robert Downey Jr. was awesome as always, and the special effects were wow. But the coolest thing about that move was seeign The Hobbit trailer... have you seen it yet? Here it is in case not:

Richard Armitage singing? YES!

Reading Report: HA!
Books I've finished: Wait, I finished a book! Blood Red Road by Moira Young. It was really quite good! I should probably review it.
Books I've started: Well, I started The Iron Daughter... again (first time had to take it back to the library), but when I got to page 67, it jumped to page 90something. And when I went to get another copy they (Walmart) were out. Dang. And I was really quite getting into it!
Books I want to start: I can't decide what to start. I read a few chapters in A Path of Daggers today. Are you impressed!?

I am thinking: that it has been a long week and I'm anxious for the weekend to come... and go even.

I am grateful for: all the abundance surrounding me this crazy season. We are so very lucky and spoiled and blessed.

What I learned this week: family time at the holidays, for the kids actually means FRIEND time. But I'm getting more used to the idea. Tonight we combined the two and it even worked for the most part. Family and friends of kids CAN play together if all parties are welcome to the idea.

Around the house: Not bad, quite festive looking actually. Not dirty, not spotless, just about right. Oh and did I tell you about the new mattress? I can't remember, but yes, we have one! It's awesome. It's heaven. I love it. I think that's pretty much my Christmas. :)

Recipe of the Week: I have made these Andes mint cookies that I found on Pinterest so many times! Wow. But the hard thing is... finding the Andes mints.

Favorite things of the week: Kid #2 turned 20 and we all as a family went out to dinner, and then ice skating. That was a very nice evening.

Family Matters: Lots of bored kids around here. We have had a week off already and people have been going to bed at 2:00 am or after and sleeping in until noon. Seriously. Every day. It's pathetic.

Things we discussed at home this week: relationships. Sort of an ongoing topic around here.

Things I hope to accomplish: This next week? I hope to accomplish pretty much nothin'. Have no family drama at all the parties. Read a lot. And sleep and not worry about nothin'. :)

The Blog Report: This past week I aired grievances, pondered a quote seen on Twitter, reported on book club and listed my books wish list.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

In Which I Air Grievances

Last year it was brought to my attention that there's a certain day set aside for grievances, something started on Seinfeld or something? (The whole explanation is here if you are interested. It's a bit of an anti-Christmas thing, but whatever.) Anyway, I thought it was a fabulous idea and I had a blast posting my grievances last year and wanted to make sure I didn't let the week go by without another cleansing complaining session.

The idea here is, of course, that everyone is too busy to read blogs this week anyway, so it's a perfect time to let it all out! Now, I may start out with bookish/bloggish complaints, but I can't guarantee that it won't morph into general all round life rants!

So here goes!

I hate it when....

.... I'm in the mood to talk on Twitter and no one will talk back. Twitter crickets... a lonely sound!

....someone tells me to take down all my Markus Zusak videos on YouTube, but other people still have their MZ videos up. (By the way, I can still give you links to mine, they just aren't public!)

....I see a blog post similar to mine, and it has a gazillion comments and but mine has only three.

..... I can't keep up with reading other blog posts. And I hate marking all as read, but I think it's going to have to happen so I can have a fresh start.

.... I am reading along in a book, totally happy, and suddenly I realize that there are 30 pages missing! And I really hate it when I go back to the store where I bought the book and they have no more of that particular one!

.... B and N messes up and releases John Green's book early to many many people!

... I get in a reading slump.

... my kids are in a reading slump too.

... I send a tweet or message or comment and see my typo after the fact.

... my kids stay up until 2, 3, 4, sometimes even 5 in the morning.

... things break.

... people fight.

... kids are in pain.

... I can't sleep.

... anxiety rules the day.

Whew! I think I'll be done now! That's enough airing for one post! How are your grievances doing?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

As Seen on Twitter: Never Read for Enjoyment... Say What?

