Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - March 31

Today's Teaser comes from Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris. This is the second book in her Southern Vampire series. I confess that while I didn't really love the first book all that much, this one is really good.

From page 63:

Take the maenad. Who'd have believed an ancient Greek legend would be strolling through the woods of northern Louisiana?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Musing Mondays - March 30

Oh, I like this one. . .

Do you keep track of what and/or how many books you read? How long have you been doing this? What's your favorite tracking method, and why?If you don't keep track, why not? (question courtesy of MizB)

I'm not nearly as organized as Rebecca but I do keep a journal of the books I've read. I started the journal in January 2006 so it only has three years worth of reading. I love my journal though. I really wish I'd started it earlier because I've read a lot of books that I barely remember.

I started the journal when I decided to set a reading goal for myself. It was my New Year's Resolution in 2006. I set a modest goal of 24 books, four of which must be classics or award winners. I really had a desire to read more and read better books. The journal has taken on a life of it's own since then. Now I'm listing challenges, adding more books to my requirements, and doing an author tally.

I list the date I finished the book, the title and author, and I give a brief "review". It's usually just a few sentences mentioning whether or not I liked the book. It's fun to go back over things to see my first reaction after finishing. It's probably more telling than my "carefully" worded reviews.

The spreadsheet is saved for the books I've yet to read. . .

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty
is an intriguing book. I'm going to have a hard time reviewing it because I don't feel that it is over yet. It's the first book in a trilogy and so much was left open. That being said, I enjoyed it a lot.

The story begins in India where we are introduced to Gemma and her mother on Gemma's sixteenth birthday. A tragedy occurs that we only begin to understand much later in the book. Next thing the reader knows, Gemma is in London on her way to a finishing school. Gemma immediately falls victim to the popular girls and their pranks. Through a series of blackmail and secrets, the popular girls become her friends. They soon discover a dark past to the school and enter into the Realms, another dimension of sort, where Gemma can be with her mother and all their wishes come true.

Gemma is torn between visiting the Realms and staying in reality. As her friends fall deeper into the magic, she tries to pull away. Eventually they learn more about what they are doing and why. This opens the door to the second and third book, which I look forward to reading.

While this is a "young adult" book, it should appeal to any age reader who enjoys a little fantasy mixed in with their reality. I'm far from being a young adult and thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. Bray writes with an open, easy style that is easy to get swept along in. The fact that Gemma is quite snarky and sarcastic only makes me like her more!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Musing Mondays - March 23

Here is today's prompt. Lucky me it's about one of my favorite things! Shopping for books!

How many bookstores do you frequent? Do you have a favourite? If so, which one and what makes it so?

My favorite place to shop for books is at Borders. My local Borders has a nice feeling and the people are pretty helpful. It's usually easy to find what I'm looking for. So easy that I usually find things I'm not looking for! They've changed a few things lately that I'm not thrilled about. Could they please put the tables back in straight lines? It would make me happier. I'd also appreciate it if the New Releases shelves were moved back to the right as I walk in. Thank you very much.

We used to have a couple of small, locally owned bookstores but sadly, they've closed. It was nice to go somewhere small and quiet. They felt more like libraries.

As for online, I'm an Amazon girl. It seems I can find anything I want on Amazon and if I am having trouble finding a book locally, they are my backup.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson

I wasn't sure what to think when I started reading Feathers. I knew it was a book for children and that it was a Newbery Honor book, but that was all I knew. I'm going to be honest, I'm still not sure what to tell you all it was about. I suppose the best I could tell you was that it was about hope.

Hope is the thing with feathers

That is the beginning of the poem "Hope" by Emily Dickenson. It is the poem that starts the story and starts Frannie thinking about hope. Frannie was the main character of the story that takes place in the 70's amid times of racial tension - and hope. Her brother Sean is deaf but communicates flawlessly through sign language. It was nice to hear his voice in the story. Her parents are loving and warm - which is always nice. They've gone through rough times as a family, after her mother lost a couple babies and one died young.

A new boy comes into the school and he happens to be white. He's described as pale, blond, and extremely different from all the other children in the school. He's nicknamed Jesus Boy and we never do learn his real name. He's mysterious and Frannie is drawn to him.

