Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Lucky One

The Lucky One
Nicholas Sparks
5 Stars
It's no secret that Nicholas Sparks knows how to write a romance novel. He is a very good story-teller and I love his novels. This novel was no different.
Short and sweet, the book just a little over 300 pages. It only took me a few short hours to read. While I totally saw through it and knew what would happen from the beginning, I think that is what I love about Nicholas Sparks. There are no surprises and always a believable happy ending. His stories mostly tell stories that could really happen in real life between real people.
The Lucky One tells the story of Logan Thibault, a not quite 30, Marine veteran from Iraq. I have had a few friends that have been deployed to Iraq and come home and I could really see some of the struggles that Logan struggled with as a character happen to real people that I know. I would love to hear what someone thinks about the book that has been to Iraq and fought in this war. I'm sure that Sparks did his homework when writing the story of a veteran.
Overall, I loved the book. It got me out of reading slump that I've had for the past month of so. I recommend it to any Nicholas Sparks fan. (However, most likely if you are a Nicholas Sparks fan, you know that his books don't have to be recommended!)

The Ladies of Longbourn

The Ladies of Longbourn
Rebecca Ann Collins
4 1/2 Stars
I really enjoyed this book. I am still in love with this series. It's a fantastic series. Once I picked this book up I really had a hard time putting it down.
The Ladies of Longbourn follows the story of Ann-Marie Bradshaw, the granddaughter of Jane Bingley. The characters are so fun to read about in this book and well developed. I love finding more and more about this family. One of the main reasons I love series is you really get to know a family, and see their life develop, more than just one book's worth. In a good series the people become friends and real people that I care deeply for, and series has done it for me!
Since I finished this book over a month ago and am slow at posting the review, the only regret I can think of about this series is I want more about Elizabeth and Jane. I know that this follows their posterity, but sometimes I miss them. The first book in the series was perfect this way.
I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series, Mr. Darcy's Daughters. I was going to put it on my Christmas list, but I might not be able to wait.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Netherfield Park Revisited

Netherfield Park Revisited
Rebecca Ann Collins
5 Stars
I just finished the 3rd book in The Pemberley Chronicles and have to say that I loved it. Out of the entire series, it might just be one of my favorite ones.
Netherfield Park Revisted tells the story of Jonathan Bingley, son to Jane and Charles Bingley from Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice. I have to admit, I was sad and a little skeptical about reading a book about Jonathan. I really love the books that follow the women from this series, not the men. However, this book was not a disappointment. There is romance, history, stories of families, trials and triumphs.
I have said this before, with the previous 2 books in this series, but if you love Jane Austen, you will really enjoy this series. It is by far the most enjoyable, and true to her style sequels I have found out there. I cannot wait to read book four and book five. I pretty sure that they won't disappoint.
I suppose if I have to say anything to the contrary about this book, it would be I really wish the list of characters in the appendix were in a family tree form. Perhaps before reading the fourth book I will have to draw my own copy.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Wow. My first web-award and I feel that I've totally let this blog go for the past few months.

Before my move I was nominated for a Brillante Weblog award by Jeanette from A Comfy Chair and a Good Book. She has such great ideas and each time I've read a book recommended by her I haven't been dissapointed.

So now it's my turn to recommend some awards. Some of my favorite (non-personal) blogs to read are:

Simply Prim Creations
Becky's Book Reviews
Bloggin' 'bout Books
Make and Takes

Rules for award:
Post the logo on your blog.
Add a link to the person who nominated you.
Nominate 5 other people for this award and add links to their blog.
Leave a message for the people that you nominated.

Emma Smith, Woman of Faith

Emma Smith, Woman of Faith
Anita Stansfield
4 Stars
I picked up this book while in Utah and it was a quick and easy read. True Anita Stansfield fashion. I thought it was a nice read and I did love reading more about Emma Smith's life and struggles. Some parts lacked and I really wanted more information, but I think there are more books on Emma that are available that might have more information then this book. This book was under 200 pages.
Emma was a true woman of faith. I can't believe all the trials that she went through and all the children that she lost. I really don't think that I could do it. She was amazing.
I recommend this book if you are looking for a easy read on her life. It did make me want to pick up my copies of The Work and the Glory again and re-read them.

Breaking Dawn

Breaking Dawn
Stephenie Meyer

3 1/2 stars

So I know, some people might not want to be my friend after this review, but it's an opinion. I can like red, you can like blue. It's what makes this life interesting, different opinions. So, if you are going to leave me a nasty comment about how I am wrong, please keep it to yourself. I don't think anyone else is wrong who loves this book. This is just what I think.

I think the easiest way to post this will be list form.


Imprinting. I've thought the idea is strange and wrong since the first introduced and really was disappointed that Jacob imprinted. My main complaint with this is that he imprinted with a half-vampire. I thought the whole point of imprinting was to make sure that the pack "line" continues. How will that work with a half-vampire? I think I would have been happier if he would have just ended up running off with Leah and never imprinting.

