Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Book of Lost Things - John Connolly

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages: 480
Challenges: Once Upon a Time, tl;dr
Synopsis (From
High in his attic bedroom, twelve-year-old David mourns the death of his mother, with only the books on his shelf for company. But those books have begun to whisper to him in the darkness. Angry and alone, he takes refuge in his imagination and soon finds that reality and fantasy have begun to meld. While his family falls apart around him, David is violently propelled into a world that is a strange reflection of his own -- populatedby heroes and monsters and ruled by a faded king who keeps his secrets in a mysterious book, The Book of Lost Things.
Taking readers on a vivid journey through the loss of innocence into adulthood and beyond, New York Times bestselling author John Connolly tells a dark and compelling tale that reminds us of the enduring power of stories in our lives.
I can summarize this book by saying it is the Wizard of Oz in a forest with side aventures through off-kilter fairy tales. For example, Snow White calls the dwarfs by number. She has lost her beauty and is very demanding. The dwarfs are praying for a prince to take her off their hands. I thought it was pretty gory and graphic for a young adult book. It did keep my interest though!
Dewey has also finished this book recently and her review is here she really liked the book.

Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages: 238
Challenges: First in a Series, Novella Challenge
This is the first book in the Little House in the Woods series. You might remember the show with Michael Landon and Melissa Gilbert. ;) Here they live close to their family and get help harvesting, they eat Sugar Snow (living in Minnesota they make Maple Syrup from the trees and put it on the snow). There were lots of fun little stories in this book. In fact I felt more like it was a collection of short stories than a book, which is OK.
I didn't like the book a lot. I listened to it on audio and I had a few problems with it on Audio. First off how can you read the book and not imagine Melissa Gilbert as Laura. Secondly the voice on the audio was clearly a mature woman - I would have expected someone who could sound like a young girl. I think that I would enjoy this series in a few years reading it with my daughter - from the books! It will be fun sharing the stories with her and seeing her face as she listens to the stories. I do think it is appropriate for young children, since no big traumas happened in the book (i.e. no violence, death or relationship actions that need to be explained). Also because it seems more like short stories it would be a good book to read a chapter at a time. It wasn't a bad book I just didn't enjoy it for the time and place that I am now.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Drums of Change - Janette Oke

Rating:2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages: 240
Challenge: Reading Full Circle, Novella Challenge, A-Z Challenge (D Title)
Synopsis (from
A young Indian girl must make a choice between the old ways of her people, the man she loves, and the white man's religion.
I just had to put in the Barnes & Nobel synopsis. Talk about summarizing a book in one sentence! I didn't think this book was excellent but I can think of more than one here goes
My Synopsis
Running Fawn (notice I took on the challenge of using the character's name in the synopsis...just to prove I have read the book) and her Indian Tribe are at a pivotal point for their generation. The Indian Tribe is going through a transition to live on the White Man's Indian Reserve (after the Buffalo was eliminated and their food source was completely gone). A White man (the tribe calls him "Man with book") joins the tribe to teach them the Gospel. He starts a school and takes a special interest in Running Fawn and Silver Fox (the Chief's son). After the school has to disband Man with book convinces the tribe to let Running Fawn and Silver Fox to a boarding school to learn the ways of the white man. When Running Fawn learns her father is ill she leaves the school to meet up with the tribe. Silver Fox realizing she is in trouble follows her to help her make it to the tribe. This book has a little Christian inspiration, a little history, and a little romance.
Although the book has a little of the topics it is very little. The concept is good and there are some American Indian books that I have loved, but this one missed the mark. I think that there were a lot of different parts of the history that could have been explored and the romance happened in the last chapter of the book. If you want to read Jannette Oke I would recommend Love Comes Softly.
By the way- was my synopsis better than B&N?

