December 31, 2008

Lewis Carrol: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

There are many books I missed as a child that others generally read enough times to sometimes even memorize. It wasn't that my mother never read to me because I remember reading in the rocking chair with her many times. It was my favorite thing because it was when I had alone time with her in a single parent family of four people in those days. I just for some reason never got to some of them. I was a poor reader until my teens. Before anyone misjudges and thinks it was a call for attention, I had a partial learning disability that I didn't overcome until I was older. Two of the stories absent from my childhood were Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

I spent the first half of my childhood with four other kids in the house, all of them younger. Our favorite things to do involved watching movies again and again before playing and acting them out in the backyard. We'd have them memorized. This is one way I came to know a good deal of the Alice stories without ever having read them until I read the first of the two this month. It was from the movie that I came to recognise and fall in love with the Cat Formerly Known as Cheshire in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, a much-loved and favorite series of mine.

I first heard about Fforde's books while in high school but never got around to reading them until college. This was about six months after I first read Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre in a women's literature class, a book which strongly ties to the first in the Thursday Next series, The Eyre Affair. About that time was when I really and truly began to fall in love with books, and after getting further along in the Thursday Next series the thing I thought most amazing would be to have a stuffed Cheshire Cat toy. I wanted to keep one amongst my own small pile of books to mimic the Great Library in Jasper Fforde's created Book World. As of Christmas last week I now have one, and quite a good deal more books since then that it can actually be considered a small library for him to sit amongst. I was very excited and happy for the gift.

The Thursday Next series pretty much taught me all that I didn't learn from Disney's created Alice film up until now. It's usual for one to watch a book made into a movie and say, "What did they do with this or that scene?" For some reason I had it in my head that there was a good deal more in Disney's film than what I've read in Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I dare say I need to re-watch the film I once knew by heart. Speaking of hearts, the deck of cards is hilarious. Alice is a peculiar sort of girl in a time not quite our own any longer. I'm happy to be reading it at last. My book is a two-in-one and I plan to begin the second story very soon. After that I may at long last read the much curious Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.

December 30, 2008

Vicki Myron: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

I first saw Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World when LibrayThing announced the Early Reviewer books that were available a few months ago. It immediately appealed to me and I requested it but was chosen for a different book instead. I saw it in stores while shopping with my mother before I'd known I wouldn't be receiving it and had to tell her about it right away. Cat lover that she is as well, she took it home that day.

Those of you who've seen the cover know Dewey is an orange tabby and so it sat for a while before either of us would read it. We lost our own sweet blond tabby, Aloof, in March and so each of us had a desire for reading and yet not reading this book. We knew it would come with heart ache.

My mother wasn't half way through reading Dewey when she announced that she wasn't going to allow me to read it because she said it would hurt me too much. She said Dewey shared many of the same characteristics as Loofy. This is a woman who seven months ago held her tears for him away and cried alone to keep me from her pain because she knew mine was great with him being extraordinarily special to me as well. She didn't tell me much from the book at all as she read but eventually announced (SPOILER) that Dewey would die and that it was the biggest reason for her keeping it from me. (END spoiler.)

I waited but as the holidays drew nearer and this was to be the first Christmas without Loofy, I asked for the book one night. I didn't begin reading it until the morning during a free half hour before work. All I got through was one chapter before turning up at work blurry-eyed after clearing away tears.

Dewey remained a very touchy and emotional book for me but many of the tears weren't just for my sadness but for reminders of happy memories of my own sweet tabby. I cried for the little kitten who was abandoned early on (Dewey and Loofy), the cat who had to have the Dewey-Carry (Dewey and Loofy), and the cat who had to be right there in the middle of everything (Dewey and Loofy). Part of my avoiding writing about this book (yes, I avoided it) was as one might guess because of Loofy. I want to read this book again some day and yet it is one of those books that need only be read once because of how it touched me.

(SPOILER.) Like Vicki Myron, I knew my baby's time was limited as the life of all things must be. She knew Dewey's day would come and prepared for it while I was never able to. I could not see a life without Loofy. It seemed the clock should have stopped with his failing heart. I was almost hit by a car the morning after he died on the way to work feeling at the time that I didn't care if it would or not. (END spoiler.) While our dear furry friends are our pets, sometimes they are a great deal more than any non-animal lover could imagine. They are our companions, our children, and our greatest friends. (SPOILER.) I am sorry Dewey's last day was reached but am happy he lived his long and full, something my sweetie did not.

(SPOILER continued.) I can understand why this book was written. It was to share Dewey's story to those who knew part or all of Dewey's life already. It was also to share it with those who never had the pleasure and opportunity of meeting or knowing about him. Further still, it was so Dewey would always have a place on a bookshelf as he did before, not in one but now in many libraries. It also placed him as always before in the lap of a reading human, where he so often slept in the small town library of Spencer, Iowa. (END spoiler.)

I recommend this book not simply to cat lovers, but those of small towns, those fond of books and libraries, and those who are perhaps looking for the beauty of a very special connection between not two beings but between many. Dewey is a book to be cherished not simply about the love for an amazing cat by a small community but for the love of the world at large for him and his own great love for the world.

From the last few photo shots of Loofy taken in February of 2008 while we were on LibraryThing. "Get off the computer and pay more attention to me!"

December 14, 2008

More Books

It's been over two months since I posted a bookpile, so here is the latest pile of books that have made their home among my bookshelves.

Bought new: Cancer Vixen, Rebel Angels, Love & Lies, You Suck, The Journal of Curious Letters
Bought used: The Book of Lost Things
BookMooch: Firefly
PaperBackSwap: Dreams Underfoot, Blood and Chocolate, Orxy and Crake, Then He Ate my Boy Entrancers, Beauty
Gifts: Shade, The Tales of Beedle the Bard
Early Reviewers: Mistress of Mellyn

It'll take me a while to get to all of these so I will say a little about some of them now. I've just realized I didn't include the two books I got copies of but have already read. These are Dreams Underfoot and Blood and Chocolate.

The first of these two remains the first book of one of my favorite series, Newford, by Charles de Lint. It's not a novel, however it's full of many short stories and is therefore great at introducing people to Newford, a fantasy series. The author insists there isn't any particular order for this series and says to jump in anywhere. One of my favorites was The Onion Girl, which I strongly recommend to anyone who was sexually abused. It's a book about healing and conquering your fears, or in this book's case, your torturer. Widdershins is likewise great, though should not be read before the previously named book. Another great novel and favorite of mine in the series is Memory and Dream, a book about an artist whose paintings come to life.

Blood and Chocolate is something I haven't read in ages but which was made into a movie not all that long ago. The movie is terrible and a completely different story than the book.

Cancer Vixen is a comic book of a true story about one woman's battle with breast cancer. There was actually a line of nice-smelling beauty products selling alongside this book by the brand C.O. Bigelow beginning in October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I'm hesitant to say anything about Rebel Angels since I'm currently reading it. However, I've been reading it since the start of November, so this will tell you it does not hold my interest. Book one in the series was far better. Book two took one idea from book one and went off on it, wandering away from my mind's interest.

Love & Lies is a follow up of a character I read about in another book which she'd been a side character in. It's about a girl with a passion for writing and a goal to write a novel within a one year time span.

I wasn't doing my homework when I picked up You Suck. The series came highly recommended to me by friends and so I checked all through it in search of some type of book order. Finding none, I bought this one...and then found out in the car on the way home that it's actually book two. (Book one hadn't been in stock, or else I would have known upon seeing it's title. I had forgotten what it was.)

The Journal of Curious Letters is another book that came as highly recommended to me. Some say it's a great book to read for those that are fans of the Harry Potter series and are in search of something to read. I'm eager to read it but think it will have to wait till after the holidays.

