Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Books Read in 2008

The bolded ones are my favorites. What a fun reading year! The blog is offically a year old now. Yea!

1 Austenland by Shannon Hale
2 Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
3 Tangled Roots By G.G. Vandergriff
4 Extras by Scott Westerfeld
5 Forget me not by Michelle Ashman Bell
6. Tempest Tossed by Josi Kilpack
7. Yearbook by Alyson Condie
8. On Second Thought by Robison Wells
9. The Believer by Stephanie Black
10. 80 Miles To Nowhere by Melissa Alstock
11. Mummy’s the Word by Kerry Blair
12. When the Bough Breaks by Kay Lynn Magnum
13.A Love Like lily by Kay Lynn Magnum
14 A Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
15 Sheep’s Clothing by Josi Kilpack
16 Saboteur by Dean Hughes
17 Counting Stars by Michelle Paige Holmes 18 House of Secrets by Jeffery S. Savage
19 Time Riders by Sierra St. James
20 The 13th Reality by James Dashner
21 Upon the Moutains by Gale Sears
22 Flying Home by Rachel Ann Nunes
23 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznack
24 Dragon Slippers by Jessica Day Geroge
25 Sun and Moon, Ice and snow by Jessica Day George
26 Dragon Flight by Jessica Day Geroge (not reviewed)
27 Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell
28 The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison
29 His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik Random house
30 Forged in the Refiner’s Fire by Candace Salima and Elizabeth Cheever (non-fiction)
31 Heaven Scent by Rebecca Talley
32 Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli Knopf
33 The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan
34 The Sea of Monsters Rick Riordan
35 The Titan’s Curse Rick Riordan
36 Battle of the Labyrinth Rick Riordan
37 Ravens in the Winter by Bernd Heinrich (non-fiction)
38 Icing on the Cake by Elodia Strain
39 The Authurian Omen by G.G. Vandergriff
40 Fool Me Twice by Stephanie Black
41 Our of Jerusalem by H.B. Moore
42 The Shakeress by Kimberly Heuston
43 Solider Boys by Dean Hughes
44 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
45 My Mom’s a Mortician by Patricia Wiles
46 Ben Franklin’s Almanac by Candace Flemming (non-fiction)
47 FarWorld: Water’s Keep by J. Scott Savage
48 The White Bedouin by Geroge Potter
49 Coffin House by Pamela Carrington Reid
50 Hunting Gideon by Jessica Draper
51 East by Edith Pattou
52 Two Road by Chris Crowe
53 Journey of the Heart by Dave W. Free
54 The Loser’s Guide to Life and Love by A.E. Cannon
55 Serpent Tide by K.L. Fogg
56 Trouble in Palmayra by Rob Ficiur
57 Rescue the Prophet by Rob Ficiur
58 Dante’s Daughter by Kimberly Heuston
59 Renaissance Beauty by Heather Simonsen
60 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
61 Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
62 Her Good Name by Josi Kilpack
63 Widow’s Revenge by K.L. Fogg
64 All’s Fair by Julie Coulter Bellon
65 Facing the Enemy by Dean Hughes
66 As Wide as the River By Dean Hughes
67 Abinadi by Heather Moore
68 Time and Eternity by E.M. Tippets
69 Alcatraz Verses the Scrivener’s Bones
70 Minding Mama by Marilyn Arnold
71 Our Eleanor by Candace Fleming (non-fiction)
72 Christmas in Haggerty By Betsy Brannon Green
73 Christmas Rose by Robyn Buttars
74 Eyes of a Stranger by Rachel Ann Nunes
75 The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson(re-read) (not reviewed)
76 The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (re-read) (not reviewed)
77 Black Powder War by Naomi Novik (not reviewed)
78 Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik (not reviewed)
79 Mississippi Trial 1955 by Chris Crowe (not reviewed)
80 Out of the Dust Karen Hesse (not reviewed)
81 The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson (not reviewed)

Partials (that I still plan on finishing…)Biography of Alexander Hamilton
Team of Rivals the political genius of Abraham Lincoln

Top Five LDS
Counting Stars
Fool Me Twice
Sheep’s Clothing
Serpent Tide
Time and Eternity

Top Five YA
Ben Franklin’s Almanac
The Lightening Thief
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Shakeress

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Fall Into Reading Wrap-up

I finally got around to doing this. Life has been crazy the last couple weeks after Christmas. I'm working 60 hours this week, no joke. Though I'm annoyed that I can't keep up on all of my new years goals, I'm feeling pretty grateful that I'm working at all. I hope you all have just as much luck.

