Friday, November 27, 2009

I am Apache by Tanya Landman

I am Apache by Tanya Landman

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.

Tanya Landman's Website

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is there a reason the blog is so boring lately?

Yes! There is a good reason too! In fact you people are very lucky creatures to hear from me at all. So, it is thanksgiving break, and I'll let you know why the blog is so boring lately. I've passed by on several reading challenges that I like to do. Sniff.

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

Keeping Keller by Tracy Winegar
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:
She blog's here:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman

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

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

Wings by Aprilynne Pike

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.

Pike's Website