Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Keep by Jennifer Egan (33/81)

The story begins with Danny's arrival at The Keep, an ancient European castle that has come into the possession of his cousin. Though Danny thrives on a busy social scene, he has left New York for the isolated confines of the Keep because he has angered too many people at home. Howie, the cousin, has been very successful in life and has bought the castle with the goal of creating a special sort of resort where people can escape from the modern and allow their sense of adventure and imagination free rein.

The story of Danny, Howie and the Keep alternates with that of its author or narrator, an inmate in a state penitentiary for unspecified crimes. He's taking part in a writing program, where he is creating or remembering the story of the Keep. With this story, he hopes to impress the leader of the writing group, a woman named Holly, but in prison, even writing a story can attract the animosity of a man's fellow inmates.

There's an interesting tension between the two narratives. Both stories are contemporary, but the story of the Keep, while mostly realistic, incorporates so many Gothic elements--not just the Keep itself, but an ancient baroness, a journey into the catacombs, a looming tower--as to push into the realm of fantasy or parody. The prison narrative, while not outwardly Gothic, still very much involves those Gothic elements such as isolation, confinement, the weight of the past, and forbidden longings.

Despite the use of Gothic and metafictional elements, the story is fairly restrained, which sometimes gives the novel a little bit of a truncated feeling. My initial response was to feel a little disappointed by the end of the novel, as if the unique setting and structure of the novel had promised much more than it had been able to deliver. On reflection, my affection for the novel has grown. The Keep is a story about the choices the people make and how those affect their lives and connections with others. It may not indulge the fan of the Gothic novel in the full-on outrageousness one may expect from that genre, but it does use those elements skillfully.

Laughter in the Dark (32/81)

An early Nabokov novel about a man named Albinus, a well-to-do German businessman who becomes infatuated with a callow younger woman. There are some similarities here with Pandora's Box or "Der Blaue Engel" (for fans of Weimar Cinema) in this story of a rather pompous individual brought low by his romantic entanglement with a younger woman.

Overall, it's a fairly tragic story, as Albinus loses first his marriage, then his daughter, then, in quick succession, his sight, dignity, fortune and life. It has its moments of humor and unique prose. Though hardly as brilliant or radical as Nabokov's later works, Laughter in the Dark is still a well-crafted narrative of one man's folly.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

We Have Always Lived in the Castle (31/81)

The title of the novel is no accident, for it is as gothic a tale as any that was ever set in a crumbling castle on the banks of the Rhine. Its treatment of human evil, isolation and madness could easily qualify it as the pinnacle of 20th Century American Gothic.

A shadow has fallen across the house of Blackwood. Though once a prominent family, a possibly accidental poisoning has reduced their numbers to three (two sisters, an uncle) and made the townspeople suspicious of the survivors. The uncle, Julian, has been left physically crippled and one of the sisters, Constance, has developed a phobia about the world outside the house which does not prevent her from accepting visitors. It is left to the younger sister, Merikat (short for Mary Katherine), to venture into town on necessary errands.

Gothic literature often features singular characters, individuals who seem eerily plausible yet who are warped in a way that makes them unlike anyone else we've ever encountered. Merikat, who is the narrator and thus our guide through this story, is just such a character. It is clear that she views the townspeople with hostility, going so far as to craft charms--ordinary household items such as books or mirrors placed in odd locations or strange configurations--to keep the world at bay.

But soon it does intrude, in the figure of Charles, a cousin from an estranged branch of the family. His healthiness and level headedness seem to promise an opening up of the Blackwood home, a return to normality. But Merikat sees in him a representative of the crudity and selfishness of the outside world and seeks to drive him out through more and more powerful charms. The last of these results in a terrible reaction from the townspeople which sends the Blackwoods into greater isolation, leading to a hauntingly melancholy end to the story.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is an incomparable achievement, a story that will equally charm and disturb in ways that sometimes can be almost intolerable. And you will probably never forget Merikat Blackwood.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Murder at Hazelmoor, 28/81

A murder in a tiny Dartmoor village in the dead of winter sets the stage for this classic Christie whodunit. Several had a motive, few had an opportunity. The most likely suspect is quickly imprisoned, but his fiance remains unsatisfied with the law's conclusions. Determined to clear James Pearson's name, Emily Trefusis sets off with intrepid newspaper reporter Charles Enderby to seek out the circumstances of Major Treveylan's murder. As with all of Christie's books, we get plenty of atmosphere as the plot unfolds in the Dartmoor countryside. Here we see the deepest depths of winter. This novel has all of the elements of a juicy, quick read. The plot and suspense build as we follow Emily on her quest for answers. This is classic Christie- a bit of brain-fluff, for sure, but engaging and well-written.

Agatha Christie, Murder at Hazelmoor (Putnam, 1987) ISBN: 0396090133

Category: Scary/Spooky, 3/9, 28/81

Easy to Kill, 27/81

It's easy to kill if no one suspects you, and in the situation Luke Fitzwilliam has wandered into, that seems to be the case. A series of deaths has mostly gone unnoticed-- unfortunate accidents, they seemed, but not to everyone. Lavinia Fullerton has suspicions and premonitions, but she is run down on her way to alert the authorities. After hearing Lavinia's story retired police office Luke Fitzwilliam decides to do a bit of investigating of his own. He finds a small town with a variety of eccentricities. In some ways, this novel follows the typical Christie pattern: murder, a variety of suspects, and an unsuspected conclusion. This particular Christie has more of an element of danger, however, which adds excitement. We actually get to see some action, not just the detective revealing his or her conclusions at the end. Christie has also been successful in underlining the fact that apparently, it is remarkably easy to kill (or at least it was in the days before DNA evidence and whatnot.)

Agatha Christie, Easy to Kill (Pocket Books, 1945) ISBN: 0671811282

Category: Scary/Spooky 2/9, 27/81

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Velva Jean Learns to Drive, 26/81

In the mountains of western North Carolina, in the 1930s, Velva Jean Hart lives with her extended family in a community rich in folk tradition and seemingly isolated from the outside world. Velva Jean Dreams of one day going to Nashville to sing at the Grand Ole Opry. But Velva Jean's community is not one that people tend to leave. Velva Jean is limited by her age and family situation. With her mother dead and father run off, she is left to the restrictions of her older sister. With age and marriage Velva Jean's dreams of Nashville fade, but she gains a new desire- to learn to drive. This novel follows Velva Jean from childhood into young adulthood. At every turn it seems that Velva Jean is forced to push her dreams aside. Her story is set in Appalachia during the Depression, and we also see the first signs of outside intrusion into these previously cloistered communities. The Blue Ridge Parkway is about to be cut through the mountains. Even if it does not cut through their village, the new road will affect the lives of all around it. This was an engaging book, with a complex plot line and characters. A wonderful read.

