Thursday, April 30, 2009

Two Fabulous Giveaways!

To celebrate Melissa from Melissa's Bookshelf's 100th follower (!) she's giving away a fabulous prize!

Click here to find out what it is!

P.S. 100 followers? I think that would take me 100 years!

Oh, and for another sweet giveaway, go to this blog. I'd really love to win a couple of those books!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Book Review: Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull

Description of Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuaryfrom Amazon:

"Brace yourself for a shocking secret. Two hidden artifacts have been found. Three more remain unrecovered. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Reading in Patton s Journal of Secrets, Kendra learns the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts. In order to retrieve it, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. The mission cannot proceed without stealing a sacred object zealously guarded by the centaurs. Anybody seen Seth? The race is on to acquire all five of the artifact keys to the great demon prison. Will the Knights of the Dawn conquer Wyrmroost? Who can stop the Sphinx? Can Vanessa be trusted to help? What artifact will be found next?"

Wow. This series is amazing. I was hooked nearly the whole way through and devoured the rather long book very quickly. This is the fourth in the series. (No previous books reviewed here - I read them before the blog - but they are all fantastic with the same ratings. The first book is Fablehaven.) I totally didn't see the shocking revelation coming - it was very well done. I sometimes am annoyed by the details Mull includes that seem unnecessary and then make me think they will be important later on, but they aren't. But, really, I just couldn't put it down. And now I have to wait for the last one! As others have said, this is a series for some Harry Potter fans.

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->->

It is pretty frightening and there is fighting, but not really graphic.

Overall rating: ****

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Book Review: The Mother in Me edited by Kathryn Lynard Soper

Description of The Mother in Me: Real-World Reflections on Growing Into Motherhoodfrom Amazon:

"Motherhood is one of the most transforming experiences of a woman's life- an exhausting, exhilarating, extraordinary journey. This collection of writings speaks to every mother's heart as it celebrates the season of motherhood, illustrating its unique challenges and delights, and revealing its deep significance. Some of the selections are humorous, some thoughtful, some poignant- yet each proves that motherhood matters, "not just in the sentimental ways we talk about on Mother's Day," writes the editor Kathryn Soper, "but in the gritty, lovely, everyday realities of life." The volume speaks frankly about health crises, identity crises, and sanity crises, as well as the fruits of such struggles: insight gained, hearts expanded, and faith increased. These shared experiences will make you laugh and cry and want to reach out and hold tightly the little ones in your life."

This book was written by LDS (Mormon) mothers for any mother. It is hard to say why I picked this book up. I don't have any children (yet). I do have plenty of nieces and nephews. But, I don't think you have to be a mother to enjoy this book. I can see why mothers of young children will probably love this, but I loved it too. Give this to any young mother you know. They will laugh and cry, just as I did, but they will also relate better than I can. A perfect mother's day gift as well.

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: X

There are some pretty frank comments about women's bodies and birth. Not really mrg, but just thought I'd mention it.

v-factor: none

Overall rating: *****

Monday, April 27, 2009

Book Review: With Courage and Cloth by Ann Bausum

With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Votedetails the last push before the passing of the 19th Amendment, allowing women the right to vote. Bausum met one of the leaders of the National Woman's Party, Alice Paul, when she was a young girl. She was inspired to write the story of some of the less-well-known women of the women's suffrage movement. With beautiful sepia photographs, highlighted in the gold and purple colors of the movement, this book brought to life this historic fight.

I was really impressed with this book. There is a LOT that I didn't know about the women's suffrage movement, and this book increased my knowledge without overwhelming me. I really enjoy reading non-fiction designed for younger people, because it usually gives the most important information, allowing me the choice to delve deeper if I want to. I also enjoyed this book because it didn't go over the top in its discussion of feminism.

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->

It discusses the abuses some women received while picketing, but isn't too detailed with no photos of their injuries.

Overall rating: *****

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Book Review: Midnighters #1: the Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld

Description of Midnighters #1: The Secret Hourfrom Amazon:

"A few nights after Jessica Day arrives in Bixby, Oklahoma, she wakes up at midnight to find the entire world frozen, except for her and a few others who call themselves 'midnighters'. Dark things haunt this midnight hour – dark things with a mysterious interest in Jessica. The question is why?"

