May 23, 2009

Rick Riordan: The Titan's Curse

I had been avoiding reading this one but with good intentions. It wasn't that I thought it would be a bad book. Contraire to that, I expected quite the reverse. I knew the arrival of book five was around the corner, and was fully aware that upon reading one book a reader wants to sweep up the rest of this series to read right away. I should know that especially well since I had already read books one and two. (Follow this link to read what I had to say about the previous book in this series, The Sea of Monsters.)

My waiting was all due to wanting to keep my books in the same edition, paperback. I was shopping one day, and not in a bookstore, when I was shocked to see book four. I had thought it wasn't published yet. I bought it. I still didn't read it, however, nor this book. Book five was released at last, and though in hardcover, a bunch of my friends were talking about the series as they read it and I had a moment of weakness. I bought it. I'd like to think that I was already reading The Titan's Curse by then but I can't be sure.

This book was action packed and had me laughing out loud. I haven't heard of anyone who doesn't enjoy this series and found myself to be the most critical of book one, The Lighting Thief. I know the true reason for it had just been that I hadn't had the time to really read so I became uninterested as I spent too long on the book. Now I really wish I had gone back and reread the beginning of the series, not for the matter of missing anything, but for the enjoyment.

The true audience age is for people younger than myself and so I wonder about people out there who might think it silly or an unenlightening read. Being completely honest, knowing the myths already is very entertaining and enjoyable in itself. There are still surprises and everything else a good book has. It just lets you be in on some little things the intended readers may not know about even after finishing the books, which are things that had me laughing myself as I said before.

May 22, 2009

Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark

I was in the midst of my previous read book when one of my sisters made me pinkie swear to read Dead Until Dark next. She has not discovered LibraryThing yet and the incredible feeling of finding a great amount of people who enjoy the very same books as you. This has made her eager to make fans of the series out friends and family. I remember those dreadful days hoping someone even liked the same genre as me, or read books at all. My sister has been quite happy since I picked up this book. I was halfway through it when she became happier, though.

She won. My sister did the happy dance. I am a new fan to this series, or at least for now the first book. I enjoyed it enough that I had to go out and buy the second one, Living Dead in Dallas, when I was just halfway into Dead Until Dark. I had been having trouble reading lately but put everything on hold to read this book. I have been exhausted and low on sleep even but I read until long past dark and closer to the morning hours one night until the very last page was read. Do not ask me what was said on the very last page. I was far too sleepy to be able to remember. I simply remember feeling this was a very good book and that I was glad to have a copy of book two on my shelves already.

I watch very little television, do not have cable, direct TV, or a sort of box for my tv set. This means I have not seen the "True Blood" tv series, either. One of my sister's and my summer plans is to watch it on dvd.

I had a discussion earlier in the week with yet another family member reading this book about what genre it belongs in. Because of the vampires one might want to place it in fantasy. The person I was discussing this with felt the genre well-suited for this book but as someone whose read fantasy and enjoys it, I disagreed. My reasoning was that it just didn't feel like fantasy. I explained to the person that I certainly wouldn't tag it as that on LibraryThing. I tagged it as fiction because it had more of a fiction ring to it. It was more mainstream. The best genre I could use to describe this book is mystery, an actual sub-division, but the best none the less. Opinions?

May 21, 2009

Joanne Harris: Chocolat

This book came with the recommendation of friends. Unfortunately I managed to get a hold of the dvd before the book. I watched the movie in February and read the book in May. Though there will always be differences between books and movies based on them, each was enjoyable.

I was busy when reading the book and so spent over a week reading it, not a good thing for me. I don't care to spend more than a week on a single book. Sometimes that sort of thing takes my attention and so partially my interest from even good books. However, upon finishing it I really wanted to read the book which follows Chocolat, titled Girl with No Shadow. Never mind that I had been busy, Chocolat (the book, not the sweet) held on and demanded to be read (ah, I told you it was the book). Now picture having the free time to read without end. I could see myself reading this book front to cover without stopping but for short reading breaks.

I oddly felt at times that I wished the book would follow the movie, strange of one addicted to books, but at other times wished the movie had followed the book. I did as predicted however, come to enjoy the book more.

As for those chocolate rumors, I think it's far easier to read this book without chocolate than to watch the movie without chocolate. Just don't read it on an empty stomach - nothing will satisfy your sweet tooth.

May 19, 2009

TBR Tuesday

I have not one but two books I would like to talk about in this post today. First, however, I must talk about another, or more like a series from an author not of either book.

My mother worked in a medical clinic through my late teens. Many books went by in that clinic but one stood out to her from the rest. It was Charles de Lint's The Onion Girl, and with an unforgettable cover like that, who could have blamed her. Such a vast amount of patients had the book and all had very good things to say about it. With me at the time whining that there weren't any good books to read since I didn't read books beyond my five top authors in those days, my mother decided she had a new author for me: Charles de Lint.

We were poor and not a single copy of The Onion Girl could be found in the only bookstore we could afford, a used bookstore. She had me look at other books from the author, we discovered many of them were in a series, and learned the order of the books. I grudgingly began reading the books in the best order a used book store could provide, planning to get to The Onion Girl when a copy could be found.

I found myself addicted to the Newford series and still have fond memories for the books. Years passed by while I still held in my head a quote from one of the first books which recommended two books, one of which I never could find, and the other title which went forgotten.

2009. Seven years later. I went book shopping with some friends in a different used book store and found a copy of the remembered title, John Crowley's Little, Big. I couldn't speak at first. I half thought I would never find a copy. I always wondered how good it must be that it's so hard to get a copy, or how poor was the book that enough requests weren't in for a new publication of it. I guess I'll find out! However, I'm thrilled to be able to read it.

With this blog post I had to drag out a copy of my book with that seven-year remembered quote recommending two fantasy books. (This book is called Dreams Underfoot, should anyone wonder.) I almost dropped the book when I saw the other title, then scrambled to another bookshelf to remove a book: Mark Helprin's Winter's Tale. I was with one of those very same friends the day I bought it, a recommendation by her. Of course, Little, Big has been strongly recommended by her as well. I know who my fantasy person is whenever I look for something new to read in the genre. Many thanks to her for helping me acquire copies of these two books!

Now for that quote taken from the back cover of Dreams Underfoot.

"Like Mark Helprin's A Winter's Tale and John Crowley's Little, Big, Dreams Underfoot is a must-read book not only for fans of urban myth but for all who seek magic in everyday life." (Source not provided.)

May 12, 2009

Daniel Klein: The History of Now

Without reading the inside jacket of this book I can see that one might wonder if this is a piece of fiction or nonfiction. Or at least, I had wondered. If we were book shopping when we first see it, that would immediately give it away because it would most likely be shelved by genre. However, for me it was not. I chose this book based on a friend's review and as a group read, and ordered it online.

I received the book a while before I got to it but avoided the inside jacket to not give a single detail away. Admittedly as I first began reading I was surprised how the past was gone through. With a cleverly crafted title such as A History Now there is difficulty in predicting where the story might settle. The author went on to give further interesting names of things but I dare not give them away.

As Klein twisted the past with the present as well as the lives of different people together I eagerly waited for it all to tie in. I found myself unwilling to set the book down but to read through the entire day. It had me glued to it's pages and I must say that I really enjoyed it.

Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan: The Strain

I have never seen Pan's Labyrinth so it is my thought that I could not fully appreciate receiving an advanced readers copy of a book co-written by Guillermo del Toro as well as others may. It's a movie which often caught my curiosity but has greatly more since my reading of this book.

The Strain is the first book in a trilogy which starts out as being set in New York. I loved this. Reading about a place I have been was amazing and though del Toro and Hogan describe the setting to a 'T' the story was further exciting to me throughout the book because of this. I knew all about, for example, those rats, which I could only nod along to as I read. Do not misjudge me and think I feel the subject of rats exciting. They terrify me. Perhaps having been to New York and seen the rats saved me from going over the edge in my reading of this book. The Strain was quite the frightening story.

