Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Rachel and Leah: Women of Genesis by Orson Scott Card

This is the last published book in Orson Scott Card's Women of Genesis series.  I really enjoyed it.  I never really understood why a father would trick his future son-in-law by giving him the wrong daughter to marry.  Granted, this is fiction, and Card only has a few verses in the Bible to go by, but I love the story he weaves in Rachel and Leah about 4 strong and very different women.  It made Genesis chapter 29 much more interesting to read.  I don't know that I buy Card's interpretation that Rachel was really that scared about getting married, but who knows?  It makes a good story.  I loved the stories of Bilhah and Zilpah that come into this.  It is really the story of 4 women, not just 2.  I was excited at the end to read that Card plans to write a 4th and 5th in this series, but it is obviously not his first priority because this was published in 2004.  I read an interview by him in 2010 that said the next book would not be out this year or the next, but I am hopeful for 2012?  This book really ends in a place where you need the next book right away.  I couldn't believe it ended right there.  It ends right after Rachel marries Jacob, and Leah thinks she is pregnant.  The next installment is to be called The Wives of Israel.  I won't be holding my breathe until it comes out because I can't hold my breathe that long, but I will anxiously await it.  I like his writing.  I will have to check out some of his other genre works.                                                                                                                                            

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

This was a really fun read.  It is the second in Ally Carter's Heist Society novels.  The first one is all about stealing paintings, but in this it is about stealing the Cleopatra Emerald which everyone says is cursed.  Kat and Hale and their gang decide to do it, and it seems that maybe it is cursed after all.  What does a con do when they are conned?  A fun, teen read.  I enjoy their figuring out how they will steal things and get away--so totally beyond my world that it is fun.  A good lesson in what you think you can do by yourself and when you really need your friends, too.  If you haven't already, check out Heist Society before you read this.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Rebekah by Orson Scott Card

Rebekah is the second in Orson Scott Card's Women of Genesis  trilogy.  I didn't like this one as much as I enjoyed Sarah, the first one.  The story of Rebekah's early life and being found by the well were very good, but once she got with Issac it seemed like they were just arguing all the time.  It was interesting the author's take on Issac and how he dealt with almost being sacrificed by his father.  This plays into a lot of why they argue and what makes Issac how is he.  Yes, these men were prophets, but prophets are still men and human and have the whole range of emotions and experiences everyone else had--or sometimes they have way worse than most have had.  I am sure dealing with that was not an easy thing for Issac, and that issue brings up a lot of the arguing and discussions that Rebekah and Issac have.  Issac never feels like he is quiet good enough, and then it goes in the story of Esau and Jacob.  It tells of their growing up, and how Rebekah helps Jacob to trick Issac to give him the birthright.  It was a good read, interesting, but I just felt like the arguing/discussions of Rebekah and Issac were a little too much too often.  I am anxious to read the last called Rachael and Leah and see how that compares. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Crossed by Ally Condie

CCrossed by Ally Condie is the sequel to Matched which came out last year.  It is a dystopia society type novel along the lines of Hunger Games, but way less violent.  Is there really freedom when one has not choice?  There is a love triangle between Cassia, Ky, and Xander.  Cassia decides she will do anything to get back with Ky including leaving the Society and life as she has known.  Journeys are made and rivers and mountains are crossed as both Ky and Cassia search for each other and what they really want and where they really want to go.  Now that they have a choice, what will they choose?  I enjoyed it, and the ending leaves you waiting impatiently for next November when the final book in the trilogy comes out.  If you haven't read Matched, then definitely put it on your reading list so you can read Crossed

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Sarah by Orson Scott Card

Sarah by Orson Scott Card is the first in the Women of Genesis trilogy.  It is historical fiction based on Abraham and Sarah's story in the bible.  I loved this book.  When you read it you have to realize this isn't based on a lot of fact, because there isn't a lot in Genesis to go by, but Card does a wonderful job keeping the characters true to their greatness and creating a wonderful history and story.  Sarah is such a wonderful women, such a woman of faith.  You cry for her when she can't bare a child, and cry when she makes the decision to give Hagar to Abram and then you cry for joy when she finally has Isaac.  You watch her build her faith and grow.  I thought it was a very faith promoting book and very uplifting.  I would highly recommend it.  It will make reading Genesis more interesting next time around for me.   I am looking forward to reading the other 2 in the series Rebekah and Rachel and Leah.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

