Saturday, July 7, 2007

Book Swap

About a month ago I did a book swap on my other blog and it seemed to be a hit. In fact, the idea for this blog stemmed from the book swap. So while everyone has received their packages but my good friend Erica, I thought I would post some of the fun books below for everyone to see! (Erica will be returning home 2 days before I leave for vacation, so I will have to post about her fun package later!)

In no certain order, these are some of the books that everyone swapped:

Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown
Just Forgot, by Mercer Mayer
The Whales Go By
Charlotte's Web
Bake Sale
For One More Day
The Ballad of Frankie Silver
The Wee Free Men
Washington Square
by Laurie Anderson
Miss Julia Speaks Her Mind, by Ann B. Ross.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Eric Carle
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton
At First Site, by Nicholas Sparks
Simple Scrapbooks Magazine
The Secret Life of Bees
Where the Sidewalk Ends

Blueprint Magazine
The Christ Commision,
by OG Mandino
Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke
The Five People you Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
Take me out of the bathtub, by Alan Katz

I enjoyed the book swap so much and I hope that you all did too. I will be doing another swap in a few months, so please check back. If you have any suggestions on how we could make the swap better let me know. One suggestion I had would be to fill a questionnaire about yourself so the swapper could pick better suited books. Any others?

Monday, July 2, 2007

A Great and Terrible Beauty

A Great and Terrible Beauty
Libba Bray
4 Stars
A good clean read. Interesting storyline and a plot that pulls the reader in. The first book of a trilogy, the story revolves around Gemma, a 16 year old. After she sees her mother’s murder in a vision she is sent to a boarding school in England. She fights against understanding the continuing visions, finding friends and girl cliques. I usually don’t enjoy mystical books, but this one fascinated me. The first half of the book wasn’t as interesting to me as the second half, but during the last 200 pages I couldn’t put the book down.

It was reccomended to me by one of my sisters, whom I had convinved to read Twilight, which she read in one day. It's part of a trilogy, so if you aren't ready to get sucked in then you might want to wait a while on this one. You will get sucked right in once you pick this up!

You can read more on the authors website. She is such a witty woman. She begins the acknowledgements in her second book with this: "Books do not write themselves. If they did, I'd have have a lot more time to spend at Target."

In a nutshell the book is: A Victorian boarding school story, a Gothic mansion mystery, a gossipy romp about a clique of girlfriends, and a dark other-worldly fantasy--jumble them all together and you have this complicated and unusual first novel.

Yearning for the Living God

Yearning for the Living God
F. Enzio Busche
4 Stars
This autobiographical book of a member of the First Quorum of the Seventy was sent to me by my mother who has heard Edler Bushe speak. Once she saw it in the stores she was so excited to read the book.
F. Enzio was born in Germany in 1930, just three years before Hitlers rise to power. The story shows reflections of his life as a prisoner of war, being drafted into the German army and living his life full of questions about God.
F. Enzio made a commitment to himself that he would find answers to his question and in time he did find them. The book tells about his testimony and powerful experiences he has had in the church.
One other reason my mother was so excited to find this and found it so interesting was that we have German roots on both sides of her family. It was so interesting to think that my ancestors might have struggled with these same issues.

The Work and the Glory Series

The Work and the Glory Series
Gerald N. Lund
4 1/2 Stars

If you want to learn more about the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and you are not to big into reading straight history books, this is a good way to go about it. However, know that this might take you a long time to read, so I suggest block off an entire year for the first time through. There are 9 novels and each one is at least 500 pages.

The story revolves around a fictitious family, the Steeds. They come in contact with Joseph Smith and the story goes from there. Each chapter has citations where the author cites his sources of the events that really happened in history. If you can keep it straight that anything that happens to this particular family is fiction it is a good way to learn church history.

Most readers out there might know there are a few movies now that follow these books. I had picked up the first book in this series at least 4 times and failed in reading it until I watched the first movie. It really helped. I then plowed through all the books. I am not too fond of the second or third movie, however. The third one was a big disappointment if you have read the books. Entire characters were left out. I guess I just need to understand it's Hollywood and it will never be as good as my imagination.

Harry Potter Series

Harry Potter Series
J.K. Rowling
5 Stars

If you have been alive in the past ten years - then you know about Harry Potter. There is no way around this phenomenon. The movies are one thing, but the books, ahhh, the books are much much better then the movies. And, besides, if you read the books you will no longer need to wonder what is happening next, since the last book of the series comes out later this month!

The fourth book was one of my favorites. The World Cup Quidditch match is incredible. I love that we get to see characters from other magic schools like Hogwarts. I love that romances start to develop. I don't have younger children reading it so the darker parts of this book didn't' bother me at all, but were inviting to the plot of the series.

In the fifth book Harry came off a little whinny. So the sixth book is my favorite, at least for a few more weeks until I get my hands on the seventh. I can't wait till the sixth movie. I think I will cry the entire time knowing the ending.

My question right now is, is Snape good or bad? What do you think? I haven't yet figured it out yet.

The Magic of Ordinary Days

The Magic of Ordinary Days
Ann Howard Creel
4 Stars

One of my sisters recommended this book to me. Actually, she sent it to me to read. Livvy, the main character in this novel becomes pregnant by a WWII officer and is forced into a marriage to Ray Singleton, a remote farmer in Colorado.

Not only is the story a love story but it tells about Livvy's struggles with leaving her old life behind that had promise and education. Livvy dreamed of becoming an archaeologist. She becomes friends with two girls in an internment camp. The friendship leads Livvy into interesting paths and some dangerous situations.

Hallmark came out with a movie of this book, which I watched with my sister as well. We both agreed there was much left out of the movie, but the movie alone was pretty good.

Cold Sassy Tree

Cold Sassy Tree
Olive Ann Burns
4 Stars

I read this book for a book club and wasn't to sure about it at first. It is told by Will Tweedy, a 14 year old boy living in a small rural town in Georgia during the turn of the century. The plot of the book thickens as Will's Grandmother dies and his Grandfather continues to marry Miss Love, a much younger woman from the north...a Yankee! The book cracked me up at times and had times that were thought provoking as well. I grew up mostly in small southern towns and some of the people in the book reminded me of people from these towns. It was a fantastic read.

There is a TV movie that was created from this book if you are having a hard time getting interested, or just want to be lazy and watch the movie. (It's ok, I'm lazy sometimes too!) There are fun parts of the book left out of the movie, but if you were a Dr. Doogie Howser fan, then check it out today, he plays Will!

Oh, and there is a sequal to this book, Leaving Cold Sassy. I haven't had the chance to read it yet. It's on my list.