It all began with a grandmother's rather chilling tale to her grandson. I could not believe what I was reading. I was impressed. I was also worried. The Strain could only after all become scarier. Scarier it much became and I found myself thinking of what had before my reading of this book been the scariest book I had ever read.

Stephen King's A Bag of Bones may not be that scary to some but it had been enough that aside from reading Different Seasons I had put a black pen to the author's name in a mental note to myself to never read his books again. The Strain went past that but unlike A Bag of Bones, I was glued and the book had me unable to stop reading. I was unable, even, to not wish I had not so very long to wait for the book that would follow this.

The Strain terrified me so that I could not sit in a lit room without an open door. I could not read without my cats jumping onto my lap or poking their heads up from where their bodies were hidden below making me scream. I could not sleep for fear of monsters. I finished reading this book feeling it was the ultimate scary book. Never have I read a vampire book as half as frightening as this one.

Bravo, del Toro and Hogan! I cannot wait for the next one. I passed along my copy of The Strain to a friend who enjoys scary books and movies like none other I know. I await their call and hearing of their trouble sleeping at night.

May 11, 2009

Stephenie Meyer: Breaking Dawn

This was my first reread of this book. Be warned for spoilers below! I encourage no more reading beyond this point if you have not read Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse. Below is the review I wrote for Breaking Dawn on

Cinderella’s godmother was certainly very busy on the night of August 1st. There wasn’t a ball, but there were many parties and prom dresses. Even immortal creatures were in attendance. Some required chaperones and some did not. The strike of midnight meant something only a book lover could scream about. It wasn’t for the possibly hungry vampires on the loose, and there wasn’t a single angry young werewolf in sight. It was for the release of a new book.

I picked up the first book only a year ago as a gift from one of my friends. She crossed her fingers and I began to read. Hour after hour slipped by and there was no sleep. The book was a success, a brilliant suggestion which gave me the full dose of what causes the Twilight series addiction. Once infected, you can only keep reading the books to quench your thirst, each time wanting more. You quickly reach the point of which you are left with nothing but rereads of the series. There is always the option of searching for other books related to these, but the end result is always to have them turn out to be far less satisfying. It’s a cruel world, I know. We must thank Stephenie Meyer for not only having provided us with this dazzling and stunning series but for filling our thirsts again.

It all started with Twilight, a human girl and a vampire. We followed Bella Swan from Phoenix, AZ, to Forks, WA, trips of two sorts always occurring, always to return home to Forks again (where she still manages to have trips without even leaving her home). There are always forks. They diverge our veins just as they diverge our roads and paths. The new paths are set for whichever trails will be taken, though no others have been there before. At least, not this time.

The joyful sound of wedding bells had been in the works to be rung where we last left off. Edward had held a question, to bite or not to bite, and the answer came with a promise between him and Bella. They would become husband and wife. Bella would become a member of the Cullen family in not just the one way but in two. She would become a vampire.

Change is in the air. New things are thrown into the mixes that are thought never to have been an issue in the past. Meyer will surprise you as she did me with shocking and astonishing discoveries to be made. Many were the very last things I was expecting. Bella’s typical human forewarning dreams and Alice’s premonitions give warning to the future that comes but even they can’t quite tell you everything. There is a rearrangement of allies and friendships. New love lurks nearer, but also danger and stronger than ever before. A whole new level of it approaches with the arrival of something different and strange. Some will find it positively terrifying while others fear greater by what the arrival of it will bring forth. This is all caused by something that threatens each and every one of those who are dear to Bella, including herself. Do love and immortality last forever?

May 10, 2009

Catherine Hardwicke: Twilight Director's Notebook

The full title of this book is Twilight Director's Notebook: The Story of How We Made the Movie Based on the Novel by Stephenie Meyer. This is a book I had walked by those days or even weeks before the Twilight dvd release without much thought of getting it. What really sparked my interest in it was hearing about The Twilight Director's Notebook from, yes, a thirteen-year-old Twilight fan. I listened to them rave about their copy of this book and thought about the extra possibly two week wait I would face to receive my copy of the Borders exclusive Twilight dvd. I decided this would be how I would keep sane the night of the midnight dvd release: I would read this book in my empty house while stores everywhere would be flooded with teens and some not-really-teens-but-fans-all-the-same of the ever popular Twilight series. My very sister was one of those people, and 101 Things to Do in WalMart sheet in her hands, I bidded her well and secretly hoped she would be up to not much trouble.

A first thought on opening this book was of the battered shape the Twilight movie director's paperback copy of Twilight was in. I spent a while thinking about how her copy, which seemed to have even fallen apart in places, wasn't in bad or horrible shape at all. It was well digested. It had to have been read more times in places than any Twilight fan could claim to have read themselves, for the author of this book (and director of the Twilight movie) needed to have gone over many parts thinking of exactly how she would interpret scenes for the movie. Originally horrified, I admired the condition of Hardwicke's copy of Twilight before turning past the page she had a photo of her copy on.

I enjoyed reading the layout page titled "What's in her bag?" I also admired the paintings featured that were done by Hardwicke's sister. There was many a story board in this book and I really loved getting to see them. The artists as well as Hardwicke did amazing jobs. Best of all was of course learning those behind-the-scenes kind of thing that we couldn't really learn about until at least watching that part of the Twilight dvd. In fact, there was even much which this book taught me that sitting through all the special features and such did not teach me. Reading this book made the Twilight movie new to me in the sense that I was looking for all the things I hadn't known before that I had missed seeing the movie the one time I went to see it in theaters. It shows readers just how much went into the movie and leaves them further impressed.

May 9, 2009

The Disappearance of Books

I have missed a great many book posts, or so a part of me wishes it had been. The truth is that for the last - month in a half? - that I have not posted here, I have read a mere seven books. Sometimes life gets in the way and not simply from blogging but from reading as well. Hopefully that will be the only time this year. I neglected this blog longer than I would have liked to, but my neglection for my books felt to be far worse.

The good news is I have purchased very few books up until six days ago. I went on a book shopping trip with some friends and purchased two books for myself as well as one as a gift to one of my sisters. It seems to have made the book buying habit begin to go out of control once more. For example I have only read the first two books in the Percy Jackson and the Olympian series but bought book five at thirty percent off this week. Why did I buy book five if I have not read beyond book two? Because I already own copies of books three and four, and there was the sale, naturally. There was a good intention in mind, however, to speed through the series and give my copy of book five over to the first of my friends to request it. I prefer to keep the copies of my books in the same edition, and with this series in paperback, so my only intention in reading book five in hardcover was to not be out of the loop.

From where I left off on blogging last, these are my....

March reads:
Patricia Mccormick: Cut
Catherine Hardwicke: Twilight Director's Notebook: The Story of How We Made the Movie Based on the Novel.

April reads:
Stephenie Meyer: Breaking Dawn*
Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan: The Strain**
Daniel Klein: The History of Now

May reads:
Joanne Harris: Chocolat
Charlaine Harris: Dead Until Dark

(* = reread)
(** = Advanced Reader's Copy)

To many more books, and many more posts! I will post about each book through the week which I've missed posting about here.

March 18, 2009

Anonymous: Go Ask Alice

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The little research I did about this book before reading it left me unable to tell if it was fictional or nonfiction. I can say this for it, however. The editors have left a note instead. This book is based on a real diary kept by a teenage girl. If you're unfamiliar with the book it is about a teenage girl's struggle as a drug user. The last sentence on the back cover of my copy is very true. Alice is unforgettable.

There are few words that come to mind to describe how I feel about Go Ask Alice after reading it. Utterly stunned, perhaps. This story was unbelievable, not in the sense of my not seeing truth to it but for it being so very intense. I've never read anything like it. I can see that it would be a very good book to read for some people and why it's so well recommended.

There is a peaceful activity some teachers have their students volunteer to take part in. I don't have a name for it but what they say is something like this.

"Whoever (fill-in-the-blank), cross the line and step across the room. Look around you. Forgive yourself and all the others around you. Feel the peace and forgiveness you have for yourself and for each other. Cross the line once more."

