Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween Special

Product Details
Isn't that a pretty cover?
So horror is not something that I generally like to read. The most intense book I have ever read...well, I'm currently in the process of reading...is Dracula. Because of the new craze on Vampires, I decided I wanted to go back and see how they all began.  And I am loving it so far. It has been written in a series of letters and journal entries which gives Stoker an excellent control over what the reader knows and when it comes to horror when dramatic irony comes into play. I sadly haven't had the time to finish it but the second I do I will let you know the rest of my review.


So what about the rest of you? What is the book you turn toward when it's Halloween? Are you an Edgar Allen Poe fan? Or does Henry James' Turn of the Screw do it for you?

Comment and let me know what your favorite spooky read is I would love to get a head start for next year.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

AAAAANNNNNNDDDD We're done!

Wow, I can't believe that I made it though my first 24 hour read-a-thon. Thanks to all of you cheerleaders for sticking with me...though I have been slightly dozy this last hour.



  1. Which hour was most daunting for you? 23 I was in and out for about half of it
  2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? I think that if I don't bog myself down with the modernism I did for homework I will get a lot more done next time.
  3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year? To tell the truth I must say that the hosts and cheerleaders will all amazing and this was a wonderful experience
  4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? Reading outside on my porch at 3 in the morning was when I got the most stuff done.
  5. How many books did you read? 3.5
  6. What were the names of the books you read? The Choice by Nicholas Sparks, A Passion Redeemed and A Passion Denied - both by Julie Lessman; and Women in Love by D. H. Lawrence
  7. Which book did you enjoy most? The Choice
  8. Which did you enjoy least? Women in Love
  9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? n/a
  10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Oh I will totally be doing this again in April and I will try to get work off so that I can do the whole thing I might even try to host a mini challenge but for sure will be both a reader and a cheerleader.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halfway Through

So part of this read-a-thon are many challenges to keep us sane through these 24 hours. Sadly I am having to do this update from work....silly kids... you don't need to eat on Saturdays! why do you keep coming and ordering food?  Anyway it has finally slowed down enough for me to report.



Mid-Event Survey:
1. What are you reading right now?
I'm switching back and forth between Women in Love by D. H. Larwence and A Passion Redeemed by Julie Lessman.
2. How many books have you read so far?
Sadly just one, this homework assignment (Women in Love) is much slower reading than I would like.
 3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Probably Secret Journal of Brett Colton
4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
My day wasn't able to be freed up so I'm missing out on 4 hours
5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
my housemates have been really understanding so they have left me alone and kept it down. But I did have to come into work so I have never worked faster in my life to get food out to my customers~
6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
I thought it would be much harder but I am really loving it.
7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
At this point I am perfectly content.
8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
Not stay up late the night before.
9. Are you getting tired yet?
Yes
10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
I have several reading spots in my house that I have been switching around. It has helped me keep alert and awake.

My Top Five Books I can't wait to read!

Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)Messenger, TheThe Maid of Fairbourne Hall
Imperial Scandal
A Breath of Eyre (Unbound, #1)One of our lovely challenges for this Read-a-Thon was to find 5 books that you are excited are being published this year. Of these five I have read 4 of the authors...First one who can guess which one hasn't been read by me will get a book from my shelf. I love these authors though and aren't the covers gorgeous.


The 5th Hour

So...I accidentally fell asleep at 10 this morning but considering how late I got to bed last night (not my fault, I work the closing shift at my school cafe) and the fact that I was reading D. H. Laurence...yeah so not my fault. But I have finished my first book of the day:




The Choice by Nicholas Sparks.


Summary from Goodreads:


Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life -- boating, swimming, and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies -- he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Despite his attempts to be neighborly, the appealing redhead seems to have a chip on her shoulder about him...and the presence of her longtime boyfriend doesn't help. Despite himself, Travis can't stop trying to ingratiate himself with his new neighbor, and his persistent efforts lead them both to the doorstep of a journey that neither could have foreseen. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, The Choice ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?




