Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Graveyard Book



The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

This book is about a boy who is raised in a graveyard by ghost. Among the creatures he meets are ghouls, witches, werewolves and perhaps even a vampire. The story contains mystery, intrigue, friendship, deceit and lots of adventure.

I loved this book! It was such a good story. The young boy behaves in exactly the way I would imagine a young boy, raised in a graveyard among ghost, would. I looked forward each day to the times I got a chance to pick up the book and read again. Not an easy task with two young ones to take care of.

I wasn't really surprised that I enjoyed this book so much since I have really like Neil Gaiman's other books, Coraline and Stardust. Both are also good movies, if you are looking for something to watch. I especially love Stardust. His books are so creative and fun to read.



I think this would be a great book to read out loud to my kids someday. I now know a good book that I can read to them, when they out grow picture books.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Shiver




Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


I really enjoyed this book about werewolves. It was a unique telling of the life of a werewolf and a human girl he loves. I like how the author switches between the two characters as she tells the story. It made it more interesting to have the two different view points. 


It did take me a while to get through it. I'm not sure if that was because I wasn't in a reading mood or because the story was a little slow moving. Sometimes I just get into a funk and find it hard to keep reading, which is not always the books fault. What I can say is that I was intrigued by the story right away but it took me a while to really get caught up in the story.

Once may attention was finally captured I couldn't stop reading, which to me is a sign of a good book. Tired of all the vampire books and references out there don't worry no vampires in this story. If you are looking for a good werewolf story go out and read this book.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Jane Eyre



Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is one of my favorite novels. If you haven't read it before you should. I am very excited that they are coming out with a new movie. The actress from Alice in Wonderland is playing Jane and I think she is a good choice for the role. The preview looks good!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Flight




Flight
by Sherman Alexie

When I first started reading this book I was unsure if I was going to like it. There was a lot of swearing, more than I usually tolerate. The main character is a juvenile delinquent and there is a lot of violence.

That should have been enough to keep me from liking this book but when I was done reading it I realized that I really liked this book. It was a very well written book. Thought provoking and eye opening.

The basic story is about an native american foster kid who is on the verge of murdering a bank full of innocent people when he is drawn back through time to experience different moments of history. Each moment shows one way someone justified killing another person. This book explores the issue of justice, revenge and what drives people to believe they are doing the right thing even when it is something as violent as killing another human being.

I know it sounds strange that I would like this book but for some reason this book really struck a chord with me. I found myself hoping that this boy would learn from these experiences and change his ways.

So yes this book is violent, the swearing is over the top but it is still a very interesting read and I am glad I took time to read it.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis the Season

Christmas time is here. Time to share some favorite Christmas Books.


Humphrey's First Christmas 
by Carol Heyer

 This is a really cute story about a camel who unknowingly helps carry gifts for the wise men who are travelling to see the Baby Jesus.





The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg



It goes with out saying that a book about a train ride to the north pole to see Santa is very popular in our home.





The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

by Barbara Robinson

I really liked this book when I was younger. It is hilarious!

What are some of your favorite Christmas Books?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Fire




Fire by Kristin Cashore

This book was by the same author as Graceling. The story takes place in a different land and introduces you to a whole new group of characters. There is only one character from the first book in this story.  I would recommend reading Graceling first for two reasons. One, so that this character remains unfamiliar to you in Graceling and two, so that you know what he is capable of in this book. Hope that makes sense with out giving too much away.


I enjoyed this book. The characters were interesting, the the story line kept me interested the entire time. The concept was much different then the last book. Instead of dealing with people with graces, it deals with  beautiful monsters, who can control people. Once again a very unique story.

This was another great fantasy book. So if you enjoy fantasies, I would definitely recommend these two books.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Counting and more

My son is learning how to count so I decided to checkout some counting books from the Library. These were my favorites.


One Duck Stuck
by Phyllis Root

This was a cute book and I enjoyed reading it to my son


Roar! A Noisy Counting Book
By Pamela Duncan Edwards


My son loves Lion King so this was a favorite book this week. Plus it was cute story and pretty pictures to look at. I couldn't ask for more.