Today on Twitter, Katy ( who blogs at A Few More Pages and tweets from @afewmorepages) shared this quote which caught my attention:

"You should never read just for ‘enjoyment.’ Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick ‘hard books.’ Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, ‘I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.’ Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of ‘literature’? That means fiction, too, stupid."
                                   -- John Waters

First of all, I had to look up John Waters, not being at all familiar with him. I guess he is a film dude and comedian? And he says some pretty blunt and controversial, but funny, things? Yes? I have no idea.

Anyway, this quote is interesting to me for many reasons.

Reason #1: First it says we shouldn't read for enjoyment, but to be smarter. At first I thought this was an argument against fiction, but the rest of the quote contradicts this. I, for one, mostly read for pure enjoyment. However, I think it makes me "smarter" (a relative term) by default. Reading, no matter what it is, just does that, don't you think? But still, can't our goal be to read just for enjoyment? I think so yes.

Reason#2: Pick hard books. I do agree with this one a little... I think we need a bit of a challenge now and then. Of course, "hard" will be different for all of us, don't you think? So we shouldn't judge what people are reading thinking it's a silly easy book.. because for them, it just may be hard. It's kind of like what the kids learn at school... just right books, and books that are too hard or too easy. We all know what that is for us.

Reason #3: "I can't read fiction, I only have time for the truth." Wow. I heard this one just recently and it was interesting to try and argue against this mindset. It makes me sad. Non-fiction is great, but so is fiction. I say, there can be a nice balance between the two, and that you CAN still learn stuff from fiction... LOTS of stuff.

Reason#4: Literature is fiction.... fiction is literature. What? Do some people confuse these terms? Do some people really consider literature as not fiction? I don't get this. What is literature then if it's not fiction? It includes fiction... and everything else of the written word. That's what I think anyway.

So... what do you think? Do you agree with this quote? Disagree? A little of both? What do you say to people who seem to have the attitude that John Waters is "upset" about?

Thanks to Katy for a tweet that made me think today!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Wish List

Last week the prompt was Books We Are Giving... this week over at The Broke and the Bookish they are asking about books we want. Yay, what an easy list to make! Here are a few that are on my wish list:

1. Where She Went by Gayle Forman
2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
3. Goliath by Scott Westerfeld
4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Pecular Childen by Ransom Riggs
5. Among Others by Jo Walton
6. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
7. Touch by Jus Accardo
8. The Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima
9. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
10. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green... which isn't quite out yet... but so very soon!

I've seen much buzz about them all, and hopefully I'll get to them some day soon, whether it's because Santa brings them, or I find them at the library! (I suddenly find myself with way too many books stacked around me, and while I love it, I've told Santa not to bring so many this year. We'll see how that goes!)

What's on your list?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Book Club Report: The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt

A couple of evenings ago we had an awesome Christmas book club gathering complete with a pile of yummy treats and a great discussion about The Wednesday Wars, a book that I think everyone in the group who read it, totally loved and enjoyed.

Here are some random group thoughts:

  • As is often the case, we had a bit of genre discussion... again. Is this book middle grade? Or YA.. or could it actually be considered an adult book? We pondered the fact that it's an adult narrator looking back on his childhood, much like To Kill a Mockingbird, yet it is actually marketed and shelved as middle grade. We found that interesting.
  • Most of us are regular readers of YA books, but we have a new book club member who is accustomed to reading adult books about strong female characters. When she started this book and realized it was about an obnoxious 7th grader boy, she nearly gave up... that is... until she discovered it was just as much about the teacher's character and growth, as it was the boy's. I thought that was a great insight!
  • Many book club members compared this book to the popular TV show The Wonder Years. It has a nostalgic feel to it. It takes place in a simpler time, yet covers many complicated topics.
  • We thought it was an awesome book for refreshing our American history especially for the year 1967... some of us even googled and did research!
  • We also loved the way this book fosters a love of Shakespeare. It's a great way to get kids interested.
  • We wondered about the Micky Mantle incident described in the book and if the author experienced something like this, or heard of something like this happening.
  • The author's new book, OK for Now, is about the "friend" Doug featured in The Wednesday Wars. It's getting much buzz and I think we all left want to read it, and others by this author.
Bottom line: Everyone seemed to really enjoy this one!