Beware should you find yourself wanting to read The Book of Lost Things. It may only be found among the lost things. I lost it the very day I purchased it and found it a month later. Others have very similar stories, so I dare say it comes with a curse for those who get their copy from a library. It does sound like a very good book, however. My best advise is not check it out and, if you are going to borrow it, only borrow it from a very good friend. Also, read it quickly so as it will not do a disappearing act during your reading.

I've only read the first four books from the Georgia Nicholson series but purchased book six despite not yet reading book five. I did this for my thirteen-year-old sister who has taken a great interest in the series. She loves humor and so this is perfect for her. I likewise find them humorous, love the English phrases, and they are perfect quick reads to finish in a couple of hours. She has learned what the phrase 'boy entrancers' mean from me since I was quick to make sure she didn't get any ill ideas from it, and one day I heard our mother shouting, "You played with my fake eyelashes?!" I knocked on my sister's door and discreetly told her she was wanted for messing with someone else's boy entrancers. I found the whole thing very amusing.

I've heard some great things about some of Robin McKinley's books. Sadly, my first experience with one of her books was a bad one. I think it was Spindle's End that I had purchased and opened the book to the first page to begin reading when I found every other sentence to contain parenthesis around it. I couldn't read like that. I tried anyways, scanned some pages in advance, and soon gave up. All the pages were the same. Hopefully Beauty will be much different. I believe it's one of two books I've heard to be the author's best. I'm going to try to give her works another shot. Beauty is the retelling of the fairytale Beauty and the Beast.

Shade does not sound like any other other vampire story I have ever read. It's an adult fiction (versus young adult fiction) mystery book. I'm very curious how it will turn out.

Mistress of Mellyn is part romance, part mystery, part gothic, and part fiction. It's said to be good for those who really enjoyed books such as Jane Eyre and Rebecca, the first of which I've read a few times and is one of my favorites. I've as of yet to read or purchase the other.

My TBR pile is currently 151 books, though one of these is a book I am currently reading and borrowing from someone else.

December 11, 2008

J.K. Rowling: The Tales of Beedle the Bard

It was one year ago this month that the miniature and extreme limited edition of perhaps six copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard was auctioned off online. It dazzled us after we spent our summer reading the last installment of the Harry Potter series, but what were the chances of getting a copy. Handled by white gloves in such an extremely tiny print and high price (to an excellent cause, of course), I had given up on ever being able to read this book as I think others did, too.

One day many of us grew excited that the secretive stories within this book would actually become available to not a select few but to the general public for all to read. The release day came a week ago today and I have deliberately waited for the time to pass before writing about it here. As a Harry Potter fan and bibliophile, I know the pains of reading spoilers and will give not a detail away.

That said, all there is left to say is that this was a wonderful book. I really enjoyed reading the fairy tales, stories read within the original series which as readers outside the story, we do not see until our eyes may rest on it themselves with this book. With the reading of this story, I want to reread the final book, something I used to do with the most recently published Harry Potter book every December. It's left me sad because the series itself is complete and there isn't any more to come. The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a book I plan on rereading. It will make a wonderful addition to my Harry Potter books and reference books. I'm very grateful Rowling has allowed us all to read it, happy about the charity it's purchase goes toward, and hope she will write again soon.

November 21, 2008

Twilight: The Movie

The local paper we have delivered always provides major spoilers and harshly criticises and bashes the movies I read about. I only read them because I am interested in seeing them, so it's kind of an upsetting situation. I know to ignore my newspaper. Can we ignore the internet in this day, though? It's tough to ignore the information that you know is a mouse click away. It's harder yet to ignore the bold print article headlines that come on your e-mail provider's homepage provided for you. I value those places that are free of spoilers and that do not slam down movies I am interested it, and because one of the books I really love was made into a movie and just released in theaters today, I am going to write about it here. It is my goal to provide as little in the way of spoilers as possible.

This is the poster we see everywhere. It's on bookcovers, calenders, t-shirts, and desktops. It's on bookmarks, buttons, and, until last night, countdowns. It's in the hall of the movie theaters where some of us passed it staring in excitment hardly able to believe another book we really enjoyed has been made into a movie.




November 20, 2008

BookMooch 101

Since I'm having trouble reading lately, I decided I would write a little about how the book swapping sites I use work starting with BookMooch. I'm very fond of these sites. I think I may have looked at both sites before first choosing BookMooch. I've been a member since March of 2007. The site is free save for paying to send books away, which you only pay as you send them out.

Starting Your Account: Adding Books

Something that automatically got my vote on this site were the cute little book bugs on their homepage. Once you create your account, you can begin entering books into your inventory that you are willing to give away to people who want them. I like entering books by ISBN number because that way you ensure that it is the same copy of the book in your account as the one you have. Having the correct book edition is sometimes very important so whoever requests a book from you knows exactly what they're getting. It also avoids most issues later on if it turns out a person who requests a book wanted a different or specific edition. It's a good idea to start out with ten books since entering each book gives you 1/10th of a point, just enough to request one book from another member in your country. It's okay to start by entering fewer books, though.

Condition Notes

After you've entered each book, you are given 1/10th of a point. It will show you if the book is on anyone's wishlist. Also after you add each book, you have the option to record condition notes. This is a wonderful feature that not all book swapping sites have. Here is where you may say your book is never read, new, like new, good, okay, fine, or perhaps a poor copy simply needing a good home. You can also say if the book has any stains, creases, tears, and odors. Some people are very bad at entering condition notes while others are very detailed. As a BookMoocher I would like to say that some of us really appreciate these condition notes. I try to leave one of these notes for every book I enter. I typically examine the spine of a book since I am very perturbed about how they look. I take note of the front and back side of the cover, go through the pages once or twice to see if there's any writing or highlighting inside, and make sure to include a note for if the book smells particularly like smoke. You can do a lot with the space for condition notes. It's a great place to say if the cover of your book looks different than the one featured. I like to go a step beyond that by providing a link to the actual cover of my own book. Book covers are very easy to find just by using google images or Amazon.


By clicking on the 'browse' tab, you may enter the title, author, or ISBN of a book you would like to request. After clicking the search button, you will be lead to a page that either lists books as available, unavailable, or perhaps says something that indicates the book has not yet been in the system. (In most cases, simply check your spelling. It's rare for a book to not have been on the site.) Sometimes you will see a book title multiple times on the search results page. Each of these is a different edition. Click each title to be linked to each copy's page where you may view where the type of book (see 'binding'), the publisher, year of publication, size of the book, and other information. It will also tell you where this copy / these copies reside if there are any available. Click 'Wishlist add' to add the book to your wishlist. If you think you are interested in a book but are not sure, you can also use the 'Save for Later' feature. Your BookMooch wishlist is easily accessible by selecting the 'wishlist' tab on the top of the screen. From that page you may select the 'Save for Later' button to view a list of those book.

Requesting Books

After adding ten books to your inventory (books you are willing to give away), you will have a full point. This enables you to request (aka mooch) a book from another BookMooch member so long as the book is from your country. Never fear if the copy of a book you want is owned by someone outside your own country: you may still request it so long as the owner is willing to send books outside their country. However, keep in mind that books from outside your own country cost two full points. I myself have sent and received books from outside my country and love the unique packaging I sometimes receive from those outside my country. To request a book, go to the book's page for any edition (but specifically the edition you desire) and click the button on the top of the page and to the right that says 'Mooch this Book.' You will find that BookMooch always uses the word mooch so it's good to remember what it means. After clicking the button, you are lead to a new page but have not mooched the book just yet. You will need to enter the security name at the top of the screen as well as select who you would like to receive the book from as well as perhaps leave an additional comment. Most people on BookMooch leave a thank you comment. They also might include a reply to anything included in the BookMooch member's status or condition notes. All that is left to do after this is to click the button 'Mooch Book Now.'