This book was amazing!  It is a nonfiction about a World War II plane crew that crashes, how the survivors make in on a raft for the longest time ever known in the Pacific Ocean and then as POW's in Japan.  This was hard to read at times and turned my stomach as I read about the treatment of the POW's by their captors, but I had such an overwhelming sense of gratitude for what those brave men did and went through for others, myself, my country, and my freedom.  A friend said, "It was an honor to read this book," and I agree.  Anything that makes us understand and better appreciate our history is well worth our time.  WWII has so many stories from the millions that were involved on both sides, and we can learn and grow so much from those, and it is so important that we do.  This is a wonderful example.  Laura Hillenbrand has a wonderful writing style that takes you right there to help you appreciate it even better.  How these men went through all this, came out alive (which is a miracle) and then were able to overcome and move on and even forgive (which is an even bigger miracle) is so uplifting and amazing and a tribute to God and the human spirit.  Please check this one out.  You will not regret it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Ranger's Apprentice Series update

So, I am loving John Flanagan's Ranger's Apprentice series.  My whole family is.  My 11 year old girl has finished all 10, my 13 year old girl is on #9.  My 9 year old girl is on #6.  My husband is on #7, and I am currently half-way through #5.  My 6 year old boy hasn't started them yet :) 

Just a word of advice when you read this series.  Read them in this order 1,2,3,4,7,5,6,8,9,10.  #7 needs to be read after #4, and then just go from #7 to #5 and continue on.  Flanagan skipped several years in the stories between #4 and #5, and he realized this and went back and filled in those missing years with #7, so read them in that order.  Such a good series!!!!

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

Described as a "philosophical self-help humorous travel memoir" this was an interesting read.  It is non-fiction.  It took me a while to get through it, and he was a little more crass than I normally like--normally don't like anything crass or with language.  This had a little of both, so I can't highly recommend it, but it was interesting.  Eric Weiner is a grump, and he was determined to find the world's happiest place.  Each chapter he goes to a different country and tries to figure out why that place is happy or not.  A positive therapy researcher--or a happiness researcher-- has rated the countries in the world from the happiest to the least happy, so Weiner goes to check them out.  Netherlands, Switzerland, Iceland, Thailand, and Bhutan are some of the happiest.  Weiner goes to each of these to see why.  Moldova is one of the least happy, and he also goes there to find out why.  Britain, India, Qatar, and the US are also visited and discussed.  It was interesting to learn about the different places and what really does make people happy.  Hate to over use the word "interesting," but it was that and informative.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan

I absolutely loved this book!  Non fiction is usually not my favorite genre, but I really loved this.  Being an English major I read a lot, a lot, a lot in college (did I mention I had to read a lot in college??), and looking back I think all of what I read was fiction (I don't think textbooks count at non-fiction literature, they are just textbooks).  I don't think I ever read a really, good non-fiction book for any of my English classes, so I have really not been a big fan of non-fiction, but this changed my mind.  After reading this I can say that well-written non-fiction can rival good fiction any day.  I think one reason I loved this is because it explained so well--in language anyone can understand the conflict in the Middle East.  Why is there always fighting in Israel?  What is going on?  I never really understood it or knew until I read this.  In reading the reviews it said that one high school teacher was having her whole 9th grade class read it.   I agree and applaud that teacher, and I am going to have my 8th grader read it.  It is appropriate and will help them learn and understand so much about the area and conflict.  In a very short, short synopsis the book starts in about 1917 and is about an Arab family that is forced to leave their home by Jews without any compensation into a refugee camp.  The home is given to a Jewish family from Bulgaria who have no knowledge why the previous family left.  The home has a lemon tree in the back yard--thus the title.  Years after the children of both of these families have grown up, the Arab son is finally able to travel back to his boyhood home, and he is met at the door by the Jewish girl that grew up there after he left with her having no knowledge of why or how he left.  This Arab man and Jewish woman develop a friendship from what they have shared--their home and lemon tree-- and try to work out how to make things better.  This helped me to see how complex a situation this is--no one side is all right and the other all wrong.  Many wrongs have been done on both sides and a better way to fix things needs to be found for these people who still suffer.  An excellent read.  I would highly recommend it. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors is a teen read.  It was fun.  I would like to visit the town that the story takes place in, but I don't think it exists, but if it did, I would like to go to the coffeehouse and get some hot chocolate.  The main character is a teenage girl Katrina Svensen who lives with her grandma above their coffeehouse.  Their coffeehouse is old school, and they are starting to suffer because next door is the "Starbucks" of the town and they don't know how to compete.  One day Katrina does a good dead for someone she thinks is homeless and sleeping in their alley.  Little does she know she helps an angel (a cute teenage boy angel Malcolm) and that he has to give her her greatest  wish, but the problem is Katrina isn't quite sure what her greatest wish should be, and lots of interesting and amazing and rather disgusting things (can you say worlds' largest rat?) happen as Malcolm the teen angel tries to grant Katrina's wish.  A fun light read.  Shannon Hale recommended it on her site.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld is sort of science fiction novel about WWI.  It tells the story of Prince Aleksander who should have been the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire and Deryn Sharp, a girl that disguises herself as a boy to get into the British Air Service.  These two from very different backgrounds end up together on the huge British air ship the Leviathan.  The British follow Darwin and make beasts to do things instead of machines.  The Clanker countries make machines to do everything, and the two different ideals do not work well together, but are forced to as Alek and Deryn come to rely on each other and come to terms with their differences.  This was interesting, and it took me a while to get what he was talking about with Darwinists and their "beasties" and the Clankers and their machines.  Thankfully there are illustrations in each chapter so you can see what the machines and animals look like.  I think boys would really like this book, and its sequel which I haven't read yet.  Some fun summer reading.

