Friday, December 30, 2011

The Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2: The Sea of Monsters
by Rick Riordan

Yeah, for a fun, easy read. I really need that this week. I have been working crazy hours at work and have been just too tired to do much of anything else. You know it's bad when your kids start asking you why you have to work so much. :-(

Anyway, less about me and more about the book. I really loved this book. I think I might like it even better then the first. My husband tells me the third is even better. I can't wait to read it.

What did I like about this book besides the fact that it was a quick, fun read? Well, it had a great plot with lots of action. Percy learned some new things about himself and his abilities. I love seeing characters grow and change because that's what life is like. We face challenges or trials and we grow from them. Finally, there were also some fun new characters and monsters. I especially loved Tyson. He was just so big and lovable. Plus he was great to have around when things started going amiss. 

So far I am really enjoying this series. I think I am going to go read book 3 right now!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Touch Not the Cat

Touch Not the Cat
by Mary Stewart


I recently answered a question asking me to choose between Mystery or Romance and I mentioned that many good Mysteries contained love stories. Well, this is a perfect example of that combination.

This story takes place in England, where a young women returns home following the death of her father. This is some mystery around the circumstances of his death and when she returns home she discovers that there is a family secret her father wanted her to uncover. She can also communicate telepathically with the person she is in love with but she doesn't know who this person is. Thus the love story with in a mystery.

Although it took me a while to read this story, I still enjoyed it. The story definitely moved a little slower then I normally like but I was immediately intrigued by the note left to her by her father. I wanted to find out what this hidden family secret was. The great thing about this mystery was that I was actually surprised when the truth was discovered. I often have some inclining of what the secret might be but not this time. 

I also liked the little excerpts at the end of each chapter that gave the reader a little glimpse into the family's past. They definitely helped keep my intrigued.




Monday, December 19, 2011

Library Time

Life has been very busy recently. I haven't taken my kids to the library in weeks. My oldest has been asking to go the last couple of days so today we finally found time to go. We checked out a couple of our favorites from previous visits and we found some fun new ones.

Here they are:

 The Wonderful House
by Margaret Wise Brown's

This was a cute book that explores the homes of many different creatures. 

 Where's My Teddy
by Jez Albourough

This was an adorable book about a Teddy bear mix-up. 

 I Love You, Blue Kangaroo
by Emma Chichester Clark

This book, about a Kangaroo who feels forgotten, was a fun read. It was colorful and had a great story.

Little Gorilla
by Ruth Bornstein

I really loved this book about a baby gorilla who everyone loves even after he grows bigger. What a great message for little kids that we will always love them even when they grow up into big kids!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Jane

In honor Jane Austen's Birthday (Dec 16, 1775), I thought it would be nice to tell what our favorite Jane Austin story is.

I love all her books but my favorite is Persuasion.  You can read my thoughts on it here.


So, What is your favorite Story?  I'd love to hear which ones other people love!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Booking Through Thursday- Mystery or Love Story

This weeks BTT Question:

All things being equal, which would you prefer–a mystery? Or a love story?

I like a good love story but I really love books that are filled with suspense and mystery. I definitely prefer stories that make me think and keep me guessing what will happen next.

Plus some of the best Mysteries involve a love story. Jane Eyre comes to mind.  A mysterious woman wondering the halls, secrets keep from the outside world and one of the best love stories out there!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages
by Gary Chapman

This book is different from the type of books I usually post about but I thought it was worth a post.

A friend of mine let me borrow this book and I am really glad I read it. I though it was a great way to examine they way you express love to others and they way you would like others to express love to you.
This can apply to not only your significant other but your children, friends and family members.

Reading this book made me realize that while I appreciate all forms of love expressions, there are definitely ways that are more important to me. It also helped me realize that these might not coincide with my husband's love language. I want to make a better effort at expressing love to my husband in the way he appreciates it the most.

