Friday, December 30, 2011

Just for Fun Friday- Entwined

EntwinedEntwined
by: Heather Dixon
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling
Rating: 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:
Azalea is trapped. Just when she should feel that everything is before her . . . beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing . . . it's taken away. All of it.
The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. And so he extends an invitation.
Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest.
But there is a cost.
The Keeper likes to keep things.
Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late.

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. Well you can in this case, the cover design is phenomenal and the story is just as good. 

I cannot get over how wonderfully done this book is. Not only the magic and adventure, but also the family relationships. The King broke my heart when I saw how hard he was trying to be a dad, he just didn't know how. Also, as a person with many siblings, I loved how different Dixon allowed each of her girls to be. Each had their own trait and none of them were entirely cookie-cutter characters. It is hard to make 12 sisters not only be different, but each add their own part to the story.

Now what would a fairy tale be without Prince Charming? Well this one had 3 and they couldn't be more different. There was one for each of the oldest, one so serious that he almost couldn't be taken seriously, one so outrageous (especially his last name), and one who might not live up to his name in the end. Each of the oldest girls love stories is unique, precious and wonderful.

I loved the writing style, the characters, the magic, THE ENDING, so much! I am pretty sure that I am going to go out and buy this to add to my collection, probably tomorrow.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Historical Thursday - Pirate of My Heart

Pirate of My Heart: A NovelPirate of My Heart
By: Jamie Carie
Genre: Christian Romance
Rating 3.5 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.


My Thoughts:

I liked this book. It fits in the mold of its genre perfectly as a wonderfully, almost predictable Christian Romance. Placed in both England and America close after the American Revolution it was a nice setting for it. 


Kendra was good, strong and not entirely prone to fainting. She does what she can to save herself when the need arises but also is willing to accept the help of others. Her faith seemed sincere not constrained which is always a plus.
Dorian was a pretty standard hero with a tragic past and wonderful family. I loved the descriptions of his family and all of their interactions; they seemed exactly what a family ought to be and were a wonderful addition to the plot.


I do wish that there had been some follow up with the antagonists of the story. They seemed to just sort of fade to the background. They were a couple of loose ends that I would have liked to see tied up. 
Overall I liked the plot, the setting and the characters. It was a very fun read. Many thanks to B&H Publishing for letting me read this book for review.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

YA Wednesday - Amulet of Samarkand

The Amulet of Samarkand (Bartimaeus, #1)Amulet of Samarkand
by: Jonathan Stroud
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5 stars


Summary:
After being humiliated by a magician, apprentice Nathaniel vows to wreak his revenge. To help him do this he summons Bartimaeus, a djinni to steal the precious Amulet of Samarkand. But this turns out to be more dangerous than Nathaniel planned on and he is whipped into a world of magic, espionage and rebellion.


Told from the point of view of both master and servant this is a wonderful book from Jonathan Stroud.


Oh my goodness! This book was simply amazing. I am very glad I got to finish off my year by reading something so wonderfully done. Part of me is beginning to think that British novelists are really the best ones out there. They certainly seem to beat Americans on almost every literary front (except the short story, we rock at writing those).


I didn't think I would find anything on the same plane as Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrel anytime soon but this blew me away. Bartimaeus is one of the most entertaining characters I have ever read and one whom I would be very happy to meet someday (as long as you know, he didn't hurt me or anything.) Also I love the new world which has been created by Stroud - the magic, the demons, this new government. I am so excited to read the next books in the series, I will probably just hunt them down tomorrow.

So details as to why I loved it:
I love books that are done with a first person narrative, as long as the author knows what they are doing. Well Bartimaeus tells his parts of the story, with wonderful footnotes at the bottom and I love footnotes at the bottom! The plot itself was wonderfully managed leaving us with enough knowledge to feel satisfied but wanting to read quickly so we could see what happens next.



I must say though that Bartimaeus really is the best part of the book, he deals with a messenger imp so nicely and is so creative in his revenges, and part of me feels that he is more powerful than he has let on to us, the readers.


I am excited to see how he will continue his story.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Misc. Monday - Year of Wonders

Year of WondersYear of Wonders
By: Geraldine Brooks
Genre: Historical Fiction,
Rating: 3.5 stars

Summary:
In 1666 a little town outside of London finds itself dealing with the Plague. Anna Firth finds herself without a family and becoming the healer and helper to those around her. As the year, and death toll, progress she is the voice of reason which tries to keep her village from losing absolutely everything.