Jennifer Niven, Velva Jean Learns to Drive (Plume, 2009) ISBN: 0452289459

Category: Published in 2009, 4/9, 26/81

Red Pottage, 25/81

This 1899 novel, the story of friends Rachel West and Hester Gresley, provides biting satire of the gender and class conventions that governed late-Victorian England. Set against a trio of painful love stories, Rachel and Hester learn the inconveniences and heartbreak of love. Rachel loves an adulterer, and Hester, a writer, loves her new book, whose manuscript consumes all of her time and energy. These pursuits are set against particular Victorian settings: Hester in the vicarage home of her self-satisfied, traditional, high-church brother, and Rachel in the stately homes of rural Middleshire's minor gentry. Both friends feel acutely the emotional and physical restrictions of their situation. None are able to understand Rachel and Hester's friendship, a deep, emotional attachment formed outside the boundaries of heterosexual marriage. Guiding the plot is what is perhaps one of the most ridiculous displays of masculine bravado: a suicide pact between the two lovers of Lady Newhaven. Cholmondeley is biting in her criticism of Victorian society. Somewhat different from other Victorian satirists, she relies upon plot rather than explanation. Cholmondeley doesn't tell us why we should see absurdity in a particular situation; she relies on plot to do that. Written at the very end of the Victorian era, we start to see the seeds of change in gender relations. The very biting quality of Cholmondeley's novel suggests coming change.

Mary Cholmondeley, Red Pottage, (Penguin, 1986) ISBN: 1406845612

Category: Virago Modern Classics 5/9, 25/81

Jewels: A Secret History, 24/81

I must admit, I am captivated by jewels: their shine, their brilliance, their color. Thus, I was excited to read a history of jewels. Finlay's is a social history, examining how human beings have constructed the value of brilliant minerals. This is not a comprehensive study. Finlay has chosen a series of case studies, the research for which took her all over the globe, from Australia, to Russia, to Sri Lanka, to the American southwest. This is quite an interesting book, and it certainly does show that these stones that human beings so treasure have no inherent value. This is evident in the changing fortunes of so many stones, which have variously fallen in and out of favor. It also becomes clear through the course of Finlay's work, that stones have, and do, cause a tremendous amount of human suffering. Indeed, in the long history of gems there has been much more misery than fortune. Finlay's history is clearly narrative in nature. She is concerned with telling some of the most interesting stories behind the jewels. It is not a book that analyzes the larger social forces behind many of these changes. Still, this is an interesting book. Finlay gained access to many places most people cannot. She travelled to some of the most unforgiving parts of the world in search of the people who mine, cut, and sell valuable stones. Any jewelry-lover will likely find this book engaging.

Victoria Finlay, Jewels: A Secret History (Random House, 2007), ISBN: 0345466950
Category: Reading the Dewey Decimal System, 2/9, 24/81

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arc of Justice: A saga of race, civil rights, and murder in the Jazz Age by Kevin Boyle (9/81)

Category: National Book Award for Nonfiction Winner (2/9)

Yes, it's true, I've only read 1/9 of the books for this challenge! I'm not planning on finishing, but I figure since I read a book for the challenge, I might as well post about it.
Arc of Justice is the story of Ossian Sweet and his family, and the murder trial they become involved in when the Sweet family attempts to move into a part of Detroit where they are not welcome. The Sweet family is black, and in 1920's Detroit, this means they cannot live where they choose, especially following the race-related violence of 1924 and 1925. When a mob gathers outside of their new home and begins throwing rocks and getting more and more violent, shots are fired, although by whom it is never fully clear. Dr. Sweet had filled his house with friends to help defend it from the violence he knew was coming. When one man in the mob dies after being shot from the house, the eleven people in the house, including Ossian's wife and two of his brothers, are taken into custody and eventually charged with murder.
This book is not just the story of the Sweet family and the trial, however. It is a story of race relations in the northern urban areas of America in the 1920's. Boyle does a tremendous job bringing all aspects of the story together to educate us on this issue. I am continually amazed by how little I know about the history of race relations in this country. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to know more about our recent past.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (74/81)

Warning : Do not read this if you haven't read The Hunger Games as it contains spoilers ..

After winning the brutal Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen returns to her district, hoping for a peaceful future. But Katniss starts to hear rumours of a deadly rebellion against the Capitol. A rebellion that she and Peeta have helped to create. As Katniss and Peeta are forced to visit the districts on the Capitol's cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. Unless Katniss and Peeta can convince the world that they are still lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying. This is the terrifying sequel to The Hunger Games .

Will unless you have been living on the moon for the past year you are bound to have heard of this series .... And eagerly waiting on the next installment ........... And I have to say that the second book is just as great as the first :) ............ The only downside is that we have to wait until next year to find out what happens next ........ All I can say is 'Please Suzanne don't let it be too long!' ............

With Katniss and Peeta winning The Hunger Games you just knew that them being happy was not going to last .... And that the Capitol will find some way of paying them back for their rebellion ...

The book is fast paced and I really didn't want it to end ......... And the way it did end ... Sucks ..... In a good way because it has kept you hanging for the next installment ....

I love the characters in the book and I have to say I am totally on Team 'Peete' ........

So if you haven't read the first book do yourself a favour and get a copy ........

I rate this book 5*****

Books in order of series:
The Hunger Games
Catching Fire

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead (73/81)

Bound by love,but sworn to kill ... The rest of the world had considered Dimitri dead. And to a certain extent, he was. But I hadn't been able to forget a conversation he and I had once had. We'd both agreed that we'd rather be dead, truly dead that walk the world as Strigoi. It was time to honour our words.

I have anxiously been waiting for this book to come out ..... As the last book in the series ended with a cliff-hanger ....... And I was not disappointed ....... It seems that the more the series goes on the better the books are .....

Warning this will contain spoilers if you have not read the previous books ... Rose's world has fallen apart with Dimitri changed to a Strigoi ..... Her mission now is to find him and kill him.... But when she is face to face with Dimitri will she be able to carry out the promise she made to him ...

You still have your favourite characters in Lissa and also the wickedly lovely Adrian and some new characters appearing as well ..... It is a really easy read and Richelle takes you through many twists and turns ....

If you love your Vampire books then this series is one you should read ..... The only problem now is that I have to wait until next year to see what happens .......

I rate this book 41/2 ****

Books to in series in order:
Vampire Academy
Shadow Kiss
Blood Promise
Spirit Bound ( coming out in 2010)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Anna Karenina

This weekend I read Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. It was an easy read and while it got very detailed I never skimmed or skipped sections because all of it told more about who the character was.

It is really two stories in one. The story of Anna and her affair and how she and that portion of society throw off the traditions and conventions in an attempt to be more free and unencumbered by concerns about what others think or how others feel. Anna walks out of her marriage and abandons her son, but never truly trusts the love and commitment of her lover. Perhaps if they had been able to be married, but wouldn’t that have been a convention? Her story ends with a very detailed and moving description of depression and how debilitating it is. And the depression, in part, seems to be due to that loss of convention that would reassure her of who she is and where she is and what she can count on. Aided definitely by the fact that outside of her lover she had no identity or reassurance of what her purpose was. In short, no relationship with a Savior.