Each of the characters is searching for hope. Sean hopes for a bridge to the hearing world, Frannie's mother hopes for a healthy pregnancy, her best friend, Samantha, hopes for the real Jesus to return. I can't pinpoint exactly what Frannie wants except to say that she hopes for all the people in her life to be happy and content around her.

This is a lovely little story that really makes you think about what you hope for. I recommend this to anyone -because we all need hope.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - March 19

Today's prompt:

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

There have been a few books that got a lot of hype that I didn't really like. One that comes to mind is Naked by David Sedaris. I guess I just didn't like him. It wasn't enjoyable for me to read at all. My friends have been recommending other books by him but I'm just politely refusing.

Wicked by Gregory Maguire is another one. I didn't care for the book at all. I thought it was too full of politics and frankly I didn't like Elphaba. She was a horrible person, especially with her treatment of her son. That being said, I've seen the musical and absolutely loved it. It's quite different from the book and in all good ways.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

I resisted reading Eragon, by Christopher Paolini for years. At first, it really didn't interest me. I'm not a big fantasy reader so a book with a dragon on the cover didn't pull me in. It was popular though so it stayed in my mind. Then I saw the movie. Oh, I did not like that movie. At all. The creepy Shade, Durzu, just gave me nightmares. Kudos to the actor for making an evil character really terrifying. That pretty much sealed the deal for me. I wasn't going to read Eragon.

Well, obviously since I'm reviewing the book something changed. One of my very best friends told me that she'd read the series and loved all the books. Really? Allison liked them? I trust her judgement and normally agree with her on important things like books so I thought that maybe I would consider reading Eragon. Maybe.

On an impulse I bought the book and set it up as my "E" book for the A to Z Challenge. I was dreading it. You know what? I should have read it a long time ago. It was really good. Really. I was surprised, impressed, and happy with the book. Go figure.

Eragon is the story of a teenager who happens upon a dragon's egg. When his dragon, Saphira, hatches, he is drawn into the legends of the Dragon Riders. After a tragedy with his family, he leaves his home with Saphira and Brom, the old storyteller who is committed to helping him. While his original goal is revenge on those who tore apart his family, he quickly learns that there is much more that he must do as he is the first in a new generation of Riders.

The book moves at a relatively fast pace and it's great as a reader to learn the story of the Riders along with Eragon. Saphira is a lovely character and her affection for Eragon is very sweet. I went out and bought Eldest, the next in the series, but it's going to be a while before I get to it. I recommend this to anyone who likes a good adventure, fantasy fan or not.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - March 17

Today's teaser is from A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray. I'm only about 50 pages in so I haven't a clue what that teaser is about! This is one of those books I'd been hearing about for a while but never got around to reading. I'm excited to finally get the chance.

From Page 154:

Suddenly, the candle is in my hand, hot wax trickling over the sides and searing my skin before cooling into a waxy clump on my wrist. What is my heart's desire?

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Musing Mondays

Today's Musing Mondays Prompt:

We were all warned as children to 'never talk to strangers', but how do you feel about book-talk with random people? When you see people reading, do you ask what it is? Do you talk to people in the book store or the library? Why or why not? What do you do if people talk to you? (question courtesy of Dena)

Interesting question. . . I think we get to a point in our life where talking to strangers isn't quite as terrifying as it was when we were small. Just yesterday I was browsing at Borders (one of my favorite activities) when someone noticed the author I was looking at and recommended some of their books. I enjoy talking books with just about anybody so I didn't mind at all. I don't necessarily take recommendations from strangers because I don't know what kind of books they like, but I am always happy to hear "You'll love it, great book," from someone.

As for being the instigator of the conversation, that's rare. I am not an overly social person so I'm less likely be the one to start talking. Once someone gets me going though. . . watch out!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Booking Through Thursday - March 12

Oooh, I like this prompt. . .

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

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

I used to think that EVERY book I loved should be made into a movie but I have definitely changed my mind about that. I've been so disappointed by so many books turned movie that I'm getting a bit jaded; although there are several that I thought were great.

I would like to see what they would do with The Time Traveler's Wife. Actually I think they may be making that movie but if they aren't, they really should. It would be a challenge but it could be great. I'd also like to see the Heather Wells series by Meg Cabot put on screen. I think that series could be really fun. I'd put my request in for a live action Hobbit but we already know that's happening.

