Thursday, December 31, 2009
List of books read in 2009
82 Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
83 Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larsen
84 Comfortable in my Own Genes by Tamra Norton
85 Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale
86 Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
87 The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle
88 C.S. Lewis the Great divorce
89 My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
90 Promises to Keep by Dean Hughes
91 Isabelle Webb: Legend of the Jewel by Nancy Campbell Allen
92 Traitor by Sandra Grey
93 Freefall by Traci Hunter Abramson.
94 Bound on Earth By Angela Hallstrom.
95 First Day by Ally Braithwaite Condie.
96 Waiting for the light to change by Annette Haws
97 Keeping Keller by Tracy Winegar
98 Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack
99 Going Postal terry Prachett
100 Finding Faith by Terri Ferran
101 City of Ember Jeann Duprau
102 Ravenmaster Elvira Woodruff
103 Spare Change by Aubrey Mace
104 Fields of Home by Rachel Ann Nunes
105 Book of Jude by Kimbery Heuston
106 City of Sparks Jeann Duprau
107 How to take the ex-out of ex-boyfriend Janette Rallison
108 Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
109 I’m Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
110 The 13th Reality and the hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner
111 Reunion by Ally Condie
112 The Hourglass Door by Lisa Magnum
113 Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
114 Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
115 Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
116 The Graveyard Book by Niel Gaiman
117 A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
118 Pendragon: Pilgrims of Rayne
119 My Fair Godmother by Jannette Rallison
120 Gossamer by Lois Lowry
121 At Journey’s End by Annette Lyon
122 I am Apache by Tanya Landman
123 Everything is Fine by Ann Dee Ellis
124 The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison
125 Recovering Charles by Jason F. Wright
126 Wings by Aprilynne Pike
127 FlyGirl by Sherri L. Smith 128 Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
129 Saving Madeline by Rachel Ann Nunes
130 Methods of Madness by Stephanie Black
131 Spires of Stone by Annette Lyon
123 Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
124 The Maze Runner by James Dashner
125 Forest Born by Shannon Hale
126 Alcatraz versus the Knights of Crystallia by Brandon Sanderson
127 Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
128 Once was Lost by Sara Zarr
129 The Midnighters 1 by Scott Westerfeld
130 The Midnighters 2 by Scott Westerfeld
131 Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Peffer
132 The dead and the gone by Susan Beth Peffer
133 The Midnighters 3 by Scott Westerfeld
134 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
135 Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
136 Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
Thomas wakes up in a strange elevator only able to recall impersonal details about life, and his name. At the end of the elevator shaft a group of boys await him. They slowly initiate him into their world, and as Thomas adjusts to his new life, he learns that there are more questions than answers. The Glade is surrounded by huge walls that surround it, and beyond the gates there is a maze. A maze that these boys have to solve to get home, but each night the walls move around and change. Then there a deadly greevers in that come out at night to attack them.
The day after Thomas arrives a girl comes up from the elevator shaft, nearly dead. This strange new occurrence shakes the boys up. There has never been a girl sent up the elevator before, and usually newbies show up at least a month apart. The girls arrival sets more changes in motion, and if Thomas could figure out why she seems so familiar to him might be able to figure out why they were all sent to the maze in the first place.
I really liked the whole setting of this book, and related to Thomas’s frustration at being in a strange new place. The rules of the boy’s society and the way they survived was fascinating to me. I liked reading about the maze and how they kept trying to solve it. Then the stuff that they remembered about the world before when greevers “stung” them made a whole other mystery element come about. I wanted know not only how the boys would get out of the maze but how they got there in the first place. By the end of the book you learn the general details about why they were put in the maze, but not really all the details.
So, I really enjoyed most of the book, but didn’t like the ending. I’m not sure how to explain it without giving major spoilers away. Let’s just say a certain twist at the end of the story felt very manipulative so the story could be more dramatic. The problem was that it felt forced and weird the way it was written, and I didn’t like it. I’d love to go into more detail of why I didn’t like it, but then I would give away huge major spoilers Eh, the ending is pretty depressing, and has some disturbing violence. I really didn’t want to read or buy the sequel after I finished because the story was such a downer. I’m kind of curious now, but I’ll probably wait to check the book out from the library the next time round.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
This is the third book in George’s dragon trilogy, and her heroine Creel is off to visit her dragon friends before she get married to prince Luka. She makes great plans to enjoy her vacation and finish up sewing her newest masterpiece—her wedding dress. She arrives to find Velkria and Shardus expecting a few of their own little dragons any day now. Then Velkria is kidnapped by another group of dragons, who are struggling to survive on a volcanic land far across the sea.
Shardus, Creel, and the other dragons go on a quest to rescue their pregnant Queen before she or the hatchlings are harmed.
I really enjoy these little books, fun and easy to read. They have a strong adventure plot and charming characters that you really grow to love. It was fun to see how the dragons are doing in their new home, and also to see the culture of another set of dragons living across the ocean. The author spends a lot of time making each of the dragons colorful and unique characters, and so they are memorable to read about. The plot brings out more of the culture and history of the dragons, especially centered on how this rogue group of dragons came to steal Velkria for their queen. Creel’s family also appears in the book, crowding in on her turf. Creel’s aunt isn’t the easiest person to get along with, but Hegan goes off on the dragon adventure, and finds his own path to follow. Fun read for both boys and girls.
Jessica Day George's Website
Friday, December 11, 2009
Fly Girl by Sherry L. Smith
Ida B. Jones has loved to fly ever since her daddy taught her how on crop dusting runs. She dreams of getting her pilot license one day, but the fact that she is black and a woman makes it hard for her to achieve that dream. She tries to earn enough money to get to Chicago and attend a flight school for blacks, but the US enters the war when the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor and another opportunity appears.
The army creates the WASP—Woman Airforce Service Pilots, and she wants to join. Her brother Thomas has already joined the army as a medic, and she wants to help him get home faster. She also itches to get back in the air. She doesn’t think that the army will accept a black woman in the program, but she has light enough skin like her daddy to pass as white. Ida must make the decision to deny her own family in order to reach for her dreams.
I really loved this book! It is a historical novel that really brings you into the time period and makes you feel like you are really there. The author portrays the Jim Crow south and prejudice against woman and places her main character right in the middle of an internal conflict. Her dream of flying is sometimes thwarted by her color and other times by her gender, and this book has you hoping for her success the entire way. I really loved how this book has so many details about WASP basic training and missions. It really opened a whole new area of World War II history that I knew very little about before. I could see how some people could get bogged down with the historical details about flight training, but I think the author keep the tension going, pitting her characters against nasty flight instructors, tricky navigation tests, solo flights, and the very real danger of flight test crashes. If you love WWII history, or are looking for a unique historical novel, this one is a must read!
Sherri L. Smith's Website
Friday, December 4, 2009
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
“Where do dreams come from? What stealthy nighttime messengers are the guardians of our most deeply hidden hopes and our half-forgotten fears? Drawing on her rich imagination, two-time Newbery winner Lois Lowry confronts these questions and explores the conflicts between the gentle bits and pieces of the past that come to life in dream, and the darker horrors that find their form in nightmare. In this haunting novel that tiptoes between reality and imagination, two people—a lonely, sensitive woman and a damaged, angry boy—face their own histories and discover what they can be to one another. Their strength comes from a tiny, caring creature they will never see.”
