Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme at The Broke and the Bookish. This week the theme is top ten characters that you would most like to be friends with. My list is as follows:
1. Hermione Granger, Harry Potter Series: From the very beginning I have loved this character. She reminds me so much of myself and I think we would get along quite well. Plus I always thought she needed a girl friend as she is always hanging out with the guys.
2. The Wakefield twins, Sweet Valley High: I read a lot of Sweet Valley when I was younger and I always wanted to be friends with these two. I have to admit though that I was partial to Elizabeth. I always found Jessica could be a bit of a handful.
3. Becky Bloomwood, Shopaholic Series: I have to say the only reason I would like to be friends with Becky is so I could give her some sound advice and on occasion shake her and ask her what she was thinking.
4. Georgia Walker, The Friday Night Knitting Club: I loved this book and it's sequel Knit Two. I have to say that I think Georgia had the kindest heart and was such an amazing woman and inspiration. I definitely wouldn't mind being her friend.
5. Sookie Stackhouse: I think this character has a lot of spunk. She is not afraid to tell you exactly what she is thinking but she also cares a great deal about the people in her life.
6. Flavia de Luce, Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie: This little girl is just amazing. She is smart and she has a good sense of humour. She is also a great detective. I mean who wouldn't love a girl who puts poison in her sister's lipstick to get revenge?
7. Anne, Anne of Green Gables: Anne is a great girl. She also has a bit of spunk to her. Based on later novels though she would do anything for a good friend; just ask Diana.
8. Lizzie Bennet, Pride and Prejudice: She knows what she wants and is not afraid to not just ask for it but demand it.
9. Pip, Great Expectations: I would have just liked to be there as a source of support as he didn't have much of that. I always felt for him and I wished that he had a good friend to guide him along the way.
10. Alex Cross, James Patterson's Cross Series: I just think that he is a bit bad ass and I wouldn't mind having someone there for security. He is also an amazing father which makes him endearing.
Well those are mine. What are yours?
Sunday, November 28, 2010
This was a pretty low key week for me. I got 3 new books from NetGalley and that's about it. I have so much to catch up on and I really need to take a break from buying books. So here they are:
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
Populazzi by Elise Allen
Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest by Amos Oz
Well that's what's in my mailbox. What's in yours?
Friday, November 26, 2010
Publishing Date: 11/30/2010
Pages: 352 pages
Summary from GoodReads:
As a soldier, Cole Granger fights to restore peace to a world divided by war and evil. His extraordinary talents are enlisted to prevent the president's horrific premonition from becoming reality. Nothing—and no one—will stop him from fulfilling his duty. Especially the mysterious young woman who claims to be his comrade's sister. Enemy or ally, he can't yet determine. But one thing he knows for certain is that he must keep her close. Very close.
Megan Fox's quest to uncover a family secret leads her to the center of vampire riots in West Virginia. To find the answers she needs—and clear herself of suspicion—she must join forces with Cole. They work undercover to bring justice, but they can't disguise the potent attraction and need that draw them together. Yet trust doesn't come easily for Cole…and when Megan unearths the grim, dark truth, can she trust him to believe her?
I received this book from NetGalley as an ARC. I have to say that this is not the kind of book that I would normally read. I was honestly expecting a cheesy paranormal romance novel with lots of steamy scenes and no plot. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Graham sets this vampire novel during the American Civil War and there is quite a bit of historical content in this novel. I wouldn't say that Graham goes in depth about the war but at the same time I found that I had never read anything quite like this. A book that combines historical fiction and romance. As a history minor in university, I found that I was intrigued by this spin on history. I liked the direction that the book was going in and for the most part it kept me entertained and interested. In fact when the book was done I was left wanting a bit more. I almost felt that the ending was rushed a bit. The author could have taken the time to develop the plot and add more to it. When I finished reading the book I just felt that there was something missing. I really liked the characters in the book and I also would have liked to know a bit more about Megan Fox's relationship with her mother and her father. Overall, I have to say that I enjoyed this book and I give it 3 out of 5 stars.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Now in order to accept my award there are a few things that I must do and they are as follows:
1) Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.