I was really impressed with this series. I hadn't heard much about it, but I found it very engaging and exciting. I was intrigued by the premise of having an extra hour in the day only for certain people. With so many fantasy series out there with similar stories, this is a refreshingly unique one. Definitely will be continuing the series.

s-factor: !

Not as many as I expected there to be.

mrg-factor: X
A situation, but nothing happens.

v-factor: ->->
There are definitely some scary things, not to mention fighting, but not graphic.

Overall rating: ****

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Quotificent #3

I just had to put a few of the fun quotes from My Fair Godmother, reviewed here. I loved the humor in it and couldn't resist sharing:
It looked like the feasting could go on for quite a while. I didn't have much stomach for food - nearly being killed and then spending the evening with a decapitated cyclops head will do that to you.

And then there was this:
"I don't want to come back and find you're off trying to help me slay the dragon, okay? I know they're fun magical creatures in all those fantasy novels back home, but here they're more like huge flying crocodiles. That have bad tempers. And shoot flames out of their mouths. And eat people."
Sorry it took me so long to finally post these quotes. Turns out, I have a few more lined up, but I haven't even reviewed the books for them yet!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Virtual Blushing

I got awarded again.

"Blogs that received the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers."

I never thought of my blog as charming, but who am I to say no to not one, but two givers? Thanks to Britt at Confessions of a Book Habitue and Amy at Amy's Haiku Haven. When I read the description for the award, I immediately wished I'd given them the award - they are both very friendly people! And then I read the lists of other bloggers they gave the award to and realized my list of Let's Be Friends potential awardees was diminishing quickly! So, I thought I'd do a little double (or triple) duty and repeat other winners. And, just as I did last time, I've bent the rule on the number of awardees.

1. Suey at It's All About Books. She is so nice and welcoming - plus I get ideas for blog improvement and enjoy the Book Word game she co-hosts.

2. Kim at Good Clean Reads. You might notice she has the same ideas I do about "rating" books. And she's been kind enough to friend me on goodreads - does it get any friendlier?

3. Natasha at Maw Books Blog. Really, is there anyone out there who doesn't feel like Natasha is their best book blog buddy? She makes us all feel loved. And this is probably the third or fourth time she's been given this award. I think that means something...

Well, that wraps up my list of "8" winners, right?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Book Review: The 39 Clues: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis

Description of The 39 Clues: The Sword Thieffrom Amazon:

"ATTENTION! Amy and Dan Cahill have been located once again, this time in the company of the notoriously unreliable Alistair Oh. Could they have been foolish enough to make an alliance? Spies report that Amy and Dan seem to be tracking the life of one of the most powerful fighters the world has ever known. If this fearsome warrior was a Cahill, his secrets are sure to be well-guarded . . . and the price to uncover them just might be lethal."

The 39 Clues Book 3: The Sword Thief

This is more of the same jam-packed adventure that the previous two have been (reviewed here and here). It is a short, quick, and fast-paced book, suited best, I think, to kids who have short attention spans (what kid doesn't) and a craving for non-stop adventure. The mystery elements are quite simple and would probably not be interesting to teens. As an adult, it was not terribly thrilling to me, but I can see why kids are devouring them!

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->

They are always in danger and violence seems to follow them.

Overall rating: ***

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Book Review: The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner

Description of The 13th Reality, book 2: The Hunt for Dark Infinityfrom Amazon:

"It's been a quiet summer for Tick, Paul, and Sofia, but the latest message from Master George changes everything. The Realities are in danger and from something more terrible than Mistress Jane and the mutated Chi karda of the Thirteenth Reality. People from all Realities are unexplainably going insane. Worse, some Realities are fragmenting, disintegrating into nothingness. Master George has learned that Mr. Chu from the Fourth Reality is working on a mysterious new weapon called Dark Infinity. But no one has any idea how to stop the weapon or even if it can be stopped. To make matters worse, Tick and his friends have been kidnapped, forced to wink from Reality to Reality, solving impossible riddles in order to survive the deadly traps surrounding them. Mistress Jane and Tick find themselves in a race to reach the weapon first but who will destroy it and who will become its master?"

