Sunday, January 31, 2010

Snow Day!!

I was so excited to wake up yesterday and find SNOW!!!!

I love snow and, being from California (ocean-level), I have never lived in a place that snowed. Experiencing snow has always been something that I went to see on a vacation. We would drive to Tahoe for the beautiful snow covered mountains and snowboarding. Never have I been at home, needing to go grocery shopping or do normal everyday things and had snow. I love it!



The bad news is this is probably all the snow that we will get this year (about 1/2 inch), and it is already melting in the sun.

The good news is I get to appreciate the fun of it and not really have to deal with an extended snow storm because I have seriously no idea how to live in the snow. Fayetteville, NC doesn't really get snow so this isn't something I have grown accustomed to since I moved here 3 years ago. I also missed the good snow storm last year because I was in California but this weekend made up for it.

It was mild and fun. My husband and I went for a walk in the morning and and we managed to make it to the bookstore.

This is a sheet of ice that froze over the window. We couldn't see out the window so we rolled it down to try and break it off...probably not the smartest thing to do but it had an interesting effect. The window went down but the ice stayed put in a perfect layer.

In the afternoon I decided I wanted to make a snowman but it had warmed enough that the snow became little balls of ice which refused to stick together. So instead I broke apart pieces of snow already stuck together and made myself a "snow buddy."

I hope everyone else is enjoying the weekend as much as I am.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood - Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
By Marjane Satrapi

Wow! Wow, wow, wow!! What an incredible story. This is the first graphic novel I have ever read and what a way for me to be introduced to them. I never thought a graphic novel could be so powerful.

Satrapi is courageous and funny and so relatable. Her story is enlightening. It is extremely real and enlightening. The illustrations are entertaining while at the same time being extremely powerful. Her story shows the side of a war that is often difficult to depict, the view from a child or teenagers view.

I never thought that a graphic novel would make me cry but Persepolis did just that. Then, that final frame just killed me. I don’t know what I was thinking, buying only the first book and not Persepolis 2. The stores around here don’t have it so I have to order it and wait for it to be shipped. I can’t wait!!! I have to see how it ends! I can’t be left with that final image and not know what’s next. It’s not even like it was a cliffhanger ending, I just need more. Right now!

I can’t believe I waited this long to read this in the first place. Don’t make the same mistake I did. Go buy it now. Run…hurry.

Ok, I realize this review is kind of all over the place but it was my first reaction to the story and as you can see I loved it.

If you are looking for something a bit more coherent here are some great reviews by other bloggers:


The Zen Leaf

Medieval Bookworm

This book was part of my list for the Women Unbound Challenge.

**Source: bought this with my Christmas giftcards...that same way I am going to buy book 2.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Daughters of Eve - Lois Duncan

Daughters of Eve
By Lois Duncan

At Modesta High School there is a chapter of the Daughters of Eve who are sending out invitations for their new members. They have a new teacher, Irene Stark, who is going to mix things up a bit—you know—really get things done. With Irene leading them, this social club quickly turns into a group of girls who will test their social and moral boundaries at every chance they get.

I actually had a hard time with parts of the book. The extreme levels that were taken had me with the feeling that these ideas gave feminism a bad stereotype. I started the book thinking it would be milder but Duncan definitely has you questioning the actions of some of the characters.

I couldn’t wait to get to the end (and boy did it end with a bang!!) to see if I would feel better about their actions. I am pleased to say, when I closed the book and though about their actions as a whole, I was kind of in love with it. I think Duncan was right in writing it with the extremes she did because she smacks you with something that you MUST think about. Irene may be a bit insane at times, but haven’t we all been there? I remember literally seeing red after a comment about women from a guy in college. I was literally blind with rage and wanted to punch him—I didn’t punch him, but I guess I’m a softy that way. The point is that the book was a bit extreme, but I get it.

The best part was that Irene reminded me of a college professor I had for Women’s Studies. She had that passion and enraged fire that made you want to go out and change the world. I love that when I closed the book I felt like I had just gotten out of one of her lectures.