2) Share seven things about yourself.
3) Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discovered and who you think are fantastic for whatever reason.
4) Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know about the award.
So, number one is already done. As for #2 here are 7 things about myself:
- I grew up with 5 siblings (2 sisters and 3 brothers) and 2 parents in a house with only one bathroom. (I wouldn't recommend this)
- I've actually travelled past the arctic circle. This was when I was younger and living up north with my parents but hey I can still claim it.
- I am 28 and just got my drivers license this summer that just passed
- My TBR pile at home is about 300 strong and still growing
- I slather my pancakes with peanut butter and syrop. Mmmm...
- I am marrying the love of my life in August of next summer.
- My passion in life is teaching. I am currently an occasional teacher and I have my own class every Wednesday.
Alright, well here are my new favourite bloggers who I am giving this award to:
All About N (I love this blog. There is a great feature about people's bookcases.)
The Story Siren (This blog is mainly focused on YA fiction. I didn't read much of this until I discovered this blog)
Gina's Skinny Recipes (This is a blog with amazing recipes for those watching their figure. Amazing food)
Loving Books (This blog has reviews on a variety of types of books)
A Thousand Books with Quotes (This blog focuses quotes from classic literature)
Julie C. Butler Photography (This is my wedding photographer's blog. She does AMAZING work)
Readerbuzz (This is another great book blog.)
Books by their Cover (I love that this blog not only rates the books but also their covers. Love it!)
The Broke and the Bookish (This blog has many different reviewers. I like this because it is updated often and you get different points of view)
The Perpetual Page-Turner (The author of this blog has a great writing style. She just posted a great post about the etiquette of blogging)
Bitsy Bling's Book Reviews (I like the fact that an author is posting book reviews. I have not read any of the author's work yet but I plan to.)
Snowdrop Dreams of Books (This blog focuses mainly on YA but does have other types of books. Great layout!)
A Bookish Way of Life (This is a book blog that reviews a lot of mainstream fiction novels.)
In the Library of Lady Violet (I love watching the vlogs on this blog)
S. Krishna's Books (This blog is great and really opens my eyes to different types of books that I would enjoy reading.)
Well there it is, my first blogging award. Thanks again.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Publishing Date: 11/15/2010
Pages: 304 pages
Summary from GoodReads:
Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.
Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right. The goblins are coming.
Kersten Hamilton is the author of several picture books and many middle grade novels. When she's not writing, she hunts dinosaurs in the deserts and badlands outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she lives. This is her first novel for young adults. For more about Kersten, please visit www.kerstenhamilton.com.My Review:
I received this novel as an advanced reader copy from NetGalley. Overall, I enjoyed this novel. I really liked the concept for the storyline. You don't often see too many books out there that are centered around goblins. There are an abundance of vampire and werewolf stories but not goblins. The one thing that I wish the author did more of is to describe the magical goblin land. Most of the description in the book is done through dialogue rather than actually describing what is happening. I often found that some of the explanations in the novel were glossed over and I would have enjoyed knowing more. It reminded me a bit of Harry Potter in the sense that this is a land where anything magical could happen and I wanted to get more of a sense of where I was when I was reading. That being said, I really liked the characters in this book. Teagan is an independent and strong-willed young lady and her brother Aidan is quite endearing. Aidan is afraid of everything yet at the same time underneath it all he is a tough guy. I don't want to give away any of the plot but I will say that the plot is fast paced. There is always something going on and I am fairly certain there will be other books in this series. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Who would you rather borrow from? Your library? Or a friend?
(Or don't your friends trust you to return their books?)
And, DO you return books you borrow?
Well I have to say that if I borrow books it is usually from my friends. I have a large tbr pile and oftentimes when I borrow it takes me a while to return the book. I always do return the books but it can sometimes take a bit of time. That being said, I do not like the 2 week limit on library books and have been known to forget to return my library books and then I incur a hefty fine. It is definitely much cheaper for me to buy the book and then I have it than to borrow it from the library and forget to return it.