Carlise - is he a super Dr. or not? If he has had all these years of medical training, then why couldn't he do more for Bella. I understand that he was dealing with a half vampire baby, but he was on a hunting trip when he had just said it would be any day. He also I think could have just done some sort of C-section and taken the baby out at anytime. It just seemed so strange to me that he left during this critical period.

Rose was so freaky during this book. I really didn't like her. I know she was thinking about the baby but she was strange. I also missed Alice, she was absent for so much of the story, even before she left. I like Alice.

Bella's love for this baby. Ok, I know some mom's love their baby from the second they take the pregnancy test, that's great, but most of these women aren't carrying a baby who for all they know will eventually kill them when they are born. Most of these women aren't Bella, who was so against turning into her mom - getting married at an early age and having a baby so fast. I think that if someone told me that I was carrying a monster baby who was going to kill me, it would be something to think about. Bella was so passive about it, she never even had one doubt. It really bothered me.

The book was getting a bit predictable. There was a whole section at the beginning about the immortal babies. Of course Bella was going to have a baby after that. It was so easy to see.

Not that I wanted Stephenie Meyer to write more graphic descriptions of the physical encounters that Bella and Edward had, but Bella didn't even remember certain aspects. Edward breaks a headboard in half and she doesn't even know? Where is her head, she is still a human woman at this point in the story. Seemed a little strange.

At the end of the book Bella makes a comment to Jacob and calls him "son." This really bothers me. Really.

Vultri. What's all the hype about. I think it was so over-done. Nothing even happened. Since when do they let you walk away - or even walk away themselves? It bothered me there wasn't even a fight. I wanted a fight and some excitement after all the talk about it.

Basically everything was so too-good-to-be-true. I like happy endings, but I think Harry Potter had a happy ending too and people died and bad things happened in it too. Something should have happened, but instead we got everything wrapped up in a pretty little package with a boy on top. It was just too over the top for me. I think a good ending would have been Bella becoming a vampire, even having the baby, but not having Jacob too - that made it too much.

Didn't it bother anyone how "in-love" Bella seemed with Jacob each time he came to visit. Sure, it was the baby, but I really thought this was strange. She had just got married and now each time she saw this different boy she got all happy and giddy.


I am glad that Jacob became the Alpha. Really happy that he stepped it up.

The chapter titles in Jacob's section really cracked me up. They made me smile and I loved them.

Jacob's section. I know a lot of people didn't like this but if we read this in Bella's point of view I think all we would have heard is "I am pregnant, sick and feel like crap." It was much more interesting from Jacob's point of view.


Perhaps if I re-read this book I might like it more. I'm not going to re-read it for a while. If I have to pick a favorite book out of the series it would be book two.

I am happy that Bella is with Edward. The reason I didn't enjoy the book doesn't come down to the fact that I was a "Team Jacob." I never thought that Jacob would win her over in the end. I just can't stress how much happier I would have been if he would have gone off alone or with Leah then imprint.

Again, these are just my thoughts. I don't think you are wrong if you like it, so please don't tell me I am wrong. We are all entitled to our own opinion.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte
4 Stars

Since there are so many references to Heathcliff and this book in Eclipse, I thought I would read it before Breaking Dawn comes out. I thought it might help me come up with some ideas for what might happen in the fourth Twilight book - boy, was I wrong!

Wuthering Heights is a not your typical love story. It's twisted and the characters are despicable. I really just didn't like them at all and wanted to badly for any one of them to redeem themselves in the end. That being said, I still couldn't put this book down. There is something about it that draws you in. I read it fast and couldn't seem to put down the dark novel. It was almost like when you see an traffic accident you always find your self looking- I had to look and finish the book, even though I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.

I am giving it four stars because the characters and plot were so complex it made such a great novel, and for the fact it was so well written that I just couldn't put it down.

I did rent the movie from the library and tried to watch it after reading it and only made it 30 or 60 minutes in before I had to turn it off. I couldn't see the horrible characters in real life. It just made me sad.

As far as predictions for Breaking Dawn? If Meyers is comparing Edward to Heathcliff like I think she is in the 3rd book, I think that readers are in for bad news in the fourth book. I hope that doesn't happen, because as much as I like Jacob instead of Edward, I think too many people would be upset if it ended similar to Wuthering Heights. Reading this book made me want to get back out Eclipse and read each passage that referred to Wuthering Heights. It's packed away in a box somewhere and will just have to wait.

Don't read Wuthering Heights if you want a love story like Twilight, but do read it if you enjoy dark, suspenseful novels.

Monday, July 14, 2008


I promised I have not abandoned this site. I am back!

Summer is usually a big reading season for me. This summer, however, has been quite the opposite. Numerous excuses - not feeling well, catching up with scrapbooks, and preparing to move across the country, have been most of the reasons I haven't been reading. (With the exception of children books so my boys can participate in the summer reading program at their library.)