This is an excellent book that may have you questioning both sides but the important thing is that it will make you think.

*I read this book as part of the Shelf Discovery Challenge.

**Source: I bought this book with my own sweet money.

Monday, January 25, 2010

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 last week.

Well, I had a very exciting week. I went a little crazy ordering books online and spending almost all of my gift cards from Christmas. I also got a couple other books in the mail.

Cheating Death: The Doctors and Medical Miracles that Are Saving Lives Against All Odds by Sanjay Gupta
A contest win from DC Metro Reader

Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman
ARE courtesy of Ballantine Books

And the books that I bought for myself:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

AND my favorite part of this Mailbox Monday....

The Complete Peanuts 1967-1970 Box Set

I grew up in Santa Rosa, CA...the home of Charles Schultz. One of my favorite Christmas traditions was going to Snoopy on Ice at the Redwood Empire Ice Arena. We went every year until they stopped putting it on after Schultz died and it was one of the hardest traditions for me to let go of. From the comic strip in the newspaper to Snoopy on Ice, Peanuts has always had a special place in my heart. I am so excited to have my first boxed set!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

LOTR Readalong-The Hobbit Continues

Time for the half-way through the month check-in with Eva and my favorite readalong. Ok, so it’s my only readalong but obviously it is my favorite.

Well, I am about two thirds of the way through the book and I AM LOVING IT!!! Every new chapter is such happiness and memories that I didn’t even know I had. BUT, I do have a confession…

I have to admit that I am skipping the songs. I’ll skim them a bit, but nothing more than that. I think the problem is the people who are listening to the audio. I keep reading posts about how the songs are sung and I got jealous. I decided that the next time I experience The Hobbit it will be in audio format so I can fully appreciate the songs. The only thing is that it gives me less desire to read the songs this time around, so I am instead passing them up until I can fully appreciate them.

I think my favorite scene is when they meet Beorn and the dwarves keep coming in 2 at a time. I love it and literally crack up every time they appear.

Is it strange that Gollum is my favorite character? Even though he doesn’t have a lengthy role in this book, I love him. He is the reason I ever gave the LOTR movies a chance. He is so creepy and obsessive and twisted…and what does it say about me that I love him? Oh well, I don’t care.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Sea of Monsters - Rick Riordan

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 2)
By Rick Riordan

This is the second book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I went into this book with some reservations after reading The Lightening Thief. I had a few issues that kept bothering me, and although they did still pop-up in this book, I am happy to say that I did enjoy it more than the first book in the series. I had issues with the first book because I didn’t feel very connected with the characters. With this second book, I did care a bit more about what happened to Percy, Annabeth, and Grover, but still not as much as I would expect.

Riordan made up for his flimsy main characters by throwing some new characters that I really enjoyed. I was surprised that 2 snakes (snakes are my biggest fear on earth) who made a short appearance were a couple of my favorite characters. They were hilarious and I was impressed with how real Riordan could make 2 talking snakes seem, especially since their talking wasn’t done aloud. Tyson was also extremely entertaining and I felt instantly protective of him and entertained by him at the same time. I love his simple way of doing things that make me laugh and totally understand him:

"But when the fire died, Tyson was standing there, completely unharmed. Not even his grungy clothes were scorched. The bull must've been as surprised as I am, because before it could unleash a second blast, Tyson balled his fists and slammed them into the bull's face. "BAD COW!"

The story in this second book is definitely moving along and I am enjoying it, but I have to keep reminding myself that it was written for a younger audience. I am constantly annoyed that Percy is so slow at putting things together and figuring out something that seems fairly obvious. Other than that I am really enjoying the series. Book 2 had definite improvement on the character development overall. On to the next.

**Source: I bought this with my ever dwindling Christmas $$

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

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.

I learned that he knew the Shah's army was coming to arrest him. He could have run away like most of his friends did, but he decided to stay.