The other story is that of Levin, a land owner who is fascinated by trying to make farming work, with tools, techniques, and the native Russian workers. He deals with resistance to change (we’ve always done it this way) and laziness (it’s easier to do it this way and then sneak in a break) and ridicule from upper society that doesn’t understand why he would want to work, but also tries to impose idealistic solutions for improving the lower class.

Tolstoy was a Christian and Levin is also searching for God, even when he thinks he’s comfortable with no belief in a higher power. Many of the other characters are also searching or confronted with their empty faith. It is interesting to see how prevalent church attendance was in Russia once.

Strange Angels by Lili St Crow (72/81)

Dad? Zombie.
Mum? Long gone.

Me? Well, that's the scary part.

Dru Anderson has been 'strange' for as long as she can remember, travelling from town to town with her father to hunt the things that go bump in the night. It's a weird life, but a good one – until it all explodes in a broken-down town when a hungry zombie busts through her kitchen door. Alone, terrified, and trapped, Dru's going to need every inch of her wit and training to stay alive. Chances of survival? Slim to none.

If she can't last until sun up, it's game over...

The first installment of a new series ........... And I loved it ........ This is Lili St. Crow's first stab at the Young Adult Market and it is great !!! ......... If you love your fantasy this book has it all ... Vampires, Were's and a host of other creatures .......... Throw a couple of hunky guys in the mix and you have your romance as well :) ........

The character of Dru is sassy and funny at the same time .... And even though she has been brought up knowning about the 'other world' around us ....... She is still unprepared for what is going to happen ....... Who can she trust? ..........

It is great that there are so many books out there at the moment with girl heriones .... And Dru is definately one of them ...... The next book 'Betrayals' comes out in November so not much of a wait thankfully ........

The only down side to the book is there is abit of swearing in it ....... Otherwise I would have rated it higher ........ So if you are looking to take a bite out of some fantasy ........ This book is for you !!!

I rate this book 4 ****

Here's the Book Trailer ... Enjoy :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Dark Places, 23/81

Libby Day, the sole survivor of a murderous massacre that killed her family, has spent the rest of her life trying to avoid that night. Her brother is imprisoned for the crime. Libby has become a dysfunctional adult, and having exhausted her trust fund, finds herself in need of money. Her rather unorthodox solution is to investigate the night of the murders funded by the Kill Club, a group of crime junkies. In the process Libby is brought into contact with all the horrors of that fateful January night. In the process Libby finds herself reevaluating everything she thought she knew about the crime. She also digs deeper than she ever anticipated and finds herself coming too close to a murderer still on the loose. This was a gripping story. It kept me invested from start to finish. The mix of thriller and literary fiction was refreshing- I like a good thriller, but I also want good writing, and this book definitely has both. Flynn offers us plot development, fully rounded characters, and enough suspense to keep the reader on edge.

Gillian Flynn, Dark Places, (Shaye Areheart, 2009) ISBN: 0307341569
Category: Scary/Spooky 1/9, 23/81

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice (71/81)

In A Darkened Room A Young Man Sits Telling The Macabre And Eerie Story Of His Life - The Story Of A Vampire, Gifted With Eternal Life, Cursed With An Exquisite Craving For Human Blood. Anne Rice's Compulsively Readable Novel Is Arguably The Most Celebrated Work Of Vampire Fiction Since Bram Stoker's Dracula Was Published In 1897. As The Washington Post Said On Its First Publication, It Is A 'thrilling, Strikingly Original Work Of The Imagination ...sometimes Horrible, Sometimes Beautiful, Always Unforgettable'.

The first book in the Series The Vampire Chronicles ..... And really this is where all the Vampire books really stem from apart from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Hard to imagine that this was written in 1976 .. I would have been 4 years of age !!! ...... It is a brilliant book to read and one of those that is one the 1001 books you should read before you die ... And quite rightly so it was a real pleasure to read :) ........

The basically narrated by Louis who got turned by Lestat a vampire .... It will be interesting to read the other books as they are about Lestat to see if my feelings change over the course of the next two books ... We read of the struggle that Louis has that even though he is turned into a vampire he still feels human emotion which is unheard of by any other vampire ...

This book is a must read if you are a Vampire Lover just because if we didn't have this novel we wouldn't have such a wide range of Fantasy Authors today .........

I rate this book 4 1/2 ****

The rest of the series goes like this ... The Vampire Lestat (1985); The Queen of the Damned (1988)

As you know this book got made into a movie which I just loved .... And it was not to bad with sticking to the book ...... But as ever the book is better :) ..... But you have a brilliant cast in Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Christian Slater and Kirsten Dunst who plays the young girl brilliantly ...... Here's the trailer .... Enjoy

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Touch of Twilight by Vicki Pettersson (70/81)

Joanna Archer has reluctantly accepted the roles destiny assigned her: Avenger, Savior ... Destroyer.

On the surface she's a sexy, sophisticated socialite, at home among the beautiful people of the Las Vegas upper crust. But Joanna Archer inhabits another world: a place ordinary humans can't see and could never enter ... a dangerous dimension where an eternal battle rages between the agents of Light and Shadow. And Joanna is both.

She never asked for the mantle that's been thrust upon her, but she will not abandon it now that it's hers. Stalked by an enigmatic doppleganger from a preternatural realm, Joanna can feel the Light failing – which is propelling her toward a terrifying confrontation with the ultimate master of evil, the dark lord of Shadow: her father.

Vegas is all about winning big – or losing everything. To save her friends, her future, her worlds, Joanna Archer will now have to gamble it all by fully embracing the darkness inside her.

Well this is the third book in the series .... And it does have abit less language but still I would class it as an Adult book ....

The first two signs of the Zodiac have been fulfilled and now everyone is waiting with baited breath on the third sign ....... Will the Shadow side overshadow the light side of Olivia .... Will she turn her back on her troop to follow her fathers footsteps .......

I quite like the character of Olivia and also of Hunter but again there is alot of language and violence in this one as well ... But then again this series has been classed as 'Dark Urban' ...

I rate this book 2**

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Taste of Night by Vicki Pettersson (69/81)

Being mortal isn't easy. Being a superhero is even harder.

Even mortal, Joanna Archer was nobody's idea of a victim. But now, infused with the supernatural power to alter the battle between Shadow and Light forever, what she's become is a target. And when a toxic virus invades the valley, her allies are targets are well. To find the cure that will save them, Joanna must embrace her Shadow side ... even if it leads her into an all-out battle with the demons of her past.

The second book of the series Sign of the Zodiac and this one has more bad language than the first and more graphic sexual scenes .......