I did manage to re-read the Twilight series while on vacation, as well as two new books that I reviewed below. If I hadn't packed my Twilight books already I might be re-reading them again right now. I am really looking forward to reading Breaking Dawn, but am sad that it comes out the first day of my almost 2000 miles drive across the western states. I hope I don't see too many spoilers before getting the chance to read it myself.

Is summer a big reading season for you? Is anyone excited - or not for Breaking Dawn? If you are excited - what are you reading now? I need some really good book suggestions to pull me out of my rut!

Hattie Big Sky

Hattie Big Sky
Kirby Larson
4 ½ Stars

Set in 1918, this is the story of orphan Hattie Brooks, who leaves what little family and friends she knows for Montana to settle her late Uncles claim. The book is a Newberry Award Nominee and a great historical fiction written for Young Adults.

I first saw this book recommended on another book blog and was so excited when I found it in the stores during a vacation. I loved the little stories of Hattie’s life, the work and dedication that settlers had in those days. At first I was disappointed with the end, it was a twist that I was not expecting, but after re-reading the ending I felt more closure. I do hope there will be a second book containing more of Hattie’s life.

The book was well-researched and made history fun to the reader. It totally made me grateful for all the modern convinces that we have today. The only reason that I didn't give it a full 5 stars is that I did have to think about the ending and re-read it. It wasn't so bad that I wouldn't recommend it, I actually liked it the more I thought about it. I recommend this book to anyone!

Tending Roses

Tending Roses
Lisa Wingate
5 Stars

A friend gave me this book to read when I was recovering from surgery and I absolutely loved it. Tending Roses is a book that makes you want to slow down your life and think about what is really important.

Kate Bowman finds herself on maternity leave at her Grandmothers farm in Missouri with the task of telling her Grandmother that she must leave the farm she has always known and move to a retirement home. Kate and her husband face difficult times and throughout the book find out what is important to them, to their family and what they really want out of life. One of my favorite quotes, "Maybe you should start wanting less." is something that rang true in this story.

I am so glad that I took the time to read this book. At times I get so sad that life is moving so fast that I am so busy with so many things and this book came at a time that was a perfect reminder. It reminded me about how glad I should be that I am taking the opportunity to spend these early years with my kids at home. Almost every time I picked up this book to read it – and still thinking about it now that I’ve finished it, the song Mayberry, by Rascel Flatts, comes to mind.

Rascal Flatts - Mayberry
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What to Read After Twilight

(click on the image to enlarge)

I've been on a month long vacation and will return home next week - and hopefully have some good reviews to post; including my Edward vs. Jacob list - I re-read the series last week.

In the mean time I found this pamphlet at the local library today...does anyone else go to libraries on vacation? It just must be something I do - but when you are in a place for 5 weeks, what else is there to check out?

I think this had some really good suggestions - they are mostly Young Adult. I've read about 12 on the list - not including the entire Harry Potter series. I can't wait to check out some more!

Friday, May 9, 2008

The Host

The Host
Stephenie Meyer
3 1/2 Stars

I am a little disappointed with this book. I am not sure what I expected but this book was not it. I am not going to spoil everything, but I cannot guarantee that this is spoiler free.

One - it took me a long time to get into the story and plot. About 300 pages to be exact. I don't like turning a book down and not finishing it so I just kept telling myself to give it another 100 pages. The plot really picks up for the second half but I really struggled during the first part.

Two - Characters and development. I had a hard time falling in love with Jared. I know Melanie was in love with Jared before the book began, but Wanderer wasn't and before I knew it and before many memories, she was in love with him. I felt no connect to Jared and then wham, she was in love with him. Seemed a little fast for me. Then we met Jared - and he was so mean to her. I really had a hard time with this as well.
Three - The book really seemed similar to the Uglies series to me. I kept thinking Uglies over and over. I don't know if anyone else that has read that series and this book feels the same, but that is how it felt to me. Uglies was an interesting read, but not my favorite.
Four - I did love Ian, he was so gentle and kind and came around a lot faster at the beginning then the others. I was so sad for him near the end I wanted to cry. I was so mad at Jared and Melanie for taking over. It took only a few pages later and I was happy again for Ian.
Five - The ending, a little strange. I was predicting this from the beginning what would happen and it was just a matter of time until they all figured it out. It is the only way that everyone could have been happy. A little strange, a little unnerving, but again, the only way we all got a happy ending. (I actually thought it would be Kyle's girl, but I was happy with that ending as well.)
So there you have it- I would recommend reading it, just know that it's slow to begin with. It's not my favorite Stephenie Meyer book, but it's a good book.

The Women of Pemberley

The Women of Pemberley
Rebecca Ann Collins
4 Stars

I really loved the first book in this series, Pemberley Chronicles. I thought it was well written and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the second book in the series. And while I did enjoy this book, I felt it wasn’t as good as the first. I had a really hard time keeping track of the characters, who they were, how they were related, the development of what they liked. I really almost drew myself a family tree half way through the book so I could keep track. (There actually is a list in the back of the book, but I need a tree, not a list.)