I read it in one sitting because I am participating in a readathon today and well I was expecting it to end just like all of my previous Sparks books ended...with me in tears. It didn't!...does that qualify as a spoiler? I loved it, I loved Gabby's personality and thought that both she and Travis were very well developed.

What I really like was how controlled the narrative was. The author wrote in such a way that he had the readers thinking 5 different things and all of them wrong. It takes a good writer to exercise that amount of control and, despite all of the teasing I received for reading Nicholas Sparks I think that he is a good writer, much better than others I have been reading for fun recently!





I will check in again later to let you know how it is going!

24 Hour Read-a-Thon

In a matter of minutes I will be starting my first read-a-thon. I will be posting updates throughout the day to let you know how I am doing and what I have been reading. If you want to know more about what's up go to:

24hourreadathon.com

Here is a little information about me:

1)Where are you reading from today?
Buena Vista, Virginia

2)Three random facts about me…

I know a plethora of random things which have no use.
I knit.
I am learning French.

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?

5

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?

To catch up on my school reading.

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time?

This is my first time doing it so sorry no advice from me.








It's 4:31 and I have only read about 2 books. I have finished one and am half-way through 2 others. I have some reading I need to catch up for in school and Women in Love isn't exactly a very fast read...oh well I will get through it. I have found myself reading one chapter from that and another from a for-fun novel. I hope that means that I will finish what I have to soon enough. I will have to take off in an hour for work but hopefully it will be a slow night and I can keep reading. 


Ok it's 2:33 in the AM and I have finished 2.5 books, and considering all of my books are crazily over 4 hundred pages I would say that I am doing awesomely...despite some loud roomies...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Misc. Monday - The Blue Enchantress

The Blue Enchantress
By: M. L. Tyndall

Genre: Christian Romance
Rating: 3 stars

Summary:
After sacrificing everything to follow what she thought was love, Hope finds her freedom and life in jeopardy with Nathaniel Mason as her last resort.

Nathaniel Mason wants nothing to do with the girl who had scorned him and yet finds himself selling his ship in order to save the girl that he begrudgingly loves.

Now all that is left to do is get home in one piece...and with hurricanes, pirates and a bitter lord in their way that is far easier said than done.

I have really been into the escapism lately and this works ok in that department. It follows the rules of the chick-lit genre to the letter along with obeying the rules of Christian Romance. There is the "I-can't-love-them" followed with "we're-in-love" followed by "tragic miscommunication." Truth be told I probably won't remember this one in a few months. Don't get me wrong it works perfectly for it's genre. It just isn't that memorable.

The side characters held more appeal to me than did the leads so if you do read this, read it for the supporting actors not the leading lady.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Just For Fun Friday - Wings of a Dream

Wings of a Dream
by: Anne Mateer


Genre:Historical Christian Romance
Rating: 4 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:

Rebekah Hendricks dreams of a life far beyond her family's farm in Oklahoma, and when dashing aviator Arthur Samson promised adventure in the big city, she is quick to believe he's the man she's meant to marry. While she waits for the Great War to end and Arthur to return to her so they can pursue all their plans, her mother's sister falls ill. Rebekah seizes the opportunity to travel to Texas to care for Aunt Adabelle, seeing this chance to be closer to Arthur's training camp as God's approval of her plans.
But the Spanish flue epidemic changes everything. Faced with her aunt's death, Arthur's indecisiveness, and four children who have no one else to care for them, Rebeka is torn between the desire to escape the type of life she's always led and the unexpected love that just might change the dream of her heart.

This is by far my favorite Christian fiction that I read this school year. If I am going to like the book I am going to really have to like the leading lady and Rebekah is likable. She is hard working and willing to go out and get what she wants instead of sitting at home complaining that life isn't going her way.  She has a smart head on her shoulders and a strong and tender spirit to match it. She was well rounded and developed nicely throughout the book instead of the sudden change at the end which generally isn't entirely believable

This book didn't really focus on the romantic aspect so much as how much love Rebekah has for the children who she looks after. I believe that's what set this book apart from all of the others of this kind that I read this year.  The pace was gentle - I wasn't racing along but it didn't plod either, and it was a new era. The Spanish Flu is something that can be overshadowed by WWI and so it was nice to get an idea of how people might have lived with it.

