"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to the winners of my Blogoversary Giveaway!

Richard @ Bound and Determined to Find a Good Read
Jennie Elyse@ Jennie Elyse.com
Ham 1299 @ Proud Book Nerd
Liza @ Reading with ABC
Cat the Librarian @ Cat's Thoughts

Be sure to contact me and get me your mailing address by August 2nd. and let me know your book preference:

-Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
-Shadowland by Alyson Noel
-Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
-The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator
-Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
-The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson
-The Host by Stephanie Meyer
 -Listening is an Act of Love

(Aeajordon, I don't know how to contact you, so contact me with your e-mail and address.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blogoversary and Giveaway Week. Day 7.

and Giveaway!
Day 7

See Day 1 for the list of prizes!
You can enter every day.
All you need to do is follow me and answer the question as a comment below.
Good luck!

Day 7 Question (Last question of the week):
Which camp do you fall into? Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) or Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)?

My Answer:
When they were alive I know the Bronte sisters did not think much of Jane Austen's books. If I compare Jane Eyre to Pride and Prejudice I do recognize that JE has the more exciting plot, but I still prefer P and P.  It's been years since I read any Bronte but I read Austen every year.  I am firmly in the Austen camp.  What about you?

What is your answer to today's question?

Also answer Day 1 , Day 2 , Day 3, Day 4 , Day 5, Day 6 questions. Remember you can enter this contest everyday!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Review: Room by Emma Donoghue

Last week-end, on a trip home from Boise, my family and I listened an audiobook of Room by Emma Donoghue. This book has won all kinds of acclaim for good reason.  So much so that I feel a little duanted to even try to review the book, like my words won't be good enough in comparison to the book itself. So here is what I've decided to do instead.  I will tell you just a little bit about the book.  Then I am going to give you an annotated list of cool places you can go to find out more information about it.  And I really recommend that you visit these sites.

(Warning: Spoiler alert!) The story is about Jack, a five-year-old boy, who is born in captivity (so to speak). He lives with his Ma in an 11' by 11' room. His whole life is the room and the activities that he and his Ma do together.  He doesn't really even know his captor, who frequently visits his Ma, because she hides Jack in the wardrobe during that time. Finally, Ma hatches an escape plan that involves Jack. It works. Now Jack experiences life on the outside for the very first time and, even though he is now free, it begs the question, when was Jack better off?

Told in the voice of this five-year-old, the book has a uniquely different point-of-view than you would expect. My eldest daughter found the narrator's voice for Jack to be a bit off-putting, but I liked it once I got used to it. If you are easily bothered by odd sounding narrators, I recommend that you read it, rather than listen to it.

A drawing of the room with the furniture and artifacts, with links to sites related to the book. I wish I'd "seen" the room before I started listening.  It really makes you aware of how challenging it would be to live in such a small space and stay sane!

Book Club Discussion Questions for Room:
Often people who put together discussion questions for books obviously do not plan to discuss the book because the questions are leading, lame, or can be answered by simple yeses and noes. These questions, on the other hand, are excellent. I'm in two book clubs and I still haven't been able to talk anyone into reading this book together.  I'm hoping if they see these awesome questions they will choose Room for a group read with me!

NY Times Book Review by Janet Maslin:
Ms. Maslin focuses her review on Jack and writing a book from the point of view of a five-year old.  Jack tells the reader near the beginning of the book, “We have thousands of things to do every morning.” Can you imagine living in a room the size of a shed and thinking you have thousands of things to do.  This review is well-worth the read.

Wahington Post Book Review of Room by Ron Charles:
Mr. Charles really addresses the question why anyone would want to read a macabre story of a woman and her child imprisoned by a rapist for seven years.  He once again goes back to the story is told in the voice of a child, and Jack is happy! I think anyone with trepidation about the subject matter in selecting the book should read this review.

Emma Donoghue's Room Webpage:
It has the book trailer, links to interviews, author info, and lots of reviews like these:‘Astounding, terrifying… It’s a testament to Donoghue’s imagination that she is able to fashion radiance from such horror.’ – THE NEW YORKER; ‘Jack is precocious but entirely believable, his passage out of cloistered innocence more universal than you might think (it’s no accident, surely, that the book’s title rhymes with “womb”).’ – PEOPLE; ‘A novel so disturbing that we defy you to stop thinking about it, days later … beautifully served by Jack's wise but innocent voice.’ – O MAGAZINE

After all this praise I dare you to give it a try. (And if you want to discuss it, come on back.  I'd love to chat about it!)