I remember a couple of my teachers saying something to that effect when I was in eight and eleventh grade. I won't bother to go into the details of the second time. As an eight grader when my teacher said to do this for who knew where to find drugs on campus, I was the only student who did not cross the room. I was the only one who did not know. I've stayed in that bubble and net of safety all my life, too.

What is my point? As someone who has been from the complete other end of the rope, this book truly shocked me. As an afterthought I have thankfulness for being in my own naive world which protected me from what Alice went through. There isn't an Alice in real life to hug but for every person who relates to Alice, I wish to offer a hug. Go Ask Alice is two diaries worth of sorrow for her.

March 17, 2009

TBR Tuesday

I've recently explored other blogs quite a bit more than usual and have come across the title "TBR Tuesday." I hope no one will be upset if I use this, too. It just means they had a clever idea. I would like to twist it a bit to define what my own TBR Tuesday will be but am still in the thinking process. This is what I am thinking:

  • Select a book from my TBR pile.

  • Select the page number for which also represents the current number of books in my TBR pile.

  • Share a quote from it.

  • Share the book's summary.

  • It is my hope that this will be a way of rediscovering my To-Be-Read books because when you have so very many it is tough to keep them on in your head when many of them sound so very good.

    This week I picked up a book I chose for TBR Tuesday and found page 174 to be blank! This wasn't the best start. It seems Darcy's Story by Janet Aylmer wasn't the book for this week. With that, I selected a second book.

    Frank Beddor: The Looking Glass Wars

    Quote from the Book
    "Dodgson jumped up, spilling tea onto the rug and dropping his fountain pen, which dripped ink onto the pages of his journal." (Beddor 174)

    Summary from the Book
    "When she is cast out of Wonderland by her evil aunt Redd, young Alyss Heart struggles to keep memories of her queendom intact until she can return and claim her rightful throne."

    Website of Interest

    Why I Chose This Book
    I ended 2008 and began 2009 reading a two-in-one book of Lewis Carrol's, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. The Looking Glass Wars then seemed the perfect book today since I had been saving this book to read for more than a year before reading those two stories of Lewis Carrol's.

    March 16, 2009

    Alice Hoffman: Green Angel

    Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    This book quite fooled me. There wasn't anyone who had recommended nor mentioned it to me at all. Rather, after signing into PaperBackSwap one day I was taken by it's interesting cover. Please refrain from throwing your shoe at me for judging a book by it's cover. I opened another tab and headed to LibraryThing where I researched the book.

    It's published by Scholastic. So is Harry Potter, I told myself. It was as I guessed, a Young Adult fantasy. I saw some teens I know have the book but moved on to see more about the book. It was what sounded like a touching book about healing. Okay. I requested it.

    I received it in the mail. What is this? I was confused and couldn't determine what book it may possibly be as I went in search of a pair of scissors. It was rather thin. I opened the package and there was Green Angel. All one-hundred and sixteen pages of it. Now I had truly expected something much thicker. No where had I seen this book was quite thin. A little disappointed, I set it aside on a bookshelf, not among my newly acquired books.

    I remembered this book which I only received last week and picked it up on Friday. It was a short book, but I had time to kill and was feeling too down for a deep and thick book that required a lot of thinking. Immediately upon opening it I found it had been stamped by it's previous owner with a little monster from the book Where the Wild Things Are. Turning the pages twice, I came across this enchanting looking layout:

    I began to read and found not much of any conversation in the book but the writing was smooth and it kept my interest. It told the story of a fifteen-year-old girl named Green who loved and had a knack for growing things in her family garden. It told about her love for her family and most strongly for her younger sister, much the opposite of Green but a good sister nonetheless. It went on to tell how, as the back cover will tell you, embers flew from the sky one day and took her family away.

    Nothing is green anymore. The ground is dead with ashes. Green is, figuratively speaking, dead to some things as well. This short little story had a lot in it, though. There is a lot about finding strength, learning to live without those you've lost and how to move on, as well as finding a new life. Perhaps we should say rather than to simply not judge a book by it's cover to not judge a book by it's size.

    March 14, 2009

    February's Bookpile

    I had meant to post these at the end of February. Instead I was rather late in posting about books I read and so I procrastinated about posting the bookpile for the month of T0-Be-Read books as well. Here they are at last!

    Where they're from:

    PaperBackSwap: A Certain Slant of Light, Chocolat, The Devious Book for Cats Ella Minnow Pea, Green Angel, and Ophelia
    Borders: A Dirty Job, The Graveyard Book, and Persuasion
    BookMooch: Confessions of a Shopaholic and Cut
    Early Reviewers: Never Tell a Lie
    Gift: Hunted

    Award Ceremony

    I almost feel like I should have a little ceremony on these posts sometimes. The stage is set, the seats are filled in the audience, and the lights have been dimmed as I call attention to those who are seated.

    "The award for recommending the following book which I brought home in the month of February goes to..."

    A name is called and everyone claps and cheers. Though I am unsure what this award should be, perhaps it would look something like a bookshopping receipt or one of those slips of paper informing you of a transaction done from shopping online. The person is, I am sure, most happy for this award.

    I am being humorous. Forgive me if I am poor at it. I see some things funny to which others may simply wonder, 'What?'

    Why is BookMooch sinking?

    This is a question some fellow booklovers have asked themselves. As I look at my list of books acquired last month and where they each came from, I see quite a bit more from PaperBackSwap than from BookMooch. It seems the answer is this: I don't check my e-mail as often these days. When a book on my wishlist becomes available another person snatches it first. However, the biggest problem is having books on BookMooch which are reserved. It seems everything is reserved these days. I can hardly find books at all.

    Sometimes I've simply given points away because I wonder when I may find books I want. I did this just last week to someone who mooched from me. They mooched two books and were given two points back. I just want a home for the books I have listed. Goodness knows I never wanted some of them to begin with but am giving them away on PBS and BM because the other option was my sister throwing her books in the trash, something that was actually her preference. I know those reading this post must be cringing now.

    PaperBackSwap seemed the easier way of getting books. However, it's most alarmingly more expensive. I was given two points for joining PaperBackSwap and sent six books so far in all. That is enough for eight books. I have requested and received thirty-six books from them. This means I've paid them an estimated $100. By having the option of buying your points instead of earning them, a book for a book, PaperBackSwap is gaining on BookMooch.

    I would personally choose BookMooch over PaperBackSwap if a book were available on both sites. It's cheaper, and there is the bonus of both communication as well as those lovely book condition notes. The whole experience is more personal. Someone requests a book and says, "Thank you!" The sender sends the book and says "I hope they enjoy this book." The receiver receives the book and says, "Thanks again!" It's such a happy place! PaperBackSwap has 'communication,' too. You can send a letter to people thanking them after you receive a book. This is something I do but am unsure just how many others do. I rarely receive a "You're welcome" back. Maybe it's like a chain of never ending e-mails, but it's polite, and if someone sent me a "Thank you," you can bet I will send a "You're very welcome! I hope you enjoy reading it." On to new subjects...

    The Bookpile

    I am so happy because by posting these books later than usual I can smile and laugh at my TBR pile for having read some of these books already. Conquering four out of thirteen isn't a whole lot, but it's something. You can read about the books I have already read here: Hunted, Ophelia, Never Tell a Lie, Green Angel

    First off, I would like to give a squee for this lovely page. I am of course revealing Kerian is not my real life name, but this was too exciting. Thanks again to my wonderful friend foggidawn for this signed ARC!

    I will start at the top of the bookpile and work my way down which starts us off with Cut. This isn't a book I picked out for myself at all. Rather, it was recommended as a book I could pass on to a few teens. Cutting is terrible. I'm not talking about cutting classes but think you know that.

    I would like to share that through my teen years I went to a friend's house after school every day for a year, the main purpose to not just hang out with a friend, but to keep her company when she felt alone and to hide all the sharp object I could without hiding the kitchen knives and her father's razors. By the next day in math class, she'd only say this: "I found them."

    I wish I could have done something better for her. I feel a little better knowing I can accidentally leave this book sitting out for a group of girls I know of who are either cutting as an 'art' or cutting as some sort of relief. (For anyone who knows I have a teenage sister, she is not doing this so know she is fine.)