This book has nothing to do with numbers but we have sure enjoyed reading it. Really cute pictures and we liked doing the different actions through out the book.


We've All Got Bellybuttons!
by David Martin

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Finally


The Diggers By Margaret Wise Brown

I happened to randomly chose this book off the shelf at the Library and we have really been enjoying it. My son loves it since half the book ended up being about digging a hole under a mountian for a .... Wait for it.........   TRAIN.

This book fit all my criteria for a good children's book. Great Pictures and an entertaining, short story to go along with it. I love finding children's books that I actually like to read and that my son loves just as much. This has been the best train book we have found.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marked



Marked  By P.C. and Kristin Cast 

The fourth book in this series Untamed was on the list of teen books that I have been reading through, so I decided to start at the beginning. Book one of the House of Night Novels, Marked.

This book  was a quick, fun read but not nearly as good as Hunger Games or Twilight. I did find it interesting enough to check out the second book.

I though that their take on Vampyres was unique and interesting. I found the characters intriguing and I was drawn into the story immediately. At the beginning I was a little worried about where this story might be going but in the end I was happy with how the story played itself out.

I even think I might have some idea of the direction they are headed in for the next books in the series. I look forward to find out if I am right or wrong.

On a negative,  I would not recommend this book for the younger crowd. There is some mature situations in this book, references to drinking and sex. Towards the beginning the main character is witness to a couple students in a compromising situation, that in my opinion is not appropriate.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Train books

I have two rules when it comes to Children's Picture Books.

1) It has to be visual interesting. The pictures need to be interesting enough to catch the attention of the 2 year old.

2) The story or text needs to be short and entertaining. If the story drags out for to long or there are entire paragraphs on a page my son loses interest and will turn the page before I am done reading.

Simple enough right? Wrong.

For some reason I have a hard time finding books that met both these criteria. This trip to the library was no different.

Because I have 2 young children I often look up the call numbers at home, run into the library with my list, find all the books I can find, check them out and leave with out even flipping through them. Usually in between nap time and feeding time for my 7 month old. I may have to start flipping through the books before I check them out so I don't end up with so many that just are not right for us.

I didn't find any that I really loved but here are a few books that we are enjoying right now.


The Little Engine That Could
by Walter Piper

 My son really likes this book. I do have to skip some of the wordier sections or he will skip ahead. I really like the pictures in this version.


Country Crossing
by Jim Aylesworth

 I think the pictures are really dark and uninteresting but my son liked this book. So much that he wanted me to read it over and over. Mostly so he could look for the train. Have a mention he is obsessed with Trains?


Night Train
by Caroline Stutson

   I thought that this was a cute book about a Train ride.


Engine, Engine, Number Nine
By Stephanie Calmenson

 This was a cute story and I like the rhyming in it. My son enjoyed discovering where the train was going.



and the train goes...
by William Bee

 I liked the bright colors used in this book but didn't really like the art. I did think that it was a cute story. I especially liked the Parrot at the end. My son liked all the sounds heard on the train.



Train Song
By Diane Siebert
This book was ok. I included it because it has lots of pictures of the Train, which is really what my son is most interested in.

Do you have any Train picture books that you like to read to your kids?

Monday, November 22, 2010

This week's goal.....

to find some good children books about Trains.

My son is obsessed with anything train right now so I am hoping to find some cute picture books we can both enjoy.

I haven't had much luck recently when it comes to picking out good picture books. Hopefully I will do better this week.

Two Little Trains
by Margaret Wise Brown

 This is the only one I've found recently. I didn't enjoy it that much but my son loved it. But he loves anything involving trains.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Paper Towns




Paper Towns by John Green was the second book from my list to read.

When I was looking up info about this book, the website mentioned that this book is required reading in some high schools. After reading this book I can see why it is a book used to teach in English classes. One of those books that you have to interpret the authors intent and discover what this story is truly about. I can imagine long discussions about the meaning of life or how we define ourselves.

And of course Walt Whitman's "Song of Myself" is quoted and reference frequently through out the book. I have never been great at interpreting poems or books for that matter. It was helpful that the main character spends half the book trying to interpret the poem and then tells us what he discovers.