I thought this was a great book for helping to build strong and loving relationships. I really appreciated the different suggestions he gives at the end of each chapter. I'm definitely going to try a few of them in the near future.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson

It took me long time to get through the first part of this book. I think it took me 3 days just to read the first chapter. The author spends a lot of time developing the characters and the background for the events of the story. A lot of time. The first 30 plus pages are about the economic and business world of Sweden which for me was really hard to get through. 

This is a very complex story which intertwines the lives of three different people who are brought together for a single purpose. Because of this there is a lot of time spent exploring the lives of those different people. It was almost like three stories in one which is probably why it took so long to develop the story.

I decided to stick with it because I keep hearing about this book and wanted to find out what it was all about. As I read through the first few chapters I started getting little glimpses into what the story was going to be about and those glimpses made me want to read more. By the time I got to chapter 7, I was completely hooked to the story and read with much more interest. I really wanted to know what happened to Harriet Vanger. 

It turned out to be a great crime drama and I really enjoyed how the story unfolded and the climax was great. But after the family mystery was finally solved, it felt like it took just as many chapters to wrap up all the other parts of the story. So I enjoyed the book but I wish it had moved a little faster. Despite that, I am definitely interested in reading the next book.

This story did contain some very sadistic people, who do terrible things to others. There are some pretty graphic rape scenes in this book and some strong language. So keep that in mind if you plan on reading this book. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Booking Through Thursday- Category

BTT:

Of the books you own, what’s the biggest category/genre? Is this also the category that you actually read the most?


This was an easy question for me. Fantasy!

I adore all types of Fantasy books and have been reading them for as long as I can remember.

Not only are they the genre of book most likely to be found on my bookshelf but they are also the books that I can not bear to part with. I tend to go through my books to donate some to the Library every year but not my fantasy collection.

I have over 20 books just by David Eddings alone and I have owned those since I was in high school.

Come to think of it, maybe I need to read some of those books again, I'm sure it's been 10 years (or more) since I've read one.

Here's a post I did about my love of Fantasy back in February.

What is your favorite Genre?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Schwa was Here

The Schwa Was Here
by Neal Shusterman

"She had to feel she had a place in her own life, or else maybe she thought she'd disappear somehow, too." pg160

This is a great book about what it feels like to go unnoticed in the world or at least to feel unnoticed.
It took me a couple pages to really get into the flow of this book only because I had to get used to the way his thoughts flowed. I think this was mostly due to the fact that the narrator is a young teenage boy. But that was really just a reflection of the character so I ended up really liking the writing style. I found the way he told this story to be very amusing.

I was immediately interested in where his relationship with the Schwa was going and how it would effect his relationship with everyone else around him.

But this book ended up being so much more then that. There was so much depth to this book. It truly illustrated the many ways that people feel forgotten or lost in their own life. From feeling like a middle child, losing yourself to your family, living alone, having a handicap, to feeling abandoned. Neal Shusterman is able to explore all these different issues in a fun and interesting way. I really loved the way this book got me thinking.

Oh and I loved the Chapter titles and enjoyed reading about Antsy many different adventures.  

If you are looking for something different, heartfelt and humorous this is the book for you.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games Official Trailer 2012 HD

Sorry if you are tired of my Hunger Game Posts but I am so excited for this movie.

Here is the first official Trailer. It looks amazing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Sarah's Quilt

Sarah's Quilt
By Nancy E. Turner

This is the sequel to These is My Words and continues the story of Sarah Prine. It is a little different from the first book because it all transpires over a 6 month period instead of 20 years. It is less like a diary and more like a story. 

I am so glad that I read this book right after the first one. I couldn't put this one down and I was happy that it ended on a more positive note. Don't get me wrong, there were still plenty of sad moments in this story. As I said in my previous post, I really love the character of Sarah Prine. I don't know if I would have been as strong and resilient as she was, if I lived in Arizona in 1906. I shed a few tears for her because life was so tough back then and the trials she faced were terrible.

I think that I was able to get into this story so much faster and finished it so much quicker was due to the fact that time frame was so much shorter. The story really capture my attention and I couldn't stop reading because I just had to see what happened next. It is one of those story where you can tell that there is more going on and you spend every page hoping this is the moment where they figure it out. (At least that is what I do.) 