(summary from jacket flap)
At first I was put off by the simplicity of this book. I thought it was going to be about the adventures of an enthusiastic but pesky dream fairy, but the story took an unexpected twist. This dream Fairy is put in charge of guarding and giving dreams to an old woman, who takes a trouble boy into her home. This adds a whole new dimension to the book, and makes it a story about healing from the past, finding safe places, and creating a happy family. How could something that started out with a deceptive simplicity weave into something profound? As you read you begin to love the characters and cheer them on in their journey. It is rewarding to watch them change into stronger, though not perfect, people.
Lois Lowry's website
Friday, November 27, 2009
Siri is horrified when the Mexicans slaughter her little brother while the warriors of her Apache tribe are away. They were supposed to be trading with one another during a time of peace but the Mexicans attacked unexpectedly, and she swears to get her vengeance. Such an oath leads her on a different path than the other woman in the tribe for she has chosen to become a warrior.
Some of the men like Keste feel that she shouldn’t be a warrior, but most of them support her and help her train. As she grows in skill, Keste becomes jealous and starts to taunt her with the dishonorable past of her father. At first she thinks these are lies but she learns from the hints of other warriors that there is something hidden in her family’s past. Then she begins to get visions from her god Ussen. She must unravel the truth behind these rumors and visions to find peace, but the answers may bring more pain than peace.
I had mixed feelings on this book. I felt that some parts of it were really slow, and the ending was sad. I usually don’t hate sad endings, but I didn’t really enjoy the end of the book because it was depressing. Yet, I still enjoyed some parts of the story. I think the author does a really good job trying to portray the experiences and traditions that come along with being an apache warrior. Siri was a strong character, and I empathized with her as she tried to protect her tribe. The writing was very poetic, yet concise, and I loved that. So, I think the book is worth the read as long as you don’t expect a perfect and happy ending.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
So the scoop is that I'm teaching Latin! It is my first year teaching, and one thing I've noticed with other blogs whose writers are participating in their first year of teaching is that they vanish! They never post. Then summer comes and poof-- they're back! Then I rejoice.
So, how the heck do I post once a week? Well, I kind of cheated. I read a lot this summer and wrote about 30 book reviews. Then I used the scheduling post feature on blogger, and ta-da! The blog runs it self for months at a time! I'm running out of reviews from the summer though, but I've had/made time to keep reading the last month or so. I purchased the Maze Runner, Leviathan, Forest Born, Dragon Spear and discovered that I can check things out at the library at my high school.
I'm currently on a sci-fi kick what with reading Maze, Leviathan, Midnighters, and planning to read Life as We Knew It. I blame it on the hubby. He's writing a sci-fi book and so I'm scoping out the competition. I'm also pawning books off on him for the sake of "research." It is so much fun being married to a reader! I go on these great quests to find stuff the hubby would love to read. I suppose I get too much vicarious enjoyment from finding him a book he really likes. He highly reccommends Life as We Knew It to me. He also likes Midnighers by Westerfeld more than Uglies series by the same author, which I find strange. Currenly, I feel the opposite. I still haven't read the second book in the series though.
One of the fun things about school is that I don't teach for a fifth period. So, they send me to work in the school library. They always have fun displays that helps me find new books, and I'm always checking the new arrival shelf, and the libraian is so much fun to talk too. Hence, how I have time to find books to pawn off on the hubby. I mostly reshelf books (espeically non-fiction), keep the magazine rack up to date, and store the old magazines. I also keep room reservations in the library up to date on the school website. Some days I pull books off the shelves for a display, or if a class is coming in to do research. Sometimes I merely keep people from eating during lunch time, but I like working in the library, being surrounded by books.
So that is my currently book life. My goal is to keep the blog running, posting a review every friday as usual. We'll be good to the end of this year, but if I disappear around Feburary next year just know that I'm up to my neck grading Latin papers.
I hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving, and that there time among all the festivities for a stolen hour of book reading.
Friday, November 20, 2009
In the 1950’s mental handicaps were supposed to be hidden away, neither seen nor heard about. So, when Beverly and her husband Warren give birth to an abnormal child. They must decide if they will send him to an institution or keep him. Beverly struggles daily to keep Keller under control. He is getting bigger, and stronger, and often throws tantrums and fits when his schedule is disrupted. She manages well enough, until one day Keller throws a fit and accidentally hurts her. Warren is determined to send to the boy to an institution where he can’t hurt anyone. Beverly is torn with grief, and together they must make a decision to keep Keller or to let him go.
One of my most favorite things about this book was how well the time period was portrayed. It caught the tone and spirit of the fifties without ever info-dumping or becoming a huge historical saga. The history floats in the back ground while the characters and their challenges really shine. It also brought to light the mistreatment that people with disabilities faced in that time period. I also really loved how the author showed the ups and downs of living with an Autistic child, though in the book Keller is misdiagnosed as retarded. There were some really bad days, but the author also intersperses these down times with moments of happiness, joy, and humor. I love the scene where Beverly has too search through the cracker-jack boxes in the grocery store to find Keller’s elephant toy. At times I got annoyed with Beverly snapping at people, but overall she is a likable character and you root for her, Keller, and Warren to be a happy family all the way through. I would really recommend this one.
Tracy Winegar’s website has really fun resources for book clubs on her website. She has food recipes, 50’s invitations, and discussion questions.
Go check it out at:http://www.tracywinegar.com/
She blog's here:http://reflectionsofamotherdealingwithautism.blogspot.com/
Friday, November 13, 2009
Persephone lives in a beautiful vale with her mother Demeter, surrounded by exquisite beauty. Yet, her mother can’t seem to realize that she has grown up, and Persephone can think of nothing worse than living for eternity as a child. Every plant, tree, and creature around her has the chance to grow, but she is stuck until her mother recognizes that she has become a woman, which isn’t going to happen any time soon.
Then a stranger enters the vale, dark and mysterious, with a magnificent chariot of flying horses. They meet often without her mother knowing, and then Persephone finds out that Hades lord of the dead has been wooing her. She is surprised that such a great god would notice her, and she is sure that he is only toying with her as Zeus would. Yet, Hades really loves her, and she really loves him, and though she is uncertain about ruling the underworld as his queen she decides to follow him into the realm of the dead.
Yet, she soon learns that things aren’t right on Earth, and that her choices have a consequence that she hadn’t expected. Can she stop her mother’s wrath before everything on Earth is lost?
Okay, those people who have read for a long time know that I love mythology and especially the underworld. So, gotta say I loved this book! It is time for Persephone to set the record straight. This is the story from her point of view, and in it she wasn’t kidnapped by Hades, but went with him willingly. I think this was a fun read, and I really liked how the author portrayed the underworld not as a dead thing, but as a place where things begin to grow. It was a place with dangers and perils, but it wasn’t desolate or depressing at all. I also like how we get to see Persephone decide what she wants to do with her powers as a queen and as a goddess. Hades lets her do her own thing in the underworld, and supports her decisions as she tries to help the shades who are newly come across the river Styx.
I really like how the myth has been changed into to viewpoint of a teenage girl voice, but still retains the old mythology themes. Order versus Chaos, gods versus mortals, cycles of life and death, all that deep myth stuff that helps us to understand the world around us and appreciate it more. Really good read for mythology, classics, and fantasy lovers! I would recommend.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Laurel has a hard time adjusting to High School after her family moved from the California countryside to the city. She makes friends with a boy in her biology class, David. Then just as things start to seem alright she starts sprouting a plant looking thing on her back, and when it unfurls it looks like wings. When she returns to her old house she meets a familiar stranger named Tamani, who tells her that she is a fairy. At first Laurel refuses to believe it, but then she starts to notice how different she is from those around her from the food she eats to the huge flower blossom on her back.