    On bad days I gather my cell phone, coat, and shoes to head out the door. I walk not knowing where I will go. One day it took me to a grocery store. There isn't much in this part of my city except those, hotels, gas stations, fast food chains, and hair salons. I went looking for a book to cheer me up. Instead I found a measly selection of books but found the dvds. They had a measly selection of those as well. However, they did have Jane Austen's Persuasion. I bought it and had an Austen marathon that weekend. The following week I excitedly purchased the book. I have only read three of Austen's books as of yet but consider myself a big fan. This is one of the books I was recently reading during the week but am momentarily paused on pending if anyone wanted to read it at the same time as me.

    I hadn't been that interested in Confessions of a Shopaholic when I went to see it in theaters. I blame that on having gone to actually see Coraline that day with it so happening that they were sold out. I suppose I could have enjoyed Confessions of a Shopaholic better were it not for that though I have never been that girly, into chick lit, nor shopaholic save for bookshopping myself. On hearing the book actually takes place in England I thought perhaps I would read it and so got the book. This isn't one I would necessarily read soon.

    A Certain Slant of Light. Hum. One of those long ago recommended books by a friend. I can't recall a detail about it save for the main character is a ghost. No one sees her until one day, perhaps a hundred years later even, when a boy can see her.

    I can't pin point Chocolate to any one individual for the book recommendation. I can say that yet again I have seen the movie, though only after this recommendation was made. Thank you to a vast crowd of LibraryThingers! This is one I want to read very soon! I would have started it sooner if I didn't have that Austen inspiration. I wanted to take advantage of feeling up to something less modern. I look forward to reading this book and not so much for any weight gain from the consumption of chocolate while reading this book.

    I had been very eager to read humorous Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job ever since I finished reading You Suck. Though it's not part of that book much nor Bloodsucking Fiends, it does have a slight connection. There is a scene when the main female character from those books drops into the shop of the main character of A Dirty Job. She has a very interesting conversation with him in the way of something other worldly or undead. This book's cover has an old fashioned stroller being pushed by a man with a hand covered in skin. The baby girl inside has a skeletal head and there is an ax in her buggy. (I have remembered the word, alas.) No other spoilers here!

    Ella Minnow Pea is the name of a girl in it's book. The country has some stunning and most shocking terrible times or removing certain letters from the alphabet, or perhaps simply banning them. I'm told it's very funny and have two friends I can think of from the top of my head who have read it. My mother and I both look forward to reading it.

    I hunted week after week for The Graveyard Book before finding it in stores. One would imagine I would have then jumped right into it, right? I have just been caught up in so many books. It was driving me insane that so many people I know have read it and I could not discuss it with them. I can't wait till I will be in on the book's secrets, but to add to that, I also can't wait to enjoy another of Neil Gaiman's books.

    It seems a woman who stands in my kitchen now was ever excited the day I showed her my newest addition to my TBR pile. A Devious Book for Cats had arrived, and excited as I was for this humorous book, I was showing it off to people here. (We have four cats, so do call us crazy.) I figured I would finish the book I deemed myself at the time to be stuck in (since I wanted to read this) and slid the book into their waiting hands to read before me. Weeks later, and I find it hidden away unfinished when I ask to 'borrow' it for a 'photo shoot.' (How nice! I am the proud owner of a famous book.) Oh well. It wasn't the book for her but I will be happy to read it.

    * This post will be edited and a link will be added for Green Angel on Monday. It's going to be on the entry after this one.

    Elizabeth Aston: Mr. Darcy's Daughters

    Believe it or not, the last few entries were all still for February. I was neglecting my blog. However, with this post I am all caught up. This is a true March read. Now to only post that ever late book pile after this! Well, onto the book...

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    One of the first things I have to say about this book is that I can't believe I let it sit in my TBR pile so long. I first read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, for which Aston's Mr. Darcy's Daughters is based on, in a women's literature class in the spring of 2003. I was an immediate fan of it and went on to reread it perhaps four times since then. It was during that same literature class that I discovered another of my favorites, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre as well. Not a person who was on the internet much at all in those days, it was only with Jasper Fforde's hit Thursday Next series that I discovered those lovely books about other books. I soon became a fan of books about classic literature that wasn't actually classic literature itself. This book is one that stands to impress and does not fail to keep me excited about the rest of the series.

    Mr. Darcy's Daughters was an absolutely wonderful and most enjoyable book. I can't say that enough. A part of me before reading it wondered what the damage would be to the memory of characters from Austen's work. However, there wasn't a reason for such worries. Elizabeth Aston did not ruin Elizabeth nor Mr. Darcy for me one single bit. It's not that I've really come across characters destroyed for me with books about classic literature, but rather some books just do not capture those classic characters well. With this book, there was rarely such chance. We in fact do not see Mr. or Mrs. Darcy at all. I was a little sad over that matter to begin with, but there are a great many books taking over where Pride and Prejudice leaves off and I know I have a great deal of books in my very TBR pile that do so.

    How does a book about Pride and Prejudice survive without it's star characters? It provides new ones, of course, who I assure to you are just as interesting as the very Bennet family itself had been. The daughters of the Darcy's, every one of them, are in London. I can hear Lady Catherine to Lizzy now. "What, and all at court?!" Well, that I will not answer! Second born to the Darcy's, Camilla is the heroine of Mr. Darcy's Daughters, a young woman much like her mother. If this is beginning to sound like a repeat of Pride and Prejudice with simply new characters do not fear. I will insist it has it's differences.

    This outstanding book which brings you back to Pride and Prejudice, reintroduces you to some familiar characters, and has a story in a slightly similar fashion as it's model, is yet a story of it's own. I liked the characters and understand perhaps not every future book in the series will take place from Camilla's point of view. However I am greatly looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I'm so happy I read this book and am no longer missing it from never having read it. I gave it 4.5 stars, withholding from five stars because they could have used a smidgen more creativity. Happily enough I received book two in the mail since finishing Mr. Darcy's Daughters last Sunday and will start to read it soon. If only I could read every book I want to read 'soon' soon. "So many books, so little time." (Unknown source.)

    March 13, 2009

    Kate DiCamillo: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    As someone who adored both rabbits and dolls as a child I found this children's book to be quite cute. Edward Tulane was not necessarily the idea toy. For one, he was partially porcelain. For another, he was without a heart. No love for the little girl who loved him terribly, someone knew Edward's unspoken secret. One day everything in Edward's world changes. There were times when I felt very sorry for Edward. Heartbreaking as parts were, it was all for the better. This darling book is one I would definitely read to children if I knew any.

    March 12, 2009

    Lisa Klein: Ophelia

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    It's funny how you can go from fearing Shakespeare's works rather very much, then grow to understand it well enough that suddenly you ace every essay you write on his works and later in life find yourself wanting to read books about his works. Lisa Klein's Ophelia is a book not about Shakespeare's Ophelia as I thought when I first heard mention of it but about Hamlet. Luckily for me I have read Hamlet whereas I have not yet read Ophelia.

    Before I began reading I anticipated that I would greatly enjoy this book and was most right. It has been a good seven years and many, many books since I read Hamlet. However, I followed Klein's Ophelia well and would not say Shakespeare's play need be fresh in mind prior to reading this book to enjoy it. I would for certain though consider the experience of reading Ophelia further enjoyed if Hamlet is taken up after reading Ophelia. I can't imagine anyone who would not wish to do so after reading Klein's retelling and yet at the same time unique story.

    The twist to Ophelia is that this is Ophelia's story to tell and it is very much not the story you have heard from Hamlet. Klein opens a new door for us to see Hamlet from Ophelia's point of view. On top of that it goes on further to tell a story of it's own beyond what Shakespeare had to offer in the way of revealing more to Ophelia's life. What if . . . What if things weren't quite the same? What if . . . I dare not say in my attempts to not reveal spoilers. The point is, it is much different however fantastic literature.