24 Hour Read-A-Thon

Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf is hosting her second 24 hour read-a-thon! This will be my first time participating but I observed in October and it looked like a blast!! So this year I am joining and I am going to be a cheerleader! It is June 28 & June 29 starting at 9:00 Pacific DST - which is noon for me in Louisville. Let me know if you are going to join!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Golden Compass - Philip Pullman

Rating: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)
Pages: 299
Challenge: 1st in a Series
Synopsis (from
The action follows 11-year-old protagonist Lyra Belacqua, accompanied by her daemon, from her home at Oxford University to the frozen wastes of the North, on a quest to save kidnapped children from the evil 'Gobblers,' who are using them as part of a sinister experiment. Lyra also must rescue her father from the Panserbjorne, a race of talking, armored, mercenary polar bears holding him captive. Joining Lyra are a vagabond troop of gyptians (gypsies), witches, an outcast bear, and a Texan in a hot air balloon.
I thought this book was ok. I went in with some preconceived notions that I don't think helped the book and was really expecting it to be better. I thought it was too violent for the age range. I think it will be interesting to see the movie, but I don't think I will be reading any of the other books in the series. Amazing I figured I would have to read all the books of all the series!

The Opposite of Love - Julie Buxbaum

Rating: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)

Pages: 306

Challenge: Pub Challenge

Synopsis (from
With perfect pitch for the humor and heartbreak of everyday life, Julie Buxbaum has fashioned a heroine who will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has loved and lost and loved again.When successful twenty-nine-year-old Manhattan attorney Emily Haxby ends her happy relationship just as her boyfriend is on the verge of proposing, she can’t explain to even her closest friends why she did it. Somewhere beneath her sense of fun, her bravado, and her independent exterior, Emily knows that her breakup with Andrew has less to do with him and more to do with...her. “You’re your own worst enemy,” her best friend Jess tells her. “It’s like you get pleasure out of breaking your own heart.”As the holiday season looms and Emily contemplates whether she made a huge mistake, the rest of her world begins to unravel: she is assigned to a multimillion-dollar lawsuit where she must defend the very values she detests by a boss who can’t keep his hands to himself; her Grandpa Jack, a charming, feisty octogenarian and the person she cares most about in the world, is losing it, while her emotionally distant father has left her to cope with this alone; and underneath it all, fading memories of her deceased mother continue to remind her that love doesn’t last forever.How this brave, original young heroine finally decides to take control of her life and face the fears that have long haunted her is the great achievement of Julie Buxbaum’s marvelous first novel. Written with the authority, grace, and wisdom of an author far beyond her years, The Opposite of Love heralds the debut of a remarkable talent incontemporary fiction.


I thought this book was ok. I thought it started a little slow and I was a little disappointed because I thought the prologue gave too much away and I knew how the book would end. I think I would have liked this more with more suspense. I wouldn't have read the prologue first if I knew it was going to give so much away.

Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer

Rating: 5 Better than a new Derby Hat and the winning horse (¨¨¨¨¨)
Pages: 337
Challenge: A-Z Challenge (P Author)
What would you do if an Asteroid hit the Moon completely changing the way you live? This book explores this concept through the diary of Miranda a 15 year old girl. This book is FABULOUS! I do warn you though - after chapter 2 I dare you to put it down! If you are participating in any of the upcoming read-a-thons this would be a great book for it.

There are a lot of things in this book where I was thinking I would never think to do that!! I feel better prepared now in case of a tragedy and really don't think I have enough cash to liquidate!!
Miranda has an older brother and a younger brother plus her Mom and they have a good friend who lives down the street Mrs. Nesbitt. It is the story of how Miranda's family stays together through terrible life events. The asteroid hits the moon and forever changes the Earth's atmosphere and life itself. I highly recommend this book!
I will be reading the companion book Dead and Gone about a boy in New York and how the asteroid hitting the moon has affected him and his family. I will save this for the 48 Hour Read a-thon coming up in June! I know it will be a book that will keep me up all night reading. Plus Susan Beth Pfeffer is writing a continuation to Life As We Knew It that I can't wait to read, but since she is still writing it I expect that it won't be out for a while. I will be giving this book as gifts this year!!