This is the second book in this new fantasy series, The 13th Reality. I read the first one quite a while ago, before the book blog, obviously since there is no review here. But, I think I liked this one better than the first. As with many first books, there is a lot of explanation going on - a new world (or worlds) to be introduced. This book is full of action, excitement, and very funny phrases. Dashner has a way of throwing out humorous metaphors left and right. I'll have to pick a few and post them as quotificents later. I think kids will really like this series and adults will enjoy the positive portrayal of parents and the complexities of good and bad.

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->

There are some parts with fighting, but nothing terrible.

Overall rating: ***

Monday, April 20, 2009

Book Review: Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson

Before Green Gablesis obviously a prequel to the Anne of Green Gables series. In this book, Budge traces Anne's childhood from before birth all the way to Green Gables. Anne's parents' deaths and her subsequent time spent with two families, helping with children, do not make for the most idyllic childhood, but Anne maintains her unique spirit and optimism throughout these trials.

Being a huge Anne fan, I was pretty excited to read this. It does start pretty slowly, spending quite some time on Anne's parents and their lives. However, Anne is still her wonderful, spunky, and literary self, despite the drudging life she leads. Actually, I found myself thinking that her trials didn't quite add up to the horrors I imagined for her. I thought for sure, things were more difficult. I was surprised at the numerous people in her life who are kind and loving. I'm quite sure this expectation was colored by the depiction of Mrs. Hammond in this movie(which I adore!) Since it has been some time since I read the original books, this certainly inspired me to pull those classics out again. Overall, I found it beautiful and fairly true to Anne's spirit, if a little long and windy at times.

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: ->

Some domestic violence happens, though it is mostly "off stage"

Overall rating: ***

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Re-Reading at the End

So, I think I've reached the end of my sleep-deprived limits.

To finish, though, I thought I'd do a last mini-challenge.

Since I've only been re-reading (or listening) to one book (Anne of Green Gables) for the read-a-thon, I thought I go with a list of my all-time favorite re-reads:

1. The Count of Monte Cristo
Just been a favorite of mine for so many years - great story!

2. Pride and Prejudice
Does this really need explaining? Really, any Austen will give me a classic romance thrill!

3. The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Random, but this was one of my very favorite books as a kid and I just still love reading it! It gets me all nostalgic inside!

Final Stats:
Hours read: ~16h
Books finished: 4 (I got a little befuddled last night, it was 5!) (got my The Tales of Beedle the Bardand also Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour)
Pages read: 989

Now, I'm off to bed!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Mid-Event Survey

1. What are you reading right now? Just finished up With Courage and Cloth: Winning the Fight for a Woman's Right to Vote
2. How many books have you read so far? that makes 3 (though I started one yesterday)
3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon? The Tales of Beedle the Bard
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day? Nope
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those? Plenty - phone calls mostly. I just don't have very involved conversations - a lot of "uh huh" and "yeah" while still reading :)
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far? How slowly I read
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? Nope
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year? Get more short books
9. Are you getting tired yet? Nope
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered? I doubt others haven't discovered this, but audio books are great for doing house and yard work :)

And for a short update:
Number of books finished: 3 (finished The Hunt for Dark Infinity and With Courage and Cloth)
Total number of pages read: 583
Total number of hours read: 11h 20m

On to something new!

Dear Anne

For a delightful mini-challenge here, I thought I would send a letter to Anne Shirley, from the beloved Anne of Green Gables books.

Dear Anne Shirley,

I mostly wanted to write this letter to you to find out how your mind works. I know that you have such an imaginative mind, and I just need to tap into that creativity.

It seems even from a very young age, you were able to create things in your mind. You renamed anything and everything from the White Way of Delight to the Lake of Shining Waters. Each name seemed just as lovely and unique as the last. How do you do it?

You see, Anne, I have been trying to write a book. Wow. I really had no idea that it would take so much effort and will power. I am not sure I have it in me. I know that you seem to just be brimming with ideas and the perfect turn of a phrase. Would you mind giving me some advice on how to tap my own inner imagination? It seems to be lost. Tell me how to see the beauty in everyday things - trees, flowers, rivers, and my job. And give me a few pointers on how to express these thoughts properly on paper.

With great thanks for anything you can share,


And just as an update:
books finished: still only 1 :(
hours read since last update: 4h 15m
total hours: 8h 35m
pages since last update: 112 (on paper) 74 (on audio)
total pages: 417

I gotta get moving a bit more, eh?

