Monday, December 23, 2013

A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol
 by Charles Dickens



The other evening A Christmas Carol, staring Patrick Stewart, was on TV and while I was watching it I realized I had never actually read the book.

I decided it would be the perfect book for me to read right before Christmas. Good thing that you can find most Classic novels for free in the Kindle store.

After reading David Copperfield, I was pleasantly surprised that it was not a very long story. I downloaded it that night and finished it a couple nights later.

The movie followed the book, almost word for word, so it was interesting to read it right after watching the movie. I kept picturing Patrick Stewart saying the lines the entire time I read it.

It is a great story and despite the classic style of writing, not to difficult to get through.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Midnight in Austenland


Midnight in Austenland
by Shannon Hale

I was browsing through The Compass Book Ratings Website , looking for some ideas for a book club I'm starting with some friends, and I came across some new books by Shannon Hale. It has been quite some time since I've read anything by her but I always enjoy her books so I was excited to find something new to read.

There were a couple different choices and this is the one that caught my attention first. Although I don't remember the First Austenland book, I do remember that I enjoyed reading it. The movie is also on my to watch list... some day.

It only took me a couple sentences to remember why I like Shannon Hale's books so much. I find her style of writing to be so engaging. I was hooked immediately to the story and couldn't put it down the entire time. This was such a fun read. It had modern relationship issues mixed with mystery, intrigue. This was a story about what it means to be true Jane Austen type of Heroine.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Forever


Forever
by Maggie Stiefvater

I finally finished reading the third book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series. This was by far my favorite book in this series. I would normal say that the first book in a series is always my favorite, but I enjoyed this book much more then the first two.

Not that I didn't like the first two, this one just kept my interested better. I got through this book much faster then the others. I really think that was because the story moved along at a much faster pace. I really wanted to know how it would turn out and if the wolves could be saved.

I was really happy with how she wrapped up their story. It felt like the perfect way to end this series. I love it when a series ends so well. It makes it worth getting through the whole thing.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seizure


Seizure
By Kathy Reichs

I haven't read one of Kathy Reichs' books in a long time but I always enjoy her writing. This is her second young adult book; the sequel to Virals.

It has been quite some time since I read the first book, I don't remember much of the story but that didn't keep me from enjoying this book. She did a good job of bringing me up to speed within the firsts few pages. It also helped that the story was unique enough that even with out any of the history from the first book anyone could follow along and enjoy this story.

I really enjoy mysteries where the characters try to follow clues and solve puzzles and this book was exactly that. In this story they are trying to discover where a legendary pirate treasure is buried. Pirates are always fascinating to me and it was fun to follow along on their search. Once again, a well written and entertaining book. Kathy Reich is definitely one of my favorite Mystery writers.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Tis the Season

The Library had an entire section devoted to Holiday books. Ones about Christmas, Hanukkah, and even Kwanzaa. I love finding new Christmas books to read my boys so we checked out a few to take home.
Here are our favorites:


Santasauras
by Niamh Sharkey

If your kids are into Dinosaurs, this is a cute book about a dinosaur whose Christmas wish is to ride in Santasaurus' sleigh.


Santa Knows
by Cynthia and Greg Leitich Smith

This funny story is about a boy who tries to convince his sister and everyone around that Santa isn't real. His sister refuses to believe him and asks Santa for a nicer brother. Will he change his mind and will his sister get his wish?

 
Just Right for Christmas
by Birdie Black and Rosalind Beardshaw

I loved this story about gift giving. It starts with a perfect piece of red fabric which is used by different creatures to make the perfect gift for loved ones. The perfect story about the joy giving to others.


A Merry Little Christmas; Celebrate from A to Z
by Mary Engelbreit

I always love this author's pictures and this story is no exception. A cute Alphabet book all about Christmas.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Clockwork Princess

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We didn't do any traveling this year but my parents came to visit for a week. We had a great time with them exploring the city. On top of that I have been busy preparing for the Holidays; planning our activities and trying to get all the shopping done early. I was somewhat successful in my goal and even managed to finish a book while I was at it.


Clockwork Princess
By Cassandra Clare

This is the third book in the Infernal Devices Series, which is the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series.

I thought she did a nice job of wrapping this story up. I like when stories neatly explain what happens to everyone and she does just that in this book. I especially liked the last chapter which brings the story back into Modern times, the same time frame as the Mortal Instruments. It made me want to reread that series.

There are definitely some connections to The Mortal Instrument series made in this book. I wish I had read that series more recently so I could have caught on to them sooner. I thought it was very interesting to find out the history of their families.

I really enjoyed this series.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Linger


Linger
by Maggie Stiefvater

I read the first book in this series, Shiver, about 3 years ago. I remembered thinking it was interesting so when I came across this book at the Library I decided to take it home. This book continues the story of Sam, Grace and the Werewolves of Mercy Falls.

It has been so long since I read the last book that I had a hard time remembering everything that happened in that book. This made it a little difficult to understand the characters because they kept referencing things in the past. These references were pretty vague so they often did nothing to jog my memory. I am sure I would have enjoyed the book more if I had read it sooner after I finished the first book.

