Thursday, December 24, 2009

Catching Fire Did It Again

I was planning on rereading Catching Fire sometime in 2010 and then last week I broke down and read it.

It wasn't my fault. I was trying to finalize the books that I was giving for Christmas and I was stuck on one person. I really wanted to give her Hunger Games but I was honestly worried that she would judge it because it is YA. I asked my husband to take 20 minutes and read as much of the book as he could and then give me his opinion. I even set a timer. At the end of the 20 minutes he told me he had good news and bad news.

"The bad news is the book is not going back on the shelf."

Well, when he finished Hunger Games and went on to Catching Fire I was actually a little jealous that he was reading it and I wasn't, so I snuck in while he wasn't looking and reread it before he could finish. I wanted to have all the events fresh on my mind when he finished. Oh how I love that book. My first review of it is HERE.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Holidays

Well I am officially a slacker. I have been back home in California for 6 days and this is my first time getting on a computer since I left the east coast.

The problem is that my mom lives on a mountain. Seriously! 40 acres in the middle of nowhere with no cell service or internet. It is amazingly beautiful and I love the peace and quiet (something I am actually missing with the holiday insanity) but I have to take it in doses because I need my technology. My husband is having a really hard time with the lack of his internet, I am more used to it than him.

We did manage to make our way down the mountain into Sacramento to see his family and go to a Christmas party with his old friends. They had an ugly sweater contest and the moment I heard about that I started crocheting. Now I am not very good, I can do squares, so I made 4 squares and stitched them together to make mine. Then of course I had to add my initial Mrs. Weasley style. My mother-in-law found an old sweater from her husband and fancied it up for my husband, Mike and I have to share the results...

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season. I will be checking in if I can but I most likely won't be back online until I am home on January 2.

Have crazy...take lots of pictures.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Goldengrove - Francine Prose

Goldengrove: A Novel
By Francine Prose

After the death of her older sister, Nico becomes a little too close with her sister’s boyfriend. This is the story of the summer Nico’s sister died and how Nico, her parents, and her sister’s boyfriend find a way to get through it.

Although I had read reviews for this book, and well as the description, I was still surprised by the book. It was exactly the story that was described, simply about a girl who lost her sister and the grieving process she goes through, but I still expected to find more to the story. How could an entire book be so simple if it was going to be a “page-turner?” Well I was surprised when it was exactly that. The simplicity of the story was what enhanced the complex emotions.

As depressed as Nico and her family are throughout the book, every time I stopped reading for a moment I found I was left with a strange sense of hope instead of feeling depressed like I would have expected.

Overall I adored this book and was stunned how fast of a read it was. It was simply a fascinating look at what we do after we lose someone we love.

* I read this book before I started my blog but wrote the review right after finishing it. I wanted to get the review up before the end of the year.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fire - Kristin Cashore

by Kristin Cashore

Wow! I have to admit that when I started Fire I was a bit disappointed that it was not a sequel to Graceling. Now I am just disappointed that it is over. I adored this book!

It took me a few chapters to warm up to the new characters, especially since I did not realize when I bought the book that it was not going to be continuing with Katsa. Like I said, I was disappointed that I had to spend time becoming familiar with this new setting but that is because I am so enthralled with Cashore’s writing I wanted to jump right in where I had left off with Graceling.

Now that it is over I feel like I should be sad to have finished the story so quickly but the story closed so beautifully that I don’t feel any sort of loss. I was so engulfed in the story that I didn’t even realize I was reading the epilogue until I paused in the second paragraph and noticed the heading. I wasn’t sad because the characters were leaving me but content as if I was releasing them to continue their lives. How does Cashore do that?

There are so many things I loved about this book but most of all I love how strong and independent Cashore’s female characters are. Fire is someone I want to be friends with, someone I want to learn from. I want her confident independence and I think it is so important for young girls to read about women (even fictional) who have that kind of strength and independence, women who view that strength as a vital quality.

I cannot say enough about this book and how much I love Kristin Cashore’s writing. I can’t wait for the next one.