Only 1 problem with it, and I may just be too picky but I feel like the editors should have caught this. The Great War wasn't called World War I until much later...until after WWII. So that phrase should never have been in there. That's pretty much the only thing that bothered me when I was reading.

Great read if you want to catch something on WWI and the Spanish Flu epidemic without too much gushy stuff.


Thank you very much Bethany House Publishing for providing this book for review.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Struck Down

I was hit with a huge wave of the flu this weekend and am only beginning to recover, no posts for now...Sorry.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Historical - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
by: Jamie Ford


Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
 Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle's Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.

This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry's world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While "scholarshipping" at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship - and innocent love - that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.

Forty years later, Henry Lee is certain that the parasol belonged to Keiko. In the hotel's dark dusty basement he begins looking for signs of the Okabe family's belongings and for a long-lost object whose value he cannot begin to measure. Now a widower, Henry is still trying to find his voice - words that might explain the actions of his nationalistic father; words that might bridge the gap between him and his modern, Chinese American son; words that might help him confront the choices he made many years ago. 



This was one of my favorite reads of the summer. I found  Keiko and Henry some very endearing characters. This book was also eye-opening for me because I had no idea that this was going on during WWII. Yet he presented the facts and the story without any true political bias which was quite refreshing for a historical novel.
The language was beautiful, which was a nice break after all of the fluff I read this summer, and the story well developed. The only thing that is keeping me from giving it a 5 was because the internet wasn't used the way it was during the 1980 portion of the novel.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Bill Of Rights

Did you know readers have a bill of rights? It's true. A man named Daniel Pennec came up with  ten unalienable rights which no one can refute.
They are:
1. The Right to NOT Read.
     As an avid Reader there are times when I just need a break and spend two weeks  so just goofing off and watching tv shows that I need to catch up on and simply not picking up a book. And that's fine. You are allowed to take time off from your favorite hobby.


2.The Right to Skip Pages.
     I try not to do this but there are just times when an author just doesn't know when to stop describing or when something just seems to be taking too long as a Reader you have a right to skip ahead until you get back to the story.


3. The Right to Not Finish.
     There are books you just have to put down early. With so much material out there you need the right to stop reading a mediocre novel when you want to move on to a great one.


4. The Right to Reread.
     This might be the most important one for me. I have books that I go back to at least once a year, sometimes even more. The story is just something which I need to get back to. I don't need to feel guilty about it because it is a good book.


5. The Right to Read Anything.
     No one should judge you for the genre you are reading. I read sci-fi and I am proud of it. I read christian romance and I don't hide it. (well maybe that one a little bit) But it is my right to read whatever I want.


6. The Right to Escapism.
     Everyone has those days..or weeks..or months...or semesters...when they need to get away for a little bit, escape into a thrilling story of adventure, or a novel of people with problems bigger than yours. It is your right as a Reader! Exercise it.


7. The Right to Read Anywhere.
     Now granted some places are better than others, (sorry for reading in class professor...it was just a REALLY good part) but generally I haven't found a place yet where you are in no way allowed to sit down and read. I would also like to add this means that you can read anywhere WITHOUT DISTURBANCE. That's the hardest part of reading in public, people will always come up and ask what you are reading.


8. The Right to Browse.
     Browsing just might be my favorite thing to do in a library. This is why my trips there take so long. I go in for just one book but then other titles and covers just talk to me and before I know it I am leaving with 10 or more books in my arms. Take the time to browse, you will meet friends that belong in your life. 


9. The Right to Read Out Loud.
     This may just been me but I have come across a few books that are just meant to be read out loud. They have to be, there is just something about the language which is begging to be heard. Feel free to read it. Others will understand and other Readers will look at you and smile.