Pending Books: Books Requested by You

On the Pending Books tab, you will be able to view books you mooched from others and books mooched from you. Each are placed in a category such as 'Books Accepted to Send,' 'Books Delayed,' and 'Books Sent.' Once you have mooched a book and it arrives to your address, the next step is to go to your Pending Books page and mark the book as received. Sometimes but rarely there are problems with receiving books. This is typically the case for books that have been lost or damaged along the way. If a book has arrived damaged, I might consider contacting BookMooch staff and asking how to go about the situation. It is likely that you will get your point(s) for the book back. For lost books, there is a standard of perhaps six weeks to be sure the book is indeed lost. Once this time passes, you may mark it as lost and receive your point(s) back. If there is not a problem with the book you have received, you should leave a feedback score and optional comment. I have never been in the receiving end of this, but some people will cruelly mark the feedback as 0 or -1 when the book they received did not have any problems. Please be a kind and do the right thing. No one likes rude people. You will receive 1/10th of a point as a bonus for leaving a feedback score.

Pending Books: Books Requested by Others

When a person mooches a book from you, the first thing you do is click on any of the options beside the book and to the right. These options are 'Accept,' 'Delay,' and 'Reject.' There is also a button to view how much postage might cost to send the book. The typical response to a book request is 'accept' or 'delay.' A reason to request a book might be if the BookMooch member has been abusing the site (more below). Another reason might be if the book they requested costs more money than you are willing to spend to send the book to them, however, only if they live outside your country. Rejecting to members of your own country based on price of sending a book is not an acceptable reason to reject a mooch. After selecting 'Accept' for a book mooched by you, you will have the option of selecting how long till you send the book as well as a message. Most people send books within a matter of days to two weeks. The automatic message is "Thank you for mooching from me! I will send the book soon," unless you choose to edit it. It's good to be up front about how much time will pass before you send a book. If you are new to BookMooch and are accepting mooches for delay keep in mind it doesn't look good on your part if you are using the points you earn from the delayed books to mooch some yourself before sending those books. It's a good way to accidentally fall in the hole if anyone cancels their mooches before you send them. For every book requested by someone in your country, you will receive one full point. For every book requested by someone outside your country, you will receive three full points.

Sending Books

Once you have sent mooched books out, return to your Pending page to select each book as 'Sent.' When it comes to books within your country, many Americans send by media mail. Sometimes First Class is cheaper if the book is light weight. When it comes sending books outside the U.S. to another country, Americans usually spend $7 - $25. The book is sent quickly and should arrive soon. This fee might seem high, but it is good considering you earn three full points from every book mooched from someone outside your country. One of the three points you're given comes from BookMooch itself to help pay for the cost of sending books outside your country and possibly overseas. I am someone who is usually happy to send books outside my own country because of the bonus of an extra two points. I am unhappy that other countries sometimes take a very long time because they may send books 'the slow way' if they please whereas Americans do not have that option. Still, I try to be a good person.

BookMooch Abuse

Every so often you may make a book transaction with a person who you may have trouble with. The person may request lots of books, including one or multiple books from you, and then disappear from the site without giving any away themselves nor marking books as received. This is the kind of person who needs to be reported when you are in one a situation like that. Another form of BookMooch abuse is only sending books that are 'lost.' It most cases, it means that the person did not actually send books at all, but marked them as sent. They are looking for a way of getting books for free. You can always view a member's history on their profile page if you want to be sure you are requesting a book from a good person to request from. Always keep in mind that BookMooch staff is there to help you. Be watchful of your BookMooch ratio on your BookMooch homepage. A ration of 5:1 is the highest you may have, I think. This interprets as five books received for one book sent. Many BookMoochers send just as many books as they give away, which is a good way to go about it. I have a score of 1.05:1. This translates as receiving one point five books for every book I have sent.

Have Fun!

I enjoy keeping track of where I send books to and where I receive them from. This is every state in the US I have sent or received books to as well as by country:

visited 38 states (76%)
Create your own visited map of The United States or try another Douwe Osinga project

visited 11 states (4.88%)
Create your own visited map of The World or try another Douwe Osinga project

November 11, 2008

The Enneagram Made Easy: Discover the 9 Types of People

A few months ago while online, I stumbled on something that divides people into nine different types of people. It has a few questions and then proceeds to tell you a little about yourself. Some of the things were obvious, but some were interesting things that we may not know about ourselves. What I found more interesting however was the matter of applying it to others to learn more about them. I had been going through a few arguments and lots of times of being misunderstood so I thought it would be a good way to learn to communicate better with others. It mentioned a link to the book this was based from, and I requested it once it was available on PaperBackSwap.

Renee Baron and Elizabeth Wagele's The Enneagram Made Easy starts out by explaining basic information about the enneagram and goes on to talk about each type of person with a full chapter for each type. There are twenty questions at the start of each chapter describing the different types of people. It explains many things for each type:

  • How to get along better with them,

  • their strengths and weaknesses,

  • how they are as children, in relationships, and as parents,

  • about careers they're most successful at as well as how they spend their free time,

  • compliments people usually give them,

  • each types' negative and positive side as they move around the enneagram and about the types they draw from as their wings,

  • and has positive suggestions and exercises for each type.

  • You could answer the one hundred and eighty questions to search for the type that best describes you or someone else, but it's useful to remember that the nine types have three categories: heart, head, and gut instinct. Most enneagram tests I viewed online did not discuss these. The heart is made up of types 2, 3, and 4; the head of types 5, 6, and 7; and gut instincts of types 1, 8, and 9. These are the types of people, taking in consideration some of the different titles some references give the types of people:

  • 1 The Perfectionist/Reformer

  • 2 The Helper/Giver

  • 3 The Achiever/Motivator

  • 4 The Romantic/Individualist/Artist

  • 5 The Observer/Investigator/Thinker

  • 6 The Questioner/Loyalist/Skeptic

  • 7 The Adventurer/Enthusiast/Generalist

  • 8 The Asserter/Challenger/Leader

  • 9 The Peacemaker

  • When answering the questions, my book says it's best to answer as you would when you were under twenty-five years old. I'm one week shy of reaching my twenty-fifth birthday so I answered as I would currently, trying to answer for the past as well. However, I suspect some of my answers to the questions would have been very different even one or two years ago. It was really hard to determine some of my types because a few of my results were so close together. Also, our results will vary by what mood we are in. This is how to better get along with my top two types:

    Heart: Type 2
    "Take your share of the responsibility so I don't end up with all the work. Acknowledge my achievements. I'm hard on myself - reassure me that I'm fine the way I am. Tell me that you value my advice. Be fair and considerate, as I am. Apologize if you have been unthoughtful - It will help me to forgive you. Gently encourage me to lighten up and to laugh at myself when I get uptight, but hear my worries first."

    Head: Type 6
    "Be direct and clear. Listen to me carefully. Don't judge me for my anxiety. Work things through with me. Reassure me that everything is okay between us. Laugh and make jokes with me. Gently push me toward new experiences. Try not to overreact to my overreacting."

    The link above is to the best enneagram test I can find that matches with questions from my book. If you would like to take it and feel open about sharing your results, feel free to leave a comment.

    56 / 70 books. 80% done!

    November 3, 2008

    Sarah Waters: Fingersmith

    It was such a busy weekend I missed posting about a book. I finished this one still in October. This is not a Young Adult book, but an adult novel. I read Young Adult books pretty frequently as anyone can see but reading something more mature and of better vocabulary has made me see how I miss books written for the general or adult audience. With a partial learning disability I always notice how what I read effects the words I use when I speak and write. I was happily buried in beautiful words not so commonly used in modern time for a few days.

    With the last book I finished reading, I was still in the mood for Victorian books. A friend from LibraryThing recently reminded me that I had one still unread, Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. You always intend to read books and especially when you first purchase or receive them, but it can take a while when you have so very many books. I bought this one in April the day I met another LibraryThinger for the first time. We got in two bookstores, which left me about $80 shorter and buried under about five more books in my TBR pile.