* I read this book before I started my blog but wrote the review right after finishing it. I wanted to get the review up before the end of the year.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Lord of the Rings Readalong

Okay, I read The Hobbit in high school and really enjoyed it but I have to admit I was never able to finish The Fellowship of the Ring. I have always wanted to try to read them again but it just hasn't happened. When I came across this readalong, I knew it was just what I had been waiting for.

Thank you Eva, Maree, Teresa, and The Literary Omnivore who will each be taking a month to host a book, starting in January with The Hobbit at A Striped Armchair.

Check out Shelf Love to sign-up

Teaser Tuesdays

Thank you MizB for hosting Teaser Tuesday.

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share 2 teaser sentences from that page
-Make sure you don't include any spoilers
-Share the title and author so envious readers can add it to their TBR pile

Check out Should Be Reading to read more Teaser Tuesdays.

"That which is scarred and pitted in nature can mean sustenance and life, whereas a smooth and pretty skin can mean destruction and death. People, too, are not often what they seem, even those whom you love."
-Page 132
The Heretics Daughter
by Kathleen Kent

I love this quote. It is a mother explaining to her daughter how to tell the difference between poisonous and edible mushrooms.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer was first brought to my attention when it came to film. I watched the movie and was shocked when Chris died at the end (this is not a spoiler, you find this out in the first chapter of the book) because I knew very little history about the story. I was so enthralled I went out and bought the book. Although it did take me a while to actually open the book, once I did I was halfway finished before I took a breath.

Krakauer’s writing is both thoughtful and insightful. I was impressed by the amount of research he was able to sift through and the stories he heard from the people who met Chris. I was also surprised that although it had been over a decade since he initially published the article in “Outsider,” he has obviously not stopped working or thinking about Chris. I was surprised by how much I could relate to Chris as well as how different we were. He did something incredible, and although a few oversights stopped him from walking out of Alaska alive, I don’t think he failed. He lived for 2 years exactly how he wanted to after turning away from everything he had known. He went to Alaska and lived off the land until he was ready to leave. Although he did not leave, he was ready to walk out as what seemed to be a changed man and he never seemed to regret going into the bush.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a great story and left me thinking about it for days after I had finished the last page.

* I finished this book ….. before I started my blog but I wanted to get the review up before the end of the year.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge

Read the Book, See the Movie Challenge
is hosted at Ready When You Are, C.B.

I love movies, I LOVE books...this challenge is perfect for me.

Select a challenge level:
  • Matinee: one book/movie
  • Double Feature: two books/movies
  • Saturday Movie Marathon: four books/movies
  • Film Festival: eight books/movies
  • Festival Jury Member: ten books/movies
I'm in for 10!!

My list so far:

1. Witches
2. Atonement
3. Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring
4. The Road
5. The Hours
6. Island of the Blue Dolphins

Chunkster Challenge - 2010

The Chunkster Challenge is going run February 1, 2010 - January 31, 2011

Check out the Chunkster Challenge website for all the rules.

I am in for level 3:

Mor-book-ly Obese - This is for the truly out of control chunkster. For this level of challenge you must commit to 6 or more chunksters OR three tomes of 750 pages or more. You know you want to.....go on and give in to your cravings.

I am going to read 3 books over 750 pages each, and I think I even have my list set already.

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2. Under the Dome by Stephen King
3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Saturday, December 12, 2009

TwentyTen Reading Challenge

The TwentyTen reading Challenge is hosted at Bart's Bookshelf and I can't seem to get away from it. It keeps popping up everywhere. I finally just had to sign up. I mean really, this is the perfect challenge...lots of variety, a year to complete it, and only 20 books!

I am so excited.


* Read 2 books from each category, making a requirement of 20 books total.
* The categories are intended to be loose guidelines only, if you decide it fits, then it fits. (Apart from those marked **)
* Categories marked with ** have tighter rules, and these must be followed.
* Each book can only qualify for one category.
* Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.
* Books read from 01/01/2010 to 31/12/2010 are eligible.