    I truly feel had I more patience and were I just a little religious I would have enjoyed this book further. As is I love it, and yet the ending just wasn't for me. Perhaps it would have revealed a little more understanding on my part were I religious. I am an open minded person myself but think others who are religious may enjoy this book a little more than I have. That isn't saying a great deal of course because I rather enjoyed this book quite a lot.

    Ophelia has made me starved for more books like it and I eagerly await for Lisa Klein's book in progress, another book having to do with one of Shakespeare's works. She has told a little about it on her website where you may learn more about her and her newly published book, Two Girls of Gettysburg as well. Reading Ophelia has sent me in a great mood for books about classic literature and so I am buried in Austen while taking advantage of this reading craving to tackle my Austen book challenge.

    Other than Hamlet the other plays I've read by Shakespeare are Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, and Twelfth Night. Besides a reread of Hamlet I hope to soon pick up King Lear for Christopher Moore's newest book, Fool, a book which I suspect though have not yet heard if it will require a little more knowledge from the reader prior to reading.

    March 4, 2009

    My Rating System

    I would like to provide an explanation of how I generally rate books.

    5 stars: This was a truly outstanding book!

    4.5 stars: Not the absolute best but an incredible read.

    4 stars: This was a marvelous and very good book. Four stars and above are for favorites. They are books which I would consider rereading.

    3.5 stars: This was better than the average book.

    3 stars: This was a good book.

    2.5 stars: I didn't enjoy this book so much.

    2 stars: I wasn't too fond of this book.

    1.5 stars: I probably only liked part of this book. It would probably be a book that is a collection of short stories in which I only read or liked a few of the stories and either didn't get to or didn't so much enjoy the rest of the stories.

    1 star: I really didn't like this book.

    0.5 stars: I couldn't stand this book at all.

    March 3, 2009

    Markus Zusak: The Book Thief

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    I found this book to be absolutely incredible. It was very powerful and touched me greatly. I can remember the very day I bought it (New Year's Eve 2007) and the exact book I bought at the same time as this one (The Lightning Thief). For some reason it took me a great amount of time to pick up The Book Thief and read it. It probably would have taken longer had someone not suggested it as a book to read for last month. Writing this now I realize I meant to write that person a thank you but have forgotten. I hope to be doing that shortly.

    Right away as I sat in a public place reading this book I thought it would be a deeper book than what I had been reading more of lately. It wouldn't be a book that could easily be read where people may be loud nor would be considered anywhere on the same end of a rope as a light, fluffy read which requires little thought. Death seemed the perfect narrator and I put down my book with haste eager to read more of the life he had to tell of Liesel Meminger, the girl he knew best as the book thief.

    Early on in the reading of this book readers will know much of what is to come later on. When Death begins the story of the book thief I didn't at first believe he would tell her story so well as he does. My thoughts had been Death would surely only see glimpses of her and every other person's life, toward each of their life's end. He surprised me, as did Markus Zusak, with a beautifully written novel that made me love the characters and which produced tears.

    I'm partially German on both sides of my family. This book made me feel a little better about it. Everything that happened around the time of WWII was most incredibly the worst of horrible things. It had made me have a dislike toward being part German. Zusak shows us that there are good Germans as well as bad Germans, however. This book will tell you the story of a very good German.

    I highly recommend this book for many reasons. It is mere fiction, unlike The Diary of a Young Girl, however it has much to tell in it's strong and moving tale. You would be at a real loss and missing out on one of the most precious books without ever reading The Book Thief.

    This was the first book I read by Markus Zusak. I'm very curious about his other books now such as I Am the Messenger. I would greatly enjoy reading more of any of his books and will be excited about any future books he may write. I feel he has produced one incredibly special book with The Book Thief and do not doubt other books of his to be the same in their own way.

    March 2, 2009

    Hallie Ephron: Never Tell a Lie

    Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    This book was one of my EarlyReviewer books. A date on the spine says it was to be published in January of this year though I received my uncorrected proof in February. I happened to come across it in a bookstore on Saturday. It sat in it's hardcover edition on a twenty percent off sale for new hardcover fiction and a part of me was very excited to have already read it.

    Never Tell a Lie is a book of mystery. A happy couple expecting their first child decide to have a garage sale to clear their attic of the belongings of their beautiful Victorian home's previous owner. They've been together since the days that they were in high school and early that morning one of their first visitors is someone they had gone to school with.

    Neither of them had seen Melinda, expecting her own first child, in years. Ivy was never close to Melinda and is eager to be free of the visiting woman who feels they were actually very close. Ivy is relieved when her husband, David, distracts Melinda by taking her on a tour of their grand house. She is tired and feeling every month of her pregnancy. Ivy does not notice that she never sees Melinda leaving their home.

    In a matter of days David and Ivy are contacted by the police. Melinda is missing. The last place she was known to be was at David and Ivy's home for their garage sale. The single question of where Melinda is leads to a great deal of more mysteries.

    I don't ordinarily read mystery books anymore though once read a great deal of it so it was nice to enjoy a mystery once more. I found it to be a good book and this book has interested me in reading more books in it's genre once more. I would read another of Ephron's books when she has more to offer readers.

    February 26, 2009

    P.C. and Kristen Cast: Hunted

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Hunted is the newest and fifth installment in P.C. Cast's and Kristin Cast's co-written vampyre series called House of Night. The House of Night is a high school for vampyre fledglings, or vampyres in the making.

    I was surprised with a signed copy of the advanced reader's edition of Hunted from a very kind friend. I want to say again thank you very much. This book is not due to be released until March 6th so I will try to keep this as spoiler-free as possible. However, I will expect readers of this entry to have already read the previous books in this series. For my entries on those books you may select them from the links below.

    Book one: Marked
    Book two: Betrayed
    Book three: Chosen
    Book four: Untamed
    Book five: Hunted

    My apologies if you click on the last one but you really should know better.

    When Untamed left off the House of Night was on the brink of a new time. If you're a Harry Potter fan just imagine Half-Blood Prince. Something bad wasn't coming. Something bad was there and Zoey Redbird and her friends had taken their cats, dog, and scrambled away for cover underground. It's strange to imagine that where the dark Kalona came from is now the sound place. Zoey finds parts of the tunnels a little spooky, too. Time for that later, though. From start to finish events in this book keep mostly everyone on their toes.

    In this book you will learn more about and get to know the Red Fledglings. Zoey and other House of Night fledglings cautiously bunk with them while they are without their home and beds at the House of Night. How could they simply stay underground, though? Someone has to stand up against Kalona and the betrayer, Neferet. There would always be the risk that Kalona's Raven Mockers would find them. Then there is also the peace between humans and vampyres that had existed for years. With Kalona free from where he was once trapped underground, no one, not even vampyres, are safe. Who would protect the humans?

    P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast keep to their usual writing style with times you may smirk, laugh out loud, or say to yourself, "That Zoey!" This book is another in the House of Night series that is entertaining and a fun read. I look forward to next book with anticipation.

    It's my understanding that this series, while previously being published immediately as paperbacks, is taking on hardcover copies. That will be the format for which Hunted will first be released in. My sources say book six is due to be published in October.

    February 10, 2009

    J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

    5 out of 5 stars

    Should you be one of those people who have not yet read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for some reason that will seem as bizarre to the Harry Potter fan that I am, please do not continue reading any further. I can refer you to an earlier blog entry with my book review but warn that it comes with spoilers.

    This was my first time actually rereading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. What a difference!

    I was one of those fans who went stir-crazy online discussing exactly what might happen in the final Harry Potter book. One of my constant thoughts had been dread because I read that Rowling wanted to end her series in a way that no one would ever try to pick it up again and publish something from it on their own. I had interpreted this as her killing off Harry.

    When it came to reading the final book that would tell the finished story of Harry Potter, I did everything I could think of including petting the cats before beginning to read because of my anxiety. I could say I was sniffly or teary during my reading but that wouldn't be quite true. I openly wept at parts. Every hour or so someone would be there to check on me, bringing me food or asking "Is he dead?" I shook my head and put aside the food I couldn't bring myself to eat. Such confidence I had in Rowling, I am thinking now as I look back on my previous and first reading of this book.