This is not the case for my school books. I am a teacher and I often borrow books from the school library for my lesson plans. Those go back promptly.
I do lend out quite a number of books and I oftentimes do not get those back. It all depends on who I lend to. That being said, I have started to limit my lending to those I know will return my books.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Publishing Date: 10/07/2010
Pages: 307 pages
Description from GoodReads:
Fiona Clarke, an Irish writer living in New York, has been running away from her past since she left rural Cregora, Ireland, for boarding school. That past finds her, many years later, when her thinly veiled autobiographical novel is optioned for a movie. As consultant to the film, Fiona unearths deep secrets, relives childhood trauma, and connects with an estranged family unexpectedly thrust back into her life. History opens upon her, and Fiona is forced to stop running and confront a secret shame.
Ranging from Manhattan to Hollywood to rural Ireland, Fiona is a stunning tale of a creative woman’s life transformed by loss.
I have to say I quite enjoyed this book. It has one of the best opening descriptions that I have read in a while. It vividly depicts a scene in a movie theatre. I would usually post a quote however I have an advanced reader copy and it may not be as accurate. More reason to go out and get this book. It is the story of Fiona who moved to the United States from Ireland. Her book is a novel but it is based mostly about her life. Family life in Ireland was tumultuous and this has greatly affected her life as an adult. It is only when Fiona's father dies that she is forced to face the ghosts of her past and really deal with healing her pain. I could not put this book down. I felt like I could relate on a certain level to Fiona. When stressful things happen in your past many things just show up in your adult life. It may be the smallest thing but when it happens you know that you still have to really heal from the past and move on. The characters in this novel were rich and you can't help but fall in love with some of them.
The novel also explores the idea of memory and how accurate it can be. Whether you remember a situation a certain way someone else may remember it quite differently. Memory is a funny thing and we all put our own slant on each memory. It's sometimes hard to tell what really happens.
Overall, I have to say I really liked this book. Whelan is a great writer and I recommend you read this. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
This week was a slow week which is good for me because I have a lot of catching up to do. I did get some reference books this week: a French/English dictionary and a Besherelle (used for French verbs). Other than that this is what I got.
The first book that I got came in the mail from Library Thing's Early Reviewers program.
A Tiny Bit Marvellous by Dawn French. I have heard nothing but good things about this book and I'm really looking forward to reading it.
The next two books are from Net Galley.
I got: The Story of a Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon and In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway.
I haven't heard much about these books but they sound pretty good. That's what was in my mailbox. What's in yours?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Publishing Date: August 16th, 2010
Pages: 420 pgs
Summary from GoodReads:
NYPD detective Jack Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren't what draw him--he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each restaurant through a killer's eyes.
Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have become victims of the same sadistic killers. Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter, Gabby Larsen. Every killing is preceded by a postcard to the local newspaper--and Kanon and Larsen think they know where the next victims will be.
I have read a lot of James Patterson books and generally I like them for what they are: suspenseful quick reads. The same can be true of this book. I really enjoyed the premise of this book and I liked that Patterson and Marklund focused a lot of their writing on character development. Most times these novels are plot driven and this is not to say that this novel isn't plot driven but it also focuses on the relationships between the characters. I enjoyed reading about the different countries and the different art pieces that were written about in this book. I feel that the authors really pushed the boundary of what is acceptable and I liked it. My only criticism of the novel is about the way the authors ended it. I felt that there was a big lead up to catching the killers and then in the end it was quickly tied up and concluded. I would have liked a little more in the finale of the novel. Overall, I feel this is one of Patterson's better books. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Well, I got quite a few books from NetGalley this week but I also got one book from Librarything as a part of their Early Reviewers program.