So, on with the categories

1. Young Adult
Any book classified as young adult or featuring a teenage protagonist counts for this category.

2. T.B.R. **
Intended to help reduce the old T.B.R. pile. Books for this category must be already residents of your bookshelves as of 1/11/09.

3. Shiny & New
Bought a book NEW during 2010 from a bookstore, online, or a supermarket? Then it counts for this category. Second-hand books do not count for this one, but, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts or won in a giveaway also count!

4. Bad Blogger’s ***
Books in this category, should be ones you’ve picked up purely on the recommendation of another blogger count for this category (any reviews you post should also link to the post that convinced you give the book ago).
*** Bad Bloggers: Is hosted by Chris of Stuff as Dreams are Made on.

5. Charity
Support your local charity shops with this category, by picking up books from one of their shops. Again, for those on book-buying bans, books bought for you as gifts also count, as long as they were bought from a charity shop.

6. New in 2010
This category is for those books newly published in 2010 (whether it be the first time it is has been released, or you had to wait for it to be published in your country, it counts for this one!)

7. Older Than You
Read two books that were published before you were born, whether that be the day before or 100 years prior!

8. Win! Win!
Have a couple of books you need to read for another challenge? Then this is the category to use, as long that is, you don’t break the rules of the other challenge by doing so! ;)

9. Who Are You Again?
This one isn’t just for authors you’ve never read before, this is for those authors you have never even heard of before!

10. Up to You! --I am going with graphic novels on this one. They are totally new to me and I decided it was about time I checked one (or two) out.
The requirements for this category are up to you! Want to challenge yourself to read some graphic novels? A genre outside your comfort zone? Something completely wild and wacky? Then this is the category to you. The only requirement is that you state it in your sign-up post.

I'm going to keep track of my progress under the Challenges post in my sidebar.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Day the Falls Stood Still - Cathy Marie Buchanan

Let me just say WOW!
The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan was amazing. For hours after finishing the book I felt like I was still holding back tears but they refused to fall because the story was so beautifully written that the sadness was wrapped in hope and the sense that life moves on.

I am in love with Tom Cole. He is an amazing father, extremely handy, uniquely gifted, and insanely in love with his wife. The chemistry between Tom and Bess is vibrant and extremely well written. Tom overcomes so much and it is his relationship with Bess that makes her such an interesting character.

The first part of the story focused on Bess and her family—especially her sister. It then transitioned to Bess and Tom…but not without breaking my heart first.

Bess is an incredibly strong character and Tom lights up the pages with his love for her and everything that he goes through. The characters were just so unbelievably real that I continued to think about them days after I finished the book.

This was a book that I had thought about buying for a while after reading a few reviews but I wasn’t certain I was going to enjoy it. I am so glad I bought it, by the 3rd page I was hooked.

* I read this book before I started my blog but wrote the review right after finishing it. I wanted to get the review up before the end of the year.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

2010 100+ Reading Challenge

I am so excited to join the 100+ Reading Challenge. There are so many great books to read in 2010, it would be silly for me to NOT try to read at least 100.

To see all the details for the challenge, check out J. Kaye's post.

1. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
2. The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
3. Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
4. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
5. The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan
6. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (audio)
8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
9. Heresy by S.J. Parris
10. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
11. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
12. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
13. Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery (audio)
14. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
15. Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman
16. Frostbite by Richelle Goodman
17. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
18. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
19. The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
20. Anne of the Island by L.M. Montgomery (audio)
21. The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham
22. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
23. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
24. Tristan and Iseult by Joseph Sedier (audio)
25. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (audio)
26. Waiting for Columbus by Thomas Trifimuk (audio)
27. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (audio)
28. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer
29. The Swimming Pool by Holly LeCraw
30. The Host by Stephenie Meyer
31. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
32. Keeper by Kathi Appelt
33. Fireworks over Toccoa by Jeffrey Stipakoff
34. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
35. Nightlight by The Harvard Lampoon
36. Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
37. Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick
38. Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
39. Little Bee by Chris Cleave
40. Daughters of the Witching Hill by Mary Sharratt
41. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
42. Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
43. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
44. Radiance by Alyson Noel
45. She's So Dead to Us by Kieran Scott
46. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (audio)
47. Dirty Secret by Jessie Sholl
48. Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
49. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (audio)
50. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
51. Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
52. Dead Tossed Waved by Carrie Ryan (audio)
53. Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead
54. Red Hook Road by Ayelet Waldman
55. After by Amy Efaw (audio)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday

Jill at Breaking the Spine hosts "Waiting on" Wednesday, a place where we can voice the books we are patiently - okay probably impatiently - waiting to be released.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel
By Sarah Addison Allen
Pub. date: March 16, 2010

From Amazon:

Emily Benedict came to Mullaby, North Carolina, hoping to solve at least some of the riddles surrounding her mother’s life. Such as, why did Dulcie Shelby leave her hometown so suddenly? And why did she vow never to return? But the moment Emily enters the house where her mother grew up and meets the grandfather she never knew—a reclusive, real-life gentle giant—she realizes that mysteries aren’t solved in Mullaby, they’re a way of life: Here are rooms where the wallpaper changes to suit your mood. Unexplained lights skip across the yard at midnight. And a neighbor bakes hope in the form of cakes.

Everyone in Mullaby adores Julia Winterson’s cakes—which is a good thing, because Julia can’t seem to stop baking them. She offers them to satisfy the town’s sweet tooth
but also in the hope of rekindling the love she fears might be lost forever. Flour, eggs, milk, and sugar . . . Baking is the only language the proud but vulnerable Julia has to communicate what is truly in her heart. But is it enough to call back to her those she’s hurt in the past?

Can a hummingbird cake really bring back a lost love? Is there really a ghost dancing in Emily’s backyard? The answers are never what you expect. But in this town of lovable misfits, the unexpected fits right in.

I don't care what the book is about. I love Sarah Addison Allen so I am reading it. But okay, this sounds awesome. And oh how I love the cover.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Thank you MizB for hosting Teaser Tuesday.

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share 2 teaser sentences from that page
-Make sure you don't include any spoilers
-Share the title and author so envious readers can add it to their TBR pile

Check out Should Be Reading to read more Teaser Tuesdays.

"What kind of name is Door, then?"
And she looked at him with her odd colored eyes, and she said, "My name."
-Page 40
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Elf on the Shelf

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition Elf on the Shelf Gift Set

A few weeks ago I came across The Elf on the Shelf in Barnes and Noble and immediately picked it up. When I was little we had a shelf elf but for some reason it never ended up on a shelf, it was always stuffed in the tree to look out on us. I decided I would do the elf right now that I had my very own.

I took my elf home and read the story to my husband and we quickly realized that we had to buy one for our nephew that lives in TX.

For those who don't know that story here is the description from Barnes and Noble:

The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition™ is an activity the entire family will enjoy. Based on the tradition Carol Aebersold began with her family in the 1970s, this cleverly rhymed children's book explains that Santa knows who is naughty and/or nice because he sends a scout elf to every home. During the holiday season, the elf watches children by day and reports to Santa each night. When children awake, the elf has returned from the North Pole and can be found hiding in a different location. This activity allows The Elf on the Shelf to become a delightful hide-and-seek game.

When my brother-in-law received the package in the mail he opened it and hid the elf from my nephew and then read him the story telling him that the elf was going to be arriving shortly. When he got the chance he put the elf on the front porch, ran the doorbell, and then hid around the side. My sister-in-law had my nephew answer the door and he was apparently very excited the elf had arrived but he was looking around like where did this elf come from, I have to make sure I'm extra good now.

I was cracking up when I heard the story. I don't have kids yet but even my husband and I have fun hiding the elf from each other.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The White Queen - Philippa Gregory

The White Queen: A Novel (Cousins' War)is the first book in a new series by Philippa Gregory.

