Monthly Archives:: February 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

February 28, 2011 Books 7

Reading-on-Monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

I don’t know about you, but I had a fantastic reading weekend!

Yes! I participated in my first Persephone Reading Weekend, reading my very first Persephone. I talked about how great the books are on Saturday, soon (I hope tomorrow!) I will talk about how great the writing was. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day was such a fantastic book! I loooooved it. Loved it, loved it, loved it. Didn’t want it to end. Hugged it at the end. Will definitely read again. And I WILL see the movie! It’s at the top of my Netflix queue!

I also finished The Coffins of Little Hope by Tim Schaffert this week. It’s not out for awhile, so I won’t review it until closer to the release date, but suffice to say, I really enjoyed it. I will definitely be reading more Tim Schaffert.

I finished listening to The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, performed by Nick Podehl. Wow. All I can say is wow! I loved reading the book myself, but the audio. The audio! It takes it to whole ‘nother level! Absolutely amazing. I wish I could play you a clip. I think it may well be one of the best audio productions I’ve ever heard. The way they did the Noise…. Yeah, wow. I know I said I was going to listen to this series straight through, but once I finished I realized I needed to have a break in between. So, I started Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett. Plus, I needed a comfort read. I adore Terry Pratchett and I really really adore the Tiffany Aching series. Stephen Briggs does such a great job reading these books. I especially love how he reads the Nac Mac Feegles! Ach. Crivens.

After I finished Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day yesterday, I started Darkest Mercy, the last in the Wicked Lovely series by Melissa Marr. And I read over half of it in one day. So far, I would say it was a bit slow to get started, I mean, she has a LOT of ground to cover, but I’m so happy to be back with Ashlinn, Seth, Keenan, Donia, Irial, and Niall, that I don’t much care. :)

As for this week, my plans are to start reading In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse with Aarti and maybe (because the Haasse is so huge!) Saplings by Noel Streatfeild, another Persephone. Did I mention I must own all of these? It’s a new life mission.

So? How was your reading week?

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Persephone Reading Weekend

February 26, 2011 Books 10

pettigrew

I never officially signed up for Persephone Reading Weekend, mainly because I wasn’t sure I would have the TIME. But lucky me, I found the time to start my very FIRST Persephone last night! I started Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson last night and I am already 102 pages in! And I could not be more delighted with the book.

It is books like this that remind me what I love so much about reading. Just holding this book is instantly pleasure. It’s the exactly right size for my hand. It is not heavy, it just fits. The typeface is even delightful! It’s old-fashioned, just like in several of the old books I inherited from my grandmother and makes me instantly nostalgic. It is a book like this that reminds me that ebooks (and I do like ebooks, don’t get me wrong) (they just don’t have everything an actually book does) (like the smell) are not as great as really REAL books. Ah, to hold a book in one’s hand…is there anything better?

And the story! The story! It’s utterly charming! Can I say delightful one more time? Because it IS! It IS delightful! I love it! Okay, I’m off to read some more. Proper review later.

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Little Red Riding Hood

February 22, 2011 Book Reviews, Books 11

littleredridinghood

So, I went out this weekend and did my duty. I went into a brick and mortar book store (two actually) and bought a couple of books. My hubby actually went with me and he browsed too! He is notorious for wanting to avoid all book stores like the plague (really, I do not know what is wrong with him) but this weekend he was content to while away the time in the graphic novel/comic section, leaving me alone (I know, right?) to browse. So, it was with much excitement that I spied this book on one of the displays.

It’s no secret that I love fairy tales and that I love graphic novels. Fables is like my favorite series of all time. Little Red Riding Hood is probably my third favorite fairy tale (not far behind Snow White and Bluebeard) (and I really like the older versions of the story more than the Grimm’s, but that’s neither here nor there) (I like most of the older versions better than the Grimm’s versions come to think of it) (I just don’t like how they watered them down and changed them and made them so… negative… towards the females) (but anyway) so there was little doubt in my mind that I had to have this book. Is that cover not gorgeous? Well, let me tell you, the inside is nothing but the same. The story is exactly like what you would expect, so for me, this is all about the art. I have a new favorite artist. Daniel Egnéus is beyond amazing.

