Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Witches

I have always loved supernatural tales for as far back as I can remember. 

One of my favorite collection of books when I was younger was the Series of books by Ruth Chew about Witches.  

The first one I remember reading was Do-it-yourself Magic. I loved it and quickly read any of her other books I could get my hands on. 

The stories always involved children discovering magical items or that their neighbor was a Witch. I loved going on their adventures in magic with them. 

They are no longer in print but I found pictures of some of my favorites. I wonder if I have any of these books in my attic? I may have to dig out my box of childhood books and take a look!

Stories involving magic and witches are still some of my favorites and these books started that. 

Anyone else remember reading these as a child?









Thursday, February 23, 2012

Childhood Inspiration

Remember how I mentioned that I loved all kinds of animal books when I was a kid? 

I have loved animals all my life and growing up I always knew that I would work with animals when I was older.

I even told my counselor in high school that I wanted to work in a Zoo with tigers. She, of course, tried to convince me to pursue a more reasonable career, like becoming a lawyer or a doctor. I resisted.

I became a Veterinary Technician. I worked in a Zoo where I worked with Tigers. I loved it.

I credit my desire to work in a zoo to this vintage book:

It inspired me at a very young age to study something I loved in school.

I wish I could have found my copy of this book. My twin sister (also a Vet Tech) and I loved this book and read it until it was falling apart. It was one well loved book!

I love books. What books have inspired you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Monsters are funny


Here's another book I liked as a kid. 


The Monster at the End of This Book
by Jon Stone

I thought it was hilarious that Grover attempts to stop you from getting to the end of the book. This is a really fun book.

Now it comes as an app. My dad has it on his Ipad and my son thought it was hilarious too. I thought that this was a really fun app because the child can interact with the the story. My son had a lot of fun undoing all the things that Grover does to try to keep the pages from turning.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cut

Cut
by Patricia McCormick

This is a story about a young girl at a treatment facility because she cuts herself. It is written from her perspective and it gives a peek into her thoughts. She rarely speaks through out the novel so most of the story is her describing how her situation makes her feel and how she then deals with it.

She even refers to her therapist as you. For example I didn't tell you or I was waiting at your door, so it really felt like I was reading her thoughts and not just something she would write in a journal. It took me a little bit to get used to the way it was written but I thought it really worked for this story.

This book is only 168 pages so it was a really quick read. I think it would be a great book to read if you had a few hours and wanted read a book from beginning to end in one sitting. I was fascinated but her story and wanted to find out what started her down the path that ended with her at a treatment facility. 

I wished there had been more when the book ended. Which is a good thing right? It meant that I cared about her and her story, which is always a sign of a good book to me.

I felt like I didn't get the entire story because in the book you learn only how she saw the situation. I wanted more details about her family situation and more of a resolution. Not that there isn't some resolution because there is and really when I look back on how the book is written the ending makes sense since it is her thoughts that she is sharing and not a journal or a telling of her story. You would almost need an outside source to get all the information. There are times that the therapist asks her about her family and her response is "isn't that in your files," and of course you never get to read or see into the files so you kind of have to fill in the blanks along the way, based on other things she says.

This was a very interesting story and a really enjoyed reading it. There is something about reading these types of novels that help me gain a greater understanding and compassion for those who suffer from mental illness. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Along for the Ride

Along for the Ride
By Sarah Dessen

This book was basically about a teenager, who spends the summer before heading off to college trying to find herself.  I wasn't sure how I would like this type of book since it is not my usually fare but I found the main character, Auden, very relatable. It didn't take me very long to become wrapped up in her summer adventures as she tries to do the things she never got to do in high school.

I'm not sure if I can really put into words why I found her character so relatable. Her family life and high school experiences were different then mine but for some reason I could still relate to how she was feeling. The only similarities in our experiences were that I also did not go to my Prom and I did not have a lot of dating experiences in high school. I found myself really liking her and even when I thought she was doing something stupid, I could still understand why she made the choices she did.

I also really related to her stepmom, Heidi, as she tried to deal with a colicky newborn. Anyone who has taking care of a newborn can attest to how difficult it can be but taking care of  a baby with colic is a completely different experience. I know because I've done both and taking care of my colicky son was probable the hardest thing I have ever experienced. The extreme lack of sleep and consent crying have a major effect on you emotionally and physically. Something that I'm not great at explaining but I thought this book described it perfectly. I found myself crying along with Heidi, as I remembered the days when I could no longer handle it and just cried inconsolably.

Anyway, enough about me. I really enjoyed this book, even though it was about teenagers being teenagers, because it was so much more them that. Auden learns so much about herself in this novel and I really loved reading about how it changes her outlook on life. This was definitely a fun read.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Unwind

Unwind
by Neal Shusterman

This book takes place in the future where a second civil war as been fought between pro-life and pro-choice groups. To end the war a law was passed which protected life from the moment of conception until the age of thirteen. Between the ages of 13 and eighteen parents could choose to unwind their children. A process that in the eyes of the law kept them alive because every part of the child was given to varies donors. The story follows three unwinds as they try to change their fate.

Honestly, I had a hard time at first accepting the premise of this book and balked at the idea the society would allow something this terrible to happen. Then I remembered that this wasn't the first Sci Fi book I have read where the rules of society had changed drastically. For example, Hunger Games is one of my all time favorite books and it's society puts children in an arena for a fight to the death. So I reminded myself that this was Sci Fi and that I don't have to accept the premise as being completely believable to enjoy the book. 