In Which I Take a Walk

Hello, crazed read-a-thon-ers (or other awesome readers). I took a little break from the written word by taking a short stroll. I was privileged enough to witness the spring time blossoms which managed to survive the horrific 18 inches of heavy snow that landed hear Thursday. While they may not be as numerous now, they are still as beautiful.



The weather is pretending that it never played tricks on us just days ago by flinging a little winter in ouf faces. Today, the sun shines, the birds chirp, and the ground is no longer covered in white. Spring in Utah is CRAZY! I'm not complaining about today, though, because today I can read outside in my sandals.

books read: 1
hours read since last update: 1h 50m
pages read since last update: 43 (paper form) 29 (audio form) (yikes!)
total pages: 231
current book: The 13th Reality, book 2: The Hunt for Dark Infinity

Thanks for the encouragement all! Back to the books!

Update - I read a book!

Just thought I would shout out an update, since I finished my first book!

Books read: 1 The 39 Clues: The Sword Thief
Number of pages read: 159
Number of hours read: 2h 30m
Next book: audio version of Anne of Green Gableswhile I do my grocery shopping!

Readers Meme

And, I thought that I would post this as well, before delving head first into my stack of books:

Where are you reading from today? Utah (hopefully outside :)

3 facts about me:
1- I'm a college librarian
2- This is my first time doing the read-a-thon
3- I have a big yard and garden (and several audio books :)

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
Probably about 10, but it is very flexible

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Number of hours, I'd like to be near 16, at least (hey, setting them low, hoping to go higher)

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
I'd love advice :)

Off to a Bit of a Late Start...

Ha, so I'm already slacking on this 24-hour read-a-thon. But, better late than never, right? I am up (hey, I like to sleep in on Saturdays) and at 'em. Spending my morning hours starting with these:

The 39 Clues: The Sword Thief
The 13th Reality, book 2: The Hunt for Dark Infinitywhich I've already started reading.

Wish me luck!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Book Review: Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone

Description of Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dreamfrom Amazon:

"What does it take to be an astronaut? Excellence at flying, courage, intelligence, resistance to stress, top physical shape — any checklist would include these. But when America created NASA in 1958, there was another unspoken rule: you had to be a man. Here is the tale of thirteen women who proved that they were not only as tough as the toughest man but also brave enough to challenge the government. They were blocked by prejudice, jealousy, and the scrawled note of one of the most powerful men in Washington. But even though the Mercury 13 women did not make it into space, they did not lose, for their example empowered young women to take their place in the sky, piloting jets and commanding space capsules."

Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream (Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards))

When I first saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I used to dream one day of being an astronaut. I grew out of that dream, but I never gave up on my love of astronomy. I was really thrilled to read this book. I thought it was very accessible and well-written. I found the story fascinating and aggravating. I really like many of the women portrayed in this book, mostly because they were fighting for a dream they really wanted. However, I also found the feminism a little over the top at times. I got as riled as the next woman about this stuff, but I wished there was more information about the women and their lives, instead of about how prejudiced and awful the men around them were (and boy, were they). I guess I just need to pick up an adult book about these women, in the hope that I can learn more about them. Overall, a great book.

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ***

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I Might Just be Crazy

In addition to my first challenge, I thought I'd add this:

I signed up to be a reader in the 24 hour read-a-thon. It was a spur of the moment decision. I most likely won't be able to read for the whole time. But, I will be using the audio book option to do some gardening and yard work. You can still sign up for this event, and do stuff other than read for 24 hours straight, like cheer on the crazies.

Looking forward to doing a few posts throughout the day on Saturday, so check back to see what happens!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

My Printz

I haven't signed up for a challenge before, but when I saw this new one, the Printz Project, I couldn't resist. The Printz Award is for outstanding young adult literature, the Newbery of YA. Since I have been highly interested in reading the winners, I thought I may as well do it for a challenge.

Here we go!
Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi

Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 2: The Kingdom on the Waves by M.T. Anderson
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Nation by Terry Pratchett


An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party
by M.T. Anderson
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer


Stuck In Neutral by Terry Trueman

Read Pre-Blogging:
The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean (2008)
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (2007)
I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (2006)
A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (2004)
Monster by Walter Dean Myers (2000)
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (2000)

Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2010)
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (2009)

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