Blogoversary and Giveaway Week. Day 6.

and Giveaway!
Day 6

See Day 1 for the list of prizes!
You can enter every day.
All you need to do is follow me and answer the question as a comment below.
Good luck!

Day 6 Question:
What is the best book you've read so far this summer? (Title, author, genre, short synopsis)

My Answer:
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys. YA Historical Fiction, set during the reign of Stalin when individuals and families were deported to work camps in Siberia.

What is your answer to today's question?

Also answer Day 1 , Day 2 , Day 3, Day 4 , Day 5 questions. Remember you can enter this contest everyday!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Friday Fun! July 29

Friday Fun! July 29, 2011

*First Line Friday at A Few More Pages.
*The Friday 56 at Freda's Voice.
I just finished reading The Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston.  Here are two quotes:
I got up and went to school today because nobody said I couldn't. I have a little yellow bruise under my jaw. It's a nice piece of evidence for the physics of force. -Opening line
So that was how we spent our lives. We were a shiny bright machine, a family of planets circling our own little star. And then The Bony Guy took a sledgehammer to us. -p.56
Since I've read the book already I know what both of these quotes mean.  So let me say, that the book uses physics as the thread to pull the story along.


Follow Friday!                      

The Featured Blog this week is The Book Addicted Girl.  Congratulations!





Q. Let's step away from books for a second and get personal. What T-Shirt slogan best describes you?

 I guess I didn't step too far away from books since my T-Shirt is about them!  Ha!
Hosted at GReads
This Friday's Question:

Character Envy: If you could be one character from a book, 
who would you choose & why?
Duh! No brainer!  Elizabeth Bennet.  Why? Because she ends up with Mr. Darcy! 


Be sure to sign up for my Blogoversary Giveaway!

Booking through Thursday...Night Owl?

Booking ThroughThursday
What’s the latest you’ve ever stayed up reading a book? Is staying up late reading a usual thing for you?

I rarely stay up late reading anymore.  I used to lay in bed for hours reading but now that I have bifocals it isn't so easy to read in bed. I do read every night before turning off the light, though not for long.

Be sure to participate in my Blogoversary Giveaway.

Blogoversary and Giveaway Week. Day 5.

and Giveaway!
Day 5

See Day 1 for the list of prizes!
You can enter every day.
All you need to do is follow me and answer the question as a comment below.
Good luck!

Day 5 Question:
If you could make one character from any book "come alive" and spend some time with you, who would it be and why?

My Answer:
If you have been reading my blog for any time now you should know that I am completely ga-ga over Karl Shoemaker in Tales of the Madman Underground: An Historical Romance 1973 by John Barnes. Why?  Because Karl is a hero and friend to all, even in the face of terrible circumstances at home.  In addition, Karl is growing up in the 1970s, when I was in high school.  If I couldn't have him for a boyfriend, I'd at least want him for a friend.  :)

What is your answer to today's question?

Also answer Day 1 , Day 2 , Day 3, Day 4 questions. Remember you can enter this contest everyday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

Where She Went by Gayle Forman is told from the point of view of Adam and is set three years after the tragic accident that killed the family of his former girlfriend, Mia Hall, in the book If I Stay (2009). Now a famous rock star, Adam Wilde finds himself at New York City's Carnegie Hall for Mia's breakout cello concert. He hopes he can be anonymous and just listen to the concert but he is spotted and ends up reunited with Mia for an evening of "painful reminiscing, heartbreaking closure, and hopeful discoveries." -SLJ

In an interview Ms. Forman was asked about what themes interest her as a writer.   This was her reply: "Love, I think, in all of its dimensions. The cost of unconditional love…what happens in the absence of love. Love is what we all live and breathe for."

 Where She Went will appeal to all hopeless romantics like myself. Adam has spent three years angry and depressed over losing Mia, his first, his only love. Then, miraculously, he has a chance to see her again, to learn what drove them apart, to be set free from an ache that wouldn't let go, to find the music again. Wouldn't we all jump at such a chance? To have that final wrap-up to some past event that has really been bugging us for a while? I know that I would.