The Boy who Dared by Susan Bartoletti

The Boy who Dared by Susan Bartoletti is based on the true life story of Helmuth Buddat Hubner who was a German boy living in Germany during WWII.  He grew up loving Germany and wanting a strong country.  He joined the Hitler Youth, but then he began to see that maybe things in Germany were not as they seemed.  He was not a Jew, but a Mormon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he knew that all people must be treated equally and fairly, and that was not what was happening in Germany.  He tried to follow the crowd, but discovered he just couldn't.  The book begins on day 264 of his imprisonment in a Nazi camp for his being an enemy of the state at only 16 years old.  It flashes back from the prison to his years growing up and what lead to his death sentence.  It is a story of courage, choosing the right, and standing up for one's beliefs even when no one else is.  The author shows photos of the actual people at the end.  It was a great story about a very brave boy that couldn't just sit by and let wrong happen. 

Princess Ben by Catherine Murdock

Princess Ben by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is not your typical fairy tale, and Princess Benevolence is not your typical princess.  I love stories like that!  Princess Ben's story starts out on a low note, her parents are killed as they travel to the tomb of the great king.  Princess Ben is left to be taken care of by her aunt, the Queen, who doesn't seem to be too fond of her.  As she deals with her grief and living a more "princess" life she finds out she has gifts she never knew--like magic.  She is determined to make the neighboring country pay for her parents' deaths, but sometimes things are not as they seem, and that is true with Princess Ben and her life as she finds out.  This was a good read, lots of fun, and the people who you think you have figured out may change on you.  Isn't that the way it is in life, too?  A little romance, some magic, and lots of adventure in this book.  A good summer read.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Songcatcher by Sharyn McCrumb