Other books we talked about:

Jenni really enjoyed Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake and now wants to read more about ghosts. She cautions that is has pretty harsh language though. She also finished To Kill a Mockingbird and now understands why people are naming their kids Atticus.

Jessica read A Christmas Carol and said it was awesome. She also read Three Cups of Deceit by John Krakaur which led us to discuss both the original book and this book and why? Why for both... the whole thing is very sad and confusing and strange.

Jenny read Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi and said it was okay. She also read and enjoyed 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson.

Kim read and really liked Divergent. She also read On the Fringe by Courtney King Walker, a ghost story, The Mansion by Henry Van Dyke and Pope Joan by Donna Woofolk Cross, which we though maybe should be a future book club pick.

Julie read Making the Rounds with Oscar by David Dosa, the one about a cat that could tell when the rest home patients were dying and went to be by their side. It sounds fascinating.

Karen read The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver after hearing that she was a good author for learning more about small town America. She liked it a lot.

Suey mentioned her love for The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and tried to describe it but it just doesn't work.

Stuey reported on Jesus, my Father, CIA and Me Ian Morgan Cron, which he reviewed on this blog, and also his current read called Laughing at Wall Street by Chris Camillo, which he's not liking so much.

Sam read Buddha by Deepak Chopra and said he's converted! (But he followed that up with a big JK.) He also read Endurance about that Shackleton dude (can't link since there are two found on Goodreads and I'm not sure which one it is!), and Inheritance by Christopher Paolini. He said it was good.

Bethany read Divergent and LOVED it.

Tessa listened to Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand on audio and loved it too. She said it was 55 cds long! Whew.

And that was book club this month!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Virtual Advent Tour: I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas!

One of my favorite blogging events that we do this time of year is the Virtual Advent Tour. This is where bloggers take turns sharing different Christmas traditions and post them on their blog. This year is my fifth year participating! Which means, I'm having a hard time thinking of something new and interesting to post about!

Here are links to my past years' posts in case you are interested:

2007: Christmas Eve Traditions (including a movie the year the nativity reenactment went to pieces!)
2008: Decorating the Tree (including a yummy cinnamon roll recipe)
2009: The Advent Box: (with a time elapsed video that was a blast to make)
2010: My Love for the Grinch

So this year, after much pondering, I've decided to keep it really simple, especially since I've found it's hard to spend a lot of time reading blogs and hopping back and forth to see what everyone's been posting (in fact, I've been really lousy at this!)

I don't really know how this tradition got started. It must have just been that my dad's family had this song on an old 78 record (I hope someone out there knows what that is!) and played it all the time during the holidays... played it enough that my dad memorized the thing... accent and all! Every year as we were growing up, he would recite/sing this silly song for us kids and we thought it was so so funny! Now that we are all grown and gone, when we do get together for our party, we make our dad do this song, just like he has every year.

Now, I really wish I had a video of him doing it, and I probably do somewhere, but I'm feeling so lazy these days that I'm not going to search for it and spend the time editing. (Besides, he'd probably rather not be featured on my blog I'm guessing) so instead, I give you this original version that my brother found on YouTube for us last year, which we all thought was pretty cool.

So.... anyone heard this song before? Does it feature in your holiday traditions at all? Doesn't the idea of my straight laced conservative dad singing this crack you up? It does me!

Be sure to check out the posts of the other participants! (All listed at the main blog here.) Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Surrounded by Authors!

Today we had an awesome event at the library....  a last minute author signing before Christmas for all those who really wanted to give away a signed book! The difference for me this time, instead of just stalking the authors, I actually got to work at the event and "host" a couple of them. And by host, I mean, sit with them and talk when/if they didn't have a signing line.

On one side of me was the famous Brandon Mull. His line was constant and steady, so we didn't get to chat much, but it was a blast to hear him interact with his fans and be so very personable and asking them questions and such. What an cool guy he is.
Brandon Mull
On my other side was a brand new author whose first book just came out in September. He didn't have much of a line and was excited for each and every person who came to him! Especially if they had already bought the book before the event! His name is Eric Patten (writing under E.J. Patten) and his book is called Return to Exile, a middle grade adventure that will, he hopes, end up being a six book series. Of course I bought it! So I will get back to you on my thoughts for the book itself. I will have to bump it up the pile.