Besides the fact that I had a hard time keeping track of the cousins, friends and children, I did enjoy the book for the most part. I did get a little bored with all the political and historical content that the author included. I know this was an important part of time and a big part of their lives, but I would get a history book if I wanted to learn more about this.

I did love how each chapter was about a different “women of pemberley.” I preferred this to just normal chapters. I also thought some of the outcomes were a bit predictable. I rushed through the second half of the book because a book I was excited about reading had just been released. Maybe with more time I could have fallen more in love with the book.

I would totally recommend this book though. I thought it was cute, not as good as the first but a good, clean book and I’m glad I read it.

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park
Jane Austen
4 Stars

Short and sweet summary - after starting and abandoning Mansfield Park in February I was finally able to pick it back up and finish it. It is by far not my favorite Jane Austen novel and I have to admit I prefer the movie to the book – which is rare.
I recommend it, but it is a slower moving novel.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Girls who like reading

I have a new site that has just started. Girls Who Like Reading will be more a place that a few of us can discuss books. There are a few contributors on the list, but if you are interested please let me know. I want to keep the contributor number small so we can have a nice small "book clubish" feel. Hopefully it will be a fun site for ideas from some really fun girls that I know.

I am still updating this blog as well, it's my personal journal of the books that I read.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Other Boleyn Girl

The Other Boleyn Girl
Philippa Gregory
3 Stars

I know lots of people rave about this movie and the book, but personally I have to say, I was disappointed. I finished this book and had to sit on it a few days before writing my opinion on it down and I think that it boils down to this – it was a little too racy for my taste. The book I read previous to The Other Boleyn Girl is a great sequel series to Pride and Prejudice that is written in a voice very true to Jane Austen. I jumped from sophisticated, respectful, romantic hand-holding scenes to King Henry the VIII, who graphically gets any woman he wants, any way he wants, married, young or old.

The Other Boleyn Girl is the story of Mary Boleyn, sister to Anne Boleyn, who is Henry VIII’s second wife out of 6. Married at 12, Mary finds herself falling in love with the King of England who has caught her eye. Her family uses her to gain positions and power until she is asked to let her sister take over her role. The plot thickens with pregnancies, miscarriages, children, deaths, marriages, and relationships are added to the book.

One thing that I did find interesting about this book was how sad it made me feel for women during the 1500’s in England. It was a complex time period for religion, government, families. I felt so sad for Mary and the things that she was ordered to do by parents and her families – ones that should have loved and cared for her and her well being. I felt sorry for both the children born to the King and the mothers in the story. They weren’t able to be with their children and when Anne had her daughter I wanted so badly for someone to love her, but no one did.

I disliked Anne more than I disliked Henry VIII. She was smart, manipulative and power hungry. Sisterhood meant nothing to her and she would do anything for any cost to get what she wanted.

I do think that Philippa Gregory took a part of history and made it into an interesting story. It was a page turner and very hard to put down. You can read about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn by clicking here. I would only recommend this book with an err of caution – it has very graphic racy scenes. I think for myself I’ll stick closer to Jane Austen books when I’m looking for English historical fiction.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Suspense and Sensibility

Suspense and Sensibility
Carrie Bebris
3 1/2 stars

Short, cute and a little predictable. That is what I would say about this whole story if I had to describe it in a few short words.

Bebris has published 3 Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mystery books and while I read them out of order, I have now read all three. Some of the plots seem a little far-fetched but they are mystery's and I suppose you can make anything go when you are writing a mystery.

I would recommend them if any one is looking for a weekend book. I've picked up all three of mine at the library and totally think they are worth picking up if you can borrow them or get them cheap on Amazon. I am not sure if I could re-read them, not that I think they were bad books, they were cute and were super clean (one of the main reasons I don't re-read) but I know the end - plus the ends are somewhat predictable in the first place.

In a nut-shell Suspense and Sensibility's plot has to do with Kitty and her soon to be husband. The Darcy's help her figure it out.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Pemberley Chronicles

The Pemberley Chronicles
4 ½ stars
Rebecca Ann Collins

Preface: Wow. I started this book immediately after finishing re-reading the Harry Potter series and while I loved this book in the end, it took a day or two for me to get with the pace of things and not expect anyone to pull a wand from their pocket and stun someone. Can you imagine that? Mr. Darcy with a wand. Funny, but true.

If you love Pride and Prejudice and love Jane Austen novels you will not be disappointed with The Pemberley Chronicles. I think that this is one of the only novels I have read that really stayed true to Austen’s style and voice.

The first half of the book was really slow moving for me but had very good character development. I enjoyed seeing some of the extended Bennett family and friends develop. Part two of the story had much more of interesting story lines to follow and moved much faster for me. It was during part two of this story that I fell in love with this story and decided I really needed to find The Women of Pemberley, the second book of the series.

There was a lot of political history in this book. Some parts were very interesting, while at other times I found myself skimming through those passages.

