Wednesday, November 28, 2007

LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Yes! I snagged another Early Review book from LibraryThing! I'm getting Becky by Lenore Hart, which is about an adult Becky Thatcher, of Tom Sawyer fame, telling her story. It sounds like a great read!

I'm making progress with my first Early Review copy, Every Past Thing by Pamela Thompson. I'll save my thoughts for a full-on review when I finish it. My feelings about it are quite complicated.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I love the fact that the one store I like to hit after Thanksgiving, Borders, is usually not insanely busy. We live about 5 minutes from a Borders, too, which makes it even better.

Today we got started on our holiday shopping. I had seen that Borders had quite a few movies on sale for $8.99, which is what got me there. We didn't find any movies we wanted, or wanted to give, but we did get some books for the kids. For the daughter, we got The Daring Book for Girls, A Guide to Wizards of the World, and When the Wind Blows by James Patterson. I hope this wasn't a mistake - she's obsessed with the Maximum Ride series, which is marginally related to this adult book of his, and she's been begging me to let her read it. I've been reluctant, as she's 11, but after leafing through it at the library and finding a kid's review on Amazon, I decided to go ahead and let her read it. After all, I wasn't much older than she is when I started reading Stephen King, which is almost certainly more mature than James Patterson...

For the boy, we got the Artemis Fowl graphic novel and The Dangerous Book for Boys. We're also going to get him Encyclopedia Horrifica, but Borders didn't have it in stock today.

Amazingly, neither I nor the husband bought anything for ourselves!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Outside and Inside Mummies by Sandra Markle

This book is my latest read from the Texas Bluebonnet Nomination list. I have always loved informational books like this, so it was a fun read. Even more fun for me was that the first 1/3 or so dealt with radiology of mummies. Being a librarian in a hospital imaging department, I am inundated with this stuff on a daily basis, and, in fact, one of the faculty members I help out on a regular basis is researching paleo-radiology. I recently was able to borrow a book for him of original x-rays of mummies from the 1850s! My first thought as I was reading this book was that I should buy a copy for Dr. M for Christmas. I actually may buy a copy for my library, even though it would really be a novelty item.

The other 2/3 of the book dealt with other biological investigations of mummies, such as looking at samples under the microscope of parasites found in the intestines. Fascinating!

Incantation by Alice Hoffman

Estrella and Catalina have been friends since birth. Estrella thinks they look just like sisters. Both are Spanish Catholics, but Estrella attends a different church than Catalina, even though Catalina's church is nearer to Estrella's home. Catalina is betrothed to Andres, but when Estrella suddenly finds herself looking at Andres in a different light, her relationship with Catalina begins to change.

Set against a backdrop of the Spanish Inquistion, this story brings in friendship, betrayal, fear, and true love.

My only experience with Alice Hoffman's books was Ice Queen, which I really didn't like at all, so I was a little wary going into this one. I was very pleasantly surprised! I devoured this book, and now I really want to read more of Hoffman's books. I'm particularly keen to read Practical Magic, as the movie is one of my favorite movies of all times.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

It was a good idea in theory

So I've been trying to whittle down the books in my reading stack and was doing good. Then I started reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, which I'm just not loving. But I really want to have read it, so I'm persevering. Slowly. Then I started feeling guilty for not having started Every Past Thing yet, which I received as an Early Reviewer on LibraryThing. So I started it, too. Not loving it, either. But as I don't want to hurt my chances of getting more review copies, I'm determined to finish it and write a review for it.

So I was in dire need of something I was really enjoying. In my search, I picked up The Queen's Fool last night and think this is going to fill the gap. Never mind that I fell asleep several pages in - that's just me.

In other news, I finished The Princess Bride this past week - enjoyed it but wouldn't count it as a favorite. I also finished listening to Outlander, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Will listen to more in the series as the mood strikes me.