I would like to say, that had it not been for the last 20 or so pages this would have deserved 5 stars. It is written beautifully, all of the characters are well developed and there is a vivid recreation of humanity as a whole which is typically hard to capture.

Brooks did a marvelous job in showing how the human condition can sink when faced with extreme difficulty. The research which was put into it, not only into the plague itself but also into how different people dealt with it and the many challenges the village as a whole faced was marvelous to read. The novel was both of historical and psychological dealings which is what made it so well done.

Seeing how different families dealt with the grief of losing everyone, some turning to alcohol, others preying on the panic of their fellows, some simply shutting down completely, illustrated a great diversity in humanity which I loved reading about.

Anna too was a character who was real and honest. She didn't come across as this great super-heroine. She was merely a person who was doing her best to get through each day no matter what it had in store for her. There were some episodes which showed how she too suffered from human frailty and wasn't some paragon of virtue and fortitude.

Had it ended with a nice scene at the official end of the plague in the town I would have been not only satisfied but I would have had to buy the book for my permanent collection.

But it didn't. It was all set up to, it could easily have done that...but she just kept on writing. It went south as the writer put in the seemingly mandatory romance which detracted rather than added to the novel. Had that 6 or so pages not been there, this would have been one of the top 5 books I read this year.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fluffy Friday - Belonging

Belonging (Where The Heart Lives)Belonging 
By: Robin Lee Hatcher
Genre: Historical fiction
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
In the high desert town of Frenchman's Bluff, Idaho, Felicia Kristoffersen has set out to create a future for herself that is better than her painful past. Alone in the world with only her faith to sustain her, she must prove herself as this tiny community's new school teacher. She cannot, must not, fail. But, there are those who never wanted her there to begin with. 

Five years after the death of his wife, local merchant Colin Murphy cares about just one thing: raising his daughter, Charity. Colin wants to give her the educational advantages he never had. The new schoolmarm's inexperience doesn't sit well with him, and if this teacher up and marries like the last one did, Charity's heart will be broken once again. 



Felicia was a nice main character, she had the elements of personality which I find mandatory to have in a teacher. She cared about her students and wanted them to life up to their full potential and knew that there was more to teaching than memorization. Collin Murphy was a great leading male as well. Of the supporting characters I really like Charity, Collin's 9-year-old daughter. Children are very risky things to make main characters in an adult novel. Either they are made too mature or immature for their age. Here though I think that Hatcher did a very nice job keeping Charity at the age she was supposed to be.


The only changes or additions which I would have made to this novel would have been a follow up on the Rolf Kristofferson plot line. I thought it was mentioned enough times that it would have been more involved in the later part of the novel rather than just disappearing. **HUGE spoiler** (highlight to see) It would have been nice to know how they would have reacted to her marriage, since they had been so wanting her to marry Rolf. **spoiler done**
Overall I thought it was a very nice read and am planning on reading a lot more from this author.



Many thanks to Zondervan for giving me a copy for review!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Historical Thursday - Captive Trail

Captive Trail (The Texas Trail Series)Captive Trail 
by: Susan Paige Davis
Genre: Historical Christian Fiction
Rating: 3.5 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family's teepee. The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.

On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station. They come across a woman who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu is Billie Morgan. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas, and the two end up defending the mission station. 

Through Taabe (Billie) and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.



This is the second book a series (I already reviewed the first) but works very well as a stand alone novel. It is nice to see characters from the last one come into play but if you haven't read it you won't be confused.

I have a thing for Indian captive books, I always have though generally it has been during the French and Indian War so this was a nice change of pace. Also this was less about the capture and more about re-acclimating into society after being gone for 12 years. 
I really liked how Davis tried to show the confusion at concepts which seem very basic to those of us who have grown up in "civilized" society. I also loved the side character of Quinta. She is a little 9 year old girl who comes to live with the sisters for a proper education. She is a spitfire and can hold her own in almost every situation that is thrown at her. 
The only thing that I wish could have got from this novel is more background on Ned. First of all, what caused his initial aversion to nuns? And religion in general? I think a little more back story on him would have been an nice addition.
Overall, I liked this book and most likely will read the next one in the series.