The Songcatcher by Sharyn McCrumb was a pick for my book club by my friend.  I wasn't sure this would be my thing, but I really liked it a lot.  It starts in 1751 off the coast of Scotland on a tiny island where the young boy Malcolm McCurry is climbing the rocks by the sea and gets captured by sailors, and thus starts his 2nd life at sea.  The book switches from Malcolm's story and follows his descendants to the current day McCurry's and how a song connects them all in the beautiful mountains of the Appalachians and the Tennessee wilderness.  This is an adult novel and very clean.  Be sure and read the afterword by the author where you find out it is based on truth and the author's own family.  I always think that is cool.  A good read, and it makes me want to go hike the Appalachian Trail this summer (or some day)!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Nalia is the crown princess and life is good, but just after she turns 16 she finds out her life is not what she thought.  She is brought to the thrown room and told that because of a prophecy foretelling the death of the princess before she was 16 that the real princess was switched with her as a baby.  Nalia is really Sinda, a commoner, filling in for 16 years to protect the real princess.  So she is shipped out to the only remaining real family she has which is an aunt in the woods far away.  Sinda, obviously, has a hard time adjusting from doing needlepoint and studying different languages to cooking and cleaning, but she does discover she has magic.  This discovery leads her back to the palace where she discovers a much darker plot that will destroy the kingdom which sends her on a journey to save it and find her true self.  A really great read.  Sinda seems rather weak at first, but she finds her strength and who she is in the end.  A fun read with a little romance, magic, deception, and adventure.  An impressive first novel for Eilis O'Neal.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine won the National Book Award this year. Usually I am not a big fan of the National Book Award winners because they tend to be "cutting edge" and deal with subjects that I don't enjoy reading about.  I have read several and thought, "Really?  You really liked this book and deemed it worthy of an award?"  So this award I don't give much clout to.  The Newbery is my favorite.  I think they do a good job, anyway, I digress.  This was a good book and worth of winning.  It is a story about Caitlin who has Aspergers and told from her perspective as she deals with life after her older brother Devon is killed in a school shooting.  It was so good at letting you see how a person like Caitlin sees things and understands them.  Caitlin is trying to find Closure for her and her father--her mother had died from cancer several years prior.  It was a very quick read and so worth it.  Anytime we can read something that helps us better understand each other it is well worth our time.  I laughed out loud at parts and had tears at others.  It is a good one.  Check it out.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Ranger's Apprentice: Book 1 The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

The Ruins of Gorlan is the first book in John Flanagan's The Ranger's Apprentice series.  I believe book 10 in the series is coming out this May, so I have a lot left to read in the series, but I love it and am hooked.  My 10-year-old daughter has read all 9 in the series, and she loved them, and has requested number 10 for her upcoming birthday!  What a great adventure series for young adults and adults!  It is set in a mid-evil time period, and Will is an orphan living under the Baron's protection.  It has come to the day when each of the orphans are chosen to be an apprentice of some kind.  Will knows nothing about his parents, but he believes his father was a great knight that died fighting for his king, so Will hopes and prays that he gets to be an apprentice to the Battle School so he can one day become a Knight.  Things do not go the way Will expected on his apprentice day.  Halt is a Ranger--a member of a strange and quite group that serves the King.  Some think they carry mysterious magic, but others know they are amazing and brave spies for the king.  Halt chooses Will as his Ranger's apprentice, and it turns Will's life around.  He learns to accept his new lot in life, flourishes there and even saves the day.  I would highly recommend this series.  Check them out. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels

The Pioneer Woman:  Black Heels to Tractor Wheels has got to be one of my favorite books I have read this year.  I loved it!  I laughed out loud so many times!  Ree Drummond is so funny!  If you are not a fan of The Pioneer Woman, then you need to be.  I love her cookbook The Pioneer Woman Cooks.  I got it for my birthday last year, and there is some serious yumminess there, but this isn't a cookbook, it is a love story (even though it does have recipes in the very back).  This is Ree's true love story of how she meet her cowboy husband and went from living in L.A. to living in the middle of no-where in Oklahoma on a working cattle ranch.  It is a true story, full of lots of kissing (who doesn't like kissing?) and lots of laughs, and even some tears here and there.  It starts when she first sees her future cowboy husband across a smoky bar to a year after they are married--and oh my what a year they had!  Please check it out, you will be so happy you did, and tell me if you don't laugh out loud too!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Blackveil and The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain

I just finished the 4th book in Kristen Britain's Green Rider series called Blackveil.  I loved Green Rider when I first read it last year.  It was one of my favorites of the whole year.  It follows the life of Karigan, who is a merchant's daughter.  She was at school, but she beat the son of an aristocrat in a sword fight, and she has run away from school.  While running away she encounters a Green Rider, which is one of the king's special messengers.  He is shot through the back with 2 arrows, and he begs her to finish his mission which is delivering a life or death secret message to the king.  She promises she will help him as he dies and her life is never the same again as she is chased all over the country by bandits and evil that does not want the message delivered.  Great first book.  It is set in a make believe land with magic, evil, adventure, war, betrail, history, and a touch of romance set in.  It is an adult book series, and there is war and carnage as goes with any war type book--some not too pleasant to read.  The 4th book is further adventures of Karigan as she and a group of warriors must enter the evil, tainted Blackveil forest.  It was very good--couldn't put it down good, but be warned being an adult book there is one love scene you can skip over.  That is the first scene in the whole series.  One complaint I have about the series is how slow the writer is in getting them out, like 4-5 years between each book--hello?  The first was written in 1998.  So, with that said, this 4th book ends in a cliffhanger, and I will probably have to wait 4 years before it gets resolved--ugh, don't like that, but really like this series.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Youngest Templar Series by Michael P. Spradlin