I especially liked Laurel’s character in this story. I have to say I’m a secret nature lover myself. I’m no environmentalist, but nothing sparks my creativity like a change in seasons, and nothing clears my mind more than a quite walk among green things. Currently, I roll down my window when I drive through the forest on the way to work so I can smell the trees. So, I like Laurel’s down to earth naturalness, and I could empathize with her embarrassing teenage predicament. What are you supposed to do when you have huge wings growing out of your back you need to hide from everybody? I didn’t like David that much, he was a nice guy and all, but he was so nice that he was a little bland. Not that I would want him to be mean—not at all! I just wish that quirks of his personality were played up a bit more.
Wings was an entertaining first novel, though I didn’t feel that it set up a sequel so well. There was kind of a romance triangle introduced as hook for the next book, but that was a little predictable. Still the book is a good read for those that like the Harry Potter/Percy Jackson/Twilight books. Wings didn’t capture my imagination like Harry Potter and Percy Jackson did, but still, it was a fun read.
Friday, October 23, 2009
How do I describe this book? Even I, as an avid fantasy reader, found the summary of the book weird when I read the jacket flap. As an infant Nobody Owens escaped the fate of his family, who were all murdered by a man named Jack. Finding protection in a nearby graveyard the ghosts there raise him, and teach him many things. His guardian Silas tries to protect him as well as he can. Yet, Jack the man who murdered Nobody’s family, is still trying to find him so he can fulfill his old contract to kill him.
So despite the odd description I really enjoyed reading this book. Bod (short for nobody) spends his childhood exploring the graveyard. He finds an indigo man deep under the earth in an old barrow, falls in with a dangerous set of ghouls, makes friends with the ghost of a witch, and explores old mausoleums. I found that the book focused a lot on developing the setting and characters in the graveyard, and I enjoyed discovering its nooks and crannies along with bod. I enjoyed meeting the different ghost characters and following their story arcs, while the overall plot line lurked in the background, waiting to be exposed. Maybe I enjoyed this book so much because I’ve always had a secret fascination with graveyards, especially big old ones. I’ve always wanted to know about the people buried beneath those mysterious headstones.
Such a deep exploration of the setting is precisely what my husband didn’t like about the book. He felt that the plot line with Jack should have been bigger, more dangerous, and more exciting. He didn’t like all the forays into the graveyard dramas. I was left wanting when it came to the background of Jack, but in a good way. In a way that made my imagination run with possibilities, scenarios, and questions. So, while I would have loved to hear more of a background story, what was in the text was sufficient. I would recommend.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Elizabeth C. Bunce has several surprises in store for her unique retelling of “Rumpelstiltskin.” There are no greedy kings, nor castles but instead she weaves a historical portrait of a small village struggling to survive in the birth of an Industrial Revolution. The author states that the world of Charlotte Miller is “Strongly influenced by the real woolen industries of Britain during the early years of the industrial revolution (for our purposes the late 1700’s).” The tale opens after Charlotte’s father has died, and left Stirwaters, the family woolen mill, to her. Her task is to surmount the enormous mountain of debt that her father left behind.
If that isn’t enough of a burden things at Stirwaters haven’t been right for a long time. The building has cracks in the floor, crumbling plaster, and is falling into disrepair, but Charlotte is not at fault for neglecting the building. Indeed, instead the building seems to reject such caretaking, as if it is cursed. Evidence of the curse is founded scattered through out the Miller’s history. Never has the son of Miller inherited the place, passing to uncles, cousins, and finally to Charlotte and her sister—daughters.
At first Charlotte is skeptical of this history, chalking it all up to bad luck, until in dire need her sister summons up a sort of dark fairy. A Jack Spinner who agrees to spin a roomful of straw into gold. Selling the gold will give Charlotte the funds she needs to save the mill. His price—a gold ring of her mothers, merely a trinket in comparison. As each new catastrophe comes to the mill Charlotte grows suspicious, but she is desperate until, at last, the man Jack Spinner asks a price too high.
Charlotte must either part with those things dearest to her, or break the curse. There in lies another twist for the reader. The tale becomes more than just discovering a name, but the reason why. Not only an airy fairy-tale, but a story about discovering the secrets of the past. The story is rich with mystery, romance, and enough fairy tale and folk lore to enchant many a reader.
This story is a bit more thick and dark than the typical Fairy Tale retelling, but I still found it to be a delightful read.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Kit’s father finds a teaching position at a university in Utah, and suddenly her family is moving from Ventura, California to a small little valley in Mormondom. It takes her a long while to adjust to the strange new culture. She finally finds a friend in Janet, whose huge family take her in and makes her feel at home. Kit really begins to like Janet’s brother Adam, and find he feels the same way about her. They begin to date, and become really close. Adam has been telling her that he plans to serve a mission, but when he receives his call, Kit can’t really believe that he is leaving her.
She doesn’t understand why he would give up two years of his life to God, or if God even exists. He leaves her with a challenge to read the Book of Mormon and take the missionary discussions. She loves Adam and his entire family, and so reluctantly agrees. Janet slowly learns about faith and God’s plans for his children. She agrees to be baptized, but as her faith slowly grows a terrible accident threatens to crush it. Kit must learn how to trust in God’s will and plan even when bad things happen.
I know that some people are going to label this book as too preachy. The truth is it is kind of annoying to have doctrine re-taught to the reader while the main character learns about the gospel. We already know this stuff. We want a story and not a Sunday school lesson is the cry. Yet, if this aspect of LDS Fiction doesn’t bother you than you might find that you really like this book. All preachy scenes aside, I really liked Kit. She is really against learning about the church or god in general, but it is interesting to watch her grow, to witness her first prayer. I love the Janet’s family just as much as she does, and I cared about what happened to them. I also want to see what happens between Kit and Adam when Adam returns from his mission. I am curious to see how the author will portray the obvious changes they have each experienced and watch how it forces them to reevaluate their relationship. So, though the book is a little preachy, it has redeeming qualities, and I am interested in picking up the sequel Finding Hope.
Friday, October 2, 2009
The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison
"He was once a king, turned into a bear as punishment for his cruel and selfish deeds.
She was a once a princess, now living in the form of a hound.
Wary companions, they are sent—in human form—back to a time when magic went terribly astray. Together they must right the wrongs caused by this devastating power—if only they can find a way to trust each other.
But even as each becomes aware of an ever-growing attraction, the stakes are rising and they must find a way to eliminate this evil force—or risk losing each other forever."*
The Princess and the Bear is a sequel to The Princess and the Hound, which I read last summer. The main characters of the last novel Prince George and Princess Marit do appear briefly, but the story is mainly about the Hound that used to belong to Princess Marit, and the Bear, King Richon. I think I enjoyed this sequel more than I did the first book, though I did feel that the tone of the first book felt more magical. I love how real Harrison makes the hound’s point-of-view feel. I love how she thinks differently than humans, and how she’s fierce, wild, and strong. Harrison also has a way of portraying humans and their foibles in an honest, intelligent way that makes you think about why we are such weird creatures. I love the animal magic. I love how Richon desires to avoid becoming who he was in the past, and we get to watch him grow into a person the really deserves the title of King. I love how the book fosters and appreciation for all those things beautiful and precious in nature. As, you can see I really loved this book—a lot. I would recommend it to all girls with a love for fantasy, animals, and nature.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Sadie Hoffmiller keeps an eye on her neighborhood. She know who comes and goes, and at what time. So when two police cars pull up in front of her next door neighbor’s house she needs to investigate. Anne Lemmon was her dear friend, and she wants to find out what happened to her. Then she discovers that Anne was murdered. Sadie is shocked by the tragedy, but determined to discover just who committed the crime. Even if the detectives feel that she is getting in the way.
