Thursday, December 31, 2009

Some reading I've done lately:

Eragon, Christopher Paolini:

This one was a media darling and best seller. It's a fantasy novel that's basically a ripoff of Tolkien (Aragorn vs. Eragon -- coincidence? I think not) and some other fantasy authors. It's ok as a middle school level read, but I didn't love it and I'm not planning on reading the rest of the series. I hear they get more violent and less middle-schoolish. I liked Eragon's dragon, though. She was the best character in the book.

Cotillion, Georgette Heyer:

This was recommended by a friend. It's set in Jane Austen's Regency England. It took me a while to get into it. She's a little heavy on the period slang, esp her main male character, but once you get past that, it's a fun story. Very light, but good characterizations and it made me giggle. She's written about 50 books, so it's nice to know I have a fall back when I need some escapist reading.

North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell:

Despite the title, it's not about the Civil War! :) It's set in England in about 1850 and Gaskell is contrasting the old rural, aristocratic England with the new Industrial England in Manchester. It was really interesting because that's exactly where the Lukes were and what they were doing in 1850: working in the mills in Manchester, and also because it's just a well-written book. I liked the main characters a lot. I liked the romance part; it reminded me of Pride and Prejudice several times. Gaskell is a really good writer, and I hear the BBC movie version is great, too!

Happy New Year!

Monday, December 14, 2009

My Favorite Christmas Books

I have a few books I like to read in December, plus many children's books, but that's another post!

One book that is hilarious is Skipping Christmas by John Grisham. It was made into a movie, Christmas With the Kranks, which follows the book pretty well. Even the librarian, when I checked the book out, said she laughed out loud reading it. It is funny, pretty short, and easy to read.

I also like The Christmas Wish by Richard Siddoway. There is a second book, The Christmas Quest. I think The Christmas Wish was also made into a movie, but I haven't seen it.

And then Donna VanLiere wrote a series of books, the first one is The Christmas Shoes, it's based on the song Christmas Shoes. She has now 5 books in the series. They are pretty fast reads too.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Constance by Patricia Clapp

This is a great Thanksgiving book. It's about a 15 year old girl Constance (mostly true story, a few parts I guess were made up but basically true, written by her descendent), who came over on the Mayflower, and how they started life here. It covers about 7 years of her life. I believe it's written for young adults, but I thought it was a good story talking about the reality of their first few years in Plymouth. It was pretty hard for them! I tried to explain to Ian that the Pilgrims