Monday, December 28, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins

Gregore the Overlander is about an ordinary boy in a NYC apartment who is watching his little sister "Boots" when she falls through a drier vent into the underland--a whole new world that exsists under the streets of New York.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Nation (Audio) by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett spins out a tale of an English ship that is stranded on an island of the Sandwich Islands after a huge tsunnami. The boy Mao and daughter of the King must work to save the others who flee the ravages of the storm to the big island. Mr. Pratchett explores science verses religion. Mao says, "It will not happen!" Which shows his determination. The book falls more on the science and less on the religion side.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Book Quote

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it. -William Styron, novelist (1925-2006)

Monday, November 9, 2009

AL Capone Shines My Shoes

This is the second in a series by Gennifer Choldenko. Joe and I really liked the first book, Al Capone Does My Shirts, which tells about the microworld of living in the small town of Alcatraz Island which had a laundromat, wood shop, dress shop, grocery store, cinema, etc. for the families of the guards and administration of America's top high security prisoners. The story is told from Moose, Matthew Flanagan, a twelve year old boy whose father accepts a job on Alcatraz to earn money to put Moose's big sister, Natalie in the Esther P. Marinoff's School for the Autistic.

Product Description

Moose and the cons are about to get a lot closer in this much-anticipated sequel.

It’s 1935. Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz with his family, the other families of the guards, and a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, mad dog murderers and a handful of bank robbers too. And one of those cons has just done him a big favor.

You see, Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose’s freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.

As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can’t risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Dial; First Printing edition (September 8, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803734603
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803734609

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey. This title does not fit this book which is rated for an upper YA fiction novel. Joe and I both enjoyed this funny, sometimes thoughtful book. A chocolate bar in the afternoon kind of read.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A romance involving a high school girl and a handsome vampire may sound a little too familiar, yet this first novel quickly bursts ahead of the pack of Twilight-wannabes. Down-to-earth mathlete Jessica Packwood is completely horrified when, a few months shy of her 18th birthday, a Romanian named Lucius Vladescu shows up on her doorstep, claiming that he and she are vampire royalty betrothed to each other since infancy—what's worse, her adoptive parents verify the betrothal story and explain that her birth parents identified themselves as vampires, too. Fantaskey makes this premise work by playing up its absurdities without laughing at them, endowing Jessica with a coolly ironic sensibility and Lucius with old-world snobberies that Jessica's girlfriends find irresistible. Jessica's laidback parents serve as foils for imperious Lucius (Can I ever again be happy in our soaring Gothic castle after walking the halls of Woodrow Wilson High School, a literal ode to linoleum? he asks sarcastically); a scene at a steakhouse where the vegan Packwoods meet the carnivorous Vladescus is first-rate comedy. The romance sizzles, the plot develops ingeniously and suspensefully, and the satire sings. Ages 14–up. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Graphia (January 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547259409
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547259406

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 9 Up–Zusak has created a work that deserves the attention of sophisticated teen and adult readers. Death himself narrates the World War II-era story of Liesel Meminger from the time she is taken, at age nine, to live in Molching, Germany, with a foster family in a working-class neighborhood of tough kids, acid-tongued mothers, and loving fathers who earn their living by the work of their hands. The child arrives having just stolen her first book–although she has not yet learned how to read–and her foster father uses it, The Gravediggers Handbook, to lull her to sleep when shes roused by regular nightmares about her younger brothers death. Across the ensuing years of the late 1930s and into the 1940s, Liesel collects more stolen books as well as a peculiar set of friends: the boy Rudy, the Jewish refugee Max, the mayors reclusive wife (who has a whole library from which she allows Liesel to steal), and especially her foster parents. Zusak not only creates a mesmerizing and original story but also writes with poetic syntax, causing readers to deliberate over phrases and lines, even as the action impels them forward. Death is not a sentimental storyteller, but he does attend to an array of satisfying details, giving Liesels story all the nuances of chance, folly, and fulfilled expectation that it deserves. An extraordinary narrative.–Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (September 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375842209
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375842207
Warning: This book is an upper YA read: swearing, profanity, sexual inuendos, war, violence, etc. described.