I honestly found the ending to be a little anti climatic. All this mystery surrounds Marge's disappearance but in the end it wasn't such a mysterious reason.

The book follows the lives of a group up teenagers. That means that the main character and his friends are teenage boys, which means lots of bad language and inappropriate conversations about sizes of body parts and sex.

One thing that I can say about this book is that it is well written. It only took my about a day to read it and it kept my attention through out. I really did want them to find her. I liked the main character Quentin.

In the end the book turned out to be mostly about teenagers and self discovery. It just is not the type of book I really enjoy but I'm sure there are people out there who love this book.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pirate Latitudes By Michael Crichton


This  completed Novel was discovered in Michael Crichton's files after his death in 2008. I had not even realized that he had passed away. I found this news very sad since I enjoy reading his books so much.

This  Historical Fiction Novel is about pirates in the New World. This was different than many of the other books of Michael Crichton's that I have read. Most of his other books I have read have been Science Fiction.

I realize that pirates are always portrayed has cutthroat, rowdy ruffians but I still found it hard to deal with the violent killings in this book. Especially the deaths of a couple younger characters. Ever since I had children of my own, untimely deaths are difficult for me to accept.

I did find the story to be intriguing. Once I accepted their pirate behavior I did enjoy reading about their adventures to obtain a large spanish treasure. This group of pirates keeps having to deal with near death situations as they attempted to claim this treasure. It seemed like every time things started going their way something else threatened to spoil their plans and claim their lives instead.

Michael Crichton's portrayal of pirates in this novel is exactly how I would picture their lives would be like. He really is a great writer.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Book List

My friend told me about a list of the top ten Teen books for 2010 so I decided to check it out. I thought it could be fun to read all the books on that list. I had already read the #1 book Catching Fire so 9 books didn't sound to intimidating.

Then I went on my Libraries Website to see if any of the books where available there and discovered that several of the books on the list this year were the second book in the series. So I checked out the list for 2009 and decided to add those to my list also. I had already read Breaking dawn and Hunger games so that only added 8 more books.  So My list was up to 17.

That was until I realized that one of the books on the list was actually the 4th book in the series. Add 3 more. That makes 20.

So my new goal is to read all 20 of these books. I am excited to see if they are any good. If I get through all of them I may go back more years to see what books made the list then. Could be fun?!

Graceling was the first book from that list I read. It was on the 2009 list and I thought it was a great start so hopefully the rest will be just as fun to read.

Of course, I already have some other books that I have also been planning to read that are not Teen books so you don't have to worry about all my post being only from the young adult section. But I have a feeling that many will be =-).

Wish me luck. It may take me a while to get through all 20 but I sure am excited to try!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Graceling by Kristin Cashore



This was a great Fantasy book. One of the things I like most about this book was that the story captured my attention immediately. I was drawn into the characters and plot by the first chapter and whenever I had to put the book down I looked forward to the next opprotunity I would have to pick it up and read again.

I really liked the idea behind the book of special people who were Graced with gifts to be experts in different areas. This could include dancing, cooking, fighting, mind reading, etc. The possibities were endless. I thought that it made for a unique and interesting story. It was an easy read and I truly enjoyed it.

I only had one complaint about the main character and her view of the world. In her mind the idea of marriage was repulsive because to her it meant giving up her ability to be herself. She felt like if she were to marry, a man would then have complete control over her life and actions. The only way to keep her freedom was to never marry and just have lovers instead. Maybe I'm a little old fashioned but for a book geared towards teen girls, I'm not sure if Katsa is the best role model. I felt like it gives girls the idea that getting married means having to give up their indivuality and freedom, which just is not true.

After the one chapter that deals with this issue I wasn't sure if I would continue to enjoy the book. I found her sulking about not wanting to get married annoying. It turned out to be a very minor part of the story and  it didn't take me long to get caught right back into the story again. I read it every free moment I had and it only took me a couple days to read it.

So my finally thoughts on this book are that it is a good book. I really enjoy fantasies and  liked the unique story line of this one.

I am sure that I will read the next book once it is available at the Library.