I have much love for Philippa Gregory for bringing me The Other Boleyn Girl and introducing me to the Tudors. Although it will be difficult for her to ever write another novel as compelling as The Other Boleyn Girl, I had been impressed with the books following…until her last book The Other Queen. I was barely able to finish the book and if it was any other author I probably wouldn’t have.

With The White Queen, Gregory is clearly back. Although it didn’t grab me the way I expect her books to and it took me a while to become attached to the story, by the end of the book I was yearning for more. I am extremely excited that this is the first book in a series and I am anxiously awaiting more information on the next book.

As with The Other Boleyn Girl, Gregory has introduced me to an entire period of history I was blind to.

I had passed a book a while back about 2 lost princes in the Tower and I remember putting it down because I wasn’t able to understand how anyone could lose 2 princes so I assumed it to be fiction. Gregory has enlightened me.

There were also some amazing passages that touched me. In the 2nd paragraph on page 274, I feel Elizabeth’s emptiness. She has full realized that nobody is coming for her. Edward is dead and she is alone with her kids. Some of the moments were so well written that I felt as if I was standing right there next to Elizabeth experiencing it all with her.

I think the next book is going to be some of her best writing. She has laid the base and the background and now she can get into the drama

I can’t wait!

* I read this book before I started my blog but wrote the review right after finishing it. I wanted to get the review up before the end of the year.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Traitor’s Wife - Susan Higginbotham

The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham is a book about Eleanor, who is the granddaughter to King Edward I, and married to a man of insignificant background. The story moves through King Edward II and the problems he faces throughout his reign.

This is the first book I have read about this time period and I quickly fell into the story. With every dark turn the story took, I was more enthralled. It was not just that I had never read about these people before and I therefore did not know how it would end, but the writing was so captivating I felt as if I was right there with Eleanor.

The battles were being fought in the name of England but it was often unclear who the “bad guys” were because you felt so connected to the man who is not known for serving England very well.

One of the most interesting things I realized when I finished the book was how it opened my eyes to the reality of the workings of the royal family and royalty in general. It was one of those moments when you know you have all the facts but they suddenly all click together into the obvious (okay I had one of Oprah’s “ah ha” moments). I now understand how they can all be related. She was the granddaughter of a king and she became a prisoner, and then a nobody. Royalty doesn’t necessarily stay royal…or wealthy.

We still play this game of politics/royalty, and it is still just as fascinating.

* I read this book before I started my blog but wrote the review right after finishing it. I wanted to get the review up before the end of the year.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Leviathan - Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan is the first book in a new series by Scott Westerfeld. It is the story of Prince Alek of Austria-Hungary and Deryn, a girl pretending to be a boy named Dylan so she can join the English Air Service. Their stories collide on an unexpected night in Switzerland.

This is definitely an interesting take on an alternate history of WWI. Although there were some parts of the story that dragged a bit, the book overall was extremely interesting. Westerfeld creates a world where technical and biological engineering has lead to fascinating—and sometimes frightening—developments. At times the creations in his story were a bit out there and it was hard to picture what he was imagining, but then I would turn the page and be enlightened by one of Keith Thompson’s beautiful illustrations.

I can’t tell you how excited I was when I saw the first illustration. When I bought Leviathan, I didn’t realize it was illustrated, and then I came across this amazing picture. I don’t know what caused me to rush through the book more, the fascinating story or knowing in a few pages there would be another incredible illustration.

Thompson’s work was a perfect addition to Westerfeld’s writing. He complimented Westerfeld’s fantastic imagination and helped bring Leviathan to life. I can’t wait to see what the second book brings in story and pictures.

Check out Scott Westerfeld's website where you can read the first chapter of the book and see some of the amazing illustrations that had me so mesmerized.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Thank you to Marcia at The Printed Page for putting on the weekly Mailbox Monday, a place where I discover so many wonderful new books.

Check out her blog and post all the new books you acquired this week.