Lemon Tart is a culinary mystery befitting of Sadie’s enjoyment of all good food. She uses her delicious recipes more than once to weasel her way into getting information of her neighbors about Anne’s death. Sadie’s curiosity and nosiness gets her into more than one dangerous situation over the course of the book. I have to admit that sometimes she annoyed me in this way, but what can you do? She’s a stubborn old lady turned amateur sleuth--she’s bound to do stuff she shouldn’t. Despite it all I really liked her and her quirky ways. All those little dangerous moments make for an engrossing and fast-paced read. I hope that if this book is cracked open while dinner is in the oven that it doesn’t burn. Sadie would be very sad to realize that her page-turner ruined your dinner.
I was a little surprised by the fact that Lemon Tart didn’t have any LDS characters or overt LDS themes. The book is base on strong moral principals and is clean, but it can be easily shared with those that are of a non-LDS persuasion also.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Galen marches home from a war that has raged his land for more than a decade towards that only family he has left. He’s never met them, but his mother has told him stories about his aunt and uncle in Bruch. They are the caretakers of the King’s gardens and put him right to work. He hears rumors from the palace of strange happenings with the princesses, but when the princesses get extremely ill, solving the puzzle may mean the difference between life and death.
Rose wishes that she could explain to her father why all her sisters dancing slippers wear out so often, and where they disappear to every night. No matter how many guards he sets he can never find out what is going on, and Rose and her sisters can never tell him. For they inherited their mother’s debt to King Understone—to dance in his court each night. Then Galen determines to solve the mystery of their curse, and for the first time in a long time Rose has hope.
I really loved this book, but I knew I would from the instant I saw Jessica Day George’s name and the pretty princess on the cover. It enjoyed it so much that I immediately wanted to read the book over again once I finished it. It has a strong engaging plot, and I really loved Galen’s character. The other reviews I’ve read have complained that the sisters aren’t characterized very well, but there are twelve of them. I think George did a good job for the constraints of the book, but I think Galen is the most developed character. So yes, I also think it was really unique that Galen likes to knit, though I have seen this phenomenon before. My own brother learned how to crochet (from our cousin that was a boy) and really enjoyed making hats. I lived in a ward in southern Utah where we would hold quilting activities on occasion and the men would join in to tie the quilts when they were on a frame. My Dad totally loved doing this!
So, go read this book if you haven’t read it. I think boys would even like it. I love the cover, but boys would never pick it up on account of it. So, go be sneaky and disguise the cover somehow and trick a guy into reading it. Tell them it’s about a soldier who comes home from war. It really is wonderful!
Sunday, September 13, 2009
One horrible night Emily Ramsey lost both her sister Tricia and her fiancé Ryan. Tricia was found dead at the side of the road, a victim of a hit and run, and her fiancé disappeared into thin air. Now three years later she has decided to marry Zach Sullivan, a gentle school teacher, who has captured her heart. She tried to shake the fear that something will go wrong, but that is hard to do when Zach’s ex-girlfriend, Monica, appears and starts trying to win him back.
Then she receives a photograph of her old fiancé covered in blood. At first she thinks that Zach’s ex-girlfriend is playing a mean trick on her, but when Monica turns up dead in the back of her shop, Emily is the number one suspect. She tries to discover the answers to this mystery before she gets arrested or ends up dead when the killer comes for her.
Stephanie Black has woven another engaging mystery in which nearly every character is suspect. This book kept me second guessing who the culprit was with each new chapter, even the main character, Emily, wonders if she might have blacked out and done something horrible she can’t even remember. Especially, when evidence start appearing in her apartment to frame her, either she is going crazy or someone crazy is after her. Not only do you get one twisty ending, but two as you discover the truth behind Ryan’s disappearance. I think Black’s writing keeps getting better. I like the premise behind Fool Me Twice better, but this was still a really enjoyable read. I can’t wait to read what this author comes out with next.
Monday, September 7, 2009
"As a public defender, Caitlin McLoughlin dreams of someday locking the bad guys in prison instead of defending them. But prosecuting jobs are scarce, and Caitlin’s future seems bleak. When her current client is about to walk away from a brutal crime, she risks her career to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else. Yet what if her choice means sacrificing her career and the means care for her mentally disabled sister?
Then Caitlin meets Parker Hathaway, charged with kidnapping four-year-old Madeline. Just another criminal, another job, Caitlin thinks. But Parker tells a far different story. Can Caitlin believe him, as her heart urges? Is she willing to put everything on the line to defend her client—a man who claims to be protecting the child he loves? Or is her trust better placed in the handsome deputy district attorney with his undefeated record in court?
Caitlin’s pursuit of the truth swiftly thrusts her into a maze of unanswered questions and unexpected heartache.Meanwhile, time is running out for Madeline. If Caitlin doesn't find the proof she is looking for soon, there may not be a future for any of them" *(summary from author's website)
Rachel Ann Nunes had presented the market with another issue-driven romance, inspired by a news story about a man, who kidnapped his own child to protect her from her mother’s drug abuse. The girl was taken away from her father only to die a few days later from ingesting an unattended bag of drugs.
This story follows a similar thread, except the main characters Parker and Caitlin need to prove that Madeline’s mother has been using drugs to provide him a defense for kidnapping his own daughter. A task that is harder than they thought it would be considering her shady past history, and Caitlin begins to doubt that Parker is telling the truth about his wife. Parker is ready to give up everything to save his daughter, and you sympathize with his predicament along with the hard choices that it forces him to make. I liked that Caitlin was a good attorney, hard and cold when she needed to be, but warm and human at the same time. Overall, I really enjoyed this story and wanted to know what happened to the characters at the end. I was especially intrigued by the legal bent, and touched by the author’s desire to tell the story of children who lived in dangerous homes because of drug-use.
Friday, September 4, 2009
The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
Lucinda Chapdelaine works in her uncle’s jewelry shop, trying to avoid the wrath of her nasty aunt. She didn’t always live the life of her servant. She remembers living a fine life before both her parents died, but for now she helps her aunt and uncle keep the shop. Then the Amaranth Witch comes to the shop with beautiful but unique gem that she wishes to be made into a necklace. Yet, before the gem can be returned to the Witch a charming street boy steals it from Lucinda. The Witch, Beryl, offers Lucinda her old home back, freedom from her aunt, and friendship if she returns the gem. Only the street boy has sold it to the Prince, who wishes to give it to his betrothed. Lucinda must take many risks to get it back so she can finally return to her home.
This story is an original fairy tale and not a retelling, though it does feel a bit like Cinderella in some parts. In fact, there is more than one character gets a Cinderella ending in the book. I found Beryl strange at first, and she is sort of strange. She comes from a different world, and she’s not quite human but not quite fairy. I don’t really know how to describe her. Sometimes I liked her, other times I didn’t. Either way I thought that this really was an entertaining story to read. It is another one that I’ll re-read just to enjoy the ride again. It is a must read for those who love the whole fairy tale scene. This book has the handsome prince, a mischievous but redeemable thief, and a clever determined heroine with a stubborn animal side-kick.