I read this for Becky's Book Club - everyone loved the book you can read some of our comments here.

Free Books Received!

First. Thanks to Dewey at The Hidden Side of the Leaf for the great book the Cake Thief. My daughter (20 months) and I love it! If you haven't checked out Dewey's blog I highly recommend it. She hosts a 24 hour Read-a-thon that I am anxiously awaiting as well as many other fun challenges...and the Bookworm Carnival which I will be hosting in September!

I also received Songs for the Missing by Steward O'Nan from the Barnes and Noble First Look book club. This is the June choice. Anyone else reading this for the book club? I read The Sister for the B&N First Look Book Club as well. I am looking forward to this book.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Senator's Wife - Sue Miller

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages: 305
Challenges: Pub Challenge
Synopsis (From B&N)
Once again Sue Miller takes us deep into the private lives of women with this mesmerizing portrait of two marriages exposed in all their shame and imperfection, and in their obdurate, unyielding love. The author of the iconic The Good Mother and the best-selling While I Was Gone brings her marvelous gifts to a powerful story of two unconventional women who unexpectedly change each other’s lives.Meri is newly married, pregnant, and standing on the cusp of her life as a wife and mother, recognizing with some terror the gap between reality and expectation. Delia Naughton—wife of the two-term liberal senator Tom Naughton—is Meri’s new neighbor in the adjacent New England town house. Delia’s husband’s chronic infidelity has been an open secret in Washington circles, but despite the complexity of their relationship, the bond between them remains strong. What keeps people together, even in the midst of profound betrayal? How can a journey imperiled by, and sometimes indistinguishable from, compromise and disappointment culminate in healing and grace? Delia and Meri find themselves leading strangely parallel lives, both reckoning with the contours and mysteries of marriage, one refined and abraded by years of complicated intimacy, the other barely begun.Here are all the things for which Sue Miller has always been beloved—the complexity of experience precisely rendered, the richness of character and emotion, the superb economy of style—fused with an utterly engrossing story that has a great deal to say to women, and men, of all ages.
I didn't really like this book and I had a really hard time understanding the ending. Why all of the sudden did Delia decide that she wanted to change her reaction to something that had been going on for years. The entire book was told by 2 perspectives until then end when you get only one perspective. It was frustrating, but truly I didn't like much else during the book, so this probably wouldn't have changed my opinion.

The Summer I Dared - Barbara Delinsky

Rating: 3 Third Place Win(···)
Pages: 512
Challenges: Chunkster 2008, A-Z Challenge (S Title)
Synopsis (from B&N)
What comes after the moment that forever changes your life?
This question haunts Julia Bechtel, Noah Prine, and Kim Collela, the only survivors of a terrible boating accident that claims the lives of nine other people off the coast of Maine.
Julia, a 40-year-old wife and mother, has always taken the path of least resistance. Feeling strangely connected to Noah, the divorced, brooding lobsterman who helped save her life, Julia begins to explore the unique possibilities offered by the quiet island of Big Sawyer, Maine. Suddenly, things that once seemed critical lose significance, and things that seemed inconsequential take on a whole new importance. With each passing moment, each new discovery, Julia grows more sure that after coming face to face with death, she must have more from life.
The Summer I Dared is a deeply moving story of the risky but rewarding search for self, and the irrepressible ability of the human spirit to rebound from disaster and to make life anew.
I had a hard time determining if this should be rated a 3 or a 4. I was also reading Life As We Knew it and you know when you are reading a really good book it skews what you think of all the others, so my rating might be a little skewed. I like Delinsky's book and will continue reading them. I did enjoy Family Tree more you can see my review here. This is a good relationship book with a litte mystery thrown in. There were points that I wanted to shake Julia because she was letting people treat her so bad.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Weekly Geeks #3

1. What is the earliest book you remember loving?
The first book I ever read on my own was The Cat in the Hat. I remember reading the Betsy Books (sorry I don't know the titles or authors now) The first book I really loved and related to was Are You There God It's Me Margret by Judy Blume.