    Right away while reading this book, I noticed like last time how very different the main character was to what I was used to reading. The main character, Susan Trinder, is an orphan girl living and growing up amongst thieves. Still, when something stumbles along that changes her future, she isn't at complete ease for the reason that her journey is set out for: to help a friend make his fortune by tricking a girl, Maud Lilly, who is inherit a great sum of money upon her marriage, into marrying him. The plan after this is for Gentleman, also known as Mr. Rivers, to then dump his wife in a mad house, Susan then awarded a small portion of the funds. She is eager to make the woman she considers to be her mother proud and to provide her with a fortune.

    Susan learns new life skills such as how to be more of a lady as she prepares to leave home for a place where she will be known as Susan Smith. She is to be a maid for Ms. Lilly with a complete and false history as the maid of Mr. River's aunt. Susan has weeks for Ms. Lilly to adjust to Susan, to gain her trust and even befriend her before Mr. Rivers returns to the Lilly's. She prepares Ms. Lilly for each day, dressing her and attending to her needs, accompanying her and spending time with her whenever Ms. Lilly is not with her uncle to read in the library or in the dining room for meals. When Mr. Rivers appears and begins to make his moves on Ms. Lilly, Ms. Lilly is slow to give her confidence to Susan, but shyly does so.

    The story goes on and I wish to not give it away. It is extraordinarily plot twisting and always surprising. It is typical to guess what will come in books as you read and to make correct predictions but this simply seems impossible in this book. As the tale goes on, it only gets better and there were most certainly parts that made me cry. Everything I thought as I read for what would come to be was wrong. I would read this book again. Thank you to my friends from LibraryThing for a wonderful book suggestion!

    55 / 70 books. 79% done!

    October 28, 2008

    Libba Bray: A Great and Terrible Beauty

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I began reading Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty. I knew it was a Young Adult Victorian and Gothic novel. Reading another book that I am now, I ashamingly wonder and feel that I should already know if Victorian and Gothic tales go hand in hand. I would most definitely like to learn more about different times in literature and now want to explore them more.

    We first met Gemma Doyle when she has the sort of characteristics one would not want others to see in them. She is a sixteen-year-old girl who is rude and sometimes obnoxious. It is something no one wants to admit to being themselves so because Bray begins the first book in this series with such characteristics for Gemma I was surprised but soon saw where the change would come.

    When Gemma is sent to a finishing school for reasons I will not give away, visions of experiences such as within The Little Princess appeared to my mind. Perhaps it was because like the main character in that book, Gemma is also from India. Both girls have lost a parent and there is a touch of seeing what others do not as well as something magical to both their stories. Both characters do not have a completely shared experience in their different books and schools, however. While similarities exist they are also very different stories.

    Ever since an event at the start of the book, Gemma has been seeing visions that change the course of her life at Spence, the finishing school in England she is taken to. She forms what would have been an impossible small group of friends. Gemma learns there is a secret hiding about the fire that burned a wing of the school down which connects to there not being a class photograph for the class of 1871. As she enters her visions and leads others in them as well, Gemma learns there is a great connection between her visions, a forgotten diary the visions lead her to, and the fire that killed at least one student from the class of 1871.

    There are many more secrets to this book but I wish to not give them away. I really enjoyed this book and am very eager to read book two, Rebel Angels. There are three books in this series to date with none expected after the third. The paperback for book three is not due out until May 12, 2009. Random House has a very nice site for the Gemma Doyle trilogy but beware - spoilers lurk everywhere.

    54 / 70 books. 77% done!

    October 21, 2008

    Books and More Books

    I have books coming out of my ears, or I would, but they're a bit large for my ears. I could walk with a pile of them on my head but I suppose they would all fall down rather quickly. What I mean to say is that I simply have too many. They are everywhere and cover so much of my space, and yet I love them so much and can't part with many of them. My TBR pile has grown to 137 books as of today. I realized it had been a while since I posted a picture of recent books I've received or bought and found there was a big list of them. These are books that are newly in my possession as of September 25th.

    I think it would be wise to decrease the amount of these that I purchase new. Lucky enough two had a coupon, one was thirty percent off, and another was completely purchased with Borders Bucks, a system I don't quite understand.

    Where They Came From
    Early Reviewers: A Friend at Midnight
    Book Mooch: Elsewhere, Castle in the Air, and One for Sorrow, Two for Joy.
    Paper Back Swap: Outside Beauty, East, Queen of Camelot, and Od Magic.
    Bought used: Tantalize
    Bought new: Untamed, The Neverending Story, plus four from a book shopping trip with a friend from LibraryThing: Winter's Tale, The Name of the Wind, The Titan's Curse, and Brisingr.

    I hope it will be soon that I will have my new bookshelf. Not only would each book at last have a home but I could finally organize them once more at last, something that has been driving me mad with so little book space available at the moment.

    October 20, 2008

    Rick Riordan: The Sea of Monsters

    It was eight months ago that I read the first book of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I had spent too much time on it from being busy and so had grown tired of it while reading The Lightning Thief. I had felt the book was very funny but that, at a time when I was trying to not buy any books because of my summer trip, that I wouldn't read any other books in the series for quite a while. Seven months later, I found a copy of book two available on PaperBack Swap, and a month later than that I read it.

    The Sea of Monsters suggests a journey in the ocean, a place which seems natural for hero and Half-Blood Percy Jackson who should feel right at home and find more strength in the ocean since he is the son of sea god Poseidon. His first journey of course is meeting up with those tied to the mythological world in the first place after Percy has spent the school year away from Half Blood camp while living with his lovable blue-pancake-making mom.

    It's the last day of the school year and Percy has been having some strange dreams about his four-hoofed satyr friend, Grover. His mom seems to know something that she is holding back but promises to tell all at the end of the day. Percy meets a friend and heads to school. . . Trouble surrounds those Percy knows from Camp Half Blood and despite warnings his intention is to do the best he can to help. Two friends accompany Percy as he goes off on a quest in the sea of monsters.

    I find myself regretting that though I took two mythology classes in college that I've forgotten some stories over the years. Thankfully this book does well to hint and explain them. Like the first book this one is very funny and I laughed out loud a few times wishing there was someone right there beside me that I could discuss it with. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

    The end of this book had such a huge surprise that I want to jump into book three right away, a book I bought early before reading this one. I had decided against it because I would then want to read book four while I really wanted all my books to be a matching paperback set. A search online didn't have good news for me in the way of a release date for the paperback. It did, however, tell me something else. The release of book five of this series whose title suggests it may be the last is to be released on May 5th, 2009. Whether I give into hardcover or not is still a question at large.

    53 / 70 books. 76% done!

    October 18, 2008

    Gabrielle Zevin: Elsewhere

    I knew right from the beginning that this book was a Young Adult book about a girl who begins her tale after becoming newly dead. I began reading it perhaps expecting something a little different from what I got, so while Elsewhere had a story unique to itself perhaps I was very frustrated with it. There were a few times I closed the book thinking I wouldn't continue reading it and that I would trade it away.

    I think my biggest problem with Elsewhere had been Zevin's capture of an almost sixteen-year-old teenager. I felt Liz seemed much less mature than she should be at her age and even that Zevin was writing to capture an audience range of adults reading to children, to kids reading the book on their own only up to thirteen years old. At the same time it was definitely funny and she was often trying to be humorous, but some of the jokes just fell flat to me. A parrot making jokes about being "dead, dead, dead" just didn't seem like what I wanted to be reading.

    I kept reading and luckily it was actually good that I did because things began to change. Main character Liz had been mopping about because of her death and not making anything out of her death. She had opportunities to go have hobbies, do things with friends, and spend time getting to know her never-before-met dead grandmother, Betty, but Liz had bored me to tears instead.