Friday, August 28, 2009
This next adventure in this series includes Tom and Becky and their Uncle Daniel traveling back in time to Palmyra—only ten years later. They want to see the Grandin building, the place where the Book of Mormon was printed, as it originally was in the 1830’s. They run in to Joseph Smith once again, and he invites Uncle Daniel to go preaching with him. Uncle Daniel agrees to go with the prophet, but decides to send Becky and Tom home. As often happens with time traveling, something goes wrong and Becky and Daniel end up not returning home, but staying in the same time. Now, their Uncle is gone, and they have no money or place to stay until Martin Harris comes along and rescues them. They agree to help out at the print shop, binding originally copies of the Book of Mormon, but they didn’t bargain for the persecution that would affect them personally for their belief.
I enjoyed reading the second book in this series, and reading about the production of the Book of Mormon. Yet, the book didn’t have the magical quality that their first book did for me, probably because they didn’t get to interact with the prophet as much, and he was much older too. Though, I still loved the classy way he portrayed Marin Harris and his wife. Also, it shows a lot of the persecution that early saints faced at this time, and the ways they dealt with it. Overall, it really was a delightful book to read. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
The BBAW Awards Timeline
July 15—August 15 Nominations are accepted in all categories. Anyone can nominate a blog and bloggers may nominate themselves.
August 16-17 Nominees are contacted and requested to furnish awards committee with selected information
August 21 Nominee information is due by 11:59 PM EST
August 22—September 4 Panelists review blogs and submit scores based on the following criteria: Quality of Writing, Originality and Diversity of Content, Audience Engagement, and Visual Aesthetic and Functionality.
September 7 Shortlists are announced and voting begins
September 12 —Voting closes at 11:59 PM EST
Friday, August 21, 2009
Giovanna’s brother, Dante decided to run for school president because he’s tired of the shallow way the popular kids run their campaigns. Her boyfriend Jesse is wonderful except for one thing—his friends. All of Jesse’s friends are in popular camp and Giovanna can barely stand them. When Dante announces his campaign Giovanna naturally supports him, but Jesse supports his friends and suddenly he is part of camp enemy. Annoyed by Jesse’s betrayal she breaks up with him, but as she starts to date other boys (mostly to make Jesse jealous) she realizes just how good she had it. How can she help her brother win the campaign for student body president and win her boyfriend back?
Have you ever had the experience where you really like an author, but kind of loose track of reading their books for a bit, and then you pick up one of their books again? Then remember why you fell in love with them in the first place, nay more, in fact, you’re convinced they’ve gotten a million times better. I’ve been a Janette Rallison/Sierra St. James fan forever! I love how funny her stories are, her characters have strong voices, and there is always a cute romance scene. She also likes to have embarrassing stories, and in the past a few of them have felt contrived to me just a tinsy bit. Yet, this book didn’t have that moment where I was like…that’s a bit awkward. This book didn’t have any of that, and it flowed really well. In fact Jesse was a perfect hero, and yet a realistic teenage boy. I really liked Dante too, he reminds me of my little brother in some ways.
P.S. I find it weird that I read two books with Italian characters named Dante just months apart from each other. They were both by LDS authors too. Hmmm, soon we’re going to meet children in primary named Dante. Not sure what I think about that. Either way, I’ve been to the real Dante’s tomb—both of them. (No, there are not two Dante’s but two tombs for the same Dante) I really like Dante. I did tell you of my obsession with the underworld did I not? Who wrote the coolest underworld narrative ever? Dante!
Friday, August 14, 2009
When the Adam brothers, Ben, Claude, and Philip returned home from their mission the first thing the do is visit their old bishop and his two daughters. Ben is painfully reminded of his catastrophic relationship with the oldest, Bethany. Years apart have not softened the bitterness that they feel towards ones another, nor their verbal sparring. Philip hopes to build his new photography business fast enough to court the younger Hansen sister, Hannah. Yet, he watches as his older brother Claude takes a liking her, and feels that he doesn’t have much of a chance to win her over.
This book is the third in Annette Lyon’s Historical stories based on temples. Spires of Stone focus on the building of the Salt Lake temple and is also loosely based on Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Much Ado about Nothing. I liked this one much better than At Journey’s End, and I couldn’t put it down. Seriously, my husband kept giving me the look, the one that said I should stop reading and start working on school stuff, but I couldn’t. I got so caught up in the story and characters that I just read the whole afternoon away. I really liked Philip and found his goals to set up a photography studio very interesting. I really like that Claude, though he plays the role of villain, gets the chance to redeem himself. Not only once, but several times. In fact, sometimes you just want to hit him upside the head.
Ben and Bethany have the classic Pride and Prejudice sort of romance. They hate one another and get in bitter verbal sparring matches. Then you slowly learn about their past and how things fell out between them, and realize that if they could both put aside their past hurts and pride that they could love one another again.
I really enjoyed this one! I think I’d recommend this one the highest out of the three novels that I’ve read of the series. There is another about the Manti temple called Tower of Strength. You don’t have to read them in any order to understand the plots. The books have characters in common but each novel is stand alone.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Luke hasn’t heard from his father in several years and for that he is glad. He has a successful photography career, and new life. His childhood was tainted by his mother’s addiction to sleeping pills. His father kept waiting for his mom to conquer this addiction, but she took too many pills one day and didn’t wake up. This leads Luke’s father into a downward spiral with alcohol, which lead to a father and son estrangement that had lasted several years.
That was until Luke receives a call from a man in New Orleans, the city that has been recently devastated by hurricane Katrina. His father settled in the city, playing and writing music, and his friends are looking for his missing father in the wreckage. Though, Luke hesitates to become involved with his father, he heads down to New Orleans not expecting much of a reunion, but while there he might just find that his father found a second chance.
Recovering Charles takes place in New Orleans in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. I was really impressed with the amount of detail the author used when describing the city and how it was affected in this disaster. Specific streets and sections of the city and all the logistics involved in recovering from such a massive wave of destruction seem to be portrayed accurately. Though, since I’ve never been to New Orleans I can’t say for sure. I found the beginning of the book to be a little slow since it recaps all of the news reports on television. It was my curiosity about a picture on the wall of his office that intrigued me. I wanted to know the story behind it so I kept reading, and I got a total surprise when I learned what the picture meant to Luke! The beginning of the book also has a lot of flashbacks to the past, while the back story and the characters portrayed were interesting, I still got annoyed because the story didn't move forward very quickly.
The book really is an inspiring look at how people help one another to survive in desperate circumstances. I ended up enjoying the story, and I love how it has the lyrics of the song that his dad wrote at the end. They fit so perfectly with the theme of the story, and apparently the song was recorded so you can listen to it on the book's website.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Forrest Harper’s father is Ravenmaster in the tower of London, and each day Forrest helps him to feed the birds, and guard the prisoners in the tower. Forrest often dreams of leaving the small confines of the tower grounds to go on adventures, to show the boys around him that he is brave, yet he remains stuck attending to his duties in the tower. Then news comes that Scottish rebels are going to be kept in the tower. Forrest is sure that guarding a huge Scottish warrior will show that he is brave, but it turns out that he guards a young girl his own age named Maddy. As he learns more about Maddy and her beautiful homeland they become fast friends. Then Forrest learns that Maddy is going to be executed. She claims that she is innocent of any wrong doing, and Forrest has to decide what is the right thing to do. Should he commit treason against the crown and help her escape, or let an innocent girl go to her death?