While not as poignant as its predecessor, Where She Went, is a compelling love story which almost has a fairy-tale quality about it. But be sure to read If I Stay first as this story really builds off it.  Enjoy!

Here are a few quotes to whet your whistle:
"Mia faces me now. the wind is shipping her hair this way and that so she looks like some kind of mystical sorceress, beautiful, powerful, and scary at the same time. She shakes her head and starts to turn away."- p. 187
First you inspect me- Then you dissect me- Then you reject me- I wait for the day- That you'll resurrect me. from "Animate" Collateral Damage, Track 1 (p. 254)

Blogoversary and Giveaway Week. Day 4.

and Giveaway!
Day 4

See Day 1 for the list of prizes!
You can enter every day.
All you need to do is follow me and answer the question as a comment below.
Good luck!

Day 4 Question:
If you could change one aspect of a favorite book (plot, character, setting, etc.) what would you change and why?

My Answer:
In the book Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly the main character, Andi Alpers, is so angry and upset about events in her life that she acts like an angry brat half the time and whines about things the other half.  I would change Andi's attitude and the way that the adults in her life are all so inept at offering her any kind of help or sympathy. In addition, her overuse of her anti-depressants was very distressing to me.  I couldn't help thinking that she should have ended up in the hospital for an overdose.  I don't think this is a message that teens should  hear---that it OK to take more than the prescribed amounts of drugs. The rest of the book is great, especially the parts related to the French Revolution.
*Here is my original review if you what to take a look

What is your answer to today's question?

Also answer Day 1 , Day 2 , Day 3 questions.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Top Ten Books that Cover Tough Issues

Hosted by Broke and Bookish   

I just covered a similar post on this topic a few weeks ago, Why Do So Many YA Books Cover Depressing Topics? The list will look very similar.

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Suicide)- I had to put this book first on the list because the popularity of this book with teens.  It obviously speaks to them in a very important way.

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Racism, Alcoholism, Cultural Identity)-The thing I love about this book which covers very tough topics, is that it is very funny.  It spoke to me of the seriousness of these tough topics but didn't weigh me down.

3. The Perks of Becoming a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (Sexual Identity and Peer Relationships)- It has been ages since I read this book but I still recall how poignant this book was at speaking to teens who are questioning aspects of their personalities and sexual identity.

4. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (Mental Illness, Alcoholism, Poverty)-This is a memoir about Jeannette Walls's early years living in abject poverty with parents who were possibly mentally ill and/or alcoholics. The book never lapses into a tone of "woe is me, feel sorry for me" which it easily could have.

5. Split by Swati Avasthi (Domestic Abuse)-Domestic abuse is a tough topic not often covered in teen literature.

6. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier by Ishmael Beah (Children forced to fight in wars)- Beah was forced as a young boy to fight in the Sierra Leone civil war. Given a gun and drugs, he and other children were taught to be ruthless. It is a miracle that Beah escaped and made his way to the USA.

7. Stiff: The Curious Lives of  Human Cadavers by Mary Roach (What happens to our bodies after death)- Sounds gruesome but this book is so interesting and often uproariously funny.

8. Staying Fat for Sarah Brynes by Chris Crutcher (Parental Abuse, peer acceptance)-"An obese boy and a disfigured girl suffer the emotional scars of years of mockery at the hands of their peers." This is a story about the redeeming power of friendship.

9. The Day the Voices Stopped: a Schziophrenic's Journey from Madness to Hope by Kenneth Steele (Mental Illness)- This is the best book I've ever read about the tragedies of and treatments for mental illness.

10. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Rape)- Published over ten years ago this book is still the best at demonstrating the debilitating aspects of rape.

11. Inside Out: A Portrait of an Eating Disorder by Nadia Shivak (Eating Disorder)- This is a graphic biography drawn and written by Shivak about her on-going challenge with bulimia.

12. Stitiches: a memoir by David Small (Cancer, Parental Abuse and Neglect)-another amazing graphic biogrpahy.

13. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Death and grief)- Grieving is not easy process and it takes time to come to grips on loss and going on with out a loved one.

14. A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss by Gerald Sittser (Grief)-a nonfiction book which is the best book I have ever, ever read on how to cope with grief inside of faith.