It follows Joanna who has finally found her place in the Zodiac ... But she is becoming a pawn for everyone around her getting pushed and pulled in different directions ...... She is finding it hard to let go of her old life and embrace her new life as the 'Archer' ..... Will she be able to set a side her personal feelings and function as part of the group or will she catch down her own agenda to the peril of those closest around her ...... Sounds great doesn't it !!! ........ Just a real shame that there is so much sexual references and bad language other wise it would be a great wee story line ....

This is definitely another Adult book even more so than the first of the series so be warned ...

I rate this book 2 **

The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson (68/81)

When she was 16, Joanna Archer was brutally assaulted and left to die in the Nevada desert. By rights, she should be dead. Now a photographer by day, she prowls a different Las Vegas after sunset - a grim, secret Sin City where Light battles Shadow - seeking answers to whom or what she really is . . . and revenge for the horrors she was forced to endure.But the nightmare is just beginning - for the demons are hunting Joanna, and the powerful shadows want her for their own . . .

Well everyone is raving about Vicki Pettersson and her latest book has been in the Top Bestsellers list for a while so I thought I would give her a whirl ...

I think after reading so many Young Adult books to go straight into this series was abit of a shock ... Be prepared for bad language and adult themes ......

The story line is interesting with Joanna being forced to leave behind her old life and get thrown into someone Else's life .... She has to try and figure out who she can trust and bring the 'Light' side of the Zodiac's together ....... And it is not everyday that you find out that you are a Superhero ..........

This is the first book of the series and at the moment there are 4 books released ........ This series is definitely one for the adult audience because of the content .....

I rate this book 2**

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Forest of Hands & Teeth by Carrie Ryan (67/81)

In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets and the Guardians and their power and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future - between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

This is the first book of the RIP challenge that I am doing ...... And I loved it :) ........ It was an easy read and I couldn't put it down .......... Dishes and Kids where left to my poor husband to sort out while I was totally engrossed in the book ........ Like a another reviewer said "putting the book down is not an option."

It is a young adult read and yes it does have Zombies in it ......... I heard that they have decided to make this into a movie which will be brill ...... Reading it did remind me abit of 'The Village' but a totally different concept ..... I will definitely be going out and buying more books by Carrie ...

Ok getting back to the book .... It is about a girl called Mary who lives in a village surrounded by the Unconsecrated ........ She dreams for escaping and hopes that there are other people like her beyond the Forest of Hands & Teeth .... Her whole world changes when her Mother is turned ...... And her only option is to stay with the Sisterhood who claim they are the ones who protect the village ....

If you love fantasy books and of course Zombie books you are going to eat this up ( excuse the pun )

I rate this book 5*****

Here is short trailer put together for the book ...

I am excited as the companion/sequel to The Forest of Hands & Teeth is coming out in the Spring 1010 in USA ......

Stargazer by Claudia Gray (66/81)

In Stargazer, Bianca returns to Evernight, and she now understands the dark, centuries-old feud between vampires and hunters that prevents her and Lucas from ever being together. But even though everyone thinks Bianca has given up on him and embraced her destiny of becoming a vampire, she's found a way to communicate with him. But when Evernight is attacked, she discovers that she's not the only one who's been keeping secrets, and her world is turned upside down.

The much awaited 2nd book in the Evernight series which if possible is better than the first book ...... The third book comes out in December in the USA so I may have to ask some of my American friends very nicely to get me a copy when it comes out !!!

Since everyone loves Twilight and looking for another series to read ... This is it ..... I read it in a day and loved it :) .... ( And not just because the cover is purple my favourite colour ) ...

Bianca is back a the Evernight Academy trying to figure out why humans are admitted to the school !!! ....... She is still in love with Lucas but things prove difficult when your boyfriend is a member of the Black Cross ( Vampire Hunters ) ........ Bianca finds herself changing more and more each day into a Vampire !!!!! .... When strange things start to happen at the Academy ... Maybe all those ghost stories ours parents told us about are actually true !!!

Again if you love your fantasy, Vampire books then this series is for you :) I just have to hang out now for book 3 !!!!

I rate this book 5 *****

The Sweet Far Thing by Libba Bray (65/81)

It has been a year of change since Gemma Doyle arrived at the foreboding Spence Academy. Having bound the wild, dark magic of the realms to her, Gemma has forged unlikely and unsuspected new alliances both with the headstrong Felicity and timid Ann, Kartik, the exotic young man whose companionship is forbidden, and the fearsome creatures of the realms. Now, as Gemma approaches her London debut, the time has come to test those bonds. As her friendship with Felicity and Ann faces its gravest trial, and with the Order grappling for control of the realms, Gemma is compelled to decide once and for all which path she is meant to take. Pulled forward by fate, the destiny Gemma faces threatens to set chaos loose, not only in the realms, but also upon the rigid Victorian society whose rules Gemma has both defied and followed. Where does Gemma really belong? And will she, can she, survive?

Again a gorgeous cover ...... I really enjoyed this series .... This book is the last in the series and although it is a chunky book 814 pages worth it is great !!!

I love Libba's style of writing ...... The novel flows really well and the sense of humour is great !!!

Now that Gemma has bonded the magic to solely herself everyone is after her to gain some power !!! ..... But whom can she trust !!!! ...... She has got to make friends in the realms but everyone seems to have an agenda ...... With the new wing at Spence Academy getting rebuild all new surprises start to unfold ........ Can she save the people around her and still keep control of the magic !!! ........... And will she be able to concentrate on her school work and be the belle of the Ball to win the boy that she loves !!

This is a great wee series for any young teen ........ There are no vampires in this book but lots of other creatures to keep you hooked !!! .......

I rate this book 4 1/2 ****

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray (64/81)

Ah, Christmas! Gemma Doyle is looking forward to a holiday from Spence Academy, spending time with her friends in the city, attending ritzy balls, and on a somber note, tending to her ailing father. As she prepares to ring in the New Year, 1896, a handsome young man, Lord Denby, has set his sights on Gemma, or so it seems. Yet amidst the distractions of London, Gemma’s visions intensify–visions of three girls dressed in white, to whom something horrific has happened, something only the realms can explain. . . .

The lure is strong, and before long, Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are turning flowers into butterflies in the enchanted world of the realms that Gemma alone can bring them to. To the girls’ great joy, their beloved Pippa is there as well, eager to complete their circle of friendship.

But all is not well in the realms–or out. The mysterious Kartik has reappeared, telling Gemma she must find the Temple and bind the magic, else great disaster will befall her. Gemma’s willing to do his intrusive bidding, despite the dangers it brings, for it means she will meet up with her mother’s greatest friend–and now her foe, Circe. Until Circe is destroyed, Gemma cannot live out her destiny. But finding Circe proves a most perilous task.

Well is it possible that you will love the 2nd installment of this series more than the first .... Heck Yes in this case !!! ........ It is a great wee series !! .......

With the loss of their beloved friend Pippa the 'Order' are searching for answers ... Order has to be restored to the realms and new friendships are made ... Who can Gemma trust?