I recommend this book to anyone and know I will find myself re-reading it over again. I literally laughed out loud at parts and cried over passages as well.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
J.K. Rowling
5 stars

NOTE: This review will contain spoilers. If by chance you are the few that haven't read the series yet, you can read my spoiler free review by clicking HERE. I must add though, if you haven't read Harry Potter you are totally missing so much by just watching the movies - read them, they are really worth the time!


This book is awesome. I could read and reread so many times and I don't think I would tire of it. I know some people were very disappointed with the ending and the prologue, but I wasn't sad at all with how they all grew up. Of course Harry had to marry Ginny after book six. It seems like there were also big discussions about how Ron wasn't good enough for Hermione, but I don't think that at all. I think Ron and Hermione remind me of Mr. and Mrs. Weasley in a way. I also heard a lot of talk about how Harry should have become Minster of Magic, I don't agree, I am sure he had enough fame for a lifetime.

I know it sounds crazy, but I want to cry for Snape each time I read the part where he dies. I have to re-read it just to make sure he really is dead and I am so sad for him after reading all he has done and seeing his memories. He really did love Lilly and loved Harry too.

Neville is such a stud killing the snake in the ending fight scene. I think it's great that he used the coins to call everyone back and he was the one that found a way back into the school. Way to go Neville! I love it and of course it only makes sense that he becomes a professor at Hogwarts in the end.

Draco, Draco, Draco. I am so glad that Harry feels sorry for him in the end and ends up saving his life a few times during that final fight. What a poor family, I really just feel bad for them. However, one redeeming thing was done by them - it was Draco's mother that lied to Voldemort in the forest and told him that Harry really was dead.

I think one of the saddest parts of the entire book, and most people will agree is when Fred dies. Poor George. I loved these two.

I think the whole King's Cross chapter is a little "strange" (I lack for a better word), but according to the plot that Rowlings weaved, it had to happen that way. It was interesting, I'm not sure what else to say about it.

Book seven is amazing and each time I finish it I have to take a week off reading before I start anything else, or else every character in my new book I imagine with wands and magic powers. I cry each time I read it and I always have the desire to close the book after reading and then open it back up and start all over. I believe that is what makes great literature. I think J.K. Rowling really succeeded.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
J.K. Rowling
5 stars

When I first read this book I seriously was left with way more questions than answers. I was thoroughly confused and couldn’t wait for the seventh book to come out. I read it and re-read it a few times. Now that I’ve been able to finish the entire series, I really enjoyed this book. It’s no wonder that it took Rowlings so many years to create this complex world of Harry Potter and weave and design the story just so. It amazes me each time I read it.

I think the biggest question when you read this book is about Snape – is he good or bad? I still have such a hard time liking him a lot, even knowing the ending. I do feel sad for him. This story also is the first time I really start to feel sad for the Malfoy family, I was so sad for Draco and so happy at the same time that in the end he really didn’t have it in him to be such a bad person.

I also enjoy this book because of the romance involved in it between Harry and Ginny. Finally! Ginny waited so long to get Harry attention and I really think they are the perfect couple.

The ending of this book always makes me cry...and my husband always makes fun of me for it, but I don’t care. I cry at the end when Harry leaves Ginny. I also cry because I love Dumbledore so much. I love that he lets Harry grow and figure out problems on his own. I love his wisdom and lectures from previous books. I have to admit I am rather sad and disappointed with what Rowling had to say about Dumbledore after all the books were released. I saw nothing that pointed to this and love the stories without that worldly addition.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
J.K. Rowling
5 stars

When I first read this series I didn’t enjoy book three or book five. Re-reading however, I was able to enjoy book five a lot more this time. I also spent some time watching all the movies after re-reading this book. To say that there is a lot left out of the movie is such an understatement. I think that they cast Dolores Umbridge so well it was scary, but the occlumency lessons lacked in the movie as did the visions from Voldemort and the final fight scene in the Ministry of Magic.

I loved that Harry saved Dudley at the beginning of this book. I love it even more knowing that in the end Dudley actually appreciates what he has done for him. I really enjoyed seeing Harry teach the DA classes. I thought it was interesting to see some of Snape’s memories. I was disappointed that the movie left out such important parts to some of the characters story, like when we see Neville at the Hospital during Christmas. I absolutely loved the way that Fred and George left Hogwarts with style (the movie didn’t do this justice at all).

I believe one reason that I haven’t enjoyed this book in the past is that Harry does seem very whiney and “wo-is-meish” in this book. Perhaps it’s part of him being a teenager, but I want him to get over himself and get on with it.

I’m glad that this book grew on me this time around.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
J.K. Rowling
5 Stars

I would place the fourth Harry Potter book among my absolute favorite of the series. Harry, Ron and Hermione are finally growing up, the books start to take on much more of a grown up feel from this one out. Some of the most memorable parts of this book to me are:

-The world quidditch cup finals. I know this takes up almost the entire first 100 pages of the book but I love the descriptions and I am sad that the movie leaves out so much details of this game. I know it’s a movie and they can’t include everything, but the scenes in my mind are just fantastic – I think on the big screen they would be even better.