15.  Tear Soup: a Recipe for Healing After Loss by Pat Swhwiebert and Chuck Deklyen (Grief)- This book looks like a children's story book but it is amazing in it's simplistic way that it describes the healing process of grief.  This is the book I give as a gift to people who have experienced the death of a loved one.

***Be sure to participate in my first-ever Giveaway contest in honor of my blogoversary.

Blogoversary and Giveaway Week. Day 3.

and Giveaway!
Day 3

See Day 1 for the list of prizes!
You can enter every day.
All you need to do is follow me and answer the question as a comment below.
Good luck!

Day 3 Question:
Pick a setting from a book where you would like to travel right now. Explain.

My Answer:
In a Sun Burned Country by Bill Bryson.  The whole book is about Bryson's journeys around Australia.  I would love to see the whole country of Australia, just as he did.

Also answer Day 1 Question and Day 2 questions.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday. What am I reading?

Book Journey

It's Monday and here is what I'm reading and listening to this week.

Also visit my blogoversary giveaway here.  Lots of prizes will be awarded!

What I'm Reading:
Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston...a very small but powerful YA book about grief and loss. This book won the William C. Morris Debut Book Award for 2011.

What I'm listening to on audiobooks:
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray...Bray narrates the book herself and she does a great job.  Think of this book as beauty pageant girls meet Lord of the Flies.  Hilarious!

What I just finished reading:
Where She Went by Gayle Forman...this is the sequel to the popular YA book, If I Stay. The story is told from Adam's point-of-view.  My review for the book will be posted today or tomorrow.  Come back and take a look then.

What I hope to read next:
Heaven is For Real by Todd Burpo...my sister-in-law recommended this book.  It sounds excellent and sweet.

Please enter my blogoversary giveaway.  Take a look here and here.

Blogoversary Giveaway Week! Day 2

and giveaway!
Day 2
See Day 1 for the list of prizes!
You can enter every day.  
All you need to do is follow me and answer the question.  
Good luck!

Day 2 Question:
What is one blog post that you wrote that you thought didn't get the recognition it deserved? Provide the link to that post with a brief description.  (If you don't have a blog, you may just comment on my linked blog post.)

My Answer:
The book review for the book Please Ignore Vera Dietz sure didn't get the recognition it deserved, in my opinion. It is a fabulous book.  I thought I wrote a good and clever review.  I can't even find this review if I search on Google for it burrowing down 20+ pages.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blogoversary Giveaway Week! Day 1

and Giveaway!!!!

Happy 2nd Blogoversary to me!  I started blogging in July 2009.  Here is a link to my first blog post exactly two years ago. The first year hardly counted because I didn't know what I was doing and I had about seven followers, so I could almost consider this my first blogoversary. In celebration of this event I am hosting my first ever Give-a-Way!!!!

Here's what you might win:
-Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
-Shadowland by Alyson Noel
-Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor
-The Boy Who Couldn't Die by William Sleator
-Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult
-The Boy Who Couldn't Sleep and Never Had To by DC Pierson
-The Host by Stephanie Meyer
-Listening is an Act of Love
(Internationals, feel free to enter.  I will award you with an Amazon Gift Card if you win!)

Here's how to enter:
1.  Must be a  follower of my blog
2.  Answer the question below on the comment section.  I will have a different question every day for a week, so technically you can enter seven times and may win more than one book.
3. I will contact you via e-mail if you are a winner.  (I'll grab your e-mail from your profile.) Winners will be announced on July 31. If you don't have a blog and want to enter, you must e-mail me with your e-mail address. Winners will have 48 hours to respond to my e-mail or I will chose another participant.
4.  Good luck and have fun!

Day 1 Question:
Borders Books (USA and Canada) is going out of business.  How will this affect you and where will you/do you shop for books most often?

My Answer: Borders is the only bookstore in my town other than a few used book stores, none of which are very good. I am completely bummed that Borders is going-out-of-business. I have decided that I will be more deliberate about supporting the Independent Book Stores in my area and in Seattle (University Bookstore in Tacoma and Elliott Bay Books in Seattle) and I resolve to purchase books from them so that they won't go out of business and I will still have some options of a place to go to browse for books. I still get the majority of my books from the public library and I admit to purchasing quite a few books from Amazon.com.

Now it is your turn. Remember your comment enters you in the drawing for a prize.