    Liz finally decides to start living as someone dead rather than just being dead, and that's when the story picked up for me. At that point I decided to just finish it hoping the book might improve more. Surely Liz had important lessons to learn about death and would see something that would change everything to her much more at some point. Something does.

    Liz makes much more out of her death and things happen for her that she had been sad about because some were things she had never gotten to experience during her life while some where things involving getting to reconnect with some lives that she misses. I would not reread this book but rather would recommend it to teens up to fifteen years old.

    52 / 52 books. 100% done!

    October 16, 2008

    Ibi Kaslik: Skinny

    I recently finished reading Ibi Kaslik's Skinny, a book not just about the relationship between two sisters but also about how one's struggle with eating disorders affects each of them differently.

    The two main characters of Skinny are college-age Giselle and fourteen-year-old Holly. One sister is a medical student, naturally bright who buries herself in studying, the practices of anorexia and bulimia, and trying to learn more about her family's past. The other sister is strong and lives for sports while struggling through junior high, having her own problems connected to being partially deaf and having a slight learning disability. Both sisters mourn for their father who was lost some years ago. They hold onto each other and their mother, trying to get by and keeping their small family knit together through their own traumas.

    Giselle wants to be skinny like her baby sister who has everything she wants, which when it comes down to everything, is the love of their dead father. In his absence as she tries to make sense of the past, something leads her on a chase with many questions. Holly wants her looked-up-to big sister's life to be turned around and saved, never knowing the reasons why her sister struggles with her eating disorders. In her sister's absence she runs for something she can never reach: a healthy world for her sister.

    Tomorrow marks one year since I finished reading Marya Hornbacher's Wasted (blog entry here) and I wonder if I made a very big mistake by wondering out loud to someone if they should skip reading that book or not, causing them to not read what I worried would give them tips rather than help them in a positive manner. After reading Skinny I had hopes it might by chance find the hands of the person I know who struggles with this so they will see they are not alone, that it is something serious, that people they don't even realize do love them much, and that they will stop themselves from the very horrible end that was this book. I am very sad to say that while the person has read it, they thought the whole thing was a joke, that it was funny.

    I am not laughing. I have cried for them so many times. I hide it because what else is there to do. I will never forget the time I broke and couldn't lie. "Why are you crying?" "Because you didn't eat anything yesterday or today, and you don't want to tomorrow or the day after that, either." Because you want to starve. To die. There is so much more to life than being thin. It's one of the ugliest words I know. It is a word I have only hate for because of how it affects them. Skinny is a word likewise just as bad. "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." I see this quote on my own grandmother's mirror. Maybe it's famous, maybe it's not. But I don't believe in it. How many people out there can't taste? My own step sister cannot because of a car accident after being hit by a drunk driver. She's eighteen and has been naturally thin all her life but would give the world to be able to taste again.

    Ending note: 'skinny' sucks. Skinny was a good book but also very sad. Maybe there is another person out there who it will help, just not the person I'm thinking of. I suggest kleenex.

    51 / 52 books. 98% done!

    October 14, 2008

    Cinda Williams Chima: The Dragon Heir

    I was incredibly eager to get into the third of Cinda Williams Chima's The Heir series that I wouldn't even read the jacket for fear of any sort of spoilers, worrying that it was the last in the series. It turns out that I was worried with good reason. The series ends here with The Dragon Heir, the last in a Young Adult fantasy trilogy some might describe as Harry Potterish but not really quite at all.

    Everyone has their different class in The Heir trilogy from the bottom, warriors, to the top, wizards. Throughout the series those who are from different classes struggle and work together against those feeling they are justly dominate for much wanted and deserved peace and equality. In that aspect it's not fantasy at all. Bringing in the predicted magical battle following the events in The Wizard Heir is, however. The territory once deemed safe of dominance and injury now serves as the major setting and place of the final show down.

    Just as the other books in this series this one switches points of view, the most interesting two being from Jason Haley's and Madison Moss's points of view. We learn a little more about each of these two characters between Madison's past and future as well as Jason's secret missions. We also learn more of the history to do with the Weir people (non-Anaweir, or for another word, non-Muggles). I didn't have a favorite point of view in this series unlike some other books I've read but ended a point of view to be just as satisfied to read the other's when the time would come.

    I was not dissatisfied at all in my reading but remained eager to discover how it would end. I often wondered why the presence of Linda Downey and Hastings were away for so much as they were but see now that it wasn't their story. This tale would have been much different were they not away. I cried for someone as they reached their end, something that came as a surprise to me. There were a few other surprises as well.

    SPOILER WARNING: Please do not read the section below about this book unless you have read J.K. Rowling's complete Harry Potter series. Thank you.

    I met one of my friends from LibraryThing over the weekend and when we discussed this series which they had not yet read, they asked me if it was like Harry Potter. There are Anaweir similar to Rowling's Muggles. Like Rowling's created world, there are not just magical folk on the magical side (wizards, sorcerers, etc) but those with merely connections to what is magical (warriors, etc). There is a magical school, however, you can compare it not to Hogwarts but to Durmstrang or something worse like Hogwarts taken over by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. There isn't a set individual as the bad guy but a few magical people hoping to lead the world for the worst. These bad seeds will fight to the death but they are not nearly as horrible as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, an ultimate bad guy. There is not one set main character but many and though this series is merely three books and not seven, you become attached to normally-seen-as side characters. Chima didn't have to work that up over seven books time, or however many you read of the Harry Potter books before the first time you were crushed and sad by the turn of events in the books. I got teary and cried a little, but nothing has ever made me as much as the Harry Potter books, real tear-jerkers, the seventh and final of which had my eyes not simply leaking lightly but bawling for most of the time I read and times when I was couldn't read. The Heir is a very good series and I enjoyed it very much, more than many of the books I've read this year. I don't see it as another Harry Potter series. In my mind nothing can take it's place. It was more intense and further connected to some of our hearts.

    50 / 52 books. 96% done!

    October 5, 2008

    Wendy Moss: A Mango-Shaped Space

    I took a short break from the series I've been shuffling around lately to read Wendy Mass's A Mango-Shaped Space this weekend.

    I've been interested in reading The Man Who Tasted Shapes for years. I got very excited when I clicked the link of A Mango-Shaped Space from another LibraryThingers recently added books to read what this book is about to learn it deals with synesthesia as well.

    Through my reading I focused on Mia's sense of colors having to do with letters, numbers, words, names, and sounds. A brief excerpt at the top of the backside to the book will tell you this:
    "Everyone thinks I named my cat Mango because of his orange eyes, but that's not the case. I named him Mango because the sounds of his purrs and his wheezes and his meows are all various shades of yellow-orange..."

    Mia was eight years old when, in a third grade classroom trying to solve a math problem on the chalkboard, she learned that no one else in her class saw numbers in colors as she did. Ever since then Mia has kept it a secret to herself, not even telling her parents or best friend for fear of the reactions she will get from others who called her a freak for the math incident in third grade. People will find out sometime, right? Mia struggles in school and the day comes that her secret becomes known.

    I really enjoyed reading about things taking on colors that are ordinary, or for another word, plain, to many of us. Though this is a work of fiction, it still strongly held my interest. There is so much more to this story than merely colors. My heart reached out to Mia particularly toward the end when, as the back cover of the book will tell you, she looses something very special to her. It's a precious story that left me rather sniffly.

    I'm passing my book along to someone else who wants to read it. I want to warn her about things that are to come because it will have a similar affect on her as it did me but I am trying not to.

    Mango for the book challenge counter.

    49 / 52 books. 94% done!

    October 2, 2008

    P.C. and Kristen Cast: Untamed

    The latest and fourth book in PC and Kristen Cast's House of Night series was enjoyable though not quite what I'd expected. Leaving off with a new powerful enemy, hungry young fledgings, and some angry characters, I imagined Untamed to have more conflicts as well as, well, untamed fledgings.