-I love the descriptions of the other wizard school students. This is one of the main reasons that book four is among my favorites. Not only did Rowling make this entire magical world of Hogwarts, she created other schools as well.

-Love starts to blossom in this book – jealousy as well. I loved re-reading it and knowing the end of all the relationships.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Book of a Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days
Shannon Hale
4 Stars

Maybe it's because I had just started the fourth Harry Potter book, which is one of my favorites, the day that I got Book of a Thousand Days in the mail from my sister that I felt a little rushed to read it. I knew I would love it, it's by Shannon Hale, but I was torn between two good books and couldn't decide which one to read first. Since Book of a Thousand Days is relatively short, I opted for it, and I believe the only reason that it doesn't get 5 stars is I rushed it.
Written after a Grims Fairy tale, Hale tells us the story of Datshi, a maid who is shut in a tower for seven years with her Lady due to her refusal to marry a man that she isn't in love with and despises.
It's a classic Shannon Hale book, there is romance and mystery all wrapped up in this fairy tale of a book. I enjoyed it and recommend it, although I really believe that the Bayern books are my favorite by far (Goose Girl, Enna Burning, River Secrets).
If you still haven't read any of the books by Shannon Hale - I totally recommend you look her up today, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
J.K. Rowling
5 stars

Book three is probably my second least favorite in the whole series. However, the first few chapters and the first 10 minutes of the movie really make me laugh. Aunt Marge blowing up is one of my favorite scenes out of all the movies.

I don't have a lot of specific reasons why I put this book so low on the list of the series, but I think a big part of it is that I have so many favorite parts in the other books and this one just doesn't have as many favorite passages. My list just isn't as long.

Boggarts (specifically Hermione's), Harry finally being able to see his Partronus, the Quidditch Final and the Marauder's map talking back to Snape are my favorite parts.

Book four is probably my second favorite - so book three always brings the excitement of knowing book four is next!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling
5 Stars

Harry’s back for his second year and it doesn’t leave us without excitement. The beginning of the book is always fun for me to read, I love getting to know more of the Weasley family – seeing where they live, and what living with a wizard life really is like. I am in love with the entire Weasley family - and I love Mr. Weasley and his crazy inventions.

It’s always interesting rereading any book when you already know the ending. I pick up on so many more details this time. I love the information that we learn about Tom Riddle in this book. Watching the relationships between Hermione and Ron and Ginny and Harry are so fun to see develop.

More of my favorite parts of book two are:
-Ron, Fred and George breaking Harry out of the Durselys with the flying car
-The Polyjuice Potion
- Harry saving Ginny
-Ron getting so mad at Malfoy for remarks he says about Hermione
-The trick that Dobby and Harry pull on Lucius Malfoy at the end of the book.

One thing I also love reading in this series is the advice that Dumbledore always gives Harry. He always says the most profound things, sometimes I want to underline them, mark the page, or even put them up on my fridge! My favorite from book two is on the bottom of page 333 when Dumbledore says to Harry,
“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Monday, March 17, 2008

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
J.K. Rowling
5 Stars

I needed out of a reading rut so I decided to pick up the HP series again and reread. It's been a while since I read the first one. I reread the 6th book right before the 7th came out but it was really fun reading the series from the beginning knowing the end.

I would have to say my favorite book out of the whole series is the fourth book, so I am reading as fast as I can to get there. One thing I loved about reading this first book is about how new everything is to Harry and how well things are explained about the wizarding world since we are all new to it. Since I know the whole entire story I also have a different opinion of Snape then the first time through. It's harder to hate and distrust him. I don't love him, but I have a softer place for him now. This first one is definitely not my least favorite of the series either (that would be number 5). I think it's a fun book and I can't believe it's been over 10 years since it first came out!

Some of my favorite parts of this book are:
-The owls attacking the Dursleys
-Meeting Hagrid
-Hagrid giving Dudley a pigs tail
-Meeting the Weasleys, Fred and George are so funny and I love Ginny!
-The wand up the troll nose when saving Hermione
-Ron winning chess
-The house points at the end!

The Secret Life of Bees

The Secret Life of Bees
Sue Monk Kidd
4 Stars

I finally found time on my list and picked up The Secret Life of Bees. I know people rave about it but I hadn’t had time to read it yet. I finished it in 24 hours and I have to agree, it was a good book. I don’t think it was my absolute favorite of all times, but it was a good book. One I would recommend reading.

The story is about a 14 year old girl, Lily Owens, who lives in South Carolina and the account of her summer in 1964 that changed her life. Living on a peach farm with her father, Lilly is growing up with one crazy memory of her mother and trying to come to terms with her life and figure out who she really is. After an incident in town with the lady her father has hired to watch her, Rosealeen, they find themselves on the run and searching for more answers about her mother.