I was so excited to open my mailbox on Saturday and see one of those sweet little keys that means I have a package too big to fit in the mailbox. Jumping up and down and waving the key at my husband I quickly inserted the key into the #3 big box and there inside was a giant envelope from Harvard Book Store. I jumped inside my car and had my husband quickly drive to our apartment so I could thoroughly enjoy the book I knew it contained.

Carefully I opened the package and took off the giant bubble-wrap that was surrounding the book....Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Okay so I already own Graceling and it is an incredible story but why was I so excited to receive a second copy? It was SIGNED!! Kristin has hooked up with Harvard Book Store and she will sign your book if you request it through them. So thank you Kristin, for signing a book for me even though I was not able to make it to any of your appearances for a REAL book signing. This book made me so so happy!!

Once I finally stopped gushing over my book I looked through the rest of the mail and realized I received something else I was waiting on...

Another author that I am giving for the holidays (yes I am giving many copies of Graceling to friends/sisters this Christmas) is Sarah Addison Allen. I read Garden Spells right after it was released and fell in love with it. The Sugar Queen was also an amazing book, so I realized they would be books that a few of my family members would enjoy as well. I went on her site because I was curious about when her next book was going be released and noticed that Random House will send you signed bookplates for your book club if you send in an envelope. I quickly requested bookplates for the books I will be giving for Christmas, hoping that they wouldn't mind I was giving these away instead of using them for a book club - which they didn't - and I received them in the mail as well.

I am so excited. Overall Saturday was an awesome day to check the mail!

HERE is the link to Kristin Cashore's blog where she explains how to get a signed book.

The link for the bookplates from Sarah Addison Allen is HERE.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith - Jon Krakauer

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer is the haunting story of Dan and Ron Lafferty, why they killed their sister-in-law and niece and how they gave their religion as motivation. The often disturbing story that unfolds reads more like a horror story than a work of nonfiction.

Karkauer uses the Lafferty story as a way to delve into the Mormon religion as a whole. He gives fascinating details about how the religion started and the road that brought it to the religion it is today. Krakauer’s research explains the reasons behind many of the various sects of the Latter-day Saints as well as the Mormon Fundamentalists.

With so many details and stories Krakauer often seems to be going off on a random tangent, but his tangents always link back to the main story in some surprising way.

The details behind the Lafferty murders are both horrifying and fascinating. Krakauer does a wonderful job of explaining the events that unfolded as well as the history of the religion with as unbiased an opinion as seems possible. So much of the history is filled with violence by and against the church. In response to an exaggerated report, Lilburn Boggs, Governor of Missouri, stated:

“The Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the state, if necessary for the public peace. Their outrages are beyond all description.”
-page 103

I was fascinated by the history of the religion, how it came to exist and the various factors that played a part in molding it. For example, the US government is a huge reason the church eventually prohibited polygamy.

“Although LDS leaders were originally loath to abandon plural marriage, eventually they adopted a more pragmatic approach to American politics, emphatically rejected the practice, and actually began urging government agencies to prosecute polygamists. It was this single change in ecclesiastical policy, more than anything else, that transformed the LDS Church into its astonishingly successful present-day iteration. Having jettisoned polygamy, Mormons gradually ceased to be regarded as a crackpot sect.”
-page 7

This brilliantly researched and well written book is a thought-provoking read that had me constantly pausing so I could read a passage to my husband. I was fascinated the entire time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Thank you MizB for hosting Teaser Tuesday.

-Grab your current read
-Open to a random page
-Share 2 teaser sentences from that page
-Make sure you don't include any spoilers

Check out Should Be Reading to read more Teaser Tuesdays.

"The Saints, however, were forced to accede to all the other conditions of their surrender, and once they had been disarmed they became easy prey for Missourians bent on revenge. Their possessions were plundered, their cabins burned for firewood, their livestock shot for amusement."

Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
-page 105

Sunday, November 22, 2009

1010 Challenge

The 1010 Challenge is a group challenge on LibraryThing (challenge link). The challenge is to read books from 10 categories in 2010. I am going to read 10 books in each category.