I hope Harper Design plans to do more books like these. This is a series of books I would love  to have. Even if it’s with different authors although honestly? I’m not sure anyone could top the beauty Daniel Egnéus brought to this story. I would love to see what he could do with Snow White! So anyway, not much of a review really. I felt the art could sell the book better than I ever could. I highly recommend this little book. I know it will be one I reread over and over again.

Little Red Riding Hood by The Brothers Grimm
Illustrations by Daniel Egnéus

Category: Graphic Novel
Published by: Harper Design
Format: Hardback, 80 pages
On Sale: January 2011
ISBN: 9780062020512

I am a Barnes & Noble Associate and will make a tiny profit if you should buy this book through my links.


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It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

February 21, 2011 Books 6

Reading-on-Monday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

Well. I did my part. I walked into an actually brick and mortar bookstore and bought two books. Actually, I walked into two bookstores and bought three books. One was for my daughter and two were for me. She was absolutely delighted with her Encyclopedia of Animals book and I am wickedly delighted with the two graphic novels I bought. I’ve already read one of them, Little Red Riding Hood by the Brothers Grimm with Illustrations by the amazingly talented Daniel Egnéus. The other book I got was American Vampire by Scott Snyder, Rafael Albuquerque and Stephen King. Yes, that one. It’s set in the 1920s and looks soooo good. The hubby and I will both be reading this one.

As for my reading week, as I said, I read Little Red Riding Hood. I also finished up the AMAZING Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan. Chris challenged me to read it this year (it was one of the 5 he challenged me to read) and it made for my third attempt at reading this book. As you can probably tell by my all-caps adjective of AMAZING, I really loved it this go round. Sometimes the third time really is the charm.

I’m over halfway through the audio production of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness. I love how Nick Podehl describes this as PERFORMED by Nick Podehl at the beginning of the recording because that is exactly what he does. He performs the hell out of this book and it is so. awesome. This may be the best audiobook production I have heard yet. Absolutely fantastic. Maybe even better than reading it. Well…that may be a bit extreme, but it is just so good. If you have ever thought of reading this series, or rereading it, this is a great way to go!

I also started an ebook ARC of The Coffins of Little Hope by Timothy Schaffert on my Nook on Saturday. I have to admit, I was attracted to the title. I’m only about 30 pages in, but so far it’s really good. The protagonist is an octogenarian obituary writing. Can’t get much more off-beat than that, huh? I can’t wait to read more of it.

And don’t forget, I was featured over at Cathy’s blog – Kittling: Books – in her Scene of the Blog feature. Come see my brand new desk, brand new bookshelves, and cozy reading area for some drooling (if I do say so myself).

So, how was your reading week? What goodies did you read last week? What will you be reading this week? Gimme the low-down!

Egnéus

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The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

February 17, 2011 Audio Books, Book Reviews, Books 9

My buddy Andi from Estella’s Revenge has been after me forever to read this book.  This amazing, epic book. She picked it for this quarter’s read over at my and Jen‘s Classic Reads Book Club. Discussion started Monday, so if you’ve read it, you’re not too late! Please come and join us! This discussion is going to be so good.

The word epic was created for this book. Not really, but it could have been. The Good Earth is epic in every sense of the word. The Good Earth tells the story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer and his family as they struggle to survive a peasant life in old China. It begins with Wang Lung looking at his old father saying, “I need a woman,” to him getting said woman, to them having lots of children. In between there are times of plenty, times of famine, births, deaths, and the acquiring of more land, more glorious land!  Wang Lung is obsessed with land! Okay, it’s about a whole lot more, but I don’t want to give too much away.

And the writing. The writing is so beautiful. Witness:

“There was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods…Some time, in some age, bodies of men and women had been buried there, houses had stood there, had fallen, and gone back into the earth. So would also their house, some time, return into the earth, their bodies also. Each had his turn at this earth. They worked on, moving together-together-producing the fruit of this earth.”

and

“Wang Lung sat smoking, thinking of the silver as it had lain upon the table. It had come out of the earth, this silver, out of the earth that he ploughed and turned and spent himself upon. He took his life from the earth; drop by drop by his sweat he wrung food from it and from the food, silver. Each time before this that he had taken the silver out to give to anyone, it had been like taking a piece of his life and giving it to someone carelessly. But not for the first time, such giving was not pain. He saw, not the silver in the alien hand of a merchant in the town; he saw the silver transmuted into something worth even more than life itself – clothes upon the body of his son.”

and

“But Wang Lung thought of his land and pondered this way and that, with the sickened heart of deferred hope, how he could get back to it. He belonged, not to this scum which clung to the walls of a rich man’s house; nor did he belong to the rich man’s house. He belonged to the land and he could not live with any fullness until he felt the land under his feet and followed a plow in the springtime and bore a scythe in his hand at harvest.”