This was a hard book to read and get through. It is quite lengthy and also is leading and yet foreshadows death and suffering. It also spotlights some good that comes out of very hard circumstances: friendship, loyalty, compassion, strength, integrity, faith.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Prom Nights From Hell (Various Authors)

The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Shaffer's debut novel, written with her niece Barrow, is an original account of one writer's relationship with a member of a unique book club formed as an alibi to protect its members from arrest at the hands of the Nazis during WWII. With a small cast of gifted narrators including Paul Boehmer, Susan Duerdan, John Lee, Rosalyn Landor and the enjoyable Juliet Mills, this production is first-class from top to bottom. The narrators' British dialects, each quite regional and equally as different as they are ear-pleasing, serve the story well and allow Shaffer's words to leap from the page into the hearts and minds of her listeners. The final result is an almost theatrical experience with a plethora of enthusiastic performances. A Dial Press hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 21).(July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Life Lessons from the Book of Mormon

Life Lessons from the Book of Mormon by Jack R. Christenson and K. Douglas Bassett

Friday, September 18, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Joe and I have just finished reading Catching Fire, the sequel to Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I had a hard time imaging what Ms. Collins could spin out after reading the Hunger Games. The sequel is equaling compelling, adventurous, gripping, and romantic. Now Joe and I are wondering what we will do with our time waiting for the third book in this series to come out in September 2010? Any suggestions? (Perhaps Christopher Peollini will finally finish his Eragon series!)

Catching Fire
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439023491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439023498
From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Gr 7 Up--Every year in Panem, the dystopic nation that exists where the U.S. used to be, the Capitol holds a televised tournament in which two teen "tributes" from each of the surrounding districts fight a gruesome battle to the death. In The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark, the tributes from impoverished District Twelve, thwarted the Gamemakers, forcing them to let both teens survive. In this rabidly anticipated sequel, Katniss, again the narrator, returns home to find herself more the center of attention than ever. The sinister President Snow surprises her with a visit, and Katniss’s fear when Snow meets with her alone is both palpable and justified. Catching Fire is divided into three parts: Katniss and Peeta’s mandatory Victory Tour through the districts, preparations for the 75th Annual Hunger Games, and a truncated version of the Games themselves. Slower paced than its predecessor, this sequel explores the nation of Panem: its power structure, rumors of a secret district, and a spreading rebellion, ignited by Katniss and Peeta’s subversive victory. Katniss also deepens as a character. Though initially bewildered by the attention paid to her, she comes almost to embrace her status as the rebels’ symbolic leader. Though more of the story takes place outside the arena than within, this sequel has enough action to please Hunger Games fans and leaves enough questions tantalizingly unanswered for readers to be desperate for the next installment.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Joe and I finished this quick read late last night. The following review is not complete accurate by Ms. Turner who wrote the Attolia series (masterfully written). I may have missed it, but unlike The House of the Scorpion (an excellent book), Collins does not specifically place Panem in a future United States. I pictured more of a European Union gone bad. A wonderful, fast paced read. Not for young, young adults (violence, manipulation, survival all detailed).

From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. SignatureReviewed by Megan Whalen TurnerIf there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch.Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The next book in the series will be published by Greenwillow in 2010.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press (September 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439023483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439023481

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

This young adult story is told in couplet form almost as if the boy is singing in verse (perhaps as his native language may be said). It is well written. It tells the tale of a young imigrant from Sudan who has lost his brother, and father to the war there and was separated from his mother in a relief camp. He is sent to live in Minnesota where he learns about snow, friendship, English, department stores, hope, and some familiar things of the past.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Princess at the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

A surprising tale from Ms. Day. This retelling of a fairytale is placed in Germany and you can read the growth in her writing. This is my favorite of this author currently.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wings by Aprillyne Pike

A debut novel for Ms. Pike it had some interesting and adventurous parts in it about "fairies" among us.

Saturday, September 5, 2009


From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 8 Up—In this debut fantasy novel, Cashore treats readers to compelling and eminently likable characters and a story that draws them in from the first paragraph. In Katsa's world, the "Graced," those gifted in a particular way, are marked by eyes that are different colors. Katsa's Grace is that she is a gifted fighter, and, as such, she is virtually invincible. She is in the service of her tyrannical uncle, king of one of the seven kingdoms, and she is forced to torture people for infractions against him. She has secretly formed the Council, which acts in the service of justice and fairness for those who have been accused and abused. Readers meet her as she is rescuing the father of the Lienid king, who has been abducted. The reasons for his capture are part of a tightening plot that Katsa unravels and resolves, with the help of Prince Po, the captive's grandson. He has his own particular Grace, and he becomes Katsa's lover and partner in what becomes a mortally dangerous mission. Cashore's style is exemplary: while each detail helps to paint a picture, the description is always in the service of the story, always helping readers to a greater understanding of what is happening and why. This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Graphia; Reprint edition (September 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547258305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547258300
Joe and I enjoyed this read. I would give it three out of five stars.
I don't like the author's opinions about marraige which she reflects on Katsa who does not get married and can't think she ever will because she would lose her "independent spirit." Her character is not as memorable or developed as some and while entertaining was not an "instant bridge" for me into her world.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hush by Donna Jo Napoli

This is a quick read. I picked it up intrigued by the back cover teasers. It is much different than I anticipated. This is more of a true life happenings to an Irish Princess. A well crafted story. Topics include: slave trade of children and women, sailing, Vikings, virgins,

A silent girl.