I really enjoyed the love story from the first book and was afraid that I would miss that in this book, but I found so many more things to love about this book that I didn't miss it has much as I thought.

This is a great book. If you are planning on reading These is My Words, I would definitely read this book soon after. It is a great addition to her story.



Thursday, November 10, 2011

Booking Through Thursday- E-Volution

BTT Question:


E-readers like the Kindle and iPad are sweeping the nation … do you have one? Do you like it? Do you find it changes your reading/buying habits? If you don’t have one, do you plan to?

I have a Kindle and I love it.
It is great for traveling with because it is much lighter then carrying books around.

I used to get all my books from the Library. I don't like spending money on something I'm not sure I'm going to like. There were times I would buy a book if I knew I would like it or when my sister suggested a book. (We are twins and basically love all the same books.)

Now that I have a Kindle, I find that I am buying more books. They are so reasonably priced and I like having a book on my kindle. I want to be prepared for those moments when I want something new to read.

I still go to the library to find books but If I don't have time or can't find the book I am looking for I can always use my Kindle instead. Plus, now you can get E-books through the Library. I will have to try that soon!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

These is My Words

These is My Words
By Nancy E. Turner

This book is written in Diary format and follows a young girl as her family treks to Arizona and eventually settles there.

It took me a few chapters to really get into the story. I became much more interested once they settled in Arizona. 

I really like Sarah Prine. She is spunky, determined and a little naive. I liked that she knew how to use a gun and that she was such a strong woman. 

I have never read an historical fiction book about Pioneers in the Western Territories and it has made me realize just how difficult their lives were. She faced so many tough and often tragic circumstances. This book has reminded me just how lucky we are. I feel especially grateful for modern medicine.

I enjoyed reading this book but I have to admit that the ending made me a little sad. It just seemed like she was always facing yet another tragedy in her life. Which is probably true in the life of a pioneer but still depressing. I am glad that I have the second book to read now so that doesn't have to be the end of her story for me.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Booking Through Thursday

This weeks Booking through Thursday Question:

All other thing being equal, would you rather read a book that’s hard/challenging/rewarding or light/enjoyable/easy?

I find hard/challenging books to be just as enjoyable and rewarding as reading light/easy books. What is going on in my life at the time really determines which type of book I choose to read.

For example, if I've worked a long day at work or am tired out from taking care of my kids all day, I need something light and easy to relax. I don't want something I have to think too hard about. I just want to escape into a good book. Also if I don't have a lot of time to read, a 30 minutes at lunch time or an hour before bedtime, then something light and easy if perfect. At this point in my life I often choose the easier books because taking care of my children requires so much of my time and energy.

 If I have more time to devote to reading then I will give something more challenging a try.  More challenging books are definitely easier for me to read if I don't have distractions around me. I am sure when my kid are in school and I have a little more free time for myself, I will be able to read those more challenging books more often. Right?


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

TV Shows

There have been a few shows over the years that I have followed from beginning to end.  Shows that became a regular part of my weekly schedule and that I never stopped enjoying. 



Smallville was one of those shows and I sure am missing it this year. We have become big Smallville fans over the years. (I say we because My husband loved this show too.) 

It was such a great show and has been part of my TV routine for the past 10 years. I loved the way they ended the show and was so happy to finally see Clark Kent become Superman. But I still miss it.

I wonder if I will find a new show I love just has much. 


And while I'm on the subject of TV shows ending, Don't you hate it when a show you like gets cancel? 

I think it is especially disappointing when a show you enjoy gets cancelled after only one season or less. I always wonder if I was the only person who liked the show so much.

Here are a couple shows that I loved but only lasted a short time.


Firefly. I'm not sure if I can put into words just how great this show was and I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I can watch the episodes over and over. Of course there are only 14 so that doesn't take long. At least I can watch Nathan Fillion in Castle now. I think he is hilarious!