    I became teary and even cried at all the right places during my second time around of reading this book last week, but I am glad I let enough time go by that I could really enjoy it when I did decide to reread it. While some much-loved characters may be gone and dead by the end of this series, we can always look back on the series as a whole and see them happy as they once were.

    I have as of yet to reread the complete series since the release of book seven and am not planning it during this year since I don't want to reread this book twice in a single year. Perhaps in 2010, though. The Harry Potter books remain my favorite series and I doubt I could tire of them, but I would like to space out the times that I read them to enjoy them better.

    February 6, 2009

    The Bookpile, Part 2

    With my last blog entry I had said I would post the rest of the books tomorrow. That was on Sunday. Tomorrow can so easily turn into the next day and the day after that. For the most part I was caught up in reading. More on that "tomorrow," though.

    These are the last of the books that joined my TBR pile last month. I got them all in one stop at Half-Priced Books. I can teasingly say I put the blame to the person I went book shopping with. My intentions had been to buy merely one book for a friend from a bookstore that sells new books where I knew the book would more likely be in stock.

    I enjoyed Christopher Moore's books enough that I want to read more of them. While Fluke was not the book I had in mind to read by him next, the day's book shopping buddy wanted to read it so I got it for both of us. Fluke's subtitle is I Know Why the Caged Whale Sings. It's hard for me to imagine the reference to Toni Morrison's book to be missed, but just in case, she has one called I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. This originally made me wonder if there is a great connection between the two books or if Fluke even makes fun or laughs at the other. All I can say without yet having read it is that it's about marine behavioral biologist studying humpback whales. One day he finds the words "Bite me" carved on one of the poor creature's tails and from there a great question is asked of how it came to be there.

    As though I don't have enough vampire books and haven't been reading enough of them lately, La Vida Vampire made it's way to my home. I had never heard of it before coming across it that day. This book is about a two-hundred-plus year old vampire who gives ghost tour guides after being unburied during a Victorian house renovation. She has a lot of problems between being taught about the world so very long ago, that she is blamed for the death of someone from her tour guide, and that someone is looking for her.

    I was so excited to find another book by Neil Gaiman. One of my friends I've gone book shopping with had really recommended this one the first time we went book shopping almost a year ago. If anyone has any other book suggestions by this author I would love to hear them. I've previously read Stardust and Coraline by him, both books I loved. Neverwhere is about a man who stops to help an injured girl and ends up being taken to another world, both good and very bad. He seeks to return to London as he knew it.

    I have a lot of sisters so when I find books about sisters I sometimes pick them up. I don't usually get them, though I did buy Whistling in the Dark. There are three sisters left alone after their mother is hospitalized and their step-father leaves them. The oldest sister, distracted by her boyfriend, doesn't pay attention to her younger sisters. The next thing you know someone has been molested and someone else murdered. One of the three sisters tries to care for another of them as she worries that the murderer is after her next and wonders who will believe their story.

    I've never read anything by Kate DiCamillo and had previously not planned to read any particular books of hers, but The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane seemed like a cute little story. Before I was a cat person and before I had thought I was a dog person, it was rabbits that held my interest. I love the soft, little creatures and have owned two. This book is about a rabbit named Edward who was happy because he was owned by a very nice girl and then one day becomes lost. I wonder if it will be sad and stay away from it for a bit just in case.

    I am really confused what the title is for the next book. I think it's a series called Wicked, but that it contains two books inside, Witch and Curse. The pages stop at 361 and begin again to reach 291. There are also two authors but they seem to have written the books together. I basically only bought this two-in-one because I come across it so many times. If I don't like them I can always rip the book in two and put them up on BookMooch. (Kidding!)

    San Francisco native and teenager Holly is sent to relatives in Seattle after her parents die in a car accident. She finds things there very strange, though. The sentence that got me to make this purchase most was this: "...Any wish she whispers to her cat seems to come true." A cat person, perhaps. There is something sometimes creepy how one might swear cats actually hear you.

    Lastly, after years of silently insisting I would absolutely not read this book, I bought the first Artemis Fowl book. At least after reading it I can actually say if I don't like it or not. Too many people I know have read it for me to not read it and see more of what it's about.

    February 1, 2009

    Another Book Pile

    My last book pile was on January 10th. Like January one year ago, I did far too much book shopping last month. I think it's caused from trying to avoid getting books when I have birthday and Christmas shopping to do. I put off posting another book pile till as late as possible. By then I had enough books for not one but two piles. I'm tired and want to go to bed early so I'm only going to post one of the book piles tonight.

    Where they came from:

    PaperBackSwap: Sunshine, Coraline, The Duchess
    BookMooch: Go Ask Alice, Dead Until Dark, Careers for Bookworms & Other Literary Types
    Borders Marketplace: The Tree Shepherd's Daughter, The Thirteenth Tale, Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America's First Poet
    Gift: The Giver, My Sweet Audrina
    Target: Harry, A History

    I've already read The Giver and My Sweet Audrina so they're not actually part of my TBR at all. One of my sisters gave me a huge pile of books she either had multiple copies of or that she no longer wanted. I took these two aside and placed the rest on BookMooch and PaperBackSwap.

    I've only read The Giver once about six years ago. The details have become fuzzy so I would like to read it again. It's about a twelve year old boy named Jonas who receives training from a man known as The Giver, someone who is the only one who can see everything for what it is, to my understanding. There's a lot more to it but I don't want to give away what details I can remember.

    My Sweet Audrina is the only standalone by a ghost writer I used to read a lot of books by but stopped reading more than five years ago. Audrina lives in a strange world competing with her dead older sister, the first Audrina. Through this book she grows up and many mysteries and secrets are revealed, some most very shocking.

    My sister who received perhaps seven books in Charlaine Harris's Sookie series from us for Christmas gobbled the books up and has been excitedly telling me how good the books are. I knew about them before she did, but I only managed to get a copy of a single book last month. Many are already aware of the series and recognize it as being what the television show "Trueblood" is based from. It's a vampire series beginning with Dead Until Dark. My sister and I have never seen the show so neither of us will be able to compare them.

    Robin McKinley's Sunshine was a book I kept running into on LibraryThing. It's yet another book about vampires. I would look at the book description, close the tab, and some time later another LTer would mention it causing me to look over it once again. Well, I finally gave in. Someone has already asked me what I think of it because they want to know about it to read themselves. My plan is to try to read this one soon to let them know.

    I used to work with someone whose other job was for a publisher. She always came into work with advanced reader copies whose covers I would stare at in hopes of being permitted to read the back cover. She sometimes sat her book down directly in front of me and walked away. I was good and didn't touch the books. If they were face up I would just look at it and wonder what kind of story it was. She would then come back and ask why I didn't flip it over to read the back cover yet. One of those many ARCs she had was Stephenie Meyer's The Host which she teasingly asked me if I would like to touch one afternoon. Another was The Tree Shepherd's Daughter. This book is one with a very interesting book cover about a teen who moves from California to Colorado to live with her dad after her mom dies. It's the first in a series of books with fairies in it.

    I like some historical fiction and was curious about The Duchess when I saw previews to the movie. However, I never saw it. I got the book thinking that I may read that and then see the movie later on once it's out on DVD.

    As a Harry Potter fan I am eager to read Harry, A History, a book I first heard about on LibraryThing. Many people will recognize its title from a book within J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series called Hogwarts, A History. While that's a book I strongly hope will one day be an actual book muggles can read, Harry, A History in the meantime tells the history of Harry as the series built up an alarmingly impressive amount of fans all over the world. These fans, or many of us rather, got to experience the waiting periods and everything that came with them between each of Rowling's book releases. It's a lucky experience many of us have had that introduced us to new people who we connected and became friends with. Goodness, it's something that introduced me to some of the best people I have ever known and come to love.

    I took a book quiz last month that told me I was a slight bit of a book snob when it comes to books that are popular and might fall under mainstream fiction. I don't want to read a book because everyone else is reading it. I want to read it because others who enjoy the same books as me or people that I actually know versus strangers enjoyed it. Since I've heard a convincing amount of good feedbacks from it, I decided to get The Thirteenth Tale.