Day Two Question here.  You can enter every day!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friday Fun!

It's Friday again. Time for some blogging fun!

I'm reading Where She Went by Gayle Forman and loving it.  Here are two quotes:
*First Line Friday at A Few More Pages.
*The Friday 56 at Freda's Voice.

"Every morning I wake up and tell myself this: It's just one day, one twenty-four-hour period to get yourself through."  -Page 1, Opening Line
"And in a few seconds my hand is at my side and it's like I've transferred a little of my crazy to Mia because it looks like her own hand is trembling. But I can't be sure because I'm drifting away on a fast current. And the next thing I know, I hear the door to her dressing room click behind me, leaving me out on the rapids and Mia back on the shore."  -Page 56

Well, it is pretty obvious from both the first line and page 56 that Adam is one depressed boy and his foul mood has a lot to do with Mia.
Hosted by GReads
 Where do you keep your books at home and how do you have them organized?

I have one large bookshelf in my family room and several smaller bookshelves where I store my books.  But I have too many books and many of them overflow into piles on the floor, stacks on my bedside table, and on my desk.  I just cleaned and tidied the main book shelf yesterday.  Now I have four new piles on the floor.  1. Books I'm going to donate to my library; 2. Books I am donating to friends or the public library; 3. Books that belong to my daughter Rita and she needs to decide what to do with them; 4. Ditto #3 except the pile belongs to my other daughter, Carly. I organize my books according to topics and authors, at least in theory.
Featured Blog this Week: We Fancy Books.  Congratulations!!!

Question of the week:  What three authors would I love to have a good sit down chat with?

1. Libba Bray- I am currently listening to Beauty Queens read and narrated by Bray herself.  She is hilarious.
2.  John Green- I am a wanna-be Nerdfighter and I love all his books.
3.  Barbara Kingsolver-She is my hero, I admire her writing so much.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

WWW Wednesday... July 20

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently Reading: Where She Went by Gayle Forman. This is the second book in the series, If I Stay, and the book picks up the action three years after the end of the last book. So far it is from Adam's point-of-view. I loved the first book so I am looking forward to this one.

 Currently Listening to: Room by Emma Donoghue. Surprisingly compelling and thoughtful book about a your boy whose mother bore him while she was being held captive in a room. My whole family listened to this on a road trip home from Boise this week.  Since we didn't finish before we got home, we now will take turns listening to the conclusion. In the meantime, we are all guessing what we think will happen at the end.

 Recently finished: Can't Wait to Get to Heaven by Fannie Flagg. Flagg, the author of Fried Green Tomatoes, has created another funny, quirky book here about a woman who has a life after death experience then returns to earth to tell about it. A fun, mindless read that would be good for a vacation book. I give it two thumbs up!

What I hope to start soon: Beauty Queens by Libba Bray. Count me as a Libba Bray devotee. I just picked up the audiobook of Beauty Queens today from the library. I'm itching to get started.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Reading Challenges Midway Update---

It is mid summer. How am I doing on my Reading Challenges? Here is an update---

1.Goodreads challenge: 66 out of 101 books. Looks like I will need to up this challenge next year.

2. 2011 ALA Award Book Challenge: I'm participating in the YA Titles category.  I've read 7 out of 9. Left to go: Five Flavors of Dumb by Anthony John (Living with a Disability), and Freak Observer by Blythe Woolston (Debut).

3. Michael J. Printz Award and Honor Books Challenge: this is an on-going challenge.  I have read all the award winners for this and last year and a majority of past years. I will stay current on this challenge but may not go back and read all the books missed from previous years.

4.  Audio Book Challenge: I've already completed this challenge at the Obsessed level (20 audiobooks). Guess I'll make up my own category: "Diabolically Obsessed" and go for 30 books by years end.

5.  Books I Should Have Read in School...But Didn't Challenge. I am participating at the Graduate level. I've read 5 out of 6 books. If my memory serves me, the next level seemed unattainable or I would switch up to that level.

6.  Reading from My Shelf Project Challenge. 8 out of 12 books from my own TBR piles around the house. Right on target!

7. Personal Projects:
  • Finished 5 of 10 books that I started in 2010 but didn't finish
  • Classics Challenge...I've only completed one book on my list :(
  • Reading list for Junior Literature Class...three to go!
Check my full list here.