Tru Calling. I may be one of the few people who watched this show but I thought that the concept was fascinating. I loved it and was so disappointed when it was cancelled shortly into their second season.

So what shows do you miss the most?




Friday, October 28, 2011

Hunger Game Poster release


Hooray!  Character posters for the Hunger Games were released yesterday. I am so excited for this movie! If you want a sneak peak at what the characters are going to look like then you will probably enjoy looking at these as much as I did.

Here is a link for the Posters if you haven't seen them yet.
Hunger Game Posters

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Booking Through Thursday- Hard



BTT Question:

What’s the hardest/most challenging book you’ve ever read? Was it worth the effort? Did you read it by choice or was it an assignment/obligation?

I think the two most challenging books I have read are The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas and  David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


The Three Musketeers took me a long time get through. The story was slow moving but I was determined to finish it. I love the movie and really wanted to read the book. I ended up liking it so I am glad I finished it, I just wished the story line moved a little faster. Maybe it was such a difficult read because it was translated from French?

David Copperfield, as with many of the classics, was hard to read because of the language. Even though it is English, the writing is so different from how we talk today it is sometimes difficult to understand what they are talking about. I read it because I really enjoy reading classics and wanted to try one of Dickens' books. I did end up really liking the story and I think I will try some more of Dickens' novels in the near future. You can read my review of the book Here

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Shanghai Girls

Shanghai Girls
by Lisa See

I really love historical fiction. I love the way it draws you into the time and place that is being described. I always feel like I learn so much from these types of books. There is just something much more interesting about following the lives of these characters then reading a history book.

This book was no exception. Lisa See has done a great job of showing us what it might have been like to live in China at the brink of World War Two and what life for those who choose to come America might have been like. The story follows two sisters who live in Shanghai, where they wear modern clothes and scoff at their parents old fashioned ways. Their lives are thrown into turmoil when their father sells them as brides to pay off his debt. It follows the events that transpire during their escape from China and their attempt for a new life in America. These two sisters face so many trials through out their lives and each one reacted differently to them. It was interesting how the beliefs that they laughed at their parents for  become so important to them later in life.

Although I enjoyed reading this book and thought that the story line was fascinating, I did find this book to be very sad. While they find some success in life, it felt like they were constantly facing new struggles that made it impossible for them to be completely happy. It even ends with them facing a new tragic situation, which made it feel like there wasn't a real conclusion to the novel. Now I find myself wonder what happens next and will they every find happiness in their situation. I would guess that is what the author had in mind since I believe there is a sequel to this story.

Has anyone read the sequel? Is it worth reading?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Booking Through Thursday- Vacation

This week's question:

Do your reading habits change when you’re on vacation? Do you read more? Do you indulge in lighter, fluffier books than you usually read? Do you save up special books so you’ll be able to spend real vacation time with them? Or do you just read the same old stuff, vacation or not?

It depends on what kind of vacation I am going on. Some vacations I have more time to read. Like my family vacation at the cabin last month. The kids had other people to play with and I had a little more free time to spend how ever I wanted, thus I had more time to read.

On the other hand, if we go on a big trip to a place like Disneyland, we spend all day playing and entertaining our kids. Usually by the time we get home I am too tired to do much of anything. Not much reading gets done on those types of vacations.

I don't read anything special or different on vacation. What ever happens to be next on my list or lying around my house.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Forgotten Garden

The Forgotten Garden
by Kate Morton

I am so glad that my aunt introduced me to this novel. It is a wonderful story filled with dark family secrets, hidden gardens, unscrupulous characters and mysterious events. Even though it is a very long novel, I loved every moment and found myself looking forward to continuing the story whenever I had the chance.

The story begins with the discovery of a young girl found all alone on the docks in Australia. No one claims her so she is taken in by a family and raised as one of their own. She does not discover the truth until she is twenty one and spends the rest of her life trying to discover who she really is. All she has to go by is a small white suitcase that she had with her on the boat.