Like Shiver, it took me a while to get through this book. It moved rather slowly and it didn't feel like much happened in this book. Most of it seemed to be devoted to introducing one of the new pack members, Cole. About who he was and why he wanted to be a wolf.

That being said, I really liked the ending and I am interested in finding out what happens next. If I read the third book relatively soon, maybe I will enjoy it more then this book.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Kids Books

This week we discovered a lot of fun books at the Library. I would say it was a successful trip!


Meow Said The Cow
by Emma Dodd

This book made my boys laugh every time we read it. It is about a cat who doesn't want the rooster to wake him up, so he casts spells to change which noises all the animals make. Cute pictures and fun story.


The Pirates Next Door
by Jonny Duddle

My boys loved this fun story about Pirates who move into town, while their ship is being repaired. The pictures are great. It was fun picking out all the pirate things on each page. The story was cute too.


Skeleton Cat
by Kristyn Crow

This would have been a perfect book to read for Halloween. It was still fun to read, even though we are half way through November... I swear now that I have kids time just seems to fly by! This fun story is about a Skeleton cat who wants to be a drummer in a band. Cute pics and story.

 
Stega Nona
by Tomie dePaola

I remember this book from when I was a kid, about a magical Pasta Pot that won't stop making spaghetti. My boys liked it, especially the ending.

 
The Knight and the Dragon
by Tomie dePaola

This was a fun picture book about a knight who had never fought a dragon and a dragon who had never fought a knight. It is mostly just pictures but my boys really liked looking through this book.

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Book Thief


The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

I kept hearing about this book but never really knew what it was about until I saw a preview for the movie. I was hesitant to read another book about Nazi Germany after my experience reading The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a book that I did not like at all. I happened across The Book Thief while browsing the shelves at the Library and decided to go ahead and give it a try.

I am so glad I did! This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. I loved his style of writing and the way he used his words to really paint a picture of what life for one little girl might have been like in Nazis Germany. Words are so important for this little girl, so it seems very appropriate that  he used words so eloquently to create such a touching story.

I think that Death was the perfect narrator for this story and made for a very interesting perspective of war. I knew it was going to have very sad parts, like all stories set during that time, but I like that the author prepares you for those parts long before they happen. I still cried, a lot, but it didn't feel quite so traumatic when I knew it was coming.

I couldn't put this story down and if you haven't read it yet you should. This is definitely one of the best books I've read about Nazis Germany and the Holocaust. I can't say enough good things about this book. Read it!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Insurgent


Insurgent
by Veronica Roth

I was finally able to pick this book from the Library yesterday. There was a long wait list for it. I guess I wasn't the only person wanting to read it.

I finished 400 pages yesterday. I finished the last 125 pages today. I couldn't put it down. I just had to know what was going to happen. It was one of those stories where there is something bigger going on but the characters just haven't figured it out yet.  I spent the entire book trying to guess what it is, knowing that I probably won't find until the very end.

Like the first book in this series, I really enjoyed this book. It kept me guessing, which is always a good thing, and the story line was riveting. Seriously, I couldn't put it down!

I will admit that at the very end, when the big secret is finally revealed, I didn't understand why so much blood had been shed to hid it.  Honestly, I wasn't sure why it was so dangerous or why the Erudites were so desperate to keep it secret. Any one else read this book and have thoughts on that? Maybe the third book will make that clear for me...

I am loving this series so far. Now I just have to find a way to get my hands on the third book, which just came out and probably has an extra long hold list at the Library!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

This Lullaby


This Lullaby
by Sarah Dessen

This summer I got several of Sarah Dessen's books from the Library for free and I have been slowly working my way through them. This is the last one in my stack. I think this is my least favorite of her books I have read. Along for the Ride is still my favorite.

I really do like her style of writting. Her books are easy to read and the characters are always well written. even if I have nothing in common with them I can alway understand  how they are feeling and why they do the things they do.

The reason why this wasn't my favorite was all the drinking, swearing and references to sex through out this book. Being a book about teenagers, I didn't like that it seemed like every chapter there was some kind of alcohol involved. Not only that but the adults didn't seem to care and even helped provide it at times. I realize that this happens a lot in High School, even if that wasn't my experience, but it bothers me when books for teenagers seem to glorify bad behavior.

However, I will admit that her drinking at such a young age does have a lot to do with the person she had become in the book. She gets drunk at a party where a boy takes advantage of her. Her reaction to that event is to get drunk more and sleep with more boys. She becomes very cynical, not believing in love. So for that reason, I can understand how the behaviors I think are bad, were a major part of her character development. So maybe I shouldn't be so bothered by it?

Hmmm... I guess I'm a little conflicted about this book.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Halloween fun

We check a couple fun books out from the library, which are perfect for this time of year.