The Youngest Templar series by Michael P. Spradlin is awesome.  This is set during the time of the Crusades in England and the Holy Land.  It follows the life of the young orphan Tristan as he becomes the squire to a Templar Knight and gets in trusted with the Holy Grail.  Along he road he meets Robard Hode (Robin Hood, anyone?) and Maryam (Maid Mary Ann?) who help him along his journey as he is chased by the bad guys, saves a princess, meets the evil Sheriff of Nottingham and comes to know who he is.  It was so fun to read, very engaging.  These are young adult books filled with adventure, war, lots of fun, and what true friendship really is.  I love stories that tell you how other stories got started, so we learn about how Robin Hood, Little John, Friar Tuck and Maid Mary Ann came to be.  Great reads.  Check them out.

Bellwether by Connie Willis

Bellwether by Connie Willis is science fiction.  Okay, science fiction is just not my thing but give me some credit for not giving up on this half way through, which I really wanted to do, but didn't.  I did finish the whole thing and can say it is just not my thing.  Bellwether is about two scientists--one trying to study fads and what causes them, specifically why did bobbing one's hair become a fad, and the other scientist is trying to study the chaos theory but doesn't get funding, so he has to study apes.  Then that funding gets cut and they end up studying sheep together.  I know, weird.  It sort of turns into a love story at the very, very end (like with 3 pages left), but that is about its only redeeming quality.  Sorry, if you like science fiction, you may like this, but it was just not for me.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie is the first in a trilogy.  It is along the lines of The Giver, 1984, Brave New World, and The Hunger Games.  Cassia lives in a dysophia society where they choose everything for her and just tell her what to do.  But when you turn 17 you can choose to be matched, and the Society will match you with your perfect mate.  Amazingly Cassia gets matched with her best friend Xander, but then later when she gets home another name and face flashes on her screen of who she should be matched to--Ky--who is someone she also knows.  Cassia is torn by this "mistake" and who is her real and true match?  In a society with no choices, she now has one, and it is the biggest one of her life.  This is a great read.  Thought provoking--how lucky are we with our choices and our lives--even when we don't always make the right choices.  What is true love and how do you really show it?  How can you show freedom and make your life your own if you never have any choices?  My 10-year-old daughter picked this up right after I put it down, and she is also enjoying it.  We can't wait for the 2nd to come out in November 2011 and the 3rd set for November 2012.  Does it have to take that long????

Monday, February 14, 2011

Heist Society by Ally Carter

Heist Society by Ally Carter was the first book picked for my local book club.  Ally Carter is known for her Gallagher Girls books, but this was the first book of hers that I had read.  Katarina's family has a business, but it is not your typical family business, and she wants out.  Her family are professional thieves, and she has been in the business helping since she was three, and now she is 15.  She decides she wants out and wants a normal life and tries to go to a boarding school, but her family has an emergency and needs her back.  Her dad has been falsely accused of stealing some paintings from a very bad guy, but Katarina knows he is innocent.  The only way she can prove he is and get her dad out of trouble is to steal the painting back from whoever really stole them, and that is what this book is about.  Katarina puts together a teen group of top of the line thieves and tries to steal the paintings back from the most secure art museum in the world.  A good, fun read.  The story is fiction, but it is actually based on the real fact that during WWII the Nazi stole many works of art from whoever they wanted and then kept them or sold them, and there are people working today trying to return those stolen pieces of art to their rightful owners.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley is a mystery set in 1950's England in a small village.  Flavia is an 11 year old girl who has a passion for chemistry in general and poisons specifically.  One early morning at her big house she hears something in the garden and goes to investigate.  It is a man lying in the cucumbers, and he breathes his last breath in her face.  She should be scared, but she isn't.  This is the most exciting thing to happen in her whole life.  She has a mission to solve the mystery.  I used to think that mysteries were not really my thing, but I loved Josi Kilpack's culinary mysteries, and I really enjoyed this.  Flavia is a great character.  The book is written from her perspective and from her mind.  She will make you smile, laugh, and really think.  This is an adult book even though the main character is 11, but it is highly entertaining and a very "clean" murder mystery.  I love the Inspector who is assigned to the case.  You can just tell how he is trying to restrain himself and deal with this 11 year old who keeps butting into his case.  A great read.  Check it out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Crossing by Jim Murphy