2. When you were younger, which book characters did you want to be in your circle of friends?
Books were a big escape for me. I had a rough childhood and I escaped into books. So I wanted to have them all as my friends!

3. What books do you have nostalgia for as an adult?

Hmm...I am not sure which book I have nostalgia for. I have more nostalgia for the time I had to read. I remember sitting in bed all day reading...oh if only I could do that again. :)

4. What books do you wish to share with the kids in your life?
All of the Harry Potter and Judy Blume books (well maybe not Forever!). I can't wait to read chapter books with my little girl. We read lots of toddler books. Most importantly I hope that she has a love for reading - so in reality I will read anything she wants to read!

5. More philosophical question--- how do you think your childhood reading shaped what you like to read as an adult?
I think for me the question is more how reading impacted my life as a child. As I said I had a very difficult childhood. I think books gave me a way out. I knew that the most important thing was to get an education and with that I could go anywhere. I could especially break out of the poverty that we lived in. Seeing my "friends" in books get their accomplishments I knew that I could achieve my goals. For me books also keep me from being materialistic if that makes sense. I don't care what I own, as long as I have a library card and can read!

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Shelf Life has a great post on some of the changes in the LA Library and they aren't good. One of the changes is not purchasing books? Huh? How can you have a library with no books? I thought the article was interesting and makes me feel like I should get involved in my library to become an advocate! California tends to be a trend setter in many ways I hope this is not one of them!! Hop over and take a look at her blog. Let me know what you think!

Mothers Day

Mothers reading. :( Unless you count children's books! Here is one that we got from the library and we like a lot...Big Reg Tub - Julia Jarman - we have read it 3 times in the last hour! :) It is a cute book.
My heart and prayers go out to all the people affected by the Tornado's in Missouri and Oklahoma last night. I used to live in tornado alley in Illinois and our town got hit once, but nothing like the devastation last night.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Becky's Book Club

I started reading Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer for Becky's Book Club...if you want a quick read you should pick this book up!! I am 40 pages into it and LOVING it!! The book club just started yesterday so you still have time to participate and believe me this is a book that you want to read it all in one sitting. I wish I could!! Unfortunately my 20 month old doesn't understand - "Mommy is reading" well in that regard neither does my husband!! :) LOL! I am hoping that I might get some extra times since tomorrow is Mother's day. We'll see....
This book is fabulous!! Let me know if you decide to join or if you have read this! I would be interested in your thoughts!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Weekly Geeks #1

Dewey at the Hidden Side of the Leaf is hosting a weekly blogging "challenge". This week's is

1. Look through the list of blogs on the Mr Linky below and see if you can find five that are new to you. If you can’t, find as many new blogs as possible and then some you don’t read super regularly.
2. Visit those new blogs. A comment would be nice; people like comments.
3. When you’re ready, at some point by Friday if you want to be included in the blurbs next week, write a post in your blog featuring those new blogs you visited.
4. Don’t forget to come back here and leave a link to your post, so that I can get it into the blurbs!

Here is who I visited. I started at the bottom of the list, since I am late signing up I thought some of these might be too and possibly didn't have many visitors. :)

1. Mog - Mog and I like to visit some of the same blogs but I haven't read hers yet. What a nice surprise. She also has a scenario. You have to urgently go to the airport and don't have time to grab a book what do you do? :) A horrifying scenario for me! Also Mog has some new challenges that I haven't seen, but they are around the classics and I am not in a classics mood right now - so shockingly enough there is a challenge that I am not joining!!