Dan Wells signing, Eric Patten along side.
Rob Wells and Tyler Whitesides in the background.
I was also able to chat a bit with Rob Wells (whose book Variant I loved and plan to give a nephew) and Dan Wells, who had an ARC of his next book Partials sitting there very temptingly. I begged him for info on how to get my hands on one and he said, hey, I gave one to the library! So I tracked down which co-worker currently has it and said, I'm next!! Yay! Very excited for a turn with that one!

I didn't get a chance to mingle much more than that, though we all know that I'm terrible mingler anyway. But Ally Condie did request that I get a Beyonders book signed by Brandon Mull for her. So that was fun. And I did say hi to Bree Despain.

We managed to get all the authors together for a picture, and mine turned out very dark, but I tweaked it and hopefully this one isn't too bad and you can kind of see them all.

Eric Patten, Tyler Whitesides, Ally Condie, Rob Wells, Jessica Day George,
Brandon Mull, Dan Wells, Nathan Hale, Jed Henry
Rick Walton, Kristen Chandler, Bree Despain
(I linked to them all in this post, so I'm not taking the time to link again!)

And here are some more candid type shots:

I only saw a couple other bloggers there. Jenny came to say hi to Dan Wells, and Diana was there doing a very good job at mingling. Holly from Book Harbinger was working at Rob and Tyler's table, so hopefully she'll blog about anything interesting she learned from them!

Anyway, I had a blast. Hopefully we can do it again sometime!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Review: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

Book: The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (Newbery Award 1962)
Genre: Middle Grade historical fiction
Rating: A
For: a read along with my 7th grade daughter
From: the library

My daughter's 7th grade English class just read this one for their December book and my daughter begged me to read along with so she could better understand things. I'd never heard of this book before even though I'm sort of familiar with the author (Witch of Blackbird Pond.)

This is a great story to introduce kids to what it might have been like to live during Jesus' time, during the years he went about teaching and meeting with people. This boy, Daniel, has big reasons to hate the Romans who have taken over the country and killed his parents. His sister was emotional damaged by this incident and so he now has her to deal with along with his grandmother who takes care of them. He actually can't handle things so he runs away from home and meets up with a band of ruffians who live in the caves outside the city and are plotting to strike back against the Romans.

He meets some friends from the city and together they become spies for this rough rebellion. Meanwhile, he has several different encounters with a man named Jesus who everyone is talking about. He sees how  people come to him to hear teachings of God and to hopefully get healed of their many ailments. He feels wonderful when he sees this Jesus and wonders if he can perhaps help his sister some day.

Even though he feels so good hearing Jesus' message, he is still driven mostly by his hatred of the Romans. It is this issue that in the end, may be his family and friends undoing.

I really enjoyed this sweet and powerful book about this time in the world's history. It's very interesting to get a glimpse of how it may have been like back then. Not an easy time, that's for sure. But it's a great book with a great message that is especially meaningful this time of year, without being overly preachy.

Bottom line: I like this one a lot.

Other Reviews:

Educating Petunia
What KT Reads

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

As Seen On Twitter: An Intro and a Question

I'm staring something new around here! I'm not sure I'd call it a feature, but sort of I guess. Whatever it is, it's going to help me with discussion ideas, and I'm calling it As Seen on Twitter. (I tried to make a button. It'll do I think.)

First of all, let me restate (because I think I've said this before) that I have a love/hate relationship with Twitter. This particular idea has bloomed from one of the things I love about it, and that is the stuff I see there oftentimes makes me think and ponder about an issue or question or idea which makes me want to expound on it, something not so easily done over there on Twitter.

But I can do it here!

And over here I'm hoping, of course, that you will comment and talk with me about whatever it is, which doesn't necessarily happen over there (one of the things I dislike about Twitter... trying to make myself "heard").

This is all assuming that ideas that are thrown out over on Twitter are free for the taking. Right? Am I right? Perhaps this should be a topic for discussion in and of itself? Is there such a thing as "stealing ideas" if you tweet them? If someone ponders something over there, can I take it and ponder it further over here? I've decided yes.