    One of my absolute favorite poets is Anne Bradstreet. I did a presentation on her in a college Women's literature class but would still like to learn more about her. I was happy when I came across a book about her online, Mistress Bradstreet though it took me a while to get it. I have a hard time with some nonfiction books but I have an interest in the time period Bradstreet lived in as well. Perhaps after reading this when family members talk about family history I can tell them a little more about the Puritans then they can tell me.

    I apologize for the sloppy and incomplete blog entry. I've been very tired lately and hope to get to sleep soon.

    January 30, 2009

    Neil Gaiman: Coraline

    Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    As many people know the movie Coraline is coming to theaters next week with an opening night on Friday, February 6th. What I find funny is that some people have missed that this movie is based on a book.

    "The movie's a book?" some kids might ask. Such were the words spoken by my youngest sister, age thirteen, when we discussed this two weeks ago.
    "Well, the book's a movie, actu-"
    "I want to read it!"

    Excellent! You see, it is worth mentioning. This is especially true if said youngster or teen isn't fond of reading to begin with. (Haha, dear sister. I love you.)

    I must admit the quieter approach may be better with some of them. It might be best to withhold the information until after they've enjoyed it and then sneak it in. While you might not know when you can afford to take your kids (and possibly their friends) to see it again, they can check the book out from a library to read as many times as they would like.

    Try to break this news as excitedly as you can. Picture a surprise birthday party. Hold that thought. It would make the book sound 'uncool.' I am here to tell you there is no doubt that this book is not. It's fantastic! This book is not your child's average bedtime story, however.

    Gaiman chills us with his dark children's story about a girl named Coraline who is just trying to find something to do while playing all alone in a world with only grown-ups. That's when she discovers a door leading to a world exactly like her own and yet terribly different. Coraline is a very mature girl and a character that can easily be admired. Her story is incredible however short. My movie tie-in edition is 163 pages with impressive and chilling illustrations. It will find itself in my sister's hands tomorrow.

    Like all movies based on a book, and yes, for the young uns, I will say with a smile 'book based on a movie,' there are differences between the two. The movie is rated PG. I think kids of many ages will enjoy it. I've been clued in that the book is the more scary of the two. My thoughts are that if younger children are going to read this you might want to consider reading it with them if you're worried. I would steer away from reading it as their nighttime story before bed.

    This is the official trailer provided on YouTube from "Coraline, the Movie."

    January 26, 2009

    Favorite Book That Begins with . . .

    I have a sleeping cat on my lap and while she is there I dare not disturb her. A comic strip by Brian Crane called "Pickles" introduced me to the term COL, which stands for 'cat on lap.' COL may be used as an excuse for just about anything. "I need you to go make dinner." "Could you go finish the laundry?" "I have a few errands for you to run." Just about anything goes with COL. It can even be for something that works against you. I wish I could get up right now because this nearing eight-year-old baby who has the most photogenic skills is beginning to make me uncomfortable, but because I have COL I may not get up. While I am bound to the computer chair I am finding something to do to pass the time by blogging this entry. Oh, dear. I sneezed. She has just left me. I am free, and yet now compelled to type. Well, here it is....

    These are my favorite books that I have read for each letter of the alphabet:
    The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
    The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fforde
    The Crimes of Charlotte Bronte: The Secrets of a Mysterious Family by James Tully
    Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
    The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
    Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge
    The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
    Harry Potter series. I can't decide which is my favorite.
    Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
    Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
    The Knight of the Sacred Lake by Rosalind Miles
    The Little Country by Charles de Lint
    Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint
    New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
    The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint
    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
    Quicksilver & Shadow by Charles de Lint
    Remember Me by Carol Higgins Clark
    Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
    The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
    Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
    The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
    You Suck by Christopher Moore

    Runner Ups:
    Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
    The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
    Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
    The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard
    Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
    The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde
    Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country by Rosalind Miles
    Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby
    Isolde, Queen of the Western Isle by Rosalind Miles
    The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
    The Most Wanted by Jacquelyn Mitchard
    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
    The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
    The Princess Bride by William Goldman
    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
    Stardust by Neil Gaiman
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
    Untamed by P.C. and Kristen Cast
    Widdershins by Charles de Lint

    More From the Hardest Letters to Choose From:
    B: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver
    D: The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman and The Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima
    F: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and Forests of the Heart by Charles de Lint H: The Host by Stephenie Meyer, Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, and Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
    L: The Lady of the Sea by Rosalind Miles, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, and Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
    M: The Maid of the White Hands by Rosalind Miles, Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock, and My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews
    O: Od Magic by Patricia A. McKillip and The Odyssey by Homer
    S: A Shortcut in Time by Charles Dickinson, The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman, and Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
    T: A Theory of Relativity by Jacquelyn Mitchard and Tunneling by Beth Bosworth
    W: Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire, The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, and A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks

    On an ending note, I was quite worrisome my four-legged friend would return. She made several trips back to see me. More seriously now, I wonder if there are any good books that begin with a 'V' an 'X,' or a 'Z.' Also if there are any writers reading this, why so very many 'W's? I am overwhelmed for this letter more than any other by far. They are magnificent stories, though.

    January 24, 2009

    Why I Choose LibraryThing

    I recently voted on something to do with social networking sites for readers. I didn't spend more than a few minutes typing it up but this is what I left as my comment.

    I don’t like LibraryThing. I love LibraryThing.

    I’ve been a member of LibraryThing for two years now. The day I stumbled on it became a milestone in my life. My lifetime membership status isn’t just because a friend paid for me to have more than a year of unlimited book cataloging. I love how well I can keep track of my books there. The site has terrific features that feed all of my addictions for organizing and much more. I turn to LT for anything book related before all else. LibraryThing has complete reins of which books I purchase and which books I don’t purchase. It can tell me what order a book series is in, which books I may like based on what I have already, and I haven’t even gotten started on the communication parts of it. It introduced me to some of the best people I’ve ever ‘met’ and I am very grateful for the friendships it has given me. Talking to a group of people about books you have in common is wonderful. Talking to a group a people who you know well and share many of the same book interests as is even better. I am eternally grateful to those who work hard to keep LibraryThing the outstanding place that it is.

    If you're a reader and haven't discovered the amazingness that is LibraryThing yet, I suggest you go check it out.

    January 23, 2009

    Christopher Moore: You Suck

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

    I hadn't been sure that I would read this book next but did after all. The eventful weekend didn't leave room for much reading as I spent it trying to cheer up my newly become jobless sister. It took longer to read the book than I thought it would because of this but not for a lack of interest in reading it. I set it down with regret each time I had to lie the book aside.

    Often a series might grow on me as I think was the case for this one, though its two companion books rather than a series from what I can tell. The characters grow on you and I love nothing more than books that follow another because you can stay with the characters who you have already begun to know and understand. In some ways this story was different because a new point of view was introduced but it never failed to make me laugh. I think I can say the story only got better.

    This book takes place immediately following where its companion novel, Bloodsucking Fiends, leaves off. Vampires Jody and Tommy are still in San Francisco and with a few problems:
  • They need to find food, a priority to newly made vampire Tommy who is experiencing the hunger for the first time.
  • They need a new minion, or onion, if you ask Jody.
  • They need to find a new apartment to please the San Francisco police.
  • They need to go Christmas shopping for their parents because in all that had been going on, they've forgotten it's only about two days away.

  • Learning how to be a vampire and pushing a great huge statue down the street can be hard work but then again so can hiding on top of a pipe that heats up during the day. Being a statue for a living is the easy job, or so it is for one statue in particular. I won't reveal any more when it comes to that but its quite funny.

    Through their adventures they find the strangest ways of acquiring food, searching for a way that their bodies can accept the coffee that satisfied them as humans. That comes in handy later on but I won't reveal why. Jody and Tommy get themselves a regular blood donor with little cost to them. A shaved cat in a red sweater is probably the one who pays the most.