An awesome power.

Melkorka is an Irish princess, the first daughter of a magnificent kingdom -- but this all changes the day she is kidnapped and taken aboard a marauding slave ship. Trapped in a world both unfamiliar and cruel, Melkorka finds that her powerlessness gives her clarity. That she is the master of what she says. Choosing to take a vow of silence, Melkorka becomes an object of fascination to her captors. And then she realizes that any power, no matter how little, can make a difference.
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse; Reprint edition (October 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0689861796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689861796

Saturday, August 8, 2009

A Train to Potevka by Mike Ramsdall

In this book, Mike Ramsdell tells the story of a clandestine mission in the Soviet Union that goes bad and his struggles to get out of the country. He is a CIA officer and a Mormon. He writes about the life-changing experiences he has on the train to a small Russia town of Potevka.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Half Moon Investigations

Half-Moon Investigations [AUDIOBOOK] [UNABRIDGED] (Audio CD)

by Eoin Colfer (Author), Sean Patrick Reilly (Reader)

This was a fun listen for those familiar with the Artemis Fowl series. This book is by the same author. It is about twelve year old Fletcher Moon (short, smart, with a nack for solving schoolyard mysteries). 6 CDS.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beauty By Robin Mckinely

Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast (Mass Market Paperback)

by Robin Mckinley (Author) "I was the youngest of three daughters..." (more)
  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTeen (July 26, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060753102
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060753108 Review
This much-loved retelling of the classic French tale Beauty and the Beast elicits the familiar magical charm, but is more believable and complex than the traditional story. In this version, Beauty is not as beautiful as her older sisters, who are both lovely and kind. Here, in fact, Beauty has no confidence in her appearance but takes pride in her own intelligence, her love of learning and books, and her talent in riding. She is the most competent of the three sisters, which proves essential when they are forced to retire to the country because of their father's financial ruin.

The plot follows that of the renowned legend: Beauty selflessly agrees to inhabit the Beast's castle to spare her father's life. Beauty's gradual acceptance of the Beast and the couple's deepening trust and affection are amplified in novel form. Robin McKinley's writing has the flavor of another century, and Beauty heightens the authenticity as a reliable and competent narrator.

This was McKinley's first book, written almost 20 years ago. Since that time she has been awarded the Newbery Medal for The Hero and the Crown and has delighted her fans with another retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fable, Rose Daughter. Still, McKinley's first novel has a special place in the hearts of her devoted readers, many of whom attest to relishing Beauty time and again. (Ages 11 to Adult) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Joe and I just finished reading this book from our past. Both of us read (and enjoyed) this book when we were young and so it made for a light, fun read aloud together.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friday, May 15, 2009

One Thousand Splendid Nights


by Khaled HOSSEINI (Author) "Mariam was five years old the first time she heard the word harami..."
  • Hardcover: 372 pages
  • Publisher: RIVERHEAD (January 1, 2007)
  • ASIN: B001194F5K
This is his second novel and is also a best seller. I picked this up at the library book sale because several people recommended his first book, The Kite Runner.

This book is gripping and simplistically complex in it's telling. He begins with the bastard daughter of a housemaid whose mother hangs herself. As a fifteen year old, she is married off to a 40 year old man, who physically and verbally abuses her after she miscarries several infants. At age 60, the man marries another wife, a 14 year old girl who he pulls from Taliban rubble. It speaks of the history of Afghanistan (Soviet rule, jihad, and then Taliban) through telling the lives of the people, mostly woman, who are most effected by the change in government. It is ultimately a love story. It intersperses Iranian words throughout the telling, which can be confusing because most are not defined and there is no Glossary of terms. My perspective is broadened by this book, conversely, my innocence weakened.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Skippyjon Jones

Skippyjon Jones (Paperback)

by Judy Schachner (Author) "Every morning, Skippyjon Jones woke up with the birds..."
For TV Turnoff week at school, Jonathan selected this book to bring home as his reward.
Our family has fallen for Skippyjon Jones. This wildly imaginative and hyperactive Siamese Cat who imagines he is a Chihuahua is interlaced with common Spanish words and a clever rhyming storyline that my children (ages 5-10) have loved! It makes an especially good re-aloud as the funny cat is sent to his room and imagines he is a brave bandit in old Mexico. Instead of "thinking how a cat should act" his imagination carries him into another culture and group of friends.