Oh, I could quote the whole book at you. Every word, every sentence, felt so carefully constructed, so lovingly crafted. The main characters were so well written. This book was made for me. Or, rather, I was made for it. Either way you put it, I loved this book. The gardener in me loved the farmer in there. Wang Lung was born into a farming family and he embraced it. To say the land was the blood running through is veins is putting it VERY mildly. I have to say, loving land seems like such a Southern thing to me. That probably sounds narrow-minded, but I grew up hearing things like “Buy land, they won’t make any more of it,” and “Hold on to your land” etc, etc. My grandparents (who raised me) were Irish descendants, so I always assumed it was an Irish thing. Plus, I’ve never read a book set in China where someone was so obsessed with his land. Truthfully, I’ve never read a book where a character was so obsessed with land! I am thrilled to have finally read this book!

Fair warning, we’re probably getting into spoiler territory, but I have to get this off my chest.

The only thing I just couldn’t get over was the treatment of women. Wow, did the Chinese have a low opinion of girls and women. I felt for O-lan. Oh, how I felt for O-lan. Acquired from a great house where she was a kitchen slave, she did not find herself elevated very much upon becoming Wang Lung’s wife. He treated her like a possession. He consistently mistreated her. When she arises from giving birth to their first child, she comes back to the field to help. him. work. And does she get a thank you? No. She gets his silent admiration, which means nothing. He never appreciated her until she was gone. And that made me hate Wang Lung. There were many things I liked about him, but that. That was inexcusable. Makes me glad the revolution happened and I hope the Chinese have improved their attitudes.

Okay, rant over.

I listened to the audio production by Blackstone Audio. Anthony Heald read The Good Earth and did a marvelous job. I have never listened to him read a book before, but I will definitely seek him out in the future. I loved the way he did the old man, Wang Lung’s father. And he was able to feminize his voice for the women, despite having quite a deep voice. All in all, he made it a pleasure to listen to this book.

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Read by: Anthony Heald
Category: Classic
Published by: Blackstone Audio Inc
Format: Audiobook
ISBN: 9781433204081

I am a Barnes & Noble Associate (take THAT Amazon) and will make a very small profit if you buy the book through one of my links, which goes to hosting, giveaways, etc.


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The Scene of the Blog

February 16, 2011 Books 4

scene type 267x200pxl

Hey there! Wanna see where all the magic happens (or doesn’t here lately…)!  Check out Kittling: Books today to see my desk, reading area, and kick ass new bookshelves!

And check it out! I get to use the brand new graphic for Cathy’s awesome feature! It’s so purty! :)

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It's Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

February 14, 2011 Books 7

itsmonday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week? is a weekly event to list the books  finished last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finish this week. It was created by J.Kaye’s Book Blog, but is now being hosted by Sheila from One Person’s Journey Through a World of  Books.!

Ah, what a week that was. Work has gone completely insane. If you wonder why I don’t post so often any more (have you even noticed? lol) it’s because by the time I get home from work I do not want to even SEE a computer. Maybe I should start writing my reviews in longhand like a Luddite. I’d love to be a Luddite some days…

Anyhoo. Reading. I AM reading. I am reading A LOT. I read by twentieth book of the year this past week! I am having such a fantastic reading year so far, I hope it continues. I finished the second Tiffany Aching book, A Hat Full of Sky, by Terry Pratchett. I am so in love with Terry Pratchett’s writing. He’s so funny, so satirical, yet he always manages to throw such a great message in there, in such a sly way…. Fantastic stuff. I highly recommend Mr. Pratchett, especially if you need a laugh out loud read. Which I have needed a lot of here lately.

I also finished The Good Earth by Pearl. S. Buck earlier this week. We begin our online discussion with Andi of Estella’s Revenge today, over at Classic Reads Book Club. Andi is a professor, so this is BOUND to be good. (No pressure Andi!) The Good Earth was absolutely amazing, an epic in every sense of the word and a truly wonderful read. I can’t wait to start discussing.