I read The Crossing by Jim Murphy last week to my 10 year old daughter who was home sick from school one day.  We finished the whole thing in one day, and we both really enjoyed it.  Jim Murphy writes non-fiction historical books for kids.  The Great Fire, The Blizzard, An American Plague,  and Truce are some of his works.  I read Truce  last year which was about a WWI Christmas along the front lines.  It was very good.  He has a great way of making history very accessible to children.  Having read 1776 by David McCullough and loving it, I was anxious to check this "kids" version out.  It didn't disappoint.  He has pictures and diagrams on almost every page to help you understand where the armies were and what was happening.  It was fun to read out loud to my daughter because we discussed a lot of the circumstances where "lucky" things happened--like the wind changing so British ships couldn't get up the river to attack the Americans and heavy fogs suddenly developing so the British could not see the Americans retreating as they left New York.  I kept asking my daughter, "Do you think that was an accident?  Do you think they were just lucky?"  "No, mom.  God was helping them."  And Jim Murphy mentions in the book that so many of the men, including Washington, felt that God was leading, guiding, and directing them.  It was great.  George Washington is a hero, is one of my heroes, and after reading this with my daughter, he is now one of her heroes.  Can't ask for anything better from a book than that. 

The Exiled Queen by Cinda Williams Chima

The Exiled Queen is book two in the Seven Realms Novel series.  Book one is called The Demon King.  I read book one last year and really enjoyed it.  Hans is a street thief, the head of a street gang, but who really wants to do more with his life.  Then there is the Princess who Hans meets as Rebecca.  It is a fantasy novel but set in a middle ages type world with wizards and magic.  I was excited when the second came out.  The Princess has run away from home and is disguising herself as a normal woman and heading to school to become a soldier.  Not the first place you would look for a lost princess, so a good place to hide.  Hans has gone to wizard school right across the river, and they meet up again.  Hans still doesn't know that Rebecca is really his soon to be queen, and their friendship grows until both are forced to leave at the end.  Anxiously awaiting book three. . . This is a very good fantasy, magic, romantic series that I would recommend.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Dragonfly by Julia Golding

Dragonfly by Julia Golding is a book my 13 year old read last year, and she said it was one of her absolute favorites.  She read it last summer and kept saying "Mom, you need to read this!   Mom, you need to read this!"  She got it for Christmas and put it on my nightstand.  Can you tell that my nightstand is where people put things so I can read them?  Anyway, after reading this I wished I would have picked it up sooner.  I loved it!  Tashi is the Fourth Crown Princess of the Blue Crescent Islands and Prince Ramil is from Gerfal.  Two very different people from two very different nations that have been forced into an arranged marriage so their countries will not go to war and be united against an evil warlord.  The two start out hating each other, but life quickly changes as they are kidnapped by the evil warlord and strive to deal with their difficulties and escape and try to save their two countries which they love and each other.  A great classic adventure and romance.  It is very clean and uplifting.  Both characters must exam their faith, what they should stand up for and what keeps them going.  A very good read for teenage girls (or for anyone for that matter).  I stayed up way too late reading it because it is a book you can't put down.  It is not a series, which is amazing to find a stand alone book now days, and that is nice.  Golding is from the UK and has several other books out that I would really like to read now.  She does have another book set in the same world as this book called  The Glass Shadows but this is not supposed to be available in the US until later this year.  I read that is does have Ramil and Tashi in it, but they aren't the main characters.  Definitely a 4 star book.  Check it out.  