    Tommy's love for literature plays a role in checking 'minion' off their to-do list. Strange, amusing, Gothic, street-smart, and very much a teenager are some of best words of choice in describing Abby Normal who prefers to not use her day slave name. Abby more than happily becomes the loyal servant of her very old vampires, Flood and the Countess. Her only hope is to become one of them.

    A woman named Blue comes into the story while spending time with the Animals, a nickname given to those who work Safeway's night shift. Tommy's old friends reveal to her that Tommy is a newly made vampire and from then on she has one goal: "'You want to be orange?' 'Not orange, you nitwit, a vampire!'" (Moore 162).

    Only one of these girls becomes a vampire. Which one will it be? I will not say so you will have to find out yourself. This book is filled with just as much humor as the last book and I enjoyed it a bit more. Moore does a brilliant job capturing the point of view of the sixteen-year-old that is Abby Normal. I don't feel he could have done any better on that. I kind of missed a few things that couldn't be in this book that had been a part of the one previous but the author more than makes up for it. Hysterical!

    I've loaned both books out to someone who is reading them as quickly as the murdering vampire of San Francisco seemed to be draining bodies of their blood in the first of these two books. She is ecstatic and loving the series, the first vampire books she has ever read. The amount of humor in these books just has her so drug into these books. I see books grab at her attention on a regular basis, but these two are not books the nonfiction reader I know her to be would pick up to read on her own. I think that says something more for these two books.

    January 21, 2009

    Which Bennet Sister Are You?

    I've fallen behind on reviewing what I've read but am working on some posts. In the meantime here is a fun quiz. Have you read Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"? It's one of my favorites! Take this quiz to discover which of the five Bennet sisters is most like you.

    I took this quiz twice with the same result both times. However, I needed a tie breaker on the second attempt.

    You Scored as Elizabeth

    Elizabeth Bennet is intelligent witty. She sometimes judges people before she knows them but changes her opinion when she knows she was wrong about someone. She is considered somewhat of a tomboy but usually doesn't care what people think. She may have a hard shell but is extremely loving to those she cares for.

    My first attempt at this quiz provided me with the following information, though the second time left it out entirely for odd some reason. (It probably has to do with the tie.)

    Elizabeth . . . 81%
    Jane Bennet . . . 72%
    Kitty Bennet . . . 56%
    Mary Bennet . . . 44%
    Lydia Bennet . . . 16%

    January 14, 2009

    Christopher Moore: Bloodsucking Fiends

    I think I heard this book mentioned a good year or more before it made it's way to my wishlist. My TBR pile was great already. With the Twilight series over though, I've been branching out to other vampire series, something I never dreamed would happen. It's not that I think books about vampires are bad, because I don't think that. I had just thought them all juvenile after spending much of my teen years buried in them. I had read L.J Smith's complete works. I had also read Christopher Pike's The Last Vampire series, a collection of six books. (The Remember Me books had been ones I reread over and over again as well.)

    After buried in so many Young Adult books as a teen I had thought growing up meant no longer reading YAs, and definitely putting vampire books behind me while moving on to those great and wonderful classic stories. I think I needed a little reminder of everything on that list of classic books because I know now there is at the very least one vampire book on that list. It wasn't until more recent years and seeing how many adults read YAs that I began to pick them up again myself.

    Christopher Moore: Bloodsucking Fiends
    Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

    The book I'm going to talk about in this blog entry today is not a YA at all, but it is a vampire love story. Vampire books as ordinary fiction books - who knew? I had never read any perhaps until now. And yet, this book was not simply ordinary. It was a rather humorous one. Jokes were far apart at times, but other times they were left and right. Sometimes they were buried without characters even taking note of them when the jokes were right in front of them. This is a good thing though, because innocent and unnoticed jokes by the characters are always jokes very much enjoyed.

    I was very confused about the setting when I first started reading. An Emperor was mentioned and my thoughts were, 'Egypt?' The next thing I knew it was mentioning Oakland, and this might just be because I am from California, but when I think Oakland, I think CA. It's a pretty scary place at times. The violence and gangs keep me away from it. It's not a place for someone my size to be alone. It soon became apparent that it was indeed the San Francisco Bay Area where this book takes place, and the Emperor was in fact Emperor of Chinatown. I obviously haven't been there often enough.

    When we first meet one of our main characters, Jody, she is walking to a bus stop at night on her way home after work. 'This is the last time,' she thinks of being out that late as she aims to go past passersby. Have I ever known that feeling! The details of events for the next few days will go unspoiled by me with warning and you may use your imagination. Otherwise... (SPOILER) Jody thinks herself at some point left for dead. Until she wakes up. Was she left for dead, though? This is where the story really begins. (END spoiler.)

    Tommy Flood finds his way into San Francisco immediately seeking a roof over his head and a job. His only real desire is to write and he creates a name for himself. His roommates and apartment tenant are quite the characters. So is his strange crew of co-workers who are up to all sorts of things that really make you wonder just what exactly goes on in grocery stores at night. They really had me laughing. What does Tommy have to do with Jody? I said this was a love story.

    It took me a while to really get into this book but once I did, I was very glad for my mistake of buying book two by accident when shopping for book one. It allows me to jump right into the next book if I so chose. I haven't read a book that has made me laugh as much as this in a while. I really recommend it. In some places I was looking for something more and it's not a book I love such as those I rate at four to five stars. It was however a good book, and I can't wait till I have a person to talk to about it instead of just trying to avoid giving spoilers here.

    January 12, 2009

    John Connolly: The Book of Lost Things

    Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    This book was a tricky one to read but not so tricky as I've heard it's been for others. I had wanted to read it months ago when I bought it in October but the book had about a one month disappearance until I was too busy to read it. Some might only joke that this book becomes lost but after a while you begin to worry about it missing from one of your bookshelves just because it's that book. In any case, I managed to read it without loosing it once during my reading this weekend. I looked up where my copy is from exactly (England) and am now wondering just how many journeys my own copy has had as it may have become lost multiple times in it's life.

    I wasn't really sure what kind of book this would be before I started reading. I knew it had some sort of fair tales within and that some people don't recommend it to children. I also knew it was a favorite to some enough that they read it more than once a year. Since I know some people that might read this and haven't read or finished the book yet I'm going to try to stick to things mentioned on my book's jacket when it comes to spoilers. Again, my copy isn't from the U.S so I hope all will be okay due to any differences our covers may possess in story details and giveaways.

    The main character of The Book of Lost Things is a twelve-year-old boy I reached out to immediately as he mourns the loss of his mother. Books had meant a great deal to his mother, particularly a book of myths, legends and fair tales he would read from to her. She felt so strongly about books that she would tell her son stories come alive in reading them out loud, after which they can transform you. This message held her spirit inside this book to me and seemingly to David as well, who always kept the book close after her death.

    With his mother's passing books are no longer the same as they once were to David. They move without anyone touching them. He can understand books, too. They whisper things. (Bonus points to the first person who can name where I grabbed parts of the last three sentences from. I thought it would be funny to use here.) David keeps this to himself. Best not to be locked away.

    The real and unreal seem to merge as David has night and then day dreams about a crooked man in a land where he has only been to in stories. Soon enough they collide, and David is in a new land away from the ongoing war that coincides in his own land. The Crooked Man is there, too, along with some familiar and yet unfamiliar characters as well. Nothing is as we knew them to be in the fairy tales we grew up to. These ones are all new. Connolly has created ones for which it won't matter where you grew up or what culture you're part of. You will have never read these. David hasn't, either, and is embarking on a journey said to be one of these tales as well.

    I thought David made very significant character development in this book. Though a child to begin with, this is a story that changes and transforms him into someone much more grown up. I'm impressed with the author's ability to keep the book in a twelve-year-old's mind and yet fit for the older audience. I imagine most books in which the main character is such an age they are coined as children and young adult novels, something I've been told this is not.

    Connolly's stories are very interesting and unique. I feel he could go on to write books which tie-in to this one if he wanted to. However, they would not be as strong and his messages have already been delivered. This book makes an excellent story on it's own as a standalone. Nothing is missing from it. I am sorry that I can't reveal why I gave it a barely imperfect rating without spoiling. If anyone is curious, ask in a comment and I will write about it there.