I picked this book up because I thought the setting really sounded cool, and besides that I really like Ravens. And what Ravens are more intriguing than those kept at the Tower of London? Though the Ravens in the Tower are more background characters than anything. Though Forrest does have a pet Raven that is sort of crucial to the plot in a few places. I sort of felt Forrest came to trust Maddy too easily, and didn’t relate to her as much. Forrest has a friend Rat that got sold to be a chimney sweep to a bad master, and I rooted for him more than I did Maddy, and I thought he was a cool character. So while I enjoyed this book it really wasn’t my favorite even though it was set in an interesting historical setting.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Abe Franklin has never felt comfortable among Mormons, being an adopted Indian has made life hard for him, and he always feels like an outsider. After a mob of saints hangs a black man before he can go to trial for shooting a bishop, Abe decides he has had enough of the hypocrisy and longs to get out of Utah. He convinces his mother to come with him when he finds them a new home, but she gives him one condition. He must find them a place where the saints are strong. So, Abe sets out to California, and finds himself, through an unlikely series of events, settling in Snowflake, Arizona.
There he finds a young school teacher named Maddie, who catches his eye when she recites a poem. She struggles to let go of the love she had for her fiancé, who was murdered, and love the man she is currently engaged to. She must decide if she will settle for a good marriage of convenience or take another chance at romantic love. Abe and Maddie form a bond, but Abe cannot make the mistake of falling for a good Mormon girl twice. He knows that his feelings about the church will lead to their eventual misery. So, unless Maddie can help Abe realize, despite the harshness of his upbringing and bitterness toward the saints, that he believes in God they will both lose love for a second time.
I had a hard time getting into this book at the beginning. I suppose I didn’t relate to Abe and Maddie as well as I did to Lizzy in Lyon’s previous book House on a Hill. Abe seemed to be too modern minded for the historical time period and that threw me off. His first point of view chapter felt too preachy for me to really get sucked into the story at the start, but I ended up enjoying his character later on. I also felt for Maddie as she tried to heal from the death of her fiancee. While on the surface this seems like the typical LDS romance plot—girl converts boy to gospel and they marry—Lyon’s characters have layers that made it feel unique and fresh. I liked the fact that Abe wasn’t converted the “traditional” way, as in reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He had a unique history and set of challenges to overcome in order to accept the gospel and the conflict was interesting. The author spent of lot of time building an honest emotional bond between Maddie and Abe that really makes their love story special to the reader.
In contrast to House on the Hill, this book in not about the construction of the St. George temple, but about those who sacrificed to travel to the first completed temple to make sacred covenants there. Some humorous anecdotes about the building and history of the temple are shared, but they dance in the background of the story. This ended up being an enjoyable read for me, and I’m glad I finally sat down and read it since I read House on a Hill ages ago. In would recommend both books to readers interested a good, clean historical romance.
Friday, July 10, 2009
If you aren’t already familiar with the Pendragon series then this post my contains spoilers because The Pilgrims of Rayne is the eighth book in the series. Go find out more info at D. J. MacHale’s official website.
In this latest installment of Pendragon Bobby finds himself on the Island Paradise of Ibara. He looks for the signs of chaos and violence that usually indicate St. Dane’s presence. He comes to find that the people of Ibara are sheltered from their true identity by the village elders. Bobby joins up with a local gang to find out the truth of the situation. They steal a boat from the harbor and head off towards the mainland to find that Ibara is in grave danger because St. Dane has organized an army headed strait for the island. In order to win a battle with against such enormous odds Pendragon has to break the number one rule: don’t mix items between territories.
So, this book wasn’t one of my most favorite Pendragon books. I did like it better than the fourth book though, and that one is my least favorite. Mostly I didn’t like it because Pendragon broke the rules and that just irks me. I know it really shouldn’t cause that author shows the consequences of not following the rules, but it did. The usual action packed adventure ensued, and I really liked all the twists and turns this novel brought. Especially, the twists and turns with Mark and Courtney plotlines. I never expected when the series started that Mark and Courtney would become such well developed characters, but I really think they have an interesting part in the story. As usual I loved meeting the new characters on Ibara and exploring a whole new world.
So, if you haven’t picked up this series you should, it is great for both boys and girls. Probably leans more towards the boy audience, but there are plenty of strong female characters for girls to cheer on also. This series has a little bit of something for everyone.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Brittany watches from behind her cello in the orchestra pit as her friend Amanda charms the crowd, star of the high school musical. Just like she charms the boys around her with her flirtatious and confident personality. Amanda seems to have a new boyfriend every week, while Brittany finds boys hardly ever pay attention to her. Instead when boys find out that Brittany is Amanda’s best friend they often try to use her to get a date with Amanda. So, when she finds out someone actually likes her, and only her. She is suspicious. Especially, since the boy is the co-star in the musical with Amanda. Then Brittany starts receiving anonymous notes threatening her friend. Amanda starts receiving the notes too, and Brittany starts to worry that her friend might be in serious danger.
I like the fact that the main character plays in the orchestra pit, because it gave Brittany something she was really good at, and gave the book an interesting angle. I think it is unique to have a character playing the cello, removed from the main action, but close enough to watch it. This situation made for a few very suspenseful scenes on stage, while Brittany tries to keep an eye out for who is making threats against Amanda. I enjoyed reading this novel, and got caught up in the story and the characters. There wasn’t really anything in the book that pulled me out of the story or bugged me. That’s high praise right there! If the story sounds interesting be sure to try it out.
Author's website: http://www.kristenlandon.com/
So Anne Bradshaw at Not Entirely British is giving away a copy of Persued by Lynn Gardner. So, I'm posting about the contest on this blog to enter. Because I really like Lynn Gardner's books! I've been waiting forever for this book to come out! I wondered if she had abandoned the series it has been so long! But no there is a new precious book to be had. When I was in high school I probably read Emeralds and Espinoge a million times. It is hands down my favorite of her gem series.
Friday, June 26, 2009
The King of Idris has known for years that he would send his daughter Vivenna to marry the heathen God King of Hallandren. He is convinced that war will break out between the two nations within a year. So, sending his daughter to the foreign court is a mere formality, a stalling technique. He questions using Vivenna, a wise, dutiful, pious daughter as a token when she could be a help to her people. Almost at last moment he decides to send his youngest daughter--Siri, rebellions, hot-headed, and flamboyant into the clutches of his enemy.
After being introduced into the court of Hallandren Siri discovers secrets about the God King that could put her, as well as him, in grave danger. The gods are posturing and aligning in preparation for the coming war, and Lightsong the Bold, who does not believe in his own divinity, is faced with difficult decisions. He has control over a large portion of the Kings armies, and others are tying to influence how he will manage them in the rumored conflict.
Meanwhile, Vivenna, decides it is time to manage her own fate, and makes a secret trip to Hallandren to rescue her little sister Siri from the God King.
So, I’ve been a Sanderson fan since the first Mistborn book. I totally got my husband hooked right after we got married, and The Well of Ascension came out. So we are a Sanderson fan household. My husband and I both agreed on this one. It is a good book, and a nice read but it doesn’t beat out the Mistborn series. Still, I enjoyed reading this one there is more romance, less fighting scenes, and a lot of political intrigue. I like the political intrigue, history, and economics that Sanderson puts into his books. It makes his worlds feel more real and complex. The best part is that he really knows how to center his characters in these conflicts so they can really shine. That was one thing Sanderson did really well in this book, to give all of his characters interesting internal journeys. I feel like all of the characters had to grow to overcome a conflict, which was then successfully resolved in this book, and that makes for a really satisfying read.