Did you finish reading all the books on your fall reading list? If not, why not?

No, some of them I didn't like and so didn't finish. Then I'm still halfway through the last one.

Did you stick to your original goals or did you change your list as you went along?

I mostly stuck to my original goals. Though, I really didn't change the list when I dropped some books out.

What was your favorite book that you read this fall? Least favorite? Why?

Favorite - The Hero of Ages. So Awesome! My least favorite would have to be Life of Pie. I read the introduction and the first three chapters (which made no sense at all), realized it was literary experiment type novel and decided to abandon ship post haste.

Did you discover a new author or genre this fall? Did you love them? Not love them?
Well, I did really like Sharon Creech's novel, and have thought about reading more of her stuff. Other than that I didn't really find anything new. Though, I don't like literary stuff that exists just not to make sense, like Life of Pie. I like pretty writing, I do, and I like profound messages, I do, but I don't like them at the expense of clarity. Once a book starts to obscure its message with wierd tricks I'm out.

What was your favorite thing about the Fall Into Reading challenge?
I like the fact that you can list whatever books you want.

Would you like to participate in another challenge here this spring?
Yes, Please!

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Christmas Rose by Robyn Buttars

The Christmas Rose by Robyn Buttars

Rosie has lived behind Pleasant Manor all of her young life. Her mother cooks for the old residents in the rest home, and Rose finds her place among them, being a friend and a special light at the end of their lives. Rosie’s best friend is a resident named Bessie, who is full of life and fun ideas. The decorate for Halloween, celebrate parties, and even plant a Christmas Rose garden together.

This little Novel isn’t exclusively about Christmas, but holds many stories from different seasons of the year about the light this little girl Rose brings to the life of her friends that live in Pleasant manor. Though there are some very memorable Christmas scenes contained within the story. Sometimes the chapters have a short story feel to them, concentrating only on the interaction between Rosie and a particular resident. Other times the chapters focus on Rosie and her dear friendship with Bessie, and they joy they bring to other residents. This was an interesting little read for the holiday season. I didn’t find it to be a “wow” book, but still intriguing, full of love and quiet cheer.

Visit Robyn’s Website:

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas in Haggerty by Besty Brannon Green

Christmas in Haggerty by Betsy Brannon Green

Kate Iverson is having a hard time feeling the Spirit of Christmas. Her relatives seem to be welcoming new little ones to their family, and while she has two beautiful children, she mourns over the fact that her childbearing years are already over. Yet, in Haggerty there is much service to be done, and as she gets caught up in family history projects, baking, and Christmas pageants. Not to mention the fact that she must come up with an idea for the neighborhood door-decorating contest. Yet, she keeps dreaming about a little girl that needs her help, and ends up being of greater service than she could have ever expected.

This was an enjoyable little Christmas novel. I haven’t read the entire series that this little Christmas book is a spin off of, though I have read the first book, which I did enjoy. I sort of wish that the physical setting was described a bit more, but I think that it is probably set up well enough in the series that most readers familiar with it wouldn’t mind a bit. The town of Haggerty already lives in their heads. The characters were charming and lively, and gave the little town a quirky and enjoyable flare. I also enjoyed the fact that the book isn’t overtly sappy or sentimental, and yet still has meaning. Christmas in Haggerty is a quick and enjoyable read for the holiday season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Our Eleanor by Candace Flemming

Our Eleanor by Candace Fleming

Earlier this year I read a “scrapbook” biography of Benjamin Franklin’s life written by the same author. This Biography is about Eleanor Roosevelt, and her tremendous life. I’m so glad I came across this book, and read it. It gave me a whole new picture of this revolutionary woman. I always knew that Eleanor was a unique figure in history, but this really made me understand her life and the influence she held in America at the time. I hadn’t known that she was the first woman delegate to the United Nations, or that she helped to write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, or that she was a huge leader in the Democratic party for many years.

The number of things that she accomplished in life is absolutely amazing, and it was for the majority centered around helping people in all walks of life, and in dozens of different places. Yet this biography also shows the human side of her, how her marriage wasn’t picture perfect, and her mother-in-law was controlling and overbearing. My favorite detail was the fact that she was a terrible driver. She got in car accidents all the time, complete with newspaper articles detailing what happened. This entertaining and informative biography really is a delight to read.