    A fledging is a vampire in the making. In this version of vampire stories, it takes years to become a full fledged vampyre. This makes our main character, Zoey Redbird, a fledging, though she is not like any other. Zoey has been marked as a fledging for merely two months. However, the goddess, Nyx, has given Zoey some extremely unique gifts and talents.

    The title of this book seemed very suitable to me before I even began to read. Sure enough, some fledgings were untamed, though not to the point I'd thought they would be. A character was very impressive in working on that. It also made me think about other untamed characters. Zoey, who seems to have problems falling for too many guys at the same time. Aphrodite, who was deemed a 'skank' and selfish - um, something - from book one. And so many others!

    School is on break when this book begins, but it isn't for much time. Things are changing around the House of Night, and people are changing, too. There are new things to be discovered. An evil lurks by ever often and fiercely tries to strike, failing, failing, hitting it's target. Read the book and you'll see I've played on words. I like to do that when I write about them. I end with my spoiler free bit with a brief comment to establish that I hate crows and ravens. They're simply terrifying. Oh, and one last thing!

    If anyone wants to know if these books are good, you not only have my word for it, but a stranger approached me today while I was reading with the words, "That's the other vampire series!" Talking to him, I learned this was the series many Twilight fans have turned to and are passing around to read. It seems to be vampire series #2. How's that for a recommendation? Book five is on release in March of 2009.

    Spoilers below!

    As I read this book during scenes such as when a fledging-newly-made-human teen drew on a fake Mark on her forehead, and times that she smeared it off, I couldn't help but think...Even though she is friends with Zoey, how easy would it be for a character to put on their fledging make-up they ordinarily wear over their marks around humans on their Mark, pretend the clear forehead was natural to a select few in the vampyre community, and then draw a fake Mark to 'fool' the rest of the community? Silly thought, I know, as I think this character is trusting. Still, this thought entered my mind. If one is sneaky one way, . . . Since this is still about spoilers, my complaint is this: Why did Zoey's grandmother have to get dragged in? I see now that she had to be in order to be protected later on, though.

    48 / 52 books. 92% done!

    September 30, 2008

    Christopher Paolini: Eldest

    I was eager to discover just what would happen next in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Trilogy from where I'd left off with Eragon. Though I had very little time when I dove into the book, I did much reading today and have finished it. Before my reading today, I had found the book a bit unsatisfying. This very well could be because of my little reading time I had before today with this book, because it did pick up today, though with finishing over the second half, it was to be expected...or rejected. (Thank goodness scenario number two wasn't the case!)

    This book does not have merely one point of view but that of three. It switches off every few chapters. Just to make it more exciting, I'm keeping the names of the other two characters quiet. They were very good choices. It felt that this book had not one journey but more. I must shush myself from saying more about that. I will add one more thing, however: Just when you think you have the point of views figured out is when the third one hits. It was a pleasant addition.

    Things begin a little odd in this book, with some surprises as well as suspicions for which I didn't learn that I was right about until the very end, though with some shocks as well. Eragon has traveling to do in order to study with the elves as planned as well as to meet the mysterious one who spoke to his conscious in book one, which he does and whom he meets. The journey is not nearly as rough or terrible as those in the past. I feel this has to do with Eragon's and Saphira's new strengths with having gone through new experiences besides the obvious of having made wonderful allies.

    I won't spoil anything to do with elves (or anything else, if I can help it) but will say that the dreaded approaching time to meeting Galbortax draws nearer. Before that time though, Eragon and Saphira are taught a great amount and both mature. Lessons begin where Brom left off, and Eragon learns more about the man who, at least I felt, was at one time like a father to him.

    On the subject of fathers, a riddle is told to Eragon about his father, though he pays it little attention. Eragon does not master riddles well and clever Saphira would never have figured it out if she had heard it, but Eragon will learn more of his parentage in this book just as Saphira does, however more difficult to learn.

    As to be expected, there is more yet of many familiar faces to Eragon. The werecat's witch, Linda, will be precisely right in her foretelling of Eragon's future. New and interesting characters are added to the mix, some of which I look forward to reading more about just as much as Eragon and others he previously met. I am eager to read the next book.

    On a note related to this book, I had been greatly worried when I made a trip to a bookstore two weeks ago and discovered a toy three-headed dragon that was red. I worried it was spoiling Eldest for me since the dragon on the cover of this book bears red skin as well. I can now say for anyone stressing the same that there is no need to worry or connect this to book 2 at all. Now, however, this can only mean one thing. I say nada and since you cannot see me, add that I am shaking my head.

    47 / 52 books. 90% done!

    September 24, 2008

    P.C. and Kristen Cast: Chosen

    I read the third book in PC and Kristen Cast's House of Night series over the weekend which provided to be a comfort book during that crazy time. The series had left off with much that was dark lurking near as well as secrets Zoey would have to keep to herself. In Chosen, Zoey has many choices of her own to make as Nyx chooses to embrace her with new markings once more. I would consider that a tiny spoiler, but I think by now readers understand that new tattoos throughout the series are to be expected. For those who haven't read this series, each set of tattoos is a gift from the goddess Nyx who the vampyres worship.

    Zoey may be a teenager and not always feel she makes the right choices - who does? - but Nyx keeps her faith in Zoey nonetheless. A birthday close to a holiday might seem like Zoey's biggest problem, but as she tells her cat, Nala, there is much, much more. I was really shocked with a few things in this book I never saw coming and am eager to read more.

    The fourth book in this series, Untamed was released yesterday with the fifth due out in the spring. Now that I'm caught up with the publishers, I am very glad the series is being published so quickly. I simply wonder how many books there will be in all. It's a nice series and I would say my second favorite vampire series. (I don't really need to say which my favorite is, do I?)

    46 / 52 books. 88% done!

    September 23, 2008


    I haven't really mooched or paperbackswapped much lately. Nothing from my wishlist is turning up. I have things I would add to my inventory to give away except I'd rather not add them since both sites are providing to be fruitless, if I've worded that correctly. A Great and Terrible Beauty is from BookMooch, however.

    I bought the book and kit on writing the weekend before this last. My weekend plans had been ruined and I went out of the house several hours before work on a spur of the moment. I took a bus to an area near the closest bookstore just as I used to do regularly where I spent a lot of time simply walking around. Neighbors always get upset at me for not accepting a car drive from them, but I greatly enjoy walking and it clears my mind. I spent a good deal of time exploring the changes made in the bookstore before making a book selection for something to help me with WritoNano when I found the kit. I want to try it out before I write about it. After the bookstore, I walked some more before taking another bus near where I work, where I read stuck my nose in a book while sitting on a quiet bench for a few hours.

    I last went to a bookstore yesterday intending to only purchase one book, The Dragon Heir. I'm getting angrier and angrier at my nearest bookstore, a Borders. They removed a book I put on hold a mere half a day after I had placed it on hold. Did I want to wait while they searched their stock room for a copy? Certainly not! I was on my way to work.

    For yet another book, I thought I requested one two weeks ago. A bookseller helped me and printed out a paper for me, telling me it would probably be in within the week and to expect their call. I thought it funny since their other location near me considers it a requirement to have a requested book in within the week or the book is free. However, I thanked him and left. Not a word from them. I have wondered if the book was merely reserved. Either way, I found the book in the Barnes and Noble bookstore across the street only minutes after I'd 'requested' it at the first bookstore, so I was fast impatient. I gave up on them and purchased the book somewhere else yesterday. I'm rather unhappy since the bookstore I have so much trouble with is the one I planned to apply to where I could hopefully work over the holidays.