My plan is to use Twitter's favorite button much more often if something peaks my interest. Then I can easily link back to whoever gave me an idea... whether it be someone I know and follow, or someone I've never heard of before. This will also let me know which tweeters seem to always be saying interesting things! I would find that fun to track. Doing all this will make me interact more too, force me to click around on new blogs and get to know my followers and followees better! That's a good thing too.

So here's my first As Seen on Twitter, just for example!

This  morning @LizB (A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozy) asked a question that we pondered at length awhile back in book club. What's the difference between the genres paranormal and supernatural?  Yeah I say! What IS the difference anyway?

Here are my very very simplified definitions:

Paranormal: a story about characters who are NOT normal... they are creatures who do not exist in our world such as vampires, werewolves and such.

Supernatural: a story about characters who are "normal" but have a supernatural power.... so they themselves might be found to exist in our world, but their powers would not such as Odd Thomas or the girl from Inkheart.

I think most books in these genres cross over a lot, thus the confusion. Someone replied on Twitter that paranormal has romance. I say, they both do. And usually they both have normal people with powers, and the paranormal creatures. So, the two really can't be separated.

So, how would you define them? Do you think I'm close or completely off? Ready, set, discuss!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Give

I'm not quite sure how to approach this list today. The Broke and the Bookish are asking us to list books we want to give for Christmas. So... are the books I want to give and the ones I'm giving one and the same? I'll just leave you guessing on the answer to that! And I'm not saying WHO I'd give them to, because what if I really DO give them to that person, and that person happens upon this list? Hmmmm??? What then?

Top Ten Books I Want To and Perhaps WILL Give for Christmas

1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
2. Variant by Robison Wells
3. Matched and Crossed by Ally Condie
4. The Clockwork Angel and Prince by Cassandra Clare
5. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
6. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
8. Wimpy Kid ... the latest... whatever it's called by Jeff Kinney
9. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
10. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Whew!  I could go on and on with this one!

What books would you like to give?

Up next week: Books we want to GET for Christmas! Ha! That just makes me laugh!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Orem Library Author Event!

I just wanted to do a quick shout out to bloggers and readers in my area about another fun author event happening this week, on Saturday at the Orem Library (the one were I work in case you haven't been paying attention!)

They are coming for a last minute signing for local books you might like to get for people on your Christmas list. So come out and support our wonderful local authors, buy their books, get them signed!

Here's who's coming:

Ally Condie (Matched and Crossed)
Brandon Mull (Fablehaven and Beyonders)
Jessica Day George (Princess of the Midnight Ball, Princess of Glass, Snow and Moon, Ice and Snow.. and a bunch more)
Kristen Chandler (Boys, Wolves and Other Things That Might Kill Me)
Bree Despain (The Dark Divine series)
Dan Wells (I Am Not A Serial Killer series)
Rob Wells (Variant)
Tyler Whitesides (Janitors)
E.J. Patten (The Hunter Chronicles)
Rick Walton (tons... TONS of picture books)
Nathan Hale (Rapunzel's Revenge with Shannon Hale and other picture books)
Jed Henry (picture books)

So if you've missed them when they've been at the Provo Library, or when they've come to Barnes and Noble's Authorpalooza, now is your chance! Their books will be available that day at the library for 20% off. 

This will be on Saturday, the 17th, from noon to 2:00 p.m. at Orem Library. I'll be there as soon as my daughter's violin concert is over, so find me and say hi!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Sunday Salon: Two Weeks to Go!

Happy Sunday morning to you all!

Outside my window: Sunny and cold with a very blue sky. I'm kind of wanting snow about now though. It's so weird we haven't had any at all yet. Very weird. Global warming?

I am listening to: I just listened to the song Jenny highlighted on her blog today. I loved it!

Song of the week: I should be talking about Christmas music this month, but I've been obsessed with another Silversun Pickups song this week instead. It's called Sort Of. (And, according to YouTube, it's on Vampire Diaries!)