Is Kartik actually a friend or a foe? ......... And will Gemma open her heart to let a dashing young man sweep her off her feet? .......

This book is bigger than the first one but I devoured it in a day .... I couldn't stop myself from reading !!! ..... It does remind me alittle bit of Harry Potter in a few area's ...... But the good thing about it is we have a female heroine which is great !!!

Cannot wait to read the next one ...... I love Libba's style of writing and find myself LOL at some of her comments .... I am lovin the covers and lovin the story inside :) ....... I am one happy reader at the moment :) .......

I rate this book 5 *****

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray (63/81)

It's 1895, and after the death of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma's reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she's being followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence's most powerful girls - and their foray into the spiritual world - lead to?

Well it is official I think I have found another series that I love .... I have been wanting this series for a while now and so armed with only telling myself that I could buy one book at the bookstore I lifted this one .... When I went to pay for it I had $10.00 off and then the assistant said 'oh that is on special today you get the next book for free' So I went the full hog and purchased the third book as well .... So all in all I got the 3 books for the price of one ..... Happy Days .... Anyway back to the book ...

I love the character of Gemma Doyle she is smart, funny and daring .... She is a great leading lady in this story .... With the lost of her mother she is send back to London to Spence Academy to be trained as a Lady .... What she doesn't expect is finding out who she is and secrets about her family that threaten her life today .... Love, Love love it .........

It is set in 1895 so not only do we have mystery and magic we also have a period setting as well ... There are gypsies ....... A handsome young man who is swore to protect Gemma ...
A big haunted Mansion ......... Being able to travel to a different world ..... The abiltity to have all your dreams come true .... Beautiful clothes ..... And a very stern Headmistress .......

Come on .... what more could you want ......... Go out and buy the book .........

I rate this book 41/2 ****

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Visibles, 22/81

This novel examines a girl's attempts to come to terms with parental abandonment. By thirteen Summer Davis's mother had run off without a trace, and her father was descending into serious mental illness. Summer quickly becomes the adult in a family spiralling out of control. There's not much that I found surprising or unusual about the plot of this book. It is, in fact, quite predictable. Summer's troubled parents shape ways in which she approaches school, career, and relationships. The plot proceeds just as one might expect. The twist Shepard adds to this particular story is Summer's fascination with DNA. She is first introduced to the concept soon after her mother leaves, and Summer spends much of her young adult life pondering the nature vs. nurture debate in light of her particular situation. I found this theme to be contrived, however, as it is only loosely woven into the narrative, and it added little value and effect to the plot. While I found Shepard to be a good writer, I wished the book had been more imaginative.

Sara Shepard, The Visibles (Free Press, 2009) ISBN: 1416597360

Category: Published in 2009 3/9, 22/81

Olive Kitteredge, 21/81

What a character- Olive Kitteredge is loud, bossy, and decisive. In her old age she swears and complains. Strong-headed, but with her own sort of compassion, Oliver is an institution in her small Maine town. This novel, told in a series of stories, details the lives of Olive, her family, and those around her in Crosby, Maine. The great strength in this book is in its central character. I've never seen another character quite like Olive. From the blurb on the back I was expecting a sort of stock, cantankerous old lady, but that's not Olive. It's hard not to love and loathe Olive at the same time. Through this book we see how the exigencies of life can chip away at as solid a vessel as Olive Kitteredge, and that's both disturbing and reassuring at the same time.

Elizabeth Strout, Olive Kitteredge, (Random House, 2008) ISBN: 0812971833
Category: Award Winners (Pulitzer, 2008) 2/9, 21/81

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Devouring by Simon Holt 1/81

Hi all! My first book review for the site! Woo Hoo! I hope I did this right. =D Please enjoy!

When Reggie finds an old journal and reads about the Vours, supernatural creatures who feast on fear and attack on the eve of the winter solstice, she assumes they are just the musings of some lunatic author. But soon, they become a terrifying reality when she begins to suspect that her timid younger brother might be one of their victims.

Risking her life and her sanity, Reggie enters a living nightmare to save the people she loves. Can she devour own her fears before they devour her?

Bone-chilling, terrifying, thrilling...what are you waiting for?

The Devouring by Simon Holt is book one of an ongoing series. It is about the Vours, demonic beings who inhabit the bodies of children who are wracked with fear on Sorry Night or the eve of the Winter Solstice, the only night of the year where they can come from their plain of existence into ours where they then will live out the rest of their lives of the human they inhabit.

This book was totally AWESOME! I literally picked it up and didn’t put it down until the last page.

The main character Reggie is a horror enthusiast with her best friend Aaron, and comes across a journal that is just the right kind of creepy they like. She reads it to her little brother, Henry, as a bedtime story, but he scares easily. The journal, which she assumed was just a story, scares Henry badly. What she does not realize that reading that to her little brother starts her (with help from her friend Aaron) on a journey of self-discovery as well as helps her see that things are not as they appear.

Simon Holt brings to the plate the different themes of abandonment throughout the story, as well as the love a sister has for a brother and betrayal.

This book is highly recommended and if we’re rating books, then I’d give this a 5. It is for pure enjoyment of some damn fine story telling, getting a tad bit scared and rooting for Reggie as she does what she needs to do to get the job done!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Dragon's Village, 81/81, 2nd round, LAST BOOK!

The Dragon's Village by Yuan-Tsun Chen, global reading category

Ling Ling lives a life of privilege in China. She lives with her aunt and uncle, who throw parties for the wealthy and powerful set. All around them, they hear that the good life is coming to an end for people like them, that Communism is sweeping the country, and that things will never be the same.

Ling Ling gets swept up into the excitement. When a friend from school asks if she can hide from the police for the night, she says yes, and suddenly she's questioning her upbringing and beliefs. Her aunt flees to Hong Kong, but her uncle tries to stay put a little longer. Soon he must leave too, and Ling Ling decides to stay and see what will become of this new nation.

She joins a group of land reform workers, whose job is to go out into the country, examine the land deeds of the landlords, and redistribute the land. Landlords will lose their wealth and status, and the peasants will be empowered.

Except that things aren't quite that simple. Reading this book, I have the benefit of hindsight. I could tell how naive Ling Ling is, how little she really knows of farming or of poverty, how little she understands human nature. All too soon, she finds that things are much more complicated than she imagines. There are tragedies along with occasional triumphs. Ling Ling learns more about herself than she imagined, and finds that she is capable of being independent.

I really enjoyed this book. I was anticipating a tragic end, but I was pleased to see that that wasn't the case, at least not completely. I found myself wanting to read more, to see what happens to the villagers Ling Ling meets and befriends. The title calls this an 'autobiographical novel', and I would love to know more about the author. The only notes in my edition say that the author was also a land reform worker, and I really want to know how much of her experiences are reflected in the book. I would recommend this to anyone who could find a copy. I found it very enlightening and a good story besides.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ironside by Holly Black (62/81)

"In the realm of Faerie, the time has come for Roiben’s coronation. Uneasy in the midst of the malevolent Unseelie Court, pixie Kaye is sure only of one thing--her love for Roiben. But when Kaye, drunk on faerie wine, declares herself to him, he sends her on a seemingly impossible quest. Now Kaye can’t see or speak with Roiben unless she can find the one thing she knows doesn’t exist: a faerie who can tell a lie.