Product Description
My name is Skippito Friskito.
I fear not a single bandito.
My manners are mellow,
I'm sweet like the Jell-O,
I get the job done, yes indeed-o.
Skippyjon Jones is no ordinary kitten. Oh, no. . . .He's actually El Skippito, a great sword-fighter ready to battle banditos the world over! With a little imagination and a whole lot of fun, this frisky cat dons a mask and cape and takes on a bad bumble-beeto to save the day. And along the way, he'll be sure to steal young reader's hearts, yes indeed-o!

See all Editorial Reviews

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 4-8
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin (April 7, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142404039
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439836968

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Bashares

Hmm. This one is a tricky one. I hesitate to post a review or even that I have read it. It is a book club book and elements of it, I like very much. This book tells the tail of a pair of blue jeans that "magically" fits the Septembers, a group of four different girls whose moms met at an aerobics class while pregnant. The moms drifted apart but the girls remain close despite or perhaps because of distinct differences.
I do not believe that this book was meant for teens. It seems like a classic "chick flick." In books I and II (unfortunately) love, lust, and romance are confused and this lead to girls having sexual relations at 15 and 16. In the first book it is briefly, vaguely described and natural consequences (not pregnancy but mixed feelings and "loss") are described. In the second book, what Joe and I thought was "real" love crosses the line into lust and disappoints the second novel and series for us. It is one in which I hope my daughters DO NOT read. Thus, I hesitated to even admit to reading these...Did not finish the last one, lying to parents to make love by the Lincoln Memorial--Hmm. "What ever happened to first comes love, then comes, marriage, then comes?..." (Poorly written to be another "best seller.") Wiuth obvious

Monday, April 6, 2009

Teaching Your Children How to Fly by Merilee Boyack

Teaching Your Children How to Fly by Merilee Boyack (Audio CD) explains how she and her husband decided early on in their parenting all the skills and at what appropriate ages their sons (4) needed to be happy and independent. Then it mentions how to implement these skills and teach them as "opportunities for service" (not chores).

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbit

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by Edith Nesbit is one of my all time favorite books. I first heard it on audio book and recently read it in paperback on an airplane. Even though it was written well over a century ago, the stories remind me of my early childhood in the US in the 1970s-1980s. I believe that is the sign of a true story teller. She makes the stories come alive irregardless of time and place.
Edith began writing short columns for a newspaper when she needed money and her mothers health was precarious. She was encouraged to write about her early childhood and that is when her writing really takes off.

Product Description
"This is the story of the different ways we looked for treasure..." When their mother dies and their father's business partner runs off with most of their money, the six intrepid Bastable children are determined to restore their family's fallen fortunes. Theseresourceful children squabble, make up, and have many memorable adventures, from publishing their own newspaper to foiling a pair of real bandits and even becoming kidnappers themselves. But while the efforts of the Bastables are often ingenious, their good intentions always go hilariously awry. This lively, funny story perfectly captures these children's remarkable bravery and deep sense of honor. First published in 1899, this children's classic is available again for a new generation of readers with a magnificent cover illustration by Caldecott winner Paul O. Zelinsky.

About the Author
E. Nesbit (1858–1924) lived in England and had dreamed of becoming a poet since she was fifteen years old. After her husband fell ill, it was up to her to support her small family. For the next nineteen years, she published a number of novels, essays, articles, poems, and short stories. But it was not until 1899, when The Story of the Treasure Seekers was published, that she achieved great success. Her groundbreaking style of depicting realistic, believable children quickly gained a popularity that has lasted for more than a century.

Product Details

  • Reading level: Ages 9-12
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (June 29, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811854159

The Dragon Reborn by Robert Jordan

The Great Hunt by Robert Jordan

The Great Hunt: Book Two of the Wheel of the Time [UNABRIDGED] (Audio CD)

The adventure continues...

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

The Eye of the World: Book One of 'The Wheel of Time' [AUDIOBOOK] [CD] [UNABRIDGED] (Audio CD)

Robert Jordan is a masterful storyteller who weaves a very believeable world full of deep characters. This is the story of a small village which is changed and how individuals in the village go out into the world and continue to change it. R.J. wrote this with the idea that a chosen Messiah would have complex emotions when he learned what his mission was and who he was. Fun to listen to, the readers are excellent with various voices and it makes doing menial tasks enjoyable.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
When listening to the author speak while on the set of the movie adaptation she said she awoke from a dream of a girl crying and was inspired to write it down and it became the book. "Write down your nightmares and not your dreams" she laughs.

