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.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Booking Through Thursday- Odd

Here is this weeks question:

What’s the oddest book you’ve ever read? Did you like it? Hate it? Did it make you think?

This was a hard question for me. The definition of what a person finds odd could mean so many different things.

 A few different books came to mind for me. Some I liked, others I didn't.

The first book I thought of was Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. A book about a man who turns into a cockroach, it doesn't get much odder then that. I remember reading this for a summer reading assignment and thinking that it was very strange story. I didn't hate it but I didn't love it either.

Another book that came to mind was Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I thought that the entire story was bizarre. I just didn't get it and ended up hating the book. I know it is really popular but I don't understand the appeal.

The Last book  I think is odd, but in a good way, is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galazy by Douglas Adams . This book combines some of my favorite things,  British humor and Sci Fi. I thought that this book was hilarious and loved all the odd twist and turns the story took. There were so many funny little things in this book that I just loved. My favorite was the chronically depressed robot, Marvin. I loved that character.

What kind of books do you find Odd?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon 
by Crockett Johnson

I remember finding this book very entertaining when I was a kid. It was exciting to see what Harold would draw next with his purple crayon.

I checked it out of the library last week for my three year old and guess what? He loves it too. 

He wants me to read it to him over and over. And you know what? I don't mind. I still think it is a fun story. 

What have you been reading to your kids lately?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Lightning Thief

Percy Jackson & The Olympians, Book 1: The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

I have been meaning to read this series for awhile. My husband started reading this book a few weeks ago so once he finished, it was the perfect opportunity for me to read it.

I enjoyed this book. It is about a young boy who discovers that his father is one of the greek Gods and who must then discover what kind of Hero he will become. It was a very entertaining story. I liked the characters and it made me want to brush up on my greek mythology.

This is a children's book and the writing is definitely geared towards the tween crowd (9-12 year olds). I think this would be a great book for kids who don't like to read as much. It is exciting and a full of adventures. I always like books that can help get more kids reading.

My husband has already started book 2, so I am sure I will read it when he has finished. Or maybe I will get some reading time in while he is at work. ;-)