Miserable and convinced she belongs nowhere, Kaye decides to tell her mother the truth—that she is a changeling left in place of the human daughter stolen long ago. Her mother’s shock and horror sends Kaye back to the world of Faerie to find her human counterpart and return her to Ironside. But once back in the faerie courts, Kaye finds herself a pawn in the games of Silarial, queen of the Seelie Court. Silarial wants Roiben’s throne, and she will use Kaye, and any means necessary, to get it. In this game of wits and weapons, can a pixie outplay a queen?

This is the second part of the Holly Black Series 'A Modern Faerie Tale' .......... There is way less language in this book than in the first which is good ........ But be warned there is some quite graphic violence scenes ....

I have to say I enjoyed this book better than the first ... Kaye has figured out that she is a Pixie and is trying to figure out her place in Fairyland ... And her boyfriend is now getting crowned King of Unseelie Court ....... Things seem to be looking up ....... But not for long ........

The Queen of the Seelie Court is out for blood and Kaye seems to find herself stuck in the middle again .....

Again like the first novel Tithe I would say this book is for the older Teen as a few parts of it is quite Dark .......

If you are looking for a more edgy Faeire Tale with lots of gore and where the Faeires are more likely to kill you then grand you wishes then this series is for you !!!

I rate this book 3 1/2 ***

P.S .... Valient is the also part of this series but is set before this book ........... He tells the story of the brothers Luis and Dave who are introduced in this novel .... My advise read Tithe, Ironside then Valiant ..

Tithe by Holly Black (61/81)

Do you believe in faeries? Not the soft, gentle kind, but the sinister, feral kind - the ones that wreak havoc on everything in their path... As a small child Kaye used to talk to faeries. Now at sixteen she is fierce and independent, travelling from city to city with her mother's rock band, until an ominous attack forces them to return to her childhood home and friends. Once there, Kaye discovers that her childhood memories were real and she is drawn into a secret faerie world by an attraction that she is unable to fight. Finding herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient and violent power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms, Kaye agrees to go along with a plan to disrupt the human sacrifice that binds her faerie friends to their unkind masters. But not everyone has been telling her the truth and she is soon in grave danger...

I think this cover that I have is the UK version which is pretty ........ I have had this series sitting on my book shelf for a while now and finally getting around to reading them ... Holly Black is better known for writing the Spiderwick Chroncles but this is her 3 part series on Faeries ..

OK let me start by saying the beginning of the story is not really what I was expecting ... I have been reading alot of teen books recently but I would class this book as more like an adult book then a teen book ... Mainly because of the language ......... Gosh there is alot of bad language in the first 60 pages to which I was actually going to give up reading the rest of the book ....... But it does calm down and then the real story begins ......

It is an interesting concept of Faeries being not so the nice Faeries that we have been led to believe ... I feel that this book really is more so setting up the characters for the rest of the series ...

Who can Kaye trust? ......... It meant just surprise you !!! ........

I rate this book 3 ***

WARNING: I would have rated it higher expect for the language there was way to much of it that alot of people would not continue reading the novel which is a shame .... There is some violence also in the book which at some cases can be graphic ..... Definitely an older adult read not a young teen which it is marketed for ......

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Evermore by Alyson Noel ( 60/81)

Since a horrible accident claimed the lives of her family, Ever can see auras, hear people's thoughts, and know a person's entire life story by touch. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities has branded her as a freak at her new high school—but everything changes when she meets Damen.

Damen Auguste is gorgeous, exotic and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head—wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can see straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. She has no idea just who he really is—or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.

Ok ... what is with series at the moment .... Not that I am not lovin it ... But it does kind of suck if you find one you really like and you have to wait for the rest of the series .... Luckily for me the second installment is due this month 'Blue Moon' ........ Hurray not that long to wait ...

Well like I said this is the first book in the series of 'The Immortals' and I loved it ... It is an easy read and finished in a couple of days ..... Mainly because I spend most the night reading it ...... lol ...

The main Character of Ever is great ....... After the tragic accident of her parents and little sister dying ... Ever moves in with her Aunt and tries to fit into a school ....... The only difference is that after the accident Ever is not the same ........ She can see Dead people and read thoughts .... But then a drop dead gorgeous guy enters the scene who she cannot read .........

This book is a Teen book probably 14 upwards ...... There is maybe 1 swear word in the whole book ....

But I have to say I have been reading alot of fantasy books of late and this is a new twist to those !!!! ......... Reminded me abit of Highlander ........

I love this book and itching for the next one .......

I rate this book 41/2 ****

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters (59/81)

It's a novel set in the post-war years in England, specifically the England of the formerly powerful Big House gentry.

Sarah Waters tells the story of the Ayreses, Mrs Ayres and two of her grown children, brother Rod and sister Caroline. Into their lives walks Dr Faraday to attend to the sick maid. It's a mystery story about the difficulties of working out whether people have really seen ghosts in the old house, or is it just that they are all going mad?

Look at the differences with the covers .... One is a lovely cover with the Big House namely 'Hundreds' and the other one which I have is the awful one with the big writing and red background. It looks like it is a throwback from the 70's .... Come on people you know which one I would buy off the shelf if I had the choice ....

Firstly I would say that I really like the way Sarah Waters writes ... It is an easy book to read and she describes the surroundings beautifully ..... You honestly do feel that you are there in the house .... I did feel sad reading about the house and its decline ... With living next to a stately home for years and visiting it often it is very sad to see something of great beauty crumble away ..... Although the name of this book is 'The Little Stranger' I felt that it was more based on the house namely 'Hundreds' ...

I was abit disappointed with the ending of the book and felt that it really didn't resolve what was actually happening in the home ... But it will make a good book club discussion to see what other people think was going on ...

I would be interested in reading some more of Sarah Waters books and watching some of the BBC productions ... and I feel that this novel would make a good movie ... I am rating this 3 1/2 stars mainly because I quite enjoyed it and the writing was lovely but there was nothing in the story line that really grapped me ...

I rate this book 3 1/2 ***

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison (58/81)

In the kingdom of Kendel, anyone caught talking with the animals or practicing animal magic is put to death, so Prince George learns early on to deny that part of his identity. He does everything for the sake of the kingdom, even if it means agreeing to an arranged marriage with Princess Beatrice from the neighboring kingdom of Sarrey. But Beatrice has a striking and unusual relationship with her hound, Marit, and George finds himself drawn to the pair, and to that part of himself that he has ignored for too long. He is faced with many decisions, including how to help his dying father, and how to free Beatrice and her hound.