Many thanks to Moody publishing for giving me this book for review.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Misc. Monday - Dragonhaven

DragonhavenDragonhaven
By: Robin McKinley
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 2 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Jake Mendoza lives at the Makepeace Institute of Integrated Dragon Studies in Smokehill National Park. Smokehill is home to about two hundred of the few remaining draco australiensis, which is extinct in the wild. Keeping a preserve for dragons is controversial: detractors say dragons are extremely dangerous and unjustifiably expensive to keep and should be destroyed. Environmentalists and friends say there are no records of them eating humans and they are a unique example of specialist evolution and must be protected. But they are up to eighty feet long and breathe fire.
On his first overnight solo trek, Jake finds a dragon dying next to the human she killed. Jake realizes this news could destroy Smokehill— even though the dead man is clearly a poacher who had attacked the dragon first, that fact will be lost in the outcry against dragons.
But then Jake is struck by something more urgent —he sees that the dragon has just given birth, and one of the babies is still alive. 
I was so disappointed. McKinley is a total hit or miss author. I like some I hate some. This was one I thought  I was going to like....sadly I was mistaken.
The writing style was simply too confusing to decipher. Parentheses all over the place, tangents mid-sentence, overall confusing language. Was she trying to do stream of consciousness? I can't tell, if she was she failed. I am really disappointed too because I have liked a couple other of McKinley's works - Beauty might be one of my favorite books of all time. I really thought that authors were supposed to grow and mature as they continued to work. Sadly that is not the case with this novel. And the premise was SOOO cool too, it's been done (think Jane Yolen or Anne McCaffery) but still it would have been cool with this new twist of modern day.
Also I didn't like her obvious politics, it could be because I am more right wing in my thinking but it just galled me to no-end how evil the corporations are and how the government is against everybody. I understand the problems of most things getting funding, but don't mention it every other sentence please.

Pass on this it will only leave you frustrated.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Fluffy Friday - A Vision of Lucy

A Vision of Lucy (A Rocky Creek Romance)A Vision of Lucy
by: Margaret Brownley
Genre: Historical(ish) Fiction
Rating 4 Stars


Summary from Goodreads:

Lucy Fairbanks dreams of working as a photographer at the Rocky Creek newspaper. Her deepest hope is that her father will see her as an artist, the way he thought of her deceased mother, whose paintings still hang on their walls. But disaster follows Lucy on every photo assignment: a mess of petticoats and ribbons, an accidental shooting, even a fire.When Lucy meets David Wolf-a rugged, reclusive man who lives on the outskirts of town-she thinks she can catch the attention of the town with his photograph. She doesn't count on her feelings stirring whenever she's near him. Two things happen next that forever change the course of Lucy's life. But will these events draw her closer to God or push her further away? And how will David accept this new vision of Lucy?
I didn't know that this was the third book in the series, it does a very good job as a stand alone. I was left somewhat confused as to which character was who in the beginning but when you jump in half-way that is to be expected. 
I thought it was fun and fresh and I could totally relate to all of the scrapes which Lucy found herself in because, Well, I have been known to set the occasional fire and other such mishaps. And how she babbles on and on when she is nervous...that is something that I am really trying to get over. Anyway, what I am trying to say besides revealing way too much personal stuff, is that Lucy was likable and easy to relate to. 
I really liked the quotes which began each chapter and thought that this author had a wonderfully fresh perspective.  The bad guy totally comes out of the blue - a rare thing when you read as much as I do - and was still plausible.
Well done Margaret, and many thanks to Thomas Nelson for giving me this book for review.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Historical Thrusday - Lone Star Trail

Lone Star Trail (The Texas Trail Series)Lone Star Trail
by: Darlene Franklin
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: 3 stars


Summary From Goodreads:
Judson (Jud) Morgan's father died for Texas freedom during the war for independence. So when the Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas (the Verein) attempts to colonize a New Germany in his country, he takes a stand against them. 

After Wande Fleischer's fiance marries someone else, the young fraulein determines to make new life for herself in Texas. With the help of Jud's sister Marion, Wande learns English and becomes a trusted friend to the entire Morgan family. As much as Jud dislikes the German invasion, he can't help admiring Wande. She is sweet and cheerful as she serves the Lord and all those around her. 

I like reading about new parts of history, I had no idea that the Germans started immigrating to Texas and it was fun to learn about that and the new German words as well, I have been developing an interest in that language and so this was really fun to read. 

I liked Jud, I could understand why he angry about the Germans coming in and seemingly taking over what he deemed to be his his land, I also liked how he was hard working and down to earth. 
Wande, (I still don't entirely know how to pronounce that name) was wonderful, though somewhat one dimensional. She was strong happy and seemed to learn english at an alarming rate.
Overall I thought it was a cute fresh setting on an old plot. It was a wonderful way to relax and get away from the terrors that are finals.  