The only thing I really didn’t like is that when the book ends I’m not sure that the problems that existed in his world changed. When I put the book down I wasn’t sure if Hallandren and Idris were better off or worse off. I felt like the problems between them didn’t really change, or get resolved. This book felt a bit more edgy to me, but not offensively so. I could see conservative LDS readers getting mad because characters’ immodest clothing is described in detail. The court of the gods his immoral elements to it, referenced often in character dialogue. Nothing explicit in that area, and I’ve read worse, but I thought it would be nice to give a heads up. It’s annoying to get surprised by content from a book you expected to be completely clean.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Book 1: Mistborn
Caligo Nata or Nati Caliginis
Translation Note: Nati Caliginis is literally, those people born of the Mist]
Book 2: Well of Ascension
[Translation Note: This one was the harderst one to translate. I know it looks like a no-brainer. Just do the Latin form of ascending, right? Eh, often the most obvious translation is the worst one. I'm still not sure if I got this one right. I debated between Fons Potestatis, Fons Virtutis, Fons superatio, Fons Praestatio. Potestatis means power, but not just power, but ruling power. Power that carries authority with it. I considered this one because of what the well in the book gives to those that deal with it. It is an interesting way to think about the well, but not the best way to translate. Virtutis just plays on a similar theme. I discarded it quickly. The last two attempts were me trying to turn verbs into nouns both with meanings along the lines of excel, surpass, Stand above all others, etc. They really didn't work that well either. The main problem I had with Ascensionis was that is used rarely, and only really in the Latin Vulgate (bible). The vulgate isn't really classical, but in the end I came to the conclusion that the word's assocaiation with the bible was necessary. I think the title was chosen very cleverly in that ascension brings to mind The Ascension. The event where Christ goes up into heaven to assume his godly role there. This will mean more to those who have read the third book, where Sazed becomes a god. So, I decided to stay with the most obvious choice because of the implied imagrey. The religious tone was not a put off either since a main theme of the book is religion. I think this title foreshadows what is going to happen in the thrid book rather well. I'll stop now I've written enough ink over three words for the day. ]
Book 3: Hero of Ages
Heros Saeculorum or Vir Saeculorum
[Translation note: I like Heros better mostly because Vir is also a man. Heros is greek. The Romans were so entrenched in greek culutre and mythology that the word was probably incorporated straight across. The -os nominative ending is how you tell. Anyway, who is the Hero of Ages? Is he a man? Vin isn't a man, but is she the hero of ages? Or is Sazed? If I were the author and wanted the hero to be clearly male for any reason I would use Vir, but that would give too much away! Go with the more nuetral Heros to keep the mystery. I also think that for different readers at different times the idenity of the Hero of Ages will probably change so why peg it down to a man alone when Vin is a canidate? I think this one is my favorite. It is such a great title. It resonates with readers today, but I think it would appeal to classical audiences too. Heroes and the past were both revered and honored by Greeks and Romans.]
[Translation Note: This one was easy! I just had to brush up on some suffixes and done!]
What I Accomplished(Ta da!):
Wrote reviews for:
How to Take the Ex Out of Ex-boyfriend
Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack
Fields of Home by Rachel Ann Nunes
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
began review for:
Princess of the Midnight Ball
rewrote and posted review for:
The Hourglass Door by list Mangum
Drafted posts for:
Spare Change by Aubrey Mace
Life in the Pit by Kirsten Landon
Keeping Keller by Tracey Winegar
Worked on Spring Reading Challenge
Emailed LDS publisher Review links
Read Amaranth Enchantment
Got sick of my old yellow shade and went to Lavender
(still love the dark green text for some reason)
Made my own blog button (This took a really long time. I tried so many different button versions that if I told the whole story it would be a saga)
Added a really cute blog button from Susan’s blog Blogging 'bout Books.
Grade your blog
This was an awesome little tool I didn't know about. Tweaked a few things on it's advice, but not much yet.
I have such a lazy habit with this one! I’m guilty. I didn't comment, but since I'm practicing using anchor text correctly on the blog I'm counting it!
I really liked all the little mini-challenges the few I read (I read more of them than I acutally participated in) had really good advice. So, this was a sucessful blogging weekend for me. I really needed to get those reviews written. I was getting a little bit behind on them. So, it was nice to have some extra motivation to do that. Three of those books I read before the move. Yeah, I was totally procrastinating!
Oh, and for the curious of mind. I used Cool Text to make my logo, and then put the book/extra text on it using Picasa. So it was completely free! Yahoo!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Abby is just an ordinary teen at an ordinary high school. She plans on going to college in the fall, co-directs the school play, and has a cute and nice boyfriend. There is just one problem with her life—there are no surprises. She feels trapped in her ordinary plans, and in her predictable relationship with a boy she has know since before Kindergarten. Then Dante, an Italian exchange student, moves into town and joins the school play. While everyone agrees that there is something strange about him, Abby doesn’t really believe the rumors that he is dangerous, or on the run from the law. He is handsome, mysterious, and Abby is attracted to him. As she spends more time with him strange things start to happen. Will Dante tell her the truth about his past soon enough for her to protect those around her?
Alright, from the beginning of this book I got a Twilight vibes, and I was going to be mad if the big secret Dante revealed was that he was a vampire. So, I was pleased when the book went another direction entirely. So, while the book is similar to Twilight it is totally different. I also liked it a lot more than Twilight because the characters seemed a bit more realistic and honest. I really didn’t like that the author played up so much on the fact that Dante was dangerous/deadly because he wasn’t in the way you would expect. I would have preferred more of a mysterious secret/past angle. Yet, no doubt, a deadly boyfriend does lend itself to more conflict than mysterious past does. So let’s not quibble. This is a suspenseful romance with a time travelling plot that has its foundation in historic Italy. This really is an excellent book with clever twists, strong characters, and a great plot. I really would recommend.
(Spoilers-Present-Post-Script=Gamila’s weird musings. So, I was a Latin major, and so this book should get extra points for quoting Virgil, right? But I never really liked Virgil. I always liked Ovid or Cicero better, but I thought I would share my awkward intellectual literary ponderings with you. So, you know how I like the underworld right? Go back tohere to remember. So, with Dante and Virgil obviously present and influencing the creation of this book. Can we say that the bank scenes in this book could be a sort of underworld? On the bank there is a river, which is a huge feature of many underworld geography. They have a guide system of a sort, and clear geography and etc. If I came up with a three column comparison and contrast chart and thought for a long time I could probably write a small paper that said something interesting about the connections. What would happen if we compared Abby to Dante or Aeneas? What did she learn on the bank(aka underworld) that helped her complete her Hero’s Journey? Eh? Eh? How’s that for intellectual ramblings?! I could totally write a paper, but I won’t because I don’t have too. Hurrah!!! Okay, one way this series could get awesomely cooler is if Abby actually got to time travel to Italy.)
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
So, I previously posted about enjoying the previous book in this series, First Day. Reunion is more of the same, but with different viewpoint characters this time. We find out what happens to Ethan and Mikey, Dave and Avery, and hear more about Joel and Andrea, but the main story is about Addie Sherman (Dave’s little sister), Sam Choi(Mikey’s little brother), and Cate Giovanni(Andrea’s seminary student).
Cate is experiencing her first year at BYU-Idaho, and experiencing conflict with new her roommate, who is very troubled. Addie struggles to keep her grades high enough to continue snowboarding with her friends every weekend. Then her sister-in-law Avery gets put on bed rest during her pregnancy, and Addie has to sacrifice lot to help her after school. Sam’s family is busy with planning his older sister’s wedding, and struggling with the decision to go on a mission.