I really do love how this format allows the reader to view primary documents along with the narrative text, though I wished that some of the scanned documents had been larger and clearer, because I was squinting to read them. The book is full of pictures, documents, cartoons, articles, letters, and posters that make the book more fascinating. This was a really excellent book, and an excellent resource for young people interested in history. I would highly recommend this to all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Minding Mama By Marilyn Arnold

Minding Mama by Marilyn Arnold

Dorie Grimes didn’t expect the day of her mother’s death to come so soon, and now she is up to the task of transporting her body to Jericho, Utah from Atlanta, Georgia. The problem is that Dorie doesn’t have enough money to ship her, and so she wraps her mother in a quilt and heads off across the country in an old pickup truck, trying to get there before the stink sets in. Yet, she encounters unexpected obstacles, picking up a run away girl, a bum and his dog Petunia, and an abandoned baby were not part of the original plan, neither was running into a bank robbers, fraudulent evangelicals, or riding in a great white whale.

The initial crazy conflict of this book hooked me in immediately, the lady has to drive her mother’s dead body to Jericho, Utah? The book grows more charming and crazy still as the character Dorie runs into more interesting people than one could ever hope to meet in a lifetime. I love the unique voice and style of this novel; it has a rural southern vibe, and yet feels graceful and thoughtful. I wasn’t exactly sure where the novel was going after they got to Jericho, Utah, but ultimately the novel is about the relationships formed between this unlikely cast of characters, and where they end up. I enjoyed this read despite the strangness that could be off putting to some readers at first. I recommend you give it a try.

Author Biography:

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener's Bones by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Versus the Scrivener’s Bones by Brandon Sanderson
The life of Alcatraz Smerdy changed the day his grandfather walked into his life and handed him his inheritance, and told him his incredible ability to break things was actually a talent. He’s supposed to meet up with his grandfather, who is late (as usual—that’s his talent), only to be chased down by some Librarians. He is rescued by his old friends, and discovers his grandfather has gone on a quest to find Alcatraz’s father. So Alcatraz leads the crew on an adventure in Library of Alexandria, which was not destroyed, but moved underground. Now Alcatraz has to find his grandfather, and avoid the curators, who are ready and willing to take his soul if he checks out library materials.
I think I liked the sequel more than the first book, though, I do have to admit the cover made me feel embarrassed to read it in public. I mean just look at it, plus it reminds me of science fiction and the book isn’t science fiction at all. Alas. The first book gets a little annoying with the whole tangent notes, but I don’t know if they were just cooler in this book or if I was used to them, but I liked them better. I thought they were also trickier, and a bigger audience could appreciate them. Loved the humor and the action packed story line. Just don’t try to explain this one to your co-workers.

“What are you reading?”
“A story about a boy who has a talent for breaking things and has to defeat a cult of evil librarians that steal your soul.”
Weird looks.
“It’s a funny book.”
“Yeah, funny.”
Then they would look at the cover, and I would think, don’t look at the cover don’t look at the cover. I promise I’m an intelligent adult.

Moral of the story: this book is way better than the cover and my sad summary implies and you should try it out.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Time and Eternity by E. M. Tippetts

Alice O’Donnell is a new member of the church, and expects to be proposed to by her boyfriend Darren. He baptized her into the church, and everything seems to be perfect until he starts acting weird, calling her a “molly”, and being distant. In spite of that she has gotten inspiration from her prayers that she will find the one she needs to be with, which she assumes is Darren. Then he ditches her. Add to that her job is offering her a new position in another state, and her parents are going though and painful divorce and trying to put her in the middle of it.

Weaving her way through a singles ward is confusing, frustrating, and even lonely. Then Spencer takes an interest in her. He seems to be the catch of the ward upstanding, cute, and responsible. Plus, he’s looking to get married before he moves away. Alice tries to like him but can’t quite commit. Apparently, the lord doesn’t always give to us what we planned, or even thought he planned.

Let me give a girly squeal and say, “I loved this book!” It really is one of the best light romances I’ve read for a while. I even adore the cover. The style is a more crisp and tight then most LDS novels, which makes it a refreshing read. The author spends a lot of effort showing how complicated and drama filled a singles ward can be, and how the chase to find the one you love is full of wild twists and turns. This book will leave you with a smile on your face, and with a new love (or hate) for this charming(some not so charming) cast of characters. I would recommend.