This is a beautiful cover and a book that I had to order from the States because it is not widely available here. I had decided to expand my reading material to cover some LDS writers which write fiction.

The opening chapter is absorbing and I was really looking forward to reading a lovely fairy tale. But I have to say that I found it sometimes confusing and jumping around a little bit ... The characters are good and the story line is also intriguing but it is just missing something ...

This novel is suitable for a younger reader but it just wasn't the fairy tale story that I was hoping for ... but the message from this tale is good " Love can overcome all"

I rate this novel 3 ***

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Companion, 74/81 2nd Round

The Companion by Ann Granger, historical fiction category

Lizzie Martin arrives in London for the first time. As her cabdriver takes her to her new address, they pass a body covered with a shroud. The body turns out to belong to Madeline Hexham, whom Lizzie is replacing as paid companion. Lizzie can't help wondering about Madeline and who could have wanted her dead.

I enjoyed this one. There was some great background about coal mining and life among the working class. Lizzie and the police inspector, Ben Ross, were strong characters.

I have learned that this is the first in a series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next one.

Heart of Darkness, 73/81 2nd Round

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, reread category

Well, I hate to do it, but I'm taking the rating down to 4 out of 5 stars. I'm not sure why, but this time around, Joseph Conrad did not manage to induce the same level of fascination as he did the first couple of times I read this book. Maybe because the last time I read it was for a class, where we got to discuss it so much.

It's the story of Marlow, the classic man of the sea, and his trip down the river Congo to find Kurtz, the company man said to have native. But instead of being drawn into the story, this time I felt like Conrad was deliberately keeping the reader at arms' length. Marlow is telling the story, and an unnamed male listener is telling the reader what Marlow says. Then Marlow tells the listener who tells us what Marlow says somebody else says. Still with me?

Maybe the point of all those layers was to make the reader question the story a little more, to ask one's self how much you really know about someone else if all you know is what they say.

Anyway, it was good to read it again, but not as great as I remembered. I'm not sure why, but it must be a change inside me, because I *LOVED* this book back in college.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Duchess by Night by Eloisa James (57/81)

Disguise is a dangerous game . . . After a lifetime as a wallflower, Harriet, the Duchess of Berrow, is finally seeking a little pleasure of her own. And where better to begin than at the house of one of the most disreputable men in the country, Lord Strange? However, the high-stakes games of lust and chance that rule Strange's household mean that to cross the threshold could entirely ruin her reputation. So Harriet swaps her hoops and corsets for a pair of breeches and transforms herself into a young male relative of the Duke of Villiers. Before she knows it she's writing bawdy missives on behalf of a young actress, not to mention winning card games played by the most powerful men in England. But when she starts attracting male attention, Harriet must decide whether to stay in her disguise - or to reveal that she's really a duchess by night . . .

The third book in the Duchess series and I have to say this is my favourite one so far ....

It has everything in a Romance that you could ask for ... Beautiful houses, dashing men, Mystery and of course your gorgeous leading ladies !!! ........

The story is set around Harriet who is a the Duchess of Berrow and how she can find not only adventure but also love in the 'Strangest' place ...........

There are moments that will have you laughing and glad that you are a woman in the 21st century and not back then ........ I cannot even imagine spending 2 hours doing my hair each morning !!! .........

I loved this book and the Duke of Villiers is growing on me .... lol ........

I rate this book 4 ****

P.S ..... I little note to my mom .... This book is dedicated to your favourite author Georgette Heyer !!

An Affair before Christmas by Eloisa James (56/81)

One spectacular Christmas, Miss Perdita Poppy Selby met the man she thought she would love forever. The devilishly attractive Duke of Fletcher was everything the convent-educated girl wished for in a suitor and their wedding day was perfect. Unfortunately, no one had quite prepared Poppy for what would happen next. Four years later, Poppy and the duke have become the toast of High Society but behind closed doors the spark of their love affair has burned out. Fortunately, Poppy has a friend in Jemma, the Duchess of Beaumont. Jemma, who is toying with another man herself, reveals to Poppy a world of strategy and desire that will change Poppy s whole outlook on love forever.

Well are we not lovin the covers of these books ...... This is the second in the series of the Duchess and although I did enjoy it is not as good as the first one ...

I love how there are certain characters which are popping up in the books .... And you are getting to know them better .... And I have to say that I love the character of Jemma .... and really hope that we will be able to find out more of her story ...

This book focus mostly on 'Poppy' or better known as Mrs Peridita Selby and how as a little girl all she ever wanted was to be married to a Duke. Now that she has her wish and it is 4 years later is she really happy???? .........

These books are light hearted and very girlie ......... So if you are looking for something that you can sit in front of the fire and just get lost in for a few hours ..... You will love this series ....

I rate this book 3 ***

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Embers by Hyatt Bass, 20/81

Some dysfunctional families draw readers in, and make them engaged in the story. Then there are the literary dysfunctional families who are simply annoying. The Aschers, the focus of Bass's novel, are decidedly in the latter category. Throughout the book I was struck by what a bunch of miserable, negative, self-absorbed people the Aschers seemed to be. Basically, this is a book about self-centered, neurotic people who experience tragedy, which in turn makes them more self-centered and miserable. A big part of the problem is that this book is longer than it needs to be. One simply gets sick of the Aschers' navel-gazing. The book seemed repetitive, with the same sentiments repeated. If the book had been cut down by a third, it would likely have been stronger. This is not a book based upon plot, rather, it is meant to be an investigation of the interior life of a family. The problem is, it's very difficult to pull that off with characters such as these, and in the absence of plot, the reader is left with little else.

Hyatt Bass, The Embers (Henry Holt, 2009) ISBN: 0805089942

Category: Published in 2009 2/9, 20/81

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

James and the Giant Peach

LinkJames and the Giant Peach
Roald Dahl, author
Quentin Blake, illustrator

This edition -
publisher: Puffin Books
release date: August 16, 2007
format: paperback
pages: 160

I'll admit that this is not what I thought I'd be reading this year but I needed a banned or challenged book and James and the Giant Peach is short ;-) The book may have been banned from school and/or public libraries across the USA but as of July 18,'s sales rank is 2,268. It is #1 when looking for Roald Dahl and #52 in humorous children's books. How can this be? When books are removed from libraries parents must buy them.

James and the Giant Peach starts by telling us how wonderful James’ life was by the sea. He "lived peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house beside the sea. There were always plenty of other children for him to play with...It was the perfect life for a small boy."

When he was four, his parents went shopping in London were they were “eaten by an enormous angry rhinoceros which had escaped from the London Zoo”. Eaten mind you, not just killed. Leaving him to be sent to live with his aunts. So James becomes the drudge. Two aunts, many chores, no children to play with, very little play time, no toys, no leaving the garden, sometimes no food. And he meets a man with magic. And the songs?

A Gnu and a Gnocerous surely you'll see
And that gnormous and gnorrible Gnat
Whose sting when it stings you goes in at the knee

and comes out through the top of your hat.