The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
From Net Galley:
1. Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton
2. Under the Mercy Trees by Heather Newton
3. The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell
4. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
5. The Girl in the Green Raincoat by Laura Lippman
6. The Lying Game by Sara Shepard
7. Precious and Fragile Things by Megan Hart
8. The Raising by Laura Kasischke
9. Mr. Toppit by Charles Elton
10. The Postcard Killers by James Patterson
11. The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder
12. The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird
13. Delirium by Lauren Oliver
14. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Well, that's it for me. That's what's in my mailbox. What's in yours?
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
From the Publishers:
Lena has lived her whole life near the beach - walking for miles up and down the shore and breathing the salty air, swimming in the cold water, and watching the surfers rule the waves - the problem is, she''s spent her whole life just watching.
As her sixteenth birthday approaches, Lena vows she will no longer watch from the sand: she will learn to surf.
But her father - a former surfer himself - refuses to allow her to take lessons. After a near drowning in his past, he can''t bear to let Lena take up the risky sport.
Yet something lures Lena to the water ... an ancient, powerful magic. One morning Lena catches sight of this magic: a beautiful woman - with a silvery tail.
Nothing will keep Lena from seeking the mermaid, not even the dangerous waves at Magic Crescent Cove. And soon ... what she sees in the mermaid''s mirror will change her life ...
I really enjoyed the author's writing in this novel. The book can be divided into two parts: life with her father on the land and life with her mother in the sea. Lena has spent her life with her father, step-mother and younger brother living in a beautiful home near the ocean. While most of her friends love surfing, she has been reluctant to try because her father had some sort of accident. As it turns out the "accident" was not a surfing accident at all but a run-in with Lena's mother's family who just happen to be mermaids. I have to admit that I enjoyed the section of the novel where Lena remains on land a lot better than the section where she is under the ocean with her mermaid mother and her extended family. I thought that the mermaid part of the novel would have been a little more in depth that it was. I feel that Madigan could have made it a much more magical land than it was. I also found it hard to form a connection as a reader to Lena's maternal family. I felt a stronger connection with her paternal family because I felt that they were more empathetic and also more well-rounded characters. I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending either. I feel that the author may have left the book open to a sequel which would make the ending alright but if there is no sequel I feel there is still a lot more that I want to know. Overall though, I really enjoyed reading this novel. It was creative and I always wanted to know more about what was happening. I give this book 3.5 stars out of 5.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
This is a weekly meme posted by The Broke and the Bookish (http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com/). This week is the top ten books that made you cry.
Oh goodness this is an easy one for me. I am such and emotional person sometimes and it doesn't usually take much to make me cry. Alright well here are mine:
10) Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay
This novel is quite touching and there is one scene in particular where I found myself tearing up. It wasn't a full on cry for this one but it came close a few times.
9) The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
This book was touching because of the innocence of the boy. He really had absolutely no idea of the atrocities being committed in his own backyard.
8) Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
I will admit I didn't think this would be a tearjerker but it is. It is not just a light and cheery book. Be prepared because I wasn't and I ended up crying on the bus. Yes folks, I was the crazy lady on the bus that day.
7) The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
This is an absolutely amazing book. I cried because I find it appalling the things that have been to people in this world all based on the colour of their skin. Ridiculous if you ask me!
6) My Sisters Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Well, this was a huge movie with Cameron Diaz but those of you who only watched the movie saw a very different ending than what was in the book. The book was undoubtable better as my fiancee can attest as he was there for all the crying.
5) The Stone Carvers by Jane Urquhart
I read this book for a Canadian Lit class and the novel focuses a lot of attention on soldiers lost in the war. It was a very moving and powerful novel.
4) The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Well, since this was a huge blockbuster hit I imagine most of you know why I was crying at the end of this book. It was especially touching when Henry comes back and speaks with his daughter.
3) Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes
This is mostly a chick lit book and I don't usually cry much during these types of books but I couldn't help but cry for the main character in this book. I can't tell you why without giving too much away but you should get this book and read it :)
2) The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman
I love, love, love this book! I read it for my Neo-Victorian Lit class and I just couldn't put it down. I cried for the title character of this novel. She was born into the wrong class and at the wrong time (during the cholera outbreak) and was taken advantage of by the wrong people. I couldn't help but shed a few tears for her.
1) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This book was emotional for me because I just couldn't believe the violation of people in this novel. Overall it was an amazing story but there were so many disturbing things in this novel and I had a hard with them.
Okay, okay, I couldn't stick to 10 so I have 11 :)
11) The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
I have to say I wasn't really thinking this would be all that great because the only other Nicholas Sparks books I had read were a little cheesy but I ended up really liking this book. I bawled like a baby at the end of this book.
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Pages: 764 pages
From the Publishers:
Shale is the lowest of the low-an outcast from a poor village in the heart of the desert. In the desert water is life, and currency, and Shale has none. But he has a secret. It''s the one thing that keeps him alive and may save all the cities of the Quartern in the days to come. If it doesn''t get him killed first...
Terelle is a slave fleeing a life as a courtesan. She finds shelter in the home of an elderly painter but as she learns the strange and powerful secrets of his art she fears she may have traded a life of servitude for something far more perilous...
The Stormlord is dying in his tower and there is no one, by accident or design, to take his place. He brings the rain from the distant seas to his people. Without a Stormlord, the cities of the Quartern will wither and die.
Their civilization is at the brink of disaster. If Shale and Terelle can find a way to save themselves, they may just save them all. Water is life and the wells are running dry...
I have to say I wasn't sure I would enjoy this novel when I first picked it up. I received it from my aunt for free and as a result felt that it couldn't hurt to try something new. That being said, I really enjoyed this book. It is about a land where there is no random rain and instead they have stormlords and rainlords who can actually manipulate water to form rainstorms. The story focuses on 3 different storylines which end up merging into one. My favourite character in the story is Terelle who is sold into a brothel at a very young age. She is determined not to sell her body for water and as a result runs away and makes a different path for herself. The book takes you into a magical place but at the same time much of it is very relatable to humanity. The main storyline is that the stormlord is dying and they do not have anyone to take his place. As a result their civilization may run out of water. It reminds me of our planet and what is happening right now. If we continue to treat our earth this way there may not be much of it left in the future. This book is a part of a series and I can't wait to read the next 2. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.
Publisher: ECW Press
Page Numbers: 184
From the Publishers:
A father sits down to write a letter to his son explaining why his hands are covered in blood. He journeys back through his childhood on the farm, through the captivity, torture, and brutality that he suffered from the men he just killed-his father and his grandfather. A reflection on a solitary landscape, this bleak yet moving family tragedy details three generations of abuse, where the birth of a newborn forces the question, Isit better to live or die?
I could not stop reading this novel and in fact I read in all in one sitting. It is not that long but it is quite intense. It is a letter written by the protagonist to his son and he is writing this letter just after killing his father and his grandfather. The book gives graphic details of the protagonist's abuse at the hands of his father and his grandfather when he is younger. While reading this book a range of emotions took hold of me and at times I found myself actually crying. I do not want to ruin the ending of this book but the one thing I did not like about this novel is how the protagonist seems to make a huge transformation in terms of his personality. I truely believe that had some of his thoughts at the end of the book were real they would have manifested slowly and at a younger age. Overall though, I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.
Monday, November 1, 2010
I don't often review children's books but I do read them quite often as I am an elementary school teacher. I have to say tat I would love to read this book in class. I think that if I teach in the Catholic school board this book would be perfect for a few lessons as well.
Chrissy's Shell is a children's book about a little turtle who is always comparing herself to others. I think this is a beautifully written story with wonderful illustrations and a good message for young children and adults alike. The book really examines the idea of self-worth and also incorporates a Christian aspect to it. It actually focuses on a Psalm that states: I praise you for I am...wonderfully made. This essentially means that we are all made in God's image and that we should not question our importance in this world. It's important for children and teens to know that if you spend all your time comparing yourself to others that you will never be able to fully know and appreciate your own self-value. I loved this book and I give it 5 out of 5 stars.