    The book I purchased alongside The Dragon Heir was the tenth anniversary edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I hadn't expected to see it in stores. It was both supposedly not yet released as well as sold out in nearly every location near me according to Borders' website. It was a bit pricey but I put my coupon toward it. I'd thought nothing would be special about it save for the cover, but when I opened it I discovered the secret amazing wonder that was kept secret: Mary GrandePre had also made a full page illustration on one of the first pages inside the book of Hagrid taking the first years across the lake to Hogwarts. There's also an illustration by Rowling of Snape with a quote opposite. She says she drew it in 1992 or '93 and that it is how she always envisioned Snape to look like, though he looks a bit like Count Dracula because of his cloak. I would like to post photos of these illustrations, but the recent events surrounding Stephenie Meyer's unpublished and early internet-exposed book makes me feel more cautious about doing so.

    These are the bookplates I pruchased yesterday. If for some odd reason you are unfamiliar with the title of painting from van Gogh's work on this bookplate, it is called Starry Night. This is one of the paintings I studied in the last art class I took two years ago.

    September 22, 2008

    Cinda Williams Chima: The Wizard Heir

    I was a little unhappy to see Cinda Williams Chima's second book in The Heir series begin with a new main character, however, I quickly found that I liked Seph McCauley and the setting of this book. The Wizard Heir was wonderful and very tough to put down when I had to work.

    Seph McCauley knows people always seem to befriend him and treat him well. What he doesn't realize is what this is connected to, or better put, why. Always finding trouble, Seph quickly lands in a new school unlike any other he's been to before and where all is not as it seems. Trouble cannot escape him. Characters from the previous book in The Heir series make a return in this book - some of them are good; some of them are bad.

    I can't say which of the first two books I like more. I greatly enjoyed both. Trying to not spoil, I will say there were surprises as well as times that I thought to myself, I knew it! I'm still feeling eager to discuss this book with others. I cannot wait to read the next book, The Dragon Heir. I hope the author has more for us. I would definitely read more of her books whether the series ends with the third book or not.

    45 / 52 books. 87% done!

    September 17, 2008

    Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black: The Field Guide

    Out of curiosity and due to there being a movie based on this series, I read Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black's first book of the Spiderwick Chronicles, The Field Guide. It's rather short as can be expected and therefore an extraordinarily fast read. Semi interesting, I may not read any others in this series and add it to my BookMooch inventory after my youngest sister gets a chance to read it.

    September 15, 2008

    Christopher Paolini: Eragon

    It's unusual for me to view a movie for a book before reading the book it's based on, but that is exactly how it was for the book I finished reading this morning. While Christopher Paolini's first and second book in the Inheritance series have remained in my TBR pile for over a year now, I at last picked up the first of the two books to read last week.

    I greatly enjoyed reading Eragon. Having watched the movie though more than a year ago, I had hints here and there of what was to happen, but luckily there are many differences at times between books and the movies based on them. Also, I forgot some details prior to my reading.

    I wasn't reading long before it became so that I grudgingly closed my book when I had no choice but to do so. My progress was slow despite the few times I had to simply read for hours on end, time spent that was greatly enjoyed. I finished it quite eager for the second book and am grateful to my neighbor for passing the second book on to me so I have it at my hands already to read. I can't wait to find out what happens next.

    In the past I have thought how amazing it was for Paolini to become an author so young. Now that I've read the first of his works, that hasn't changed a bit. I am impressed by his writing skills at so young an age as he was when he wrote this book. With his writing skills as well as family connections to the publishing industry, I expect we'll see a great many more books by this author in time.

    On an ending note, I adored the map at the start of the book. It reminded me of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, though perhaps because I am also rereading The Fellowship of the Ring alongside my other reading at the moment. Paolini's work won't be nearly as great, but who can compare to the writing master Tolkien?

    September 6, 2008

    P.C. and Kristen Cast: Betrayed

    I got a copy of PC and Kristen Cast's second book in the House of Night series, Betrayed last week and began reading it once I finished The Warrior Heir. As with the last book I read, I only managed to get in fifteen minutes of reading here and there. I deeply despised that matter since I knew this book could be read in one sitting if I were given a full day to simply read.

    From before I'd even begun the book, I felt sure the main character, Zoey Redbird, would learn more about a mysterious presence lingering around the House of Night. I was right. I felt early on that I knew precisely how Zoey would find out about this presence and wish that time that I had been wrong. Sadly, I was not. I could feel the sadness leaking from the pages of my book and moistening my own eyes. I grabbed an earthy color for my book counting meter on my Fifty Book Challenge thread on LibraryThing this time.*

    I felt a few parts of this book were making a big deal of a small matter, but over all it was a good book. Though I'd like to keep reading the series straight away, I'm shuffling around a few series so I will be reading a book or two from other series first.

    * The Fifty Book Challenge is a group on LibraryThing. Each member sets a goal of how many books they would like to read within one year. Members typically chose fifty, though I've chosen fifty-two books for an average of one book per week. This is my minimum reading goal for the year 2008. You can see from my previous post that I have a major book buying habbit and I can only support it by cutting off my wallet (nope) or an intense amount of reading. Off to my current book!

    More Bookshopping

    For the second time this week, I left a bookstore with a small pile of books last night. I also left with one preordered book from the store and received one in the mail today from PaperBackSwap. I greatly enjoyed being able to simply explore the bookstore at my own pace verses being rushed to quickly grab specific books I'd come for before leaving. Also, I was pleased to see the bookstore removed their YA books from the children's section to extend the genres further. That was a major bonus. The store looks beautiful and the store associates were very kind.


    To Be Read pile: 129 books

    September 4, 2008

    Cinda Williams Chima: The Warrior Heir

    I can't believe I took so long to get to this next one. I bought The Warrior Heir along with five other books in April when I met and went bookshopping with an LTer for very the first time. The book came as strongly recommended by friends on LibraryThing.

    I absolutely loved The Warrior Heir! I had trouble reading because of work, only getting fifteen minutes of reading here and there. However, unlike a lot of other similar reading experiences, this did not affect my taste for the book. I was really glued to this book and remained so. There were things I wondered about happening, and when I was right, that just sucked me into the book further. (I'm trying to not spoil. It's a very good book, though.) I'm really happy that I already own the second book in the series and can't wait to read it!

    Current, Past, and Upcoming Reads

    I finally manage to have a day off from work and instead of reading, what am I doing? I'm online catching up on LibraryThing, except the site is temporarily down. While that's happening, I thought I might write about the pile of books I'm currently making my way through.

    First off, I have some books to write about that I'm rather late on. I've read an advanced reader's copy (ARC) of Jane Elliott's The Little Prisoner. Weeks have gone by and still I have nothing written about it here. I'm going to go ahead and say that like the author of that book, I lived an abused life as well, (though luckily my experience was rather different in some ways,) so it's a little hard to write about. I'm going to try to pull myself through writing something nice up for it soon. I would simply write a complete free write save for the fact that it is an ARC, and I'm expected to provide a review for it.

    Another book I've read that I still need to post about here is Cinda Williams Chima's The Warrior Heir. I will have that submited either today or tomorrow. I finished reading it last week but have been working a lot lately. If it weren't for public transportation, I probably wouldn't be able to sqeeze any reading in for five days of each week.

    Current read: P.C. and Kristen Cast's Betrayed, book two in the House of Night series. I'm halfway through and hope to finish today. I'm going to pick up another book today, J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring but it will be a slow read for a book discussion.

    I have a pile of books I'm working my way through right now for some new book releases this fall. I'm not reading nearly as fast as I'd like to be so I'm behind schedule, but so long as I get to them, I'm happy. I'm someone who really enjoys series. When I have my own books, that's what I'd like them to be. There are some series that I own multiple books from despite the fact that I have and had as of yet to read the first book in the series to. Because of that and the new book releases (always very exciting), I'm tackling these now. These series are Cinda Williams Chima's The Heir, P.C. and daughter Kristen Cast's House of Night, Cornelia Funke's Inkworld, Christopher Paolini's Inheritance Cycle, and Jonathan Stroud's Bartimaeus trilogy.