I read a… short story I guess… by Patrick Ness called The New World on my nook. It’s a prequel to the Chaos Walking trilogy and it got me hankering to reread that whole series. Now that I have all three in audio, I plan to do just that. I started The Knife of Never Letting Go Saturday and I plan to listen to them all straight through. It should be an exhilarating, heartbreaking, and amazing experience. I am also reading Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan on my nook. It is part of my list from Chris, so I was already planning to read it, but the whole bru-ha-ha this week made me move it up a few notches. I have tried to read this book two times previously and I couldn’t get into it, but this time I’m flying through it. It’s just so good! The writing is amazing and that is all I am going to say for the moment. I can totally understand all the controversy and you know the best part? It made me read it. And it will make others read it. Taking off that list may have been the best possible thing for it, at least in the short term. You can’t buy that kind of publicity.

Lastly, watch for me on The Scene of the Blog, over at Kittling: Books on Wednesday!

So, there is my reading week. How was yours?


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Delirium by Lauren Oliver

February 9, 2011 Book Reviews, Books 12

delirium


They say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever. And I’ve always believed them.
Until now.
Now everything has changed. Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

There is this book I’ve been meaning to read for rather a long time. It’s called Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver. Heard of it? I hear it is really good. I’ve even had it out from the library a couple of times, but for some reason, I can’t seem to pick it up. So when Delirium, the newest book coming from Ms. Oliver crossed my path, I dropped everything and read it. And boy howdy, I am so glad I did! And now I need to really get my hands back on (again) Before I Fall, because Ms. Oliver is a fantastic writer.

Delirium has one of those basic concepts that make you slap your forehead because of your own stupidity simply because it’s 1) so brilliant and it’s 2) a “why didn’t I think of that?” idea! Love is a disease. That is the hook. It’s simple, yet ingenious. Love is a disease, called amor deliria nervosa, and in the not so distant future, this disease has been virtually eradicated. It can affect one at any time, but one cannot have the operation for the cure until one’s 18th birthday. 17-year-old Lena has 95 days to go until her own operation and she can’t wait. The disease that killed her mother will not get her. She is committed, determined, ready to go!

That is, until she meets Alex.

Alex is what is called an Invalid – part of a tribe of uncured humans who live on the edges of society. He’s dangerous, mysterious, cute, and he has a freedom unlike anything Lena has ever known. I bet you can guess what happens next. Yes, there are times the narrative gets a little bit predicable, but I found myself not caring in the least. Lena is the kind of character you care for almost immediately. Her emotionally neutered family is the normal for Lena, but alarming to the reader and made me pity Lena instantly. In Lena’s eyes, the lives of her family are perfect. They will never suffer the anxiety, the depression, the insomnia, loss of appetite, all the side-effects of amor deliria nervosa and all things she can do without thankyouverymuch.

Yet the more she falls for Alex, the more she can’t see herself living without him. And the more she watches her family, the more she can’t see herself living like they do. But how will she free herself? And what really happened to her mother?

You’ll have to read it to find out! As you should do! Despite the typical perfection of the male love interest (the way it always seems to go in these YA books) Delirium is a really good book. Lena is a great character. Oliver’s writing is wonderful. The tension surrounding Lena and Alex tightens in such a way as to barely notice it. Oliver takes one on one heck of a ride. And the ending was perfect.

Highly recommended.

Other thoughts:

And DAMN, if I may say so, Lena’s scenes with Alex sizzle, making the novel soar to dizzying heights of emotion.

But it isn’t just romantic love that is so well explored here. Lena has a very close relationship with her best friend Hana that is heart-breakingly real, and we also see snippets of the happy familial love she shared with her mother. – Presenting Lenore

Lena’s transformation from someone who so adamantly opposes the idea of ever loving someone to someone who is head over heals in love, questioning everything she’s been taught, is what makes the book interesting.  Unfortunately for me, it also made it incredibly dull after awhile. After about 200 or so pages of her inner-monologue about whether or not she was doing the right thing, I started to go bonkers! I was thinking, “can we just get this over already?” – There’s A Book


Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Young Adult, Dystopian
Published by: Harper Collins Children’s Books
Format: Hardcover
On Sale: February 1, 2011
ISBN: 9780061726828
Purchase from Barnes & Noble

I am a Barnes & Noble Affiliate and will make a very small profit if you buy a book through one of my links, which goes to hosting, giveaways, etc, for my blog.

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