Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Monday, September 29, 2008

September Short Story Challenge

Hey - read 4 short stories for the challenge this month - One was from Strange Highways by Dean Koontz - It was called "The Black Pumpkin". Normal scary story - kid meets creepy guy at pumpkin patch carving pumpkins (you get what you give) - brother buys creepy pumpkin - family gets killed by creepy pumpkin come to life. Very predictable story but fun for this time of year.

Also read 3 by Margo Lanagan out of Red Spikes. Couldn't really get into more than this from her. "Baby Jane" was probably the most fun to read of the three. Small army men like toys come to life - a queen, a servant and a bear. Queen is in labor - boy helps deliver baby. Queen gives him baby to take care of while they go back to fight creatures from boys nightmares.. Then there was "Monkey's Paternoster" - couldn't decide whether this was really supposed to be about monkey's or not - Leader of the pack was dying and there was a struggle for who was going to be the new leader (or bachelor) - just a weird read. The last one was "A Good Heart" which was just a sad story. Boy meets girl - Girl weds another - somewhere inbetween has a baby and either it dies, or she lets it die in woods - Boy discovers secret and keeps it because he loves her so.

Well, that is probably all of the short stories that I will be able to read for the month!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Magician's Assistant

Read this book for the book a month yahoo group - didn't really care for it. It was the style it was written in (no chapters) more than the content that I didn't care for. I can't read for long periods of time, so without chapters, hard to find a beginning and an end. The content was ok - started to pick up about 2/3rds of the way through, but by that time I had already decided that I didn't really like it..2/5

Water For Elephants

Loved this book! It was a very quick read, or maybe it was just that I couldn't put it down! Told in flashbacks by a 90 (or was it 93) year old man living in an assisted living home. Involves many circus "characters" and an elephant named Rosie. From the first page, the first remembrance - I was hooked. Highly recommend!5/5

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This is the 5th book in the Harry Potter series, and for me it has been the best (but longest to get through) so far. Harry starts his fifth year at Hogwarts after being attacked by dementors near his home, and finding out about a new Order of which his Godfather, Sirius, is a member. I started out reading this book, and changed to listening to it when I needed something for a long car trip. I even sucked my husband into the story. Somewhere about 2/3 of the way into the book, I caught the last half of the movie on cable - Wow - talk about not following the book at all! I believe that the book is MUCH better than the movie. The book was able to tie together the first 5 years at Hogwarts and sort of give us a direction in which to expect the last 2 books to take. The movie left me feeling very vague as to anything that had been happening. I definitely recommend this book and cannot wait to start the next one! 5/5

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

A Thousand Splendid Suns

The history of Afghanistan is marked by death and loss and unimaginable grief. And, yet, Laila sees that people find a way to survive, to go on. Ultimately, this is more than a story of survival in the face of what seem to be insurmountable odds. It is a story of the unconquerable spirit of a people and individuals seen through the eyes of two indomitable women. A Thousand Splendid Suns is a must read for those who wish to understand the modern history (1964 - 2003) of Afghanistan, which is told eloquently through the eyes of Laila and Mariam. (From About.com ContemporaryLit)

I have not yet read A Kite Runner, so I did not know what to expect going into this book. It has made me watch the news with a whole new perspective. I know that this was not a true story, but it is very easy to believe that this could and does happen. The characters of Laila and Mariam, while very strong apart, were even stronger together. The way the author wove them into each other was amazing. I went through many emotions reading this book, but two stood out for me - Sorrow and Hope. 5/5

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

I read this book originally for the Daring Book for Girls challenge, but have since added it to the Book Awards Challenge. It won the Newberry Award in 1968. I remember reading this book as a young girl and it quickly became one of my favorites. I even tried to get my own daughter to read it a few years ago, but no luck. She is not the reader that I was...(too much technology these days, I think).

This story is about a sister and brother who run away due to the "injustice of everything.." They stay at the Metropolitan Museum of Arts in New York City. During their adventure they discover that many things are still important no matter where you are living (like enjoying clean underwear! - and having enough to eat). Claudia, the sister, does not want to return home until she has changed in some way. So they set off on an adventure to discover the true sculptor of a statue called The Angel.

I think this is a very good read for elementary age kids. Although quickly becoming outdated because of all high security available today - nice to imagine that if children did this, that they would be "safe". 4/5

Monday, September 1, 2008

R.I.P. III Challenge

I grew up reading Stephen King, John Saul and Dean Koontz and later Anne Rice - but have to admit that it has been awhile since I have picked up one of their books. Here are the rules for this challenge:
1. R.I.P. III runs from September 1st through October 31st, 2008. But I’m no stickler, start reading now if you feel so inclined.

2. Choose one of more of the perils listed below:

Peril the First:
Read Four books of any length, from any subgenre of scary stories that you choose.
Peril the Second:
Read Two books of any length, from any subgenre of scary stories that you choose.
Read One book of any length from one of the subgenres listed above.

This peril is for those who want to participate but don’t want to get bogged down in a long list of books. It is also for those who feel this type of reading is not their proverbial cup of tea but are willing to challenge themselves by giving just one book a try.

3. Leave a comment here announcing your intention to join and a link to the post* on your site, if you have one and choose to post about R.I.P. III.

4. Post links to your reviews on the R.I.P.ing Yarns Review Site. I am using last year’s review site and posting a new comment thread in which you can post this year’s reviews. That way you can also go back and check out last year’s reviews (you may have to hit the ‘click here’ link at the bottom of the post to get last year’s list to pop up).

5. The most important thing: Have Fun! R.I.P. III is more than just a reading challenge. There will be contests and giveaways and some of the subject matter of my regular posts, especially as we approach October, will be more in fitting with the R.I.P. III spirit. There are artists who have committed to interviews and sales and other tie-ins as well.

Here is my pool of books -
Red Spikes - Margo Lanagan
Duma Key - Stephen King
Sinister Shorts - Perri O'Shaughnessy
Strange Highways - Dean Koontz
Odd Thomas - Dean Koontz
Darkest Evening of the Year - Dean Koontz
Midnight Voices - John Saul
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
Heart-Shaped Box - Joe Hill
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
The Rest Falls Away - Colleen Gleason

Not sure which Peril I will be doing - need to see how the school year shapes up for my kids!

A Well-Rounded Challenge

Rules for a well-rounded challenge:
*Any combination of challenges works.
*You must be signed up with the other challenges.
*You may listen to eAudio, cassette tapes or compact discs.
*You may read all six books from the same challenge.
*To be well-rounded however means stretching yourself to include as many challenges (and books) as you can fit into this six month time frame.
*You don't have to blog or write a review (but you can if you want to).
*Even if a challenge begins after July you may use it for this challenge.
*Even if a challenge ends after 12/31/08 you may use it for this challenge.
*Sign-ups begin 6/1/08 and run through 7/15/08.
*This challenge will run through 12/31/08.

Have finished this challenge~!
1. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Daring Book for Girls Challenge)
2. A Thousand Splendid Suns - Unread Authors Challenge
3. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling (Books to Movie Challenge)
4. Water for Elephants - Book Awards
5. Coraline RIP III
6. The Maidenstone Lighthouse - Ghostly Challenge


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