I ended up really enjoying this book. I thought the characters were interesting. They certainly weren't perfect (What teenager is?) but I grew attached to them. I found myself rooting for them and their survival.  I was still applaud that parents would ever be ok with the idea of unwinding but that helped me understand even better the anger that the unwinds felt.

This was a well written and thought provoking book. Just as you might imagine for a book that pits pro-life against pro-chioce, there were discussions about religion, souls and unwanted babies but not in way I found offensive at all. I thought he did a great job of portraying all the different view points out there so I didn't feel like he was forcing me to pick a side. I had my opinions about abortion before I started reading the book and that opinion did not change after reading it. I remember worrying at one point that this was going to turn into an argument for pro-choice groups but really all he has done is show what can happen when things are taken to the extreme.

If you are looking for something unique this is an excellent choice.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

I'm not much of a romantic. Usually we celebrate Valentine's Day by getting take out and sitting at home watching a movie. Honestly I hate the crowded restaurants and I would just rather spend time together at home.

Sometimes I wish I was more romantic, but I think I'm just too practical.

But if you are a Hopeless Romantic here is a collection of Poems for you. 

Hopelessly Romantic Poems Collection
By Rhonda J. Dolen

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY EVERYONE! 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dinosaurs!

My kids love Dinosaur books. Actually, I really like them too!
Here are some of our favorites:
The Super Hungry Dinosaur
by Martin Waddell

I love the pictures in this book and my boys think the story is hilarious. It is funny plus they love all the growling I have to do while I'm reading it. Grrrrrr!

 How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?
By Jane Yolen and Mark Teague

There are a whole series of How Do Dinosaurs books and if they are as cute as this one, I'm sure I will like them all. I am also hoping my children learn something from this book.


 Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp
by Carol Diggory Shields

I think my kids like this book more then I do but it is a fun little story about a Dino dance party.


When Dinosaurs Came With Everything
by Elise Broach

What little boy wouldn't want a pet dinosaur? I thought this was funny and creative story.


What are your favorite Dinosaur Stories for Children?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Nostalgia


 I really want to see this movie, War Horse.

Even though I haven't seen it yet, just watching the previews make me think of one of my all time favorites, Black Beauty by Anna Sewell.



 I don't know if you can even make comparisons between these to stories but for some reason every time I see a poster or preview for this movie I think of my favorite character from Black Beauty,  Captain the Army Horse. 

I adored Captian because he was the first character from the book I was ever introduce to. I've loved animals my entire life and many of the books I read growing up involved animals. One of my favorite books was a collection of Animal stories which contain excerpts from various novels. Selections from Classics like Moby Dick, Call of the Wild and Wind in the Willows. The selection from Black Beauty was the chapter where Captain tells his story about being an Army Horse. His story will forever be with me now.

This is the main reason that I think of Black Beauty every time I see War Horse advertised. It brings back good memories. If you haven't read the book before you should. It is a beautifully written book.

Oh and the Movie is great too. Well, I haven't seen it in years but I remember liking when I was younger. I'm sure I would still enjoy watching it now.



What things make you nostalgic?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Distant Hours

The Distant Hours
by Kate Morton

"... the friends contained within bindings, page after glorious page of ink, stories that unfold the same way every time but never lose their joy, that take me by the hand and lead me through doorways into worlds of great terror and rapturous delight. "

I loved this quote. I'm not sure if I could describe any clear the way a great book makes me feel.  One of the characters was describing her love of books and I felt an immediate connection to this character and her story.

This was a wonderful novel.  I was completely consumed by this book. Seriously, little else has matter to me other then finding out what happened to the Blythe sisters. My poor house as been neglected and I was happy to let my children play with play-dough all morning so that I could finish this story.  Some books just become all consuming for me and the best thing for me to do is read them as quickly as I can so that I can get back to normal. 

Kate Morton has an amazing way with words. It was so easy to visualize the events and places she described that I felt like I was a part of the story. She jumps from past to present with such ease and slowly the story unfolds, revealing dark, hidden secrets.

I loved the gothic atmosphere of this story, which follows the mysterious lives of three sisters who live in a castle in the country side. There are secret passages, ghostly voices, buried secrets, a decaying castle and a family history of mental illness. What's not to love? 

Their secrets begin to unravel after a letter is delivered fifty years late to a women who spent a year with the family in her youth. Her daughter feels drawn to the castle and the things her mother has not told her about all these years.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a fantastic mystery. Every time I thought I had figured out the mystery, a new secret would be revealed and I would be left wanting to know more. If you like gothic mysteries, you will love this book.




Friday, February 3, 2012

Everlost


Everlost
by Neal Shusterman

I think I may have found my new favorite young adult author. I loved this book and I can not wait to read the next one in the series.

This story follows two young people who die in a car crash but bump into each other and end up in a world between life and death, called Everlost. They must come to terms with their deaths and learn all they can about the world they have become a part.

I loved the concept of this book. It was such a unique and interesting story. I found myself trying to figure out the world of Everlost,  along with the characters. Even though I guessed the truth behind some of the other kids lost there, I still enjoyed every moment of this story. 

I love Neal Shusterman's style of writing and he really as a knack for coming up stories that have unique and thought provoking ideas.  I don't want to give to much of the story away but I loved how the kids appearances change based on how they remembered themselves. That was such a fascinating idea to me.

This was a really fun book to read. Yup, that's right, a book about two kids dying in a car crash was fun to read.That may sound strange but you should give this series a try. There are so many great characters  with lots of personality, which always makes for a good read.

This first book was great and I'm excited to see what happens next to the characters. I can tell it's going to be good!

The Hunger Games Theatrical Trailer #2



Another Trailer.... I'm getting so excited for this movie. I hope it is as good as it looks!