I picked up Incantation by Alice Hoffman (the next on the Name that Book list) and have liked what I've read so far. It seems like it will be a pretty quick read. It feels like it will tie in nicely with The Queen's Fool. Most of the books I'm reading from that list are library books, which need to be quick! I've managed to get 4 books purchased by my local library from that list, so yay!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Love the Half Price Book shoppin'

My daughter had a birthday party to go to tonight, so my husband, son, and I spent the afternoon/evening shopping and eating. After the candy store and dinner, we made our way to Half Price Books. Love that store! I didn't spend a lot, but enjoyed browsing. I picked up Witch Girl by Celia Rees, which has been on my wishlist for ages. My son picked three nonfiction animal books, and I bought the 5th Series of Unfortunate Events book (The Austere Academy) for my daughter.

Last night we went to Borders to buy a birthday gift and I got Julie & Julia by Julie Powell off the bargain shelf. That's another one that's been on my wishlist forever.

Ah, the book love.

We also went to Lowe's and bought paint, so, even though I'm on vacation next week, I won't be getting in much reading, as I plan to paint the family room. Priorities...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

It's been ages since I saw this movie, and I'm so glad I really didn't remember anything about the movie other than that it starred Kevin Spacey. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I could hear the Georgia accent in my head throughout. The characters were fascinating, and the story was gripping (especially since I couldn't remember how it turned out...). Even though the book is nonfiction, it reads like fiction. Murder, voodoo, drag queens. What's not to love? This is probably one of my favorite nonfiction books I've ever read. This also makes 3 books finished for the Unread Authors challenge.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A new challenge

I saw this challenge and couldn't pass it up, especially since it's being hosted by a 10-year-old reader!

The challenge is to choose one book from each of the following categories; time period Jan - Dec 2008.

1. A book with a color in its title.
Blackthorn Winter by Kathryn Reiss

2. A book with an animal in its title.
Water for Elephants
by Sara Gruen

3. A book with a first name in its title.
by Geraldine McCaughrean

4. A book with a place in its title.
Pompeii: Lost and Found by Mary Pope Osborne

5. A book with a weather event in its title.
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

6. A book with a plant in its title.
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

Monday, November 5, 2007

Some Reviews and such

I just updated my sidebar and realized there are several books I haven't even given a nod.

Year of the Dog by Grace Lin: This was cute, but nothing that remarkable. I enjoyed it most, because I had heard her speak at TLA and knew that all of the happenings in the story were based on true events. I think maybe it was just slightly below my preferred reading level.

Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean: This was a rolicking good read! I think the whole family enjoyed this, and we'll probably read the second in the series at some point.

Aurora County All-Stars: My daughter and I listened to this on our morning commute. All Stars is the third novel by Deborah Wiles; the others are Each Little Bird That Sings and Love, Ruby Lavender. I think Ms. Wiles is my current favorite children's (chapter) book writer. The books are set in rural Mississippi, about halfway or so between where my husband and I grew up, and I can so relate. She is a master of setting and characterization. And All Stars throws in a lot of Walt Whitman, too, which prompted my and my daughter to go buy a copy of Leaves of Grass. Unfortunately, my daughter was a little disenchanted once she actually tried to *read* Whitman. She is, after all, only 11. I think the snippets we heard, though, were a good exposure.

I picked up Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil this weekend, and this is the first time in a while I've not wanted to put a book down. I had forgotten it is nonfiction, and almost put it down when I realized, because I wasn't really in the mood for nonfiction. However, this reads just like a fiction book, and Berendt's portrayal of Savannah, GA is just captivating. I highly recommend this book!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Review and challenge summary

I did it! With just hours to spare, I finished House of Leaves, thus completing the RIP II Challenge. And a challenge it was, indeed. (FOrgive my shoddy typing, I got a paper cut UNDER my pinkie nail and am having a hard time typing with a bandaid on that finger!) For the challenge I also planned to read short stories, but ended up giving that up about a month into the challenge. Just couldn't find the time.

Now for the review. I have to say, I was greatly disappointed with this book. I didn't find it in the least bit scary. In fact, I thought it was horribly boring. There were parts I liked. Actually, any of the story about the house and Navidson's family caught my attention. And I liked the letters in the appendix at the end - really shed a light on the book (heh heh...pun not intended - but you'll only get that if you read the book). I was VERY glad to be done with it, but I was determined to actually finish it. Phew! Now I can move on to something else.