10. The Right Not to Defend Your Tastes.
     Reading is a very personal matter. And just because my tastes clash with yours doesn't mean that you have to defend what you want to read to me. Read what you want and don't apologize about it. It is what makes you happy and no one should attack that in the first place.


Well there you have it. The 10 basic rights of a Reader. I capitalize "Reader" because there are readers - those who read occasionally, and then there are Readers. Readers are those who are always on the search for the next thing, who know their local library or bookstore like the back of their hand and most likely have their library card number memorized. They have a feeling for the words which others miss out on. So which are you? 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Classic Tuesday - Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre
by: Charlotte Bronte


Genre: Classic
Rating 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Having grown up an orphan in the home of her cruel aunt and at a harsh charity school, Jane Eyre becomes an independent and spirited survivor-qualities that serve her well as governess at Thornfield Hall. But when she finds love with her sardonic employer, Rochester, the discovery of his terrible secret forces her to make a choice. Should she stay with him whatever the consequences or follow her convictions, even if it means leaving her beloved?


Isn't that the coolest cover you have ever seen? I really love this series that Penguin is producing.


And while you are judging this marvelous cover I shall talk about my impressions of the story. I have heard that you either really love the novel or you really hate it. I am happy to say that I defy this saying...I..um..didn't really love it or hate it. 


I loved the language of the story, the Bronte girls really know how to write. I just wasn't impressed with Rochester. He was too gushy for me. I had just finished my Austen course and was used to all of the gushy parts were glossed over so that may have contributed to it. But I was swept up in the novel's story and Jane herself. I am still trying to figure out how she forgave her aunt, I don't think that I could have in her situation. 


Read it, it is something that should be read - very good book for a winter day with a blanket and cocoa.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Misc. Monday - Hannah's Journey

Hannah's Journey
by Anna Schmidt


Genre: Christian Romance
Rating: 3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
In 1928 a young fatherless Amish boy from Florida runs away with the circus. His mother, Hannah, meets the owner of the circus, Levi, and pleads with him to help her find her son. This leads to a journey with her father-in-law and sister-in-law on a train to Wisconsin. Will she find love again and will Levi's past become a part of his present?
This is a quick read. It is interesting to learn about how a circus traveled in the 1920's. The best theme of the novel is how Amish traditions of family and faith comforts and challenges people to do the right thing. 



If you can't tell, my summer was spent reading as much fluff as I could cram in. I spend my semesters working my way through Homer, Milton, Dante and Hume, so I feel like I should give my brain a bit of a rest from all of the heavy reading I am forcing upon it. (Currently it's Joyce and Plato with some other textbooks scattered in there as well.)  This one was just as fluffy as others. I promise that I am running out of the fluff and hopefully by this time next month I will just be reviewing materials with a little more substance. 


This was a plot line that required some serious emotional investment into the characters in order to enjoy the plot. Sadly the character who I liked the most was on of the sub-plot people who really didn't do anything throughout the story. The Amish plight put in here wasn't nearly as well done as in others I have read and well Hannah and Levi just weren't cutting it for me. 


I did like the circus aspect, not something I have read about for a very long time...if ever...now that I think about it this was my first circus read though there are plenty out there I am sure. That part intrigued me and is what helped save the story from being too straight-forward of a love story. Overall, you can pass on this one, there is better Amish fiction out there if that is what you are looking for.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

School is much harder than it looks...

So, once again I am apologizing for not posting anything for over a week. Did you notice? Do you miss me? If you said yes to either of these questions, thanks and I shall try to be better - probably not perfect, but at least better.

I have several excuses for as to why I haven't posted anything (midterms, school's internet out, lack of sleep) but really you don't want to hear that, if you are here you want to see what books I believe are worth reading and worth skipping.  So I will cut this short and just say I'm sorry and hope your reading endeavors are going better than mine.

Buried Secrets

Buried Secrets By: Rachel Good Genre: Christian Fiction Rating: 4 stars Summary: Three years after the accident that almost claimed he...