2. Indextrious Reader - Melanie is celebrating National Poetry Month with several great posts on poetry! There is also a great post on March 20 about books that have chocolate in their titles. Also did you know it's International Polar Year? I didn't.

3. The Stuffed Shelf - First off Suzie has the best name, it makes me think of my stuffed TBR shelf. Somehow I am reading more books from the library then the books that I own...or I purchase more than I read - probably both! We are both in some of the same challenges and seem to enjoy some of the same books!

4. Foreign Circus Library - Colleen is a US Military wife who I think is overseas. She is in a book club that read the Book Thief which she liked. I think she is right in saying that a lot of people probably won't read this book because it is Young Adult. I know if I didn't see so many people blogging I probably wouldn't have known about it. But all the bloggers out there have got me reading Young Adult books too, which is great because now I have some recommendations for teens who I know.

5. My Year of Reading Seriously - CJ is reading through Janet Evanovich's number series. She is also in a few of the challenges we are in. :) Spring Thing and 2008 is getting late so I don't have more time to explore. :( bummer...

Thanks Dewey!! It was fun to explore other people's blogs!

April Summary

April was a book-buster month for me!! The most books I have read since starting to track what I am reading! Amazing. Here is the summary...

April Totals
Total Books: 8 (4 Audio, 4 physical)
Total Pages: 2,985

Fun Reading Facts (ytd)
Total books read: 20
New authors: 14
Mystery: 0
Non-Fiction: 0
Fiction: 20
DNF: 2
Audio: 8
YA: 2
Pages: 7,239

2008 Challenges Finished
Themed Reading -4 books completed!

Did Not Finish: The Cure for the Modern Life - Lisa Tucker (90 pages)

Quilters Apprentice - Jennifer Chiaverini

Rating: 4
Pages: 272
Challenges: 1st in a Series, Spring Thing, A-Z Challenge: Q title

Synopsis (from
Tangled, anxious thoughts relaxed when she felt the fabric beneath her fingers and remembered that she was creating something beautiful enough to delight the eyes as well as the heart, something strong enough to defeat the cold of a Pennsylvania winter night. She could do these things. She, Sarah, had the power to do these things.

From debut novelist Jennifer Chiaverini comes The Quilter's Apprentice, a delightful, timeless story of loyalty and friendship.
When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to the small town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, to get a fresh start, Sarah struggles to find a fulfilling job. Disheartened by failed interviews, she reluctantly accepts a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale after the recent death of Sylvia's estranged sister. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this reclusive, cantankerous master quilter.

During their lessons, Mrs. Compson slowly opens up to Sarah, sharing powerful, devastating stories of her life as a young woman on the World War II home front. Hearing tales of how Mrs. Compson's family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, Sarah is forced to confront uncomfortable truths about her own family -- truths that she has denied for far too long. As the friendship between the two women deepens, Mrs. Compson confides that although she would love to remain at her beloved family estate, Elm Creek Manor exists as a constant, unbearable reminder of her role in her family's misfortune. For Sarah, there can be no greater reward than teaching Mrs. Compson to forgive herself for her past mistakes, restoringlife and joy to her cherished home.

Heartfelt and inspiring, The Quilter's Apprentice teaches deep lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood -- and about creating a life as you would a quilt: with time, love, and patience, piecing the miscellaneous and mismatched scraps into a harmonious, beautiful whole.

I really enjoyed this book and plan on reading the series. My Mother and Grandmother are quilters and I have gone to the Paducah, Kentucky quilt show that is mentioned in the book with my Mother. Mom has taught me how to quilt but I rarely have time to try! I am lucky to have many handmade quilts from my Mom, Grandmother, and Aunt Teresa. I would love to go to Elm Creek to a Quilt retreat - and I think my Mom would too! I really enjoyed the history of the quilts and am looking forward to more of the series.

This was my initial concern joining the 1st in a Series Challenge...I would have to read ALL the books in the series!! Ha! I have started a Series List here. It's a good way for me to track what books are left.