Thanks to Moody Publishing for letting me read this book for review.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

YA Wed - The Merchant's Daughter

The Merchant's Daughter
by: Melanie Dickerson


Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Annabel, once the daughter of a wealthy merchant, is trapped in indentured servitude to Lord Ranulf, a recluse who is rumored to be both terrifying and beastly. Her circumstances are made even worse by the proximity of Lord Ranulf's bailiff---a revolting man who has made unwelcome advances on Annabel in the past.Believing that life in a nunnery is the best way to escape the escalation of the bailiff's vile behavior and to preserve the faith that sustains her, Annabel is surprised to discover a sense of security and joy in her encounters with Lord Ranulf. As Annabel struggles to confront her feelings, she is involved in a situation that could place Ranulf in grave danger. Ranulf's future, and possibly his heart, may rest in her hands, and Annabel must decide whether to follow the plans she has cherished or the calling God has placed on her heart.


I really liked the premise for this novel. It was a nice take on the Beauty and the Beast story which happens to be my favorite fairy tale. I also liked the setting with the feudal system in place and the middle class it provided. Yet I feel like it felt short of what it could have been.



I did like Annabel. She managed to be pious without being overbearing, that is a delicate balance which Christian writers everywhere struggle and Dickerson, I feel, did a good job with her. Not so for Ranulf however. He was too dramatic for my taste. And Annabel's family was completely one dimensional - and it was a dimension that I didn't like at all. All characters should have some depth to them I believe and her family was entirely flat.  


Many thanks to  Zondervan for giving me a book for reviewing purposes.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Misc. Monday - Pearl in the Sand

Pearl in the Sand: A Novel Pearl in the Sand
by Tessa Afshar
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
Can a Canaanite harlot who has made her livelihood by looking desirable to men make a fitting wife for one of the leaders of Israel' Shockingly, the Bible's answer is yes.   Pearl in the Sand tells Rahab's untold story. Rahab lives in a wall; her house is built into the defensive walls of the City of Jericho. Other walls surround her as well-walls of fear, rejection, unworthiness. A woman with a wrecked past; a man of success, of faith - of pride; a marriage only God would conceive!  Through the heartaches of a stormy relationship, Rahab and Salmone learn the true source of one another's worth and find healing in God.


I really liked this one. I thought it was well researched, well written and covered some difficult issues with aplomb. While fictional, I would like to think that this was Rahab's back story. Also I have been reading a lot of books that just end at the wedding. I like that this went beyond that to show that marriage is hard. The wedding isn't the goal, making the marriage work despite what obstacles come your way. 

The writing style was nice, nothing brilliant, it was the content that made this book for me. This one was more overtly religious than what I have been reading recently, but as it is an actual retelling of a bible story, I see no real fault in that. 

This is one that I would pass on to my friends if I had a hard copy of the book rather than an e-book.

Many thanks to Moody Publishers for giving me a copy for review!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Classic Tuesday: To the Lighthouse

To the LighthouseTo The Lighthouse
by: Virginia Woolf
Genre: Modernist, Classic
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Summary:
The lives of the Ramsay family are followed at their summer home which over looks a lighthouse.

Short summary I know, but you don't really read modernist literature for the plot. You read it for the words and for the ideas which they evoke.

I don't like modernism as a general rule, my modernist class this year is trying to change that, but unless you're Conrad, you don't really stand much chance.

So with that in mind that's why I have refrained from giving it a superb rating.

There are passages in the novel which are truly stunning, especially in the third portion of the book. Woolf has a wonderful way with words about her. The thing about the book that clung to me the most is the idea of identity.

Identity is what other people label our souls.

Mrs. Ramsay, for instance, is labeled: wife, mother, hostess, daughter. None of these are labels which she has given herself. When she is in those moments of alone she faces this blackness which is really what we are without the identity which others have given us.

I liked this one and if you are looking for a slower read (really emphasize "slower") which has some pretty deep currents this one will work perfectly.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Fluffy friday: To Win Her Heart

To Win Her HeartTo Win Her Heart
by: Karen Witemeyer
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4 Stars

Summary From Goodreads:

Having completed his sentence for the unintentional crime that derailed his youthful plans for fame and fortune, Levi Grant looks to start over in the town of Spencer, Texas. Spencer needs a blacksmith, a trade he learned at his father's knee, and he needs a place where no one knows his past. But small towns leave little room for secrets...
Eden Spencer has sworn off men, choosing instead to devote her time to the lending library she runs. When a mountain-sized stranger walks through her door and asks to borrow a book, she steels herself against the attraction he provokes. His halting speech and hesitant manner leave her doubting his intelligence. Yet as the mysteries of the town's new blacksmith unfold, Eden discovers hidden depths in him that tempt her heart.
Karen Witemeyer is one of my favorite authors and once again she comes through. She is perhaps one of the most balanced Christian novelists I have come across, she has neither too much Christian stuff in there that I feel like I am being preached at, but there is enough for it to definitely be a Christian read. Levi is one of my favorite romantic heroes, with bulging biceps and a massive vocabulary what's there not to love...oh that's right...his murderous past. This has many great ties to the parable of the Prodigal Son and I couldn't put it down.
I really liked Eden, she was spunky, confident, not worried about Prince Charming, and she had her own library - what is there not to like? Not only did she start out great, but she also was allowed to grow throughout the story.
This was wonderfully written, the story woven very nicely, I found the conflict plausible (in historical romances that has been a very rare thing for me) and both leads well rounded and I liked the secondary characters as well. One that I might buy to have for my collection


Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Wedding Invitation

A Wedding Invitation A Wedding Invitation
By: Alice J. Wisler
Genre: Chick Lit
Rating: 2 stars


Summary from Goodreads:
After returning home from teaching English at a refugee camp in the Philippines, Samantha Bravencourt enjoys her quiet life working at her mother's clothing boutique in Falls Church, Virginia. When she receives an invitation to a wedding in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, she looks forward to reconnecting with her college friend. Instead her life collides with Carson, a fellow teacher and the man who broke her heart, and a young Amerasian refugee named Lien who needs Samantha and Carson's help to find her mother before Lien's own wedding. When the search for Lien's mother reveals surprising secrets from the past, Samantha must reevaluate her own memories and decide whether to continue to play it safe or take a risk that could change her life.
Sounds pretty good doesn't it? I thought that this would be a very interesting premise, something fresh that I have never come across before...oh I was so wrong

This was one of the most confusing writing styles I have ever read. The fact that it was in present tense didn't really phase me but the thought process of the main character along with the general plot of the story wasn't really plausible for me.

I didn't understand a lot of her reasoning - why one guy was better simply because he was physically attractive in the 80's. They romantic point of the plot was a joke. I could in no way believe that the two characters would really get together. They were static. No growth in anyone's personality and overall I was left extremely dissatisfied.

Were it not for Dovie I wouldn't even have finished the book. Dovie reminded me of the crazy aunt that every one is supposed to have in their life. I loved her and her house and wouldn't mind being her one day.

Pass on this one. I was left confused and not caring about the characters at all.

Many Thanks to Bethany House Publishing for giving me this book for review.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Misc. Monday - Lonestar Angel

Lonestar Angel (Lonestar Series, #4)Lonestar Angel
by: Coleen Coble

Genre: Christian, Suspense
Rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Years ago Eden and Clay Larson's baby was stolen. Kidnappers demanded a ransom, but something went horribly wrong at the exchange: the kidnapper's car crashed into the river and was never recovered. Eden blamed herself, Clay lost himself in work. Their young and rocky marriage ended. Or so Eden thought.
Now she's met Kent. He's everything Clay wasn't: funny, stable, and eager to please her. Just as he's about to propose marriage at a romantic dinner, Clay arrives and tells Eden she can't marry Kent. She's still married to him. He never signed the divorce decree. Even more earth-shattering than this news is that he's never stopped looking for Brianna. Based on a tip, he thinks their daughter is in Bluebird, Texas, at a youth ranch. All five little girls there are the right age, but he's not sure which is Brianna.
To discover the truth, the couple becomes counselors to the girls at Bluebird Ranch. They move into small quarters in the bunkhouse and oversee the kids as they try to find out more. As they work together, their love for the children grows and their love for each other is rekindled.
Many thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing for giving me this book for review. 
I usually put that at the bottom but I put it first to explain why I am beginning a series at the end. I don't normally read suspense. I am more of a happy kind of person and want my stories to be that way too, despite this fact, this book was one that I really liked. Coble did an excellent job of not only developing the characters of the Eden and Clay but of the little girls who they take care of on the ranch. I find that most authors have difficulty with accurately portraying the personalities of children but these were very well done.
The suspense builds nicely and at the climax you get hit by something that you might of suspected but didn't necessarily see coming. I was pleased with the story and didn't feel like it was a waste of time.
I will most likely go back to read the rest of the series and other books by this author.

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!

Buried Secrets

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