But if you want some Christmas music... here's one of my favorite Mannheim Steamroller ones, Fum Fum Fum:

TV Talk: We've started a buddy watch! You know like a buddy read, only a buddy watch? Kailana mentioned yesterday she had just started the BBC's Sherlock, something I've been wanting to do for a long time, so I said, hey, I'll watch with you! So last night, I watched most of the first episode. I had 8 minutes left when my husband turned the WiFi off. I was so sleepy that I couldn't keep my eyes open anyway, so I now I will finish those last few minutes today sometime.

But I loved it! What an awesome guy they have for Sherlock! I love his voice! Which is a good thing because he talks a lot! Anyway, very fun so far, but according to Netflix, there are only three episodes? Is that right?

Reading Report
Currently reading: Same as last week!!!
Books I've finished: Um... NOTHING! Stop asking me!!!
Books I've started: Um... NOTHING!
Books I want to start: Um... EVERYTHING!!
So yeah, as I said last blog post, I've not been reading much of anything. I have to try and finish The Bronze Bow today though, so I can help Toto with her questions/report or whatever she has to do for school. It's a good book, and short, so maybe I can actually do it.

I am thinking: that Christmas is in two weeks from today! And that feels like no time at all when I think of all that needs doing still.

I am grateful for: the Christmas season even if it is quite stressful. I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Years when suddenly life stops (usually anyway) and everything is totally stress free!

What I learned this week: that it's okay to not read if you don't feel like it. Really. It's okay!!

Around the house: We bought a mattress! Call the press! It happened quite suddenly and unexpectedly, but it's done and I'm so excited to have it arrive on Tuesday. Ah, it's going to be heaven sleeping on that thing, and I'm actually quite worried about getting up every morning.

Recipe of the Week: Toto did a science experiment this week and had four bowls of yeast growing, so after we determined which yeast was the "best" we had to do something with them! I made rolls for dinner and cinamon rolls for fun. The rolls I made for dinner are really yummy, and very very easy. (And a little more healthy because it's not full of butter... well, until you put it on yourself after baking!) We make them all the time. Here's the recipe:

2 cups hot water
1 Tb. yeast
2 Tb. sugar
Let that proof and bubble. Then add:
2 tsp. salt
5 to 6 cups flour

Knead that all up really good, roll into balls, place in pan or muffin tins, or however you like to make rolls. Let rise. Bake at 400 or so for 15 min. or so. (Now I'm thinking I may have shared this recipe already... if so... oops. Here it is again!)

Favorite things of the week: Blue Man Group! That was so very fun! Also, taking the girls in our neighborhood church group to see Toto dance at a performance at the library. Then, there was the day that they guy at the library in charge of programs came up and told me that he is getting an author crowd together to come sign this coming Saturday! More on that later. But that was fun news. Oh, and then we saw Santa at the family Christmas party last night. He brought us presents! Guess what I got? BOOKS of course! (The Iron Daughter and The Iron Prince)

Family Matters: Oh the homework homework homework! A Scarlet Letter essay (which needs fixing now,) a song recorded and put to slides and lyrics, then burned and copied and uploaded, a speech written and helped to memorize and then coaching through the ensuing "fear of speaking" panic attacks, an ACT test taken, a writing portfolio to help organize, English worksheets, a math test... and... I can't remember what else. This week will be more of the same. Most tests. TONS of tests. This prep school has finals (like REAL finals) just like college, so all four kids will be taking tests galore.

Things we discussed at home this week: traffic school and is it necessary?

Things I hope to accomplish this week: Yeah, well, where to begin. Send out Christmas cards, finish shopping, wrap, help with Christmas party at work, get birthday ready for Kid #2, survive the above mentioned finals week, book club, two violin concerts for kid#4... and I've got to clean under my bed before the new mattress comes!!

Well, I hope all is going well for everyone! I hope you are still reading through all the busyness and craziness!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Reading? Nope.... Not Me.

I'm guessing it's fairly normal for a reading person to have a lull during these busy December months. However, I don't recall ever having a lull to such an extent as I'm having right now. I'm trying really really hard not to worry about it, and not to wonder if there's something wrong with me. But I seriously haven't picked up a book for three straight days now. I mean, I'm talking NOT AT ALL! Nothing. Zero.