-page 57
Persepolis: A Story of a Childhood
by Marjane Satrapi

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

LOTR Readalong Begins

I was so excited to join the Lord of the Rings readalong that when the time came to start it was actually a little...daunting. What if I didn't like it? This was my chance to finally understand all the obsession. What if I still couldn't understand it? Sure I read The Hobbit in high school and I really enjoyed it but I couldn't remember a specific thing that made me feel that way and then I couldn't make it through The Fellowship of the Ring.

Well, I finally opened up The Hobbit and began. It is AWESOME! The amazing thing is that before I started reading I couldn't remember anything about the story but as I read, I kept remembering different parts and getting so excited to get to that part and read all the details again.

Ok, more about this in the future. Eva posted some questions to get the readalong going. So, lets start with the cover of my book. I bought the LOTR box set to get myself ready for the readalong and the cover of The Hobbit is the same one that I originally had when I read it in high school. I do have to admit, I think this cover is my favorite (the one Eva has comes in at a close second). I love the hobbit-hole. It was the one thing I vividly remembered because I wanted to live there so badly. I am excited to be back and loving it! It is the book I am keeping on my nightstand so I can wind down and possibly have some interesting dreams.

The Lightning Thief - Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
By Rick Riordan
Pages: 375

This is the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series. There has been a lot of hype for the book and the previews for the movie look awesome, but I have to say I was disappointed. It’s not Riordan’s fault, I just went in with unrealistic expectations. There were too many things that reminded me of Harry Potter (2 boys 1 girl, the set-up of the schools, even security named Filch) I found myself constantly comparing the two and The Lightning Thief didn’t create the same connection for me.

The connection was my biggest problem. I didn’t feel connected to the characters. I didn’t care if they lived or died. The book, however, remained a page-turner because the story was so interesting I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. I just didn’t care if the bad guys beat the good guys.

Aside from that and each chapter being written like a mini quest where Percy would have to overcome an attack of some kind, it was a good book. I wish it was around when I was little and needed to learn about Greek Mythology. It is exciting to think that so many kids are interested in these books and can learn about something that I never really took interest in when I was a kid.

My hope is that I will feel more connected with the next book now that I have gone through an entire book with these characters. Although, even if I don’t, I am sure I will finish the series because I can’t wait to see how it all ends.

*Something more: My husband finished The Lightning Thief last night and he loved it. He didn’t seem to have the same issues I did. Also, I started book 2 in the series last night and I am already more impressed.

**Source: Bought with my gift cards from Christmas, thanks family.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

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.

"Something is going to go awfully wrong this semester! it cried.
With Dave's arms warm around her, Ann called back silently, For somebody else maybe, Tammy, but not for me!

-page 39
Daughters of Eve by Lois Duncan

Friday, January 8, 2010

Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman

By Neil Gaiman

This is the first book I have read by Gaiman. I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I opened it. I had heard such great things about him but for some reason I still wasn’t convinced he was going to fall short of my expectations.

Boy was I ever surprised. I loved this book. The story was fantastic and the characters were lovable (even as I hated some). Door was adorable and I even loved bad Mr. Vandenmar. I was literally laughing out loud at almost everything Mr. Vandemar said…

“What,” asked Mr. Croup, “do you want?”
“What,” asked the marquis de Carabas, a little more rhetorically, “does anyone want?”
“Dead things,” suggested Mr. Vandemar. “Extra teeth.”
-page 205

I bought this book because I wanted to give it to my step-brother for Christmas but I wanted to have read it myself first. A few chapters in, I decided this wasn’t the present I was looking for and went with a different book but before I even finished Neverwhere I was second guessing my decision. I can’t imagine he wouldn’t have fallen in love with this story the way I did.

Gaiman created a world that was exciting, captivating, and even frightening but he also gave me something to think about. He took reality and shifted it so I now see a story in the shadows. I want to go to London and read this book there. I want to read this book on the Underground. I can’t wait to read more from Gaiman.

**Source: Bought before I spent all my money on Christmas.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"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 Stolen Crown: The Secret Marriage that Forever Changed the Fate of England
By Susan Higginbotham
Pub. date: March 2010

From Amazon:

On May Day, 1464, six-year-old Katherine Woodville, daughter of a duchess who has married a knight of modest means, awakes to find her gorgeous older sister, Elizabeth, in the midst of a secret marriage to King Edward IV. It changes everything—for Kate and for England.