    I'm going on a bookshopping trip for the second time this week tomorrow, but my plan is to read Eragon next. Sadly, I'm going to be starting the book having seen the movie first, but with luck it won't do too much damage since it's been some time since I've seen it now, and because of course the book will be much better!

    My last bookshopping trip was on Saturday. Half Price Books had a twenty percent off sale. The location nearest me is rather small, so I left with merely six books.


    September 3, 2008

    Patrick Carman: The Tenth City

    The Land of Elyon series is something I first picked up this past January after I'd seen the first book, The Dark Hills Divide at a used book store. The cover to the first book is what originally drew my interest to the book. After I picked it up to read the back cover, my eyes held to the words "cozy library and maze of passages and rooms." It was a small YA book, but interesting nonetheless. I really loved all the mystery and (SPOILER WARNING) the two cats with their secret messages hidden on their tags. (END spoiler warning) I finished reading it eager to read book two. I found with Beyond the Valley of the Thorns that I missed the setting from the first book very much. Because it was a series about adventure, I knew before I began reading the third book a little more of what to expect.

    Over the summer a very kind friend gave me a copy of the third book to this series, The Tenth City. I started reading it as soon as I put down the book I'd currently been reading. I found that I liked this book much more than book two, though still not as much as book one. It's the story of a continuing adventure and ends with new adventures still to come.

    The author, Patrick Carman, still has one other book released in this series that I have yet to read, though it deals with different characters and takes place in the past. Though it's in a way separated from the main Land of Elyon series itself, I think I'll plan to read that before reading the fifth book in the series which is released later on this month.


    August 18, 2008

    P.C. and Kristen Cast: Marked

    I've been really busy these last five days and haven't had the time to write about my Early Reviewer book just yet. Luckily I have two days off work now so I may do just that, besides getting in some decent reading time. I did manage to finish a book as I read a few minutes here and there over the last few days.

    I'd seen someone reading PC and Kristen Cast's 'House of Night' series over the summer. I was curious about it and mooched the first book from BookMooch later when I got home from my trip. Happily in doing so, I discovered a really nice series.

    There was something really different about the main character in Marked than in a lot of books I've read. Zoey Redbird didn't come across as the typical teenager, nor the mature young adult who seems to already be grown up. There is no doubt as to this being a teen's story - there are the typical teenage things thrown in with the mixed theme of vampyres - but Zoey's personality really made this book something more amazing. It isn't that she has humor, but that her own is very unique to any I'd read before. She's a charming character with excellent moral values and a kind nature.

    Intro and potenial spoiler.
    Zoey may have a friend who K-babbles away while only slightly playing the part of a good friend, but Zoey was still nice to her and never hurt her feelings. Her boyfriend might have been far from the brightest crayon in the box and not an altogether good person, but Zoey was still rather kind. Her mother may have picked an awful "step-loser" to parent alongside her to raise her three children, but her middle child still adored and loved her mother very much. Her grandmother whom she likewise loves so much may be human, but Zoey is close enough to her that their relationship stays strong through this new life change that's taken over Zoey.
    End spoiler.

    She's admirable for these things and proves to be for more, in the House of Night. Marked is only where the story begins. You can feel there is much more to come and that much is on the brink of rising. Never have I picked up the rest of the books in a series on one bookshopping trip*, but that is what I am going to do with this series. I can't wait to read the other books and am excited about the newest release coming up next month. I found this series just in time to enjoy the excitement of a newly published book.

    August 15, 2008

    Ann Rinaldi: A Break with Charity

    This story is a Young Adult novel about the Salem Witch trials. Someone recommended it to me last year after I read a short nonfiction book on the subject and had said I'd like to read more about it. This was a really wonderful recommendation and I'm sorry it took me so long to read it.

    This is a great book and provides the reader with an idea as to what could have happened during those terrible times using Susanna English as the main character of the story. The author sets you straight on what was fact from what was fiction in the Author's Note after the end of the story.

    I had already studied this subject lightly in a college U.S. Women's History class but this book opened my eyes and let me see a new perspective about some of the people I had learned about in my class, such as Tituba. This book also gave me a closer perspective of what life may have been like not only during the life of one of my favorite poets, but also for her as well as she was also a Puritan. This poet is Anne Bradstreet, the first American poet.

    August 14, 2008

    Sean Stewart: Cathy's Book: If Found Call 650-266-8233

    You can really tell right away that a lot of effort and hard work went into this small book before you even begin reading. The front cover provides a phone number. Curious? Call it! It's a real number, (though long distance, so make sure you're covered for that) with an actual message on it from the main character herself. You can find two other phone numbers in this book as well. If you flip the front cover of the hardback edition, there are all kinds of little things in a plastic envelope, clues left by Cathy for Emma.

    Unfortunately, these things and the phone numbers were the best feature. I'll say this. Cathy needs a hobby . . . and maybe to work on a few more things. I think I'll give it 2.5 stars, 3 to be nice. The adventures continue. I'm not going to pick up the second book, but that's simply me. Others may certainly enjoy this book better. One of my sisters is putting it to the test right now.

    August 13, 2008

    Ellen Wittlinger: Hard Love

    This one needed kleenex. John doesn't have much of anyone in his life before he discovers and becomes friends with Marisol. I can truely see how, with so little having much meaning to him in his life, Marisol came to mean so very much to him. When there is no one else and nothing else to look forward to, one may race with glee to communicate with merely one person because their world is so empty. It puts a big smile on their face and everything is good, or in John's case, at least for the moment. Sadly, these people come to mean just too much sometimes. This is hard love. Good read.

    August 12, 2008

    Stephenie Meyer's Twilight Series

    Yes, I read the series yet again. I did this in order to be better prepared for the release of the fourth and advertised last book in the series, Breaking Dawn. It also probably helped me that while I became more anxious to read the new book during the final week before it's release that I was buried in this series. Second thought, maybe it made it worse. No matter. I was ready for it.

    For those who've never read the series, I'll soon advise you to stop in your tracks. First however, I'll link you to my first blog entry on the series. If you'd like, you may scroll down on this next link to read my review of the first book, Twilight. Be weary of the newest review and scroll down quickly so you may avoid my review for the latest book in the series.

    In case the non-Twilight readers haven't disappeared yet...Movie poster!

    Honestly, I will keep this spoiler free.

    Twilight was a little hard to get into after having read it so many times in one year (four times!), but I still really enjoyed it. The movie is due in theaters December 12th of this year, though I will not be rereading it a third time for the year 2008. I will simply have to rely on memory. I think I'm set. Anyhow, this will allow me to enjoy the movie better since there's bound to be differences. I try to always judge books and their movies separately and can then enjoy them much better this way.

    I was actually rereading New Moon when I left on my trip in May, but was forced to leave it at home. After coming back from a six week trip and so close to August, I knew I would just let it sit to read once more from the start of it as I did.
    This book had always been my least favorite of this series. Rereading it this time, I found I liked it loads better. It always helps to be in a different place in your life when you read a book over again if you didn't agree with it so much the first (or even second) time around. I truly loved it!

    Eclipse was amazing as always. I had seriously worried if I would finish in time and actually hadn't before I left for my midnight release party. However, as I showed up five hours before the clock would strike twelve, I sat down with a store copy and began to read from where I'd left off. The book was completed with lots of time to spare!

    And now for the book so many people were dying to read, Breaking Dawn! Since it's still early since the release of this book, I'll again not spoil here. I will, however, refer you to my Breaking Dawn book review, which is also mostly spoiler free.

    It would be interesting if Meyer chooses to branch off parts of this series into series of their own. Otherwise, it seems all there is left of it is simply her book in progress, Midnight Sun, Twilight from Edward's point of view. If it's the last of the series or not, it was still immensely enjoyed and loved by many. The story is now complete.