Lilly and Rosealeen find themselves in Tiburon, South Carolina and working at a bee keeper’s house. Not only do they learn about bees and how to keep them, they learn about themselves and grow that summer. Lily deals with love, religion, faith, racism and heartache. It’s a fantastic journey.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Truth and Beauty

Truth and Beauty; a Friendship
Ann Patchett

4 stars

This story is a memoir of Lucy Grealy, a famous poet who wrote Autobiography of a Face. The author, Ann Patchett was great friends with Lucy and the story is a tale of their friendship. Lucy, who had survived cancer as a child, meets Ann during their college years but it isn’t until they both are moving to Iowa for a writing graduate school program that their friendship blossoms. Since both women start out as nothing and end up both published famous authors, my inner writer couldn’t help but be attracted to this book.

The book does have some language that I didn’t appreciate, honestly, if it were a novel I most likely would have tossed it to the side, but since it is a memoir and these are actual events that happened I became a little more lenient and forgiving towards some of the language and subjects.

Lucy. Lucy is such a taker. I had a problem with how much Ann gave in this relationship. She really gave so much and got not much in return. At one point Lucy pointed out to her that she loved to do it just because it made her feel like a saint. Perhaps this is true. At one point towards the end of the story Ann tells her she will “drop” or “break it off” with her if her behavior doesn’t improve. That would take guts to do – but she actually never does it. I think that would have to be one of the hardest things ever done.

The book examines self esteem and depression issues. I felt sorry and sad for Lucy during much of the book. If I had to live my life without a jaw bone and half my face missing there is no doubt that I would have self esteem issues as well. This book actually made me thankful for the knowledge and faith that I have in our Heavenly Father and our family. Lucy didn’t have faith or a strong family.

All in all I didn’t mind the book at all. I am really interested in reading some more of Ann Patchett’s work now that I’ve read about some parts of her life during the time she was formulating and writing the 4 novels she has wrote. I also would like to look into reading Lucy Grealy’s book.

Sense and Sensiblity

Sense and Sensibility
Jane Austen
5 Stars
This is the story of Marianne and Elinor, two sisters looking for and finding love. It receives 5 stars. Even though it’s not my favorite Jane Austen, it’s still a classic clean story that can be enjoyed over and over again.

Mansfield Park

Mansfield Park
Jane Austen
5 stars
I started this novel the same day I finished Sense and Sensibility. I was really enjoying the Jane Austen series on Masterpiece theatre every Sunday and thought reading all the novels would be such a fun idea. I still am really looking forward to finishing Mansfield Park but winter got the best of me in February and halfway through I put it on hold in search for something with a little more action.

Pillars of the Earth

Pillars of the Earth
Ken Fowlett
2 stars
I used to love and read each of Oprah’s book club selections. The past few years I have distanced myself from these books for various reasons but with my February winter blaws taking over I really thought I would give this one a try. I saw it at the local library and made it through the first few 100 pages before setting it down. It wasn’t hitting the spot. Not sure it ever will, but I’ll be writing this title down on my try again later list.

The Jane Austen Book Club

The Jane Austen Book Club
Karen Joy Fowler
1 star
Since I heard that this book has been turned in a movie that will be coming out soon, I thought I would try reading it before seeing the actual film. I made it halfway before returning this book to the library, I don’t think I’ll ever finish the book or see the movie. I have such a hard time with language in books. I know most readers can over look language and I usually do the first or second time. After that when I really see it’s unnecessary and overused I put the book down. It’s just a rule I have. I was frustrated with this book and that it has such high reviews. Maybe I am missing something but I just couldn’t get myself to finish it. I was really disappointed.

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen

Sryie James

4 Stars

I picked this book up at Costco for $8 and I'm so glad I found it, it was cute, a quick read and really fun.

The book is written to make you believe that is the true memoirs of Jane Austen. At parts it really can fool you. For the most part the author has stayed true to the places and times of Jane Austen, but added just a few fictitious characters and personal thoughts to make a really fun book.

I started and finished this book in one day. It’s not heavy reading by any means but do at least give it a few chapters before you decide to put it down (after the 3rd or 4th at least!)I was reminded of The Work and the Glory when I read this book – facts mixed with fiction. All under 300 pages!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Thirteeth Tale

Thirteenth Tale
Diane Setterfield
3 ½ stars

This book was totally not what I expected it to be. I have been eyeing it in the book section of the stores for quite a while and I finally was able to find it at a local library. I thought it would be better to give it a chance for free on a library card since I had never heard of the author and sometimes I tend to be picky with the literature that I read.

So, 13th Tale; Vita Winter, a famous author is dying and is finally ready to tell all for her biography. It is an interesting tale and much more of a mystery, almost ghost story than I expected it to be. I am not really sure what I expected, I tend to read more romance and love stories, so a story about finding peace with one’s life hardships wasn’t exactly what I thought when I saw the cover of the story.. It was a story about families, siblings, relationships, closure and finding peace.