It’s really hard to get high school kids just right in fiction, but I think this series portrayal comes really close. I really love Condie’s characterization. Her characters are real, and their problems are relatable and true to life. They are also honest, funny, and sincere. Not every problem is fixed, life isn’t always perfect, and answers must be searched out. I especially liked how real the boys in the book were; they made me laugh lots. I’ve become a fan! I hope to read more books like this from Condie in the future.
Author's Blog and website: http://www.allysoncondie.com/
Saturday, June 6, 2009
The 13th Reality: The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner
(dust jacket summary)
It’s been a quiet summer for Tick, Paul, and Sofia, but the latest message from Master George changes everything.
The Realities are in danger — and from something more terrible than Mistress Jane and the mutated Chi’karda of the Thirteenth Reality. People from all Realities are unexplainably going insane. Worse, some Realities are fragmenting, disintegrating into nothingness. Master George has learned that Mr. Chu from the Fourth Reality is working on a mysterious new weapon called Dark Infinity. But no one has any idea how to stop the weapon — or even if it can be stopped.
To make matters worse, Tick and his friends have been kidnapped, forced to wink from Reality to Reality, solving impossible riddles in order to survive the deadly traps surrounding them.
Mistress Jane and Tick find themselves in a race to reach the weapon first — but who will destroy it and who will become its master?
I’ll admit, the sequel to the The Journal of Curious Letters didn’t immediately thrill me. The characters were all gathered at Tick house talking, and talking, and while I like them their conversations were kind of boring. So I stopped reading for a while, and then when I picked up the book again the plot started to pick up. The rest of the book had unexpected and enjoyable twists.
I didn’t expect Dashner to continue using riddles after the first book. Mostly because I didn’t know how he would incorporate it without it seeming odd. Yet, I loved the riddles in this book more than the first. They seemed cleverer, and the challenges were certainly more dangerous since the riddles were not sent from Master George, but from Reginald Chu. Mistress Jane was another surprise, and if people complained about her not being complex enough in book one, they find out a whole new side of her in this one. So, while the book had a really slow start for me, by the end I couldn’t put it down to see what would happen.
More than that I think The Hunt for Dark Infinity is a much better book than the first. The plot is more complex, the characters more authentic, and hook leading into the next book in the series is stronger.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Hourglass Door by Lisa Magnum
Reunion by Ally Condie
Recovering Charles by Jason Wright
Wings by Aprilynne Pike
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George
Dragon Spear by Jessica Day George
Just One Wish by Janette Rallison
At Jouney's End by Annette Lyon
Spires of Stone by Annette Lyon
The Princess and the Bear by Mette Harrison
There may or may not be more...depending on how well the public library works here for me in Texas. This may be weird by I'm already mourning the loss of the Provo area writing and book community. I don't know that I'll ever see its equal. Especially when it came to writing for kids and young adults.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Welcome Kathi to Gamila’s Review, and thanks for agreeing to do an interview with me. Today I’ll be asking questions about your newest release The Forgotten Warrior and your interest in writing history for younger audiences.
First off, tell us about your newest release The Forgotten Warrior.
Sydney Morgan, a sixteen-year-old girl with a black belt in karate touches a mysterious stone that transports her through time to Captain Helaman and the stripling warriors. He calls on Syd to help prepare his warrior sons for battle. Syd is desperate to find her way home, gain Helaman's respect and keep from falling in love with Tarik, a stripling warrior. I loved writing this book! My son, who has a black belt, helped me with the karate scenes. It was so much fun trying to think of different ways Syd could take down an opponent. And, of course, I loved the friction and romance between Tarik and Syd.
Did writing The Forgotten Warrior take a lot of scriptural research? If so what was the most rewarding part of that research?
Yes it did take a lot. But what better resource to have than the Book of Mormon. I have a deep respect and love for Helaman and the stripling warriors. One day as I prepared to write a scene in my book I wanted Helaman to give an inspiring speech to his warriors. I prayed and asked for guidance. As I read and re-read Helaman's writings the scene unfolded and seemed to write itself. I don't know if Helaman ever spoke to the boys as I had him do in my book, but I strongly felt the love and respect he had for them from his words in the Book of Mormon. The reward has been knowing that this book is a wonderful gift from the Lord.
Why did you decide to make your main character female when she was among the two thousand stripling warriors? Why not write from a young boy’s point-of-view?
Well...I did. The book is told in two view points: Sydney Morgan's and Tarik's, a stripling warrior. But the bulk of the story comes from Sydney. I wanted young women to realize if given a task such as the stripling warriors, they, too, could rise to the call.
The Forgotten Warrior is targeted towards a Youth Audience. What attracts you the most to writing for Young Adults?
I've written many books in several genres, but there's something about the young adult market that is a good fit for me. Maybe I've just never grown up, and I hope I never do. I'm constantly surprised to find that The Forgotten Warrior has fans that are not only young adults, but mothers and fathers, and grandmas and grandpas. This is not to say I won't write in other genres, but I'm very comfortable with young adult.
On your website you mention that you have written several non-fiction historical books targeted towards children. Will/can you tell us more about these projects and your plans for them?
I wrote two nonfiction children's activity books: The Kid's Book of World War One and They Came from Around the World: A Nation of Immigrants. Both books were written for Silverleaf Press, but unfortunately the economy forced the publisher to push back release dates. I have no idea when they will come out. But I learned a great deal while writing those books. I gained appreciate for the freedom we enjoy in America and for the service men who gave their lives for us.
How did your interest in writing history for young children develop, and do you plan to continue writing non-fiction?
This was something that chose me. I was asked to write these books because I had written concept and biography books for a curriculm publisher years ago and also because the editor was familar with my writing. Under the right circumstances, I'd be happy to write more non-fiction.
When working on any project that requires historical or scriptural research which part of the process do you enjoy more, the research or writing aspect? Why?
How has a your love for reading influenced your career as a writer?
I read the usual childhood classics, and even worked off and on with writing books as I read Mary Stewart and Nora Lofts, but my real desire to become a serious writer came when I read Mary Higgins Clark's book Where Are the Children. I was riveted from page one. And I so wanted to write like her. I tried writing several romantic suspense books, even won some awards, yet something was lacking. I decided to refocus and started reading a lot of young adult novels. I found I really enjoyed the freedom in this genre and started writing YA books...and the rest is history..
What books have you read recently or as a child that you would recommend to our blog readers today? Espeically, if they enjoyed The Forgotten Warrior and want something else to read that is similar.
Tell us about the next book you having coming out after The Forgotten Warrior, and any other exciting projects we should know about.
This fall I have a Christmas book titled An Angel on Main Street due to be released in October. It's a story set in the 1950s about an eleven-year-old boy named Micah Conners. His father was killed in the Korean war and he, his mother and sick little sister have just moved into a new town. A nativity begins to appear in the center of town and no one knows who is building it. His little sister believes when the baby Jesus arrives He will make her better. Micah fears his sister doesn't have that much time, so he makes it his quest to find the nativity builder and bring the Jesus doll to her. This is a story that I've worked on for many years. I'd sent it out, receive rejections, look at the comments and work on the book some more. I guess I finally got it right!As for book two of The Forgotten Warrior it has been written and its fate rests in the hands of my publisher. I'm keeping my fingers crossed. I'd really like my fans to see how Syd and Tarik's story is resolved.
Kathi's Website: http://www.kathiorampeterson.com/