Heckedy Peg
by Audrey Wood

This is one of my favorite Audrey and Don Wood books. I adore the pictures and the story! It is an excellent fairy tale, with magic, a wicked witch and a mother determined to rescue her children. I loved this book when I was a kid and my kids liked it too. Yeah!



Hoodwinked
by Arthur Howard

This fun book was read during our Library's story time. The boys liked it so much they insisted on bring it home. It tells about a young witch who searches for the perfect creepy pet. Such a fun read and right in time for Halloween!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Inheritance


Inheritance
By Christopher Paolini

I finally got around to reading the finally book in this series, that started with Eragon. It took me a long time. I didn't realize how big it was until I picked it up from the Library. It is over 800 pages! I remembered, when I started reading it, that his books are king of slow at times. It took forever for anything to really start happening and even when things started moving quicker, it still took an entire chapter to describe one fight. I'll be honest, I get bored reading about fighting when it takes too long.

That being said, I am still glad I read this book. I would have always wondered how the series ended if I hadn't. I thought he wrapped it up well. Although, I thought it would have been neat to have a glimpse of what the future was like for Eragon and Saphire. Then I remembered how long the book was and changed my mind.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy


Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy
By Ally Carter

I just finished reading book 2 in the Gallagher Girl series. I didn't realize when I borrowed the ebook from the library, that I only had one week to finish it. I  had decided to finish another book first before starting this one and then three days ago I received an email informing me that my book loan on my kindle would end in three days. Good thing this was an easy, fun read.

This story follows the same four girls at the Gallagher Academy, a school for spies. I will admit that at times I found this book silly, but it was still fun and I enjoyed the story. I say silly because, similar to the last book, it is written like she is giving a report, so she is constantly making lists. List about A) pros and cons B) course of action they could take  and C)  just about anything else you could possible think of.

I think this series would be especially fun for the younger teen girl crowd. It is a very clean read and has a good mix of girls using their smarts, dealing with boys, and just being friends.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Clockwork Prince


Clockwork Prince
by Cassandra Clare

This is the second book in the Infernal Devices series. This story picks right up from where the last book ended. I didn't get a chance to mention in my review of Clockwork Angel that I really like the artwork on the cover of this series. I can't really explain what I like so much but for some reason they just really grab my attention.

Like that last book, I was completely enthralled by this story and it took my only about a day to finish. I was thankful that I didn't have to wait the entire book to find out what Will's secret was since I had been waiting to find out since that last book. In fact you found out pretty early on in the book, which I thought was great. I think I would have been really annoyed if I had gotten through the entire book and still not know why he acted the way he did.

I could tell from the set up of the last book that there was going to be a love triangle involved in this series and that became very obvious in this book. Sorry for the spoiler but I really think that anyone reading this book would have come to that conclusion early on in the first book. There are definitely more amorous encounters and I was a little worried how far she might take it, but it turned out ok. There was also plenty of action to keep me interested in what was going to happen next.

I thought this was a very entertaining read. I really loved reading more about these characters and I look forward to reading the third book.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Truth About Forever


The Truth About Forever
by Sarah Dessen

As I began this book I wasn't sure if I was going to like it as much as her other books. Was I going to find this girl as relatable? It took me a few chapters but it wasn't long before I was completed drawn into this story. This story is about a young girl who must learn to face and deal with her father's death. In the process she becomes to understand just what she wants in life. I thought it was a very touching story, even if it was predictable at times. I knew early on who she was supposed to end up with and that  despite any obstacles they might face, that they would eventually end up together. But that didn't bother me because it was the journey to that point which was important. She just had to figure out what would make her truly happy first.

This author really has a way of making her characters feel real. Even though her books are about teenagers, I always find that I learn something relevant about life and the struggles people face. I think it is important to understand how others feel, especially if through that understanding you are able to help them in a difficult time. Her books always give me valuable insight into these emotions.

There is some language in this book, more then I remember in her other books, but not too much that it distracted for the story. I am glad I had a chance to read this book. It is emotional, real and in the end a very sweet story about what forever means.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Clockwork Angel


Clockwork Angel
by Cassandra Clare

This is the first book in her Inferno Devices series, which is the prequel to the Mortal Instruments series.    I really liked the Mortal Instruments series so I was excited to give this book a try. Just like the Mortal Instruments, this story tells about a young girl who finds herself involved with Shadow hunters who must fight to keep the Human world safe from Demons and other monsters. The difference was that it is set in Victorian London, instead of Modern day New York.

I liked all the characters in this series just as much as her Mortal Instrument series. Sometimes I worry I might not since I become so attached to the characters in varies books. I thought that the story line was great and I couldn't put this book down. There was plenty of action to keep me craving more. One thing that makes this story great is that it is a prequel. This story will be entertaining even if you haven't read The Mortal Instruments series. At the same time there are references to names (Lightwood and Herondale) and the appearance of Magnus Bane, which will keep fans of that series interested.

As is common with books written in series there are several questions still left unanswered at the end of the book. I have already picked up the next book in the series because I want to know no more, especially about Will, who reminds me of Jace from the Mortal Instruments and who I know is keeping a big secret.