The book jumps between time periods and characters, covering almost a hundred years from 1900- 2005.  I thought it would be confusing and maybe even a little distracting but instead the author was able to weave together a beautiful tale of discovery. As each new secret is unearthed you get to relive the event, you get to see how Nell (the young girl) discovers the truth, and you get to see her granddaughter's discoveries. I loved the way that their stories intertwined and the end result was delightful. 

I loved the Victorian feel to the story with the tales of smugglers, thieves and ghost. And one of my favorite things were the Fairytales found through out the story. I thought they were a wonderful addition and I loved seeing how they reflect the life of the authoress in the story.

The ending was breathtaking. Seriously, It brought tears to my eyes and then I immediately turned to the beginning and started reading parts again. I don't often want to reread a book, especially not right after I finish it, but I wanted to see if I recognize any of the characters in the beginning of the book that maybe I didn't recognize as being important before the mystery was solved. Of course I didn't re read the entire book, it is over 500 pages, but I am curious if I would pick out some clues along the way that I didn't catch before. 

So if you are looking for a great Victorian mystery this is the book to pick up.

Wow, that ended up being a really long post.  What can I say, I really enjoyed the book. :-)


Friday, October 14, 2011

At Risk

At Risk
by Patricia Cornwell

I was talking to a friend about how much I have been enjoying the Temperance Brennan novels because I find the forensics fascinating. She suggested I check out Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta novels. She said enjoyed reading them and the main character Kay Scarpetta is a forensic pathologist.

I actually found this book at a garage sale for 10 cents and decided to give it a try even though it was not one of her Scarpetta novels. I figured I could see if I like her style of writing and if her stories were as interesting as my favorite forensic crime solving books.

Maybe that was a bad idea because after reading this book I have no desire to read any of her other books. I wish I could find something good to say about this book but honestly there was nothing about it that I liked.

I found the plot to be confusing and not well developed. One moment they were trying to solve a crime and the next moment the crime was solved, everything neatly explained. There was mention of DNA analysis but other then that there was very little actually forensics in the book. It just felt like there wasn't much to the story. Plus I did not like any of the characters in the book and found that I did not care if they were successful or not. 

Maybe her Scarpetta novels are better. Maybe they have likable characters. Maybe the plots are more interesting and better developed. But after reading this one I don't think I will be trying them anytime soon.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Booking Through Thursday- Sequel

Here is this weeks question from Booking Through Thursday:

If you could get a sequel for any book, what would it be?

This was another difficult question for me since many of my favorite books already have sequels. (Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter.  Just to name a few)

I think that a sequel to Miss Peregrines Home for Peculiar Children would be great. It ended in a way that kept it open for the story to develop more. I hope that this means there is already one in the works.


What book would you like to read a sequel for?


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Catalyst

Catalyst
by Laurie Halse Anderson

I really enjoy Laurie Halse Anderson's style of writing. Her stories always have something important to say. I am always amazed by the way she can create a world where you understand and feel exactly what the person in her story is going through. 

I did not like this book as much as Speak and Wintergirls but I still thought that it was an interesting story. She once again wrote a story that gave me a new perspective of what it means to be a teenager. In this case the story highlights the struggles and pressures seniors face while trying to make important decisions about their future. It follows a girl who has spent her school years pushing herself to reach her goal of getting into MIT but then does not get accepted. She must then figure out what she wants to do instead. She has spent so many years trying to achieve that one goal she can not grasp the idea of a future with out MIT. It also highlights the opposite end of the spectrum through the relationship that develops between her and neighbor, who is know as a trouble maker at school.

I did not like this story as much because I just didn't like the characters as much. I found the main character Kate to be too whiny and her in ability to focus on anything else beside MIT to be excessive. I also thought that the Neighbor Teri was just plain bad news and I was frustrated that nobody seemed to do much to stop her bad behavior. Of course as the story developed I discovered that there was a lot more to Teri's story and it once again made me reexamine the way I view the world.


So although I found the characters harder to deal with, I still think this is a book worth reading. The struggles that people face are not always easy and this book was a good reminder of that.