This is a fantastic way for me to make sure I get through most of the books I have wanted to read for a while as well as make sure I have diversity throughout the year. I will probably switch some books up throughout the year but I have most of my categories filled already(okay some are overfilled-I'll figure that out as I go). As I read and review the books I will leave links.

1. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
2. True Compass: A Memoir by Edward M. Kennedy
3. Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival by Norman Ollestad
4. A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice by Malalia Joya
5. I’ll Scream Later by Marlee Matlin
6. The Girl from Foreign: A Memoir by Sadia Shepard
7. Saving Sammy: Curing the Boy Who Caught OCD by Beth Alison Maloney
8. Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur by Halima Bashir

Historical Fiction
1. Avalon: A Novel by Anya Seton and Philippa Gregory
2. The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel by Alison Weir
3. Sarah's Daughter by Ruth Bass
4. The Virgin's Daughters by Jeane Westin
5. Cleopatra's Daughter: A Novel by Michelle Moran
6. The Greatest Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick
7. Mary Boleyn by Josephine Wilkinson
8. Privilege and Scandal by Gleeson
9. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

1. Committed by Elizabeth Gilbert
2. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
3. The Mom’s Guide To Growing Your Family Green: Saving The Earth Begins At Home by Terra Wellington
4. Smart Mama’s Green Guide: Simple Steps to Reduce Your Child’s Toxic Exposure by Jennifer Taggart
5. The Duchess by Amanda Foreman
6. Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson
7. Princess Sultana's Daughters by Jean Sasson
8. Princess Sultana's Circle (Princess Trilogy) by Jean Sasson
9. First Comes Love, Then Comes Malaria by Eve Waite-Brown
10. Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi
11. Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson
12. Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

1. The Federalist by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, & John Jay
2. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
3. The Inferno by Dante Alighieri
4. Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
5. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
6. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
7. Middlemarch by George Eliot
8. My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass
9. Narrative of Sojourner Truth
10. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
11. Utopia by Thomas More
12. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Young Adult
1. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
2. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
3. Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black
4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
5. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
6. What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
7. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
8. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
9. Go Ask Alice by Unknown

Books I Missed in School (I have no idea how)
1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
2. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
4. The Pearl by John Steinbeck
5. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
6. Tangerine by Edward Bloor
7. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

A School Refresher Course (the ones I did read)
1. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
2. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
4. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
6. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
7. My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
8. The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
9. The Witches by Roald Dahl
10. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls

Banned Books
1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
2. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
3. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
4. Maurice: A Novel by E. M. Forster
5. The Education of Harriet Hatfield by Sarton May
6. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews
7. Forever… by Judy Blume
8. Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
9. Lysistrata by Aristophanes
10. The Last Mission by Harry Mazer
11. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
12. Women on Top by Nancy Friday
13. The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence by Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks

Books to Set the Halloween Mood
1. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
2. The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice
3. Queen of the Damned by Anne Rice
4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
5. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
6. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
7. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
8. Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal

Books I Loved the First Time Around
1. Animal Farm by George Orwell
2. Garden Spells By Sarah Addison Allen
3. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
6. Moths and Other by Stories by Helena Maria Viramontes
7. Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
8. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
9. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
10. We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories From Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch


The 2010 100+ Reading Challenge.  You can see the list of all the books I read in 2010 HERE.

 I also have the 1010 Challenge, which has essentially turned into a giant list of books I want to read before I die.  The list in all its glorious categories can be found HERE.

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. Witches
2. The Lightning Thief
3. Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring
4. Alice in Wonderland
5. The Hours
6. Out of Africa
7. Brideshead Revisited
8. Mansfield Park or Emma/Clueless
9. Coraline
10. The Golden Compass

Original Post
February 1, 2010 - January 31, 2011

I am going to read 3 books over 750 pages each.

1. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2. Under the Dome by Stephen King
3. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Original Post
November 1, 2009 - April 30, 2010

1. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
2. Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan
3. Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
4. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
5. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
6. Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
2. Beloved by Toni Morrison
3. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
4. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
5. Utopia by Thomas More
6. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
7. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
8. Atonement by Ian McEwan
9. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
10. The Giver by Lois Lowry

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. Middlesex: A Novel by Jeffrey Eugenides
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (this would be a reread for me but I loved it the first time)
3. Virginia Woolf: A Biography by Quentin Bell
4. The Hours: A Novel by Michael Cunningham
5. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel by Fannie Flagg
6. The Persian Boy by Mary Renault
7. The Bostonians by Henry James

Original Post
January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010

1. The Girl from Foreign: A Memoir by Sadia Shepard
2. Haunting Bombay by Shilpa Agarwal
3. The Sari Shop Widow by Shobhan Bantwal
4. Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah
5. A Disobedient Girl: A Novel by Ru Freeman

Original Post
November 2009 - November 2010

1. Circle of Women: An Anthology of Contemporary Western Women Writers by Kim Barnes and Mary Clearman Blew
2. To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism by Rebecca Walker
3. The Bone Woman: A Forensic Anthropologist'​s Search for Truth in the Mass Graves of Rwanda, Bosnia, Croatia, and Kosovo by Clea Koff

Fiction or Nonfiction:

4. My Antonia by Willa Cather
5. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
6. Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent
7. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
8. Woman: An Intimate Geography by Natalie Angier

Young Adult


Shiny & New

Bad Blogger’s

1. The Feminine Mystique
2. Jane Eyre

New in 2010
1.  The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
2.  The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

Older Than You

Win! Win!

Who Are You Again?

Up to You! --I am going with graphic novels on this one. They are totally new to me and I decided it was about time I checked one (or two) out.
1. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Friday, November 20, 2009

When Autumn Leaves - Amy S. Foster

I initially picked up When Autumn Leaves: A Novel by Amy S. Foster because I thought the cover was so beautiful. I admit it…I judged a book by its cover. When I read that it was a book laced with some magic, I knew I had to read it.

I am very confused by the whole book. It wasn’t the story that was confusing but my feelings about the book that I can’t sort out. Part of me fought the story almost the whole way through and I have no idea why. I had unwarranted high expectations and I was quickly disappointed that the writing didn’t flow as well as I was hoping. I was constantly being pulled out of the story because of some comment that didn’t seem to fit or some phrasing that just felt off.

The story is set in the town of Avening and each chapter reads like a short story. Each is about a different person. The common link between them all being Avening and magic, as well as Autumn, a woman who appears throughout the whole book.

Autumn puts an ad out in the paper which causes each of these women to become more open to the magic in their lives and encourages them to think about what that means.

Although this is not the best book I have read this year, it is a nice quick read if you are looking for some magic. The way Foster’s stories unfold began to grow on me and by the end of the book I was surprisingly pleased with how the story wrapped up. However, in general, the stories are left fairly open and I can see Foster writing a sequel to the book.

Even though I had my issues with the book, I did enjoy it. If she does write a sequel, I can definitely see myself buying it. I think I would enjoy it more now that I know what to expect from her writing. What can I say…I am a sucker for books with a little magic.

I am an Amazon Associate.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

GLBT Challenge 2010 - The Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name

Okay, I found another great challenge that I just can't pass up. I recently came across the GLBT 2009 Challenge and I was so sad that it was about to be finished. When I came across the came challenge for 2010 I knew I was signing up.

Thanks to Amanda at The Zen Leaf for hosting the The Challenge That Dare Not Speak Its Name 2010 which will run January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010.

I am signing up at the Pink Triangle Level, meaning I will read 8 books. I don't have a list put together yet but I have a few ideas so far:

Middlesex: A Novel
by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
by Stephen Chbosky (this would be a reread for me but I loved it the first time)

Virginia Woolf: A Biography
by Quentin Bell

The Hours: A Novel
by Michael Cunningham

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe: A Novel
by Fannie Flagg

The Persian Boy
by Mary Renault

The Bostonians (Modern Library Classics)
by Henry James

Check out this website with a great list of GLBT Literature.