This makes it hard to blog about books, I'm finding, when you just don't even feel like reading.

So, I thought I'd share a few things I'm doing instead of reading.

-- shopping, of course, and let me tell you, I'm not a shopper. I really don't like it much!

-- trying to compose a family Christmas letter. I know it's a dying tradition but I refuse to give in to that idea quite yet.

-- trying to get my five cards ready and mailed out for my Holiday Card Exchange people. Probably I'm making this task too hard.

-- going to dance, violin, and band performances... or least helping to prepare for these things which will
be hitting us full force starting tonight.

-- getting ready for a party coming up this Saturday wherein I have to.... have things ready.

-- going to Blue Man Group! Did this last night with my sister in law since my husband decided he just didn't want to see it. His loss, right? This one minute video gives you a pretty good feel for what the night was like. Since these were part of our season tickets, we were on the front row, complete with rain ponchos that were provided. However, we didn't get anything on us at all! But lots and lots of eyeball looks from the blue men!

-- I've decided to do another project which involves lots of working with pictures on the computer, so I've been stressing about that. And it makes my shoulder hurt!

-- homework! Lots and lots of homework! Funny thing this is, since I'm NOT IN SCHOOL! Ugh.

-- a lot of sitting and staring at the tree. I love that.

-- make lists and checking them twice.

How's it going for you guys? Are you reading still? Or doing other Christmas-y type thing? I don't know.... maybe I'll pick up a book again one of these days soon!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Guest Review: Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me by Ian Morgan Cron

Book: Jesus, My Father, the CIA and Me: A Memoir ... of sorts by Ian Morgan Cron
Genre: Memoir
Rating: A-
For: Review
From: the publisher

This book came just a short time ago with the hope that I'd read it and review it. My husband beat me to the book, so he's doing the review this time! Here's what he has to say:

An author willing to intermingle quotes from Mother Theresa, Jane Austin and Bono (the lead singer for the Irish rock band U2) must be well rounded, fully impartial, or totally off his rocker. Upon finishing the new memoir, “Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me,” by Ian Morgan Cron, I decided that the first two best describe the situation. The author is definitely sane, well, at least as sane as anyone could be after emerging from a childhood marred by the ghost of alcoholism. But don't let the “heavy” theme of alcoholism deter you from reading this positive, light, and heart warming book. For me, the book was uplifting and enjoyable.

The book is the autobiographical account of Cron's childhood growing up in the Northeast. As I ponder on the summation of the read, the main theme revolves around Cron's interaction with his alcoholic father. But, this paints a much darker picture of the book than what is delivered. Intermixed in the story line are funny tidbits, small anecdotes showing the lighter side of life, stories exemplifying how a desperate mother tried to hold a family together. Even the truly horrible scenes are told using a light, healthy point of view.

Now an Episcopal priest, Cron admits that the book is quasi-autobiographical: meaning that names were changed, and stories were told as he “remembers them.” His goal was to capture the essence of the times. And this he did very well. I cannot put my finger on a single event that defined Cron. Instead, I feel I understand who he is based on the summation, or essence, of all of his stories. Cron travels from financial bliss to the epitome of financial difficulties as his father destroys the family's financial stability. He passes through the “no friends” phase and he is constantly hounded by the thought that “there is something wrong with me.” Alcoholism rubs off of his father and lands squarely on Cron's resume. Not surprising considering the statistics.

For me, the treat was reading one of the closing scenes where Cron shows wonderful support and understanding of his own children. The local watering hole included a forty foot high jumping platform where daring teenagers show off for their girlfriends by jumping into the water below. Cron weaves a delightful story of his own children's hopes and dreams as they coax him into jumping from the high platform with them. A father loving his children. Children learning from their parents. Parents learning from their children. Triumph for both.

I hope that Cron's writing painted a true portrait of his current mental state. If so, I believe he has emerged from his childhood with his head firmly planted on his shoulders and a healthy outlook on life. He has nipped the cruel cycle of alcoholism in the bud.

Other Reviews:


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