Then King Edward dies unexpectedly. Richard III, Duke of Gloucester, is named protector of Edward and Elizabeth's two young princes, but Richard's own ambitions for the crown interfere with his duties...

Lancastrians against Yorkists: greed, power, murder, and war. As the story unfolds through the unique perspective of Kate Woodville, it soon becomes apparent that not everyone is wholly evil—or wholly good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Heretic’s Daughter - Kathleen Kent

The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent is the story of Sarah Carrier and how she barely survived the Salem witch trials. After small pox reaches her family, Sarah and her infant sister go to live with the aunt she doesn’t know. After taking them in, Sarah’s aunt, uncle and cousin take her and her sister more warmth than Sarah has ever known from her mother. When Sarah moves back in with her parents, she experiences the brutality of witchcraft accusations as well as gaining a better understanding of her mother and father.

This beautifully written story takes you not only through the dramatic witch craze, but also through the life of a girl trying to live. Sarah is an extraordinary girl who is forced to overcome some of the most unbearable circumstances of that time.

This is not just another story about the Salem witch trials (although I probably would have love it the same even if it was) but it is a story about Massachusetts from 1690-1692. This book brought to life the other fears of the time, such as small pox and Indian attacks as well as the fight just to have enough food each year. Then, on top of all the things they must endure, they are suddenly fighting against crazy accusations.

For the first time I saw the Salem witch trials not just as an insane period but as a true event. This book touched me with a reality that no other book of the time has done before. I finally saw past the fear, back-stabbing, and drama and began to understand that many people had to create a life in jail. Kent portrays this life in a way that I have not fully understood until now.

**I received this book through a giveaway win from The Sweet Bookshelf.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sweet Loot!

Well I am ashamed to admit that while I was home for the holidays I was so busy that I only managed to read 1 FULL BOOK!!! What is that about. I had all these grand plans for tucking myself away at my mom's house in the woods, away from people and unable to access the internet. These are the perfect circumstances for finishing out the year with a huge pile of read and reviewed books right? Uh no! Throw in my husband who has family in Sacramento (a 2 hour drive), my brother (who is 23 and just bought a house last week...I'm so proud...and jealous), my brother's new girlfriend, my step-dad, step-sister, step-brother and his future bride, my best friend, her husband, my dad, my husband's mom, step-dad, sister and her boyfriend and then my husband's friends from high school who made me wear an ugly sweater (see picture here) and going to a Kings Game (Christmas present from my brother).

It is no wonder I spent all my time driving back and forth from Sacramento to Sonoma County (for a total of 6 times) and spending time with people I haven't seen since September. Although my husband hadn't seen them since July 2008!!!

Now the big question is do I read the books I was hoping to finish in December or jump right into my sweet Christmas loot?!?!

I was lucky enough to get almost $300 in Barnes and Noble gift cards, which is really important because I made a deal with my husband that I wouldn't spend any money on books until March 1. Luckily, I was planning on my family loving and knowing me well enough to give gift cards...which they did...cuz they're awesome! However, even if they hadn't I wouldn't be at a loss of things to read because they also added to my bookshelf with these...

Not Lost Forever: My Story of Survival is a book that I had never heard of but it is about a girl who was left for dead by her father after he killed the rest of her family. It all happened 20 years ago in Sonoma County, where I grew up, so my mom remembers it and when she heard about the book she went to a signing and bought copies for my step-sister, my future sister-in-law and myself. It looks really interesting and of course sad.

The Girl from Foreign is on my list for the South Asian Author Challenge.

Under the Dome is going to be the first book I have read by Stephen King and is also on my list for the 2010 Chunkster Challenge.

Pirate Latitudes is a book I just had to read.

Say You're One of Them
was exciting because my mom forgot she ordered it so when it came in the mail on the 30th it was like I got Christmas twice.

I have wanted to read Skeletons at the Feast since I read and fell in love with The Double Bind. I am so excited!