The Christmas Box

The Christmas Box by Richard Paul Evans

The Miracle of the Christmas Box

The Miracle of the Christmas Box by Rickard Paul Evans.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Fever 1763

Fever 1763 by Laurie Halse Anderson is her second novel (historical fiction) about the Yellow Fever epidemic that hit Philadelphia, then capital of the USA in the summer of 1763. One in ten perished in the epidemic and famous men including Thomas Jefefrson and George Washington fled the city during the epidemic. It is the story of a young girla dn her growing of age when she is seperated from her mother and later from her only family, her grandfather.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Other Side of Heaven by John H. Groberg

The Other Side of Heaven (or In the Eye of the Storm) by John H. Groberg about his mission experiences to the people of Tonga. So far, he has expressed eloquently much of what I wish I could have expressed about serving a mission to Finland. This book is also interesting in that at the time I served a mission to the frozen North, naively, I felt that serving a mission somewhere tropical would be much easier. As we learned doing member missionary work in Hawaii (twice) since my mission, Hawaii had its own unique set of challenges and temptations and hardships. Perhaps it comes down to the fact that hard work, faith, and a degree of total reliance on the Lord is mandatory to grow as a missionary. Need a good book recommendation, consider this one.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Seasons of Her Heart: A Romantic Novelette

Seasons of Her Heart: A Romantic Novelette by Georgos Jensen Blosil
This two part poetic narrative is of a young woman who is new to romance. The book is fun to read. The heroine has a difficult choice to make and people of true integrity she can count as friends.
127 pgs.
Published by Poetic Arts

Saturday, January 10, 2009

The Ranger's Apprentice (3) The Icebound Land

Rangers Apprentice 03 Icebound Land (Hardcover)

by John Flanagan (Author)
  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books; 1 edition (Jun 26 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399244565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399244568

Product Description

From Booklist
The third book in the Ranger's Apprentice series features a dual story, switching between the ranger's apprentice, Will, accompanied by princess Evanlyn, and the ranger, Halt, accompanied by Will's friend Horace, a young knight-in-training. After an unsuccessful attempt to escape from the ship where they are captives, Will and Evanlyn are taken to Skandia and put to work as slaves. Meanwhile, Halt and Horace ride to the rescue, or at least toward the rescue, only to be detained by a series of petty thieves and a nefarious knight. Although both strands of narrative feature journeys, each provides its own challenges for the characters and pleasures for readers. The Halt/Horace strand combines elements of knightly combat with a certain dry wit, and the Will/Evanlyn strand offers a good adventure story with a surprising twist. Throughout the novel, Flanagan's deft character portrayals and well-paced story will engage readers, and the ending will leave them clamoring for the next volume. Phelan, Carolyn

This particular volume seems to run slow in the middle and lack the adventure and excitement of the other novels. Also, it introduces a drug/drug addiction=warmweed. Plot is lacking...elements of a story fulfilled.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Ranger's Apprentice (2) Burning Bridge

  • Rangers Apprentice 02 Burning Bridge (Hardcover)

    by John Flanagan (Author)

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Philomel Books (Jun 13 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399244557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399244551

Product Description

From School Library Journal
Grade 5-9–In the second volume in this series, apprentice Ranger Will becomes involved once again in the war against the evil Morgarath. When he joins what should be a simple envoy mission, he and his companions realize that they are the only ones who know the extent of Morgarath's duplicity, and it's up to them to save the kingdom. Will and his friend Horace, along with noblewoman-in-disguise Evanlyn, make a dangerous journey and discover that Wargals, Morgarath's mindless warriors, are infiltrating their kingdom, and their brave actions at the burning bridge of the title lead to Will's and Evanlyn's capture and much room for sequels. Will's initial doubts and learning process add reality to his character, but his exploits never achieve true immediacy. Background characters are generally flat, though touches of humor add spice to the narrative. Flanagan creates a well-realized picture of life on the trail and its hardships, but his battles and their resolution seem almost too easy. Fans of the first volume will enjoy this adventure, but readers new to the series may not share their excitement.–Beth L. Meister, Pleasant View Elementary School, Franklin, WI
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Monday, January 5, 2009

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard (Harry Potter series) by J.K. Rowling
This little novelette accompanies the seventh book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows in which Dumbledore leaves Hermione this book in hopes that her keen mind will put together facts which will help Hermione, Harry, and Ron to defeat Voldemort, the Dark Lord.
An interesting read similar to a blunt Grimm's tale. There is comentary by Dumbledore to each of the stories included. It does not hold the charm and personality of a regular Harry Potter book.
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Children's High Level Group (Dec 4 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747599874
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747599876
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 13 x 1.4 cm