I recommend it, it wasn’t bad. I’m glad I found it at the library and gave it a chance. I should have read more online reviews before reading it and then I would have been more in the mind set for the story. I read it in 2 days so I have to say it drew me in and captivated me from the very beginning. In fact the only reason I’m not giving it 5 stars is because I can’t give it the same ranking as Harry Potter, or a Shannon Hale book. It was a great captivating read but I’m not sure I could read and reread it over and over again. I think it might make a pretty intersting movie.

Why Gender Matters

Why Gender Matters
Leonard Sax
3 ½ stars

This book was recommended to me by a mommy friend I have at a local library story time. (Our boys are similar ages and we meet there each week and let them play together after story time while we chat).

I loved the first few chapters. It was very informative and had very good information. Leonard Sax, M.D., Ph.D. is a family physician and psychologist. After having a parent tell him once at his office that he should write a book about some of the differences between boys and girls he decided that it should be done, but he only wanted to do it if he could prove every point that he wanted to make with scientific background.

I didn’t agree with everything he had to say on his chapters dealing with sex, drugs, discipline and the chapter regarding lesbian, gay, bisexuals and transgender. Perhaps I am old fashion, or maybe naive, but I truly believe that if I teach my children what is right and to follow the spirit that they will be guided to make good decisions and not always follow the crowd or do things just because they have been scientifically proven. There are exceptions and the author agrees. He points out that families who eat dinner together every night almost never have as many problems pointed out in these chapters then families who do not eat dinner together. Score one for me!

On the other hand, I did really love some of the information in this book. For instance he points out that boys and girls brains develop differently and at different speeds. He points out many different outcomes because of this – the information about coloring was fascinating to me – boys tend to use black, grey, silver and blue and simulate action in their coloring. Girls tend to use red, green, orange and beige and color more objects. There is a whole section devoted to hearing and the differences in tones that girls and boys can hear. The chapter on school and aggression were very interesting. Girl bullies have lots of friends, boy bullies don’t. Girls fight and never speak to that person again, boys fight and are best friends. Boys learn totally different than girls. Girls ask for more help. Leonard Sax is a big believer in same sex schools. I’m not sure that is the answer, but I believe that teachers should be aware of the differences. Most good teachers are.

If I hadn’t got this book at the library, the entire first few chapters would have been marked up, underlined and tagged. I enjoyed it and find it very interesting. I think any teacher or parent should read it. Boys and girls are different. Men and women are different. We have different roles here on earth and I am very glad for it.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


I've decided to post the swap this week and it will be....
a {{literacy}} swap!

You can swap magazines (used or new), books (used or new), bookmarks, journals (preferable not used), or anything you feel that literacy means to you.

The last day to sign up is next week: Friday, January 25th. You'll receive your swap partner Saturday the 26th. You then have a week to put together fun stuff, have the package postmarked by: Friday, February 1.

If you haven't done a swap before it's easy! You don't need a blog and it's fun to participate. Just follow these easy instructions:

1. Send an email to me - wadeanddebbi (at) gmail (dot) com - with the following information
2. Name, address, email address, website if you have one
3. Some fun information that tells about yourself
4. Short sentence or two about what literacy means to you (wow, I sound like an English teacher making an assignment!)
5. After you receive a swap partner put together a fun package for them and have it postmarked by the deadline of Feb. 1st

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Sweet Far Thing

The Sweet Far Thing
Libba Bray
4 Stars

This is the third and final book in the A Great and Terrible Beauty series. I have really enjoyed this magical series. Gemma, the main character, is preparing to finish her years at Spence and have her debut. She also faces many decisions about the magic that she holds and the relms. She isn't sure who to trust, there is suspense throughout the whole novel.
While I did enjoy this book, I think that the second book in the series, Rebel Angels was my favorite. Without writing a spoiler, this book had a twist at the end with two of the character that I did not see coming, maybe it was just me because everyone else I know that has read it saw it coming. I was sad but happy with the ending. I couldn't have seen it really end in any other way. I think Libba Bray is a pretty talented writer and I did overall think that the series was a good pick!


A year in review:

I try to keep a running list of books that I've read in the year on my sidebar. I know I didn't start this blog until the fall so this list is only what I could remember reading. I also don't usually keep every book on this list. I don't post about short non-fiction books I pick up at the library and skim through. I also don't count magazines.

For 2007, my sidebar tally is at 34 books. I don't think that's too shabby! It's a little less than 3 book a month.

My goal for 2008 is to read more books on my growing wish list and to keep better track of the book that I read. I hope to average 4 or 5 books a month.
What do you average? Do you keep track? How do you keep track?

River Secrets

River Secrets
Shannon Hale
4 Stars

Of course I had to enjoy this book, it's by Shannon Hale. It wasn't my favorite of the 3 though. This story focuses more on Razzo and while I like his character I am much more fond of the girl hero stories. I don't think I'm a feminist, but I believe Hale writes them for a pre-teen/teen female audience and I think it's great that she gives them such great female role models and hero's to look up to.

River Secrets also had much more a mystery feel to it and was fun to think about play the who-done-it game. I liked it and totally recommend it to anyone for a fun, easy read!