Yes, I can see where people would complain, it sounds just like a Disney movie. (by the way, that was sarcasm)

Mr. Dahl's first stories were written for his own children. Can you see him in a comfortable chair with his children and maybe a neighbor or two sitting on the floor in front of him? I'm sure he slapped his hands on the chair and bounced, just a bit, when the peach ran over James' aunts leaving them "ironned out upon the grass as flat and thin and lifeless as a couple of paper dolls cut out of a picture book."

Mr. Dahl died in 1990. The edition that I have was published in 2007. That is the extent of his popularity. May it live on forever.

My post also has a bit of a rant on censorship and a list of Puffin Books by Roald Dahl. I'm sure you'll see some favorites.

He also wrote adult novels, the only one I own is My Uncle Oswald, picked up because of the cover (legs!) and purchased because I thought it would be funny - "Uncle Oswald makes Casanova look like Winnie the Pooh"

Are You There God? It's Me, Mrgaret.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.
Judy Blume

Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
copyright: 1970
format: hardcover
pages: 149

I needed a banned or challenged book, but running out of time, choose I "short" one that I didn't think I'd ever be rereading but still enjoyed. My library copy had this same girl but it wasn't '3 books in 1'

Margaret moved on the Tuesday before Labor Day. She came home from camp and found out that their New York apartment had been rented to another family and they now owned a house in New Jersey. She had been left out of the decision completely. Her father commutes to Manhattan, Margaret now goes to public school and her mother has a yard.

"I think we left the city because of my grandmother" Oh yeah, when grandma finally shows up she brings food because New Jersey may have deli, etc. but it's "not like what you get in New York" and leaves with a "just because I can't drop in everyday" Everyday? Yikes! I'd move too.

I laughed and I cried and I remembered.

We've all read the book. Do you remember what it felt like to find out you weren't the only one? Read it again as an adult. What a difference!

As for the challenging: Margaret talks to God but doesn't go to church. She and her friends opening talk about their periods (or lack thereof), their changing bodies, find out what a boy looks like naked, and check out a Playboy together. I think the biggest problem some may have is that Margaret and her mother TALK about these things. Margaret may be embarrassed but she still knows her mom with calmly answer her questions.

When I was her age, this wasn't something you talked about. I didn't make that mistake with my daughter.

Judy Blume has written for the pre-teen, young adult and adult. She's still a name that makes my mom cringe but I think it was Forever that she's thinking off....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Desperate Duchesses by Elosia James (55/81)

It is Spring 1783 . . . Jemma, Duchess of Beaumont, has just returned from Paris and is planning to shock all of London High Society - not to mention horrify her husband - with scandalous soirees and a debauched Grand Ball.But irritating her husband comes naturally, and she needs a challenge. When her country cousin Lady Roberta St. Giles asks for help seducing the Duke of Villiers into marriage, Jemma jumps at the chance. She transforms Roberta into the most delicious and desirable woman in town. Then she lures Villiers to the house, ostensibly to play chess.But the plan backfires. Villiers responds enthusiastically to Jemma's challenge and, ignoring Roberta or indeed Jemma's husband.

This is the first in the Duchess Series ........ ( You can read the other novels as stand alone works but there are common characters throughout the series and is better to read them in order ) Thanks to Legs for me know :) .......... And lending me the first couple books .........

Isn't the cover gorgeous ......... I really enjoyed this novel and it is an easy read ......... There is romance, big houses and even bigger dresses ........ Beautiful woman and dashing men ....... With a really good story to boot ...... There is a couple of sexy scenes in it ..... But all in all a really good story that you can curl up in front of the fire and just read ......... Will Roberta get her Duke? and will the Duchess Jemma mend her ways and become a respectable lady? You are going to have to read the book to find out !!!

I rate this book 4****

Prom Nights from Hell by Meg Cabot, Stephenie Meyer, Kim Harrison, Michele Jaffe, Lauren Myracle (54/81)

In this exciting collection, bestselling authors Meg Cabot (How to Be Popular), Kim Harrison (A Fistful of Charms), Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty), Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), and Lauren Myracle (ttyl) take bad prom nights to a whole new level—a paranormally bad level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don't hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper—and he isn't here to tell you how hot you look.

From angels fighting demons to a creepy take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, scary fun.

This is an easy read with five short stories by some of the most popular young authors at the moment !!! Not only is this a fun book but also a portion of the proceeds goes to a good cause ... The First Book organization which gives families with low incomes the opportunity to own there own books ...... Which I love .....

My favourite stories in the book where The Exterminator's Daughter by Meg Cabot .... A funny story that I would have liked to have read more about !!! .......And Madison Avery and the Dim Reaper by Kim Harrison which was again funny and wished there was more !!!

This is a great wee book that you would read in an afternoon ........ And that Teens that like Fantasy will eat up .....

I rate this book 4 ****

A Secret Alchemy by Emma Darwin (53/81)

Cruel betrayals, royal secrets and an ancient murder. Two murdered princes; a powerful queen betrayed; a nobleman riding towards his certain death... Everyone thinks they know about the Princes in the Tower: one of the most fascinating, and most brutal, murder mysteries in British history. But the real story of the suspicious deaths of the young Edward V and his brother, and the involvement of the man who would become Richard III, remains unknown, over five hundred years since the boys were taken from their mother, Elizabeth Woodville, wife of Edward IV. Now, in a brilliant feat of historical daring, Emma Darwin has recreated their world and their terrible, exhilarating story: the power struggles and passion that lay behind their birth; the danger into which they fell; the profoundly moving days before their imprisonment; and the betrayal of innocence.

Well loving the cover and with reading the back of the book we as a book club where totally intrigued ....... And I have to say that I was abit disappointed with it ...... With the books description I was looking forward to the story of the two princes and what happened to them ...... But that story is barely touched on during the whole book ........ The book itself is two stories one in Modern times with Uma and Mark ( Which to be honest you could have done without) and the story of Elizabeth and Edward ( Which I could have had more of ) ...... If the book had been described as the story of Elizabeth and Edward I think that I would have been satisfied by that but it wasn't .........

There is a historical history at the back of the book which I was advised to read by one of the book girls first ...... Which I am glad that I did but I felt that unless you know a little about the monarchy of that era you will be completely lost ....... Which sorry to say I was for the first 150 pages of the book ... I do realize that the book goes back into time to cover the two periods but there is no clear way that this novel does it ... One minute you are reading about Queen Elizabeth and then in the next sentence you are deported to modern times ..... Very confusing .....

The best pieces of this novel are definitely with Elizabeth her brother Anthony and her husband the King Edward ...... I just wished that there was more ........... I was waiting and waiting for the story of the two princes and was left abit flat as this story was never really mentioned ... It did make me curious to actually search out more books about Elizabeth and Edward to compare stories ......

Sad to say that is an average read for me ....... Could have been alot better and had so much potential ........

I rate this book 3 ***