As for what should NEVER be made into a movie . . . Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortinson. I think the book should stand alone. No movie is necessary or could ever convey the struggles he went through to get schools built in Pakistan and Afghanistan. I also don't think they should make any movies on the truly bizarre books by Christopher Moore. It would never, ever, work in my opinion.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - Eragon

Today's teaser is from Eragon by Christopher Paolini.

Page 127:

The wing crumpled in at the joints and Saphira tucked it firmly against her body. Eragon vaulted over her back and tumbled onto the other wing.

This is a scene where Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, are caught in a freak wind storm. Saphira can't get her wings pulled in and is in danger of being blown away.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Musing Monday - March 9, 2009

Today's topic is New Authors.

What is your policy when it comes to new authors? Do you feel comfortable purchasing a book or do you prefer to borrow new authors from the library? How often do you 'try out' a new author?

I confess I like to stick with what I know. I definitely gravitate toward books with familiar authors but eventually I run out of books to read and have to branch out. I'm usually fine with buying a book by a new author, especially if I've heard or read good things about it. I figure that every author I've read was new to me at one point.

I don't go to the library very often (rarely) because of the deadlines and the germs, but I do go to the library book sales and I'm much more inclined to pick up new authors when I'm paying .50 an inch!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bookint Through Thursday -March 5

Today's prompt:

We've all seen the lists, we've all thought, “I should really read that someday,” but for all of us, there are still books on “The List” that we haven’t actually gotten around to reading. Even though we know they’re fabulous. Even though we know that we’ll like them. Or that we’ll learn from them. Or just that they’re supposed to be worthy. We just … haven’t gotten around to them yet.

*Sigh* I am going to confess . . . I've never read a Jane Austin novel. I've tried but I just can't get going with them. My best friend in high school swore by them. I love the movie adaptations. I know the stories are wonderfully romantic. I just haven't read any of them. I think Emma has been in my car as a back-up-book for a few years now.

I do tend to resist the classics a bit which is why I've tried to set some sort of goal for every year. I'd like to read Jane Eyre as well. It's a book I've always wanted to read but just never got around to it. After visiting the Bronte family home Haworth, I really would like to read another of the Bronte sister's books.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dewey by Vicki Myron

Dewey is the story of a little cat who was found in a library drop box one freezing morning in Spencer, Iowa. With the love of his "mama", Vicki, and the other library staff, he thrived and lived in the library for a long nineteen years.

This is an interesting book for me to review because I'm torn. I was a big emotional mess by the time I finished the book. I have trouble with animal stories. I went to see Hotel For Dogs a few weeks ago and cried through the whole second half of the movie. Yes, that's right. I cried. At a movie for kids. About a hotel for dogs. I'm very ashamed. With that said, I knew from the start of the book that I would probably cry at the end. I did.

The fact that I cried is a good thing in respect to the book. It means that the author was able to tell the story of Dewey in such a way that I became emotionally attached. It also made me want a cat (dumb allergies).

My only problem with the book, was the repetitiveness. I felt that while the story was mostly linear there were some moments where I felt I'd read something before. The book explains why Dewey was such a special cat over and over again. I enjoyed reading about Dewey's new adventures as he explored his home, his daily routine, his pickiness regarding food, and other aspects of his life. I don't know how many times it went over the fact that Dewey would attend meetings and choose a lap to sit in. That's just one example of what I feel was repetitive.

What I'm trying to get at was that the book rambled a bit. Maybe that's all right though, it held my interest and like I said, I did grow to love the cat. I'm glad I read it. I'd be interested to hear what others thought. If you are a cat lover, I'd check it out.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday -March 3, 2009

Today's Teaser comes from Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson. I will be starting this book tonight so I have absolutely no idea what this teaser is about and to be honest, I know very little about the story. I found the book, which is a Newbery Honor Book, in a bargain bin at the bookstore. I bought it on the spot. My mother's been sick -and thoughtfully passed it on to me - so I brought her over a bag of books. She picked this one to read first and said it was "interesting, very different." That could be good!

From page 74:

I had tried to remember when I'd asked to go and couldn't come up with the conversation. For some reason, Samantha thought going to church was a treat, like getting a second dessert.