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

For One More Day by Mitch Albom

For One More Day by Mitch Albom was a gift my husband got for his birthday 4 months ago.  After his finished reading it he promptly placed it on my nightstand for me to read.  It took me a while to get to it, but I did enjoy it.  I had read Tuesdays with Morrie by Albom previously and also enjoyed it.  This book is about Chick who has lived a life that he is not proud of.  His parents divorced when he was young and his father disappeared, and his mother he took for granted.  He gets his priorities mixed up and has really messed up his life (divorced, only daughter didn't invite to her wedding, no job) and is ready to take his life when suddenly he is given a whole day with his mom who had died several years earlier.  Who wouldn't want just one more day with someone that they loved who had already passed on?  So many things to say and do.  This is a short read and gives one lots to think about--mainly we should never take our loved ones for granted and try to live our lives so when a loved one does leave us, we have as few regrets as possible because we cherished them and took advantage of the time we had with them. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Just One Wish by Janette Rallison

This was a really fun read--I laughed and cried.  Annika is a 17 year old girl who is extremely determined to do everything she can to help her little brother Jeremy who has just been diagnosed with cancer.  I know that doesn't sound very uplifting, but it is, and the lenghts Annika goes to make her little brother's wish come true are hilarious.  I had previously read My Fair Godmother by Janette Rallison, and I really enjoyed that too.  I am thinking I need to check out some more of her books.  After I read this I handed it to my 13 year old daughter and said, "You have got to read this!  You will love it!"  Check this one out! 

Monday, January 10, 2011

My 2010 Reading List

As you might know I made a goal several years ago (like 10 or so?) to read as many books each year as I will have candles on my birthday cake.  Some years I go way over my goal and some years I just barely make it.  This past year I just went a little bit over :)  Hope you find a title that you might like.  I liked all of them with the exception of one or two which I will note.  They are in no particular order, just by when I read them.  So may I suggest. . .

1.  The Runaway Dragon by Kate Coombs--this is the sequel to her The Runaway Princess
2.  Dragon Kiss by E.D. Baker--#7 in the Frog Princess series
3.  The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson *** this was one of my favorites!!!  WWII love story
4.  The Looking Glass War by Frank Beddor--an adult/YA twist on Alice in Wonderland
5.  Seeing Red by Frank Beddor-2nd book in The Looking Glass series
6.  Arch Enemy by Frank Beddor --3rd and final book in The Looking Glass series
7.  Truce by Jim Murphy--about the WWI 1914 Christmas truce, fascinating
8.  Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson--a real eye opener about building schools in the Middle East
9.  The Last Olympian    by Rick Riordan--Percy Jackson #5, loved it!
10.  The Book Thief by Markus Rusak--this was not a favorite.  Language was quite bad.
11.  Christmas Jars Reunion by Jason Wright--not nearly as good as Christmas Jars, but liked it
12.  Once by Morris Gleitzman--WWII Polish Jewish boy and his story, so at times hard to read, sad
13.  Airman by Eoin Colfer--this was good
14.  When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead--this was very interesting and amazing someone thought of it
15.  The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz--a short fantasy read about a fairy that loses her wings
16.  The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck--a classic set in China in 1930's
17.  The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer--more Twilight stuff, bring it on
18.  1776 by David McCullough--amazing, if you haven't read it, please do
19.  The Amaranth Enchantment by Julie Berry
20.  The Princess and the Snowbird by Mette Ivie Harrison
21.  Green Rider by Kristen Britain--clearly one of my favorites this year.  #4 comes out in Feb '11
22.  First Rider's Call by Kristen Britain--2nd in Green Rider series
23.  The High King's Tomb by Kristen Britain--3rd in Green Rider series
24.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett--another favorite
25.  Escaping the Tiger by Laura Manivong--met her this year, and liked her book
26.  Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins--conclusion to The Hunger Games, and I liked it
27.  The Demon King by Cinda Williams Cima--really liked this one
28.  The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova--met her and reviewed this book here, first post
29.  Sarah's Quilt by Nancy E. Turner--2nd in These is my Words series, not as good as first
30.  The Star Garden by Nancy E. Turner--3rd in These is my Words series, better than 2nd
31.  The Wide-Awake Princess by E.D. Baker--cute, reviewed on this blog
32.  Lemon Tart by Josi Kilpack--a culinary mystery with great recipes, reviewed on blog
33.  The Silence of God by Gale Spears--first LDS members in Russia in 1918, reviewed on blog
34.  English Trifle by Josi Kilpack--follows same characters from Lemon Tart fun culinary mystery
35.  The Mansion  by Henry Van Dyke--short, great read, how are we doing building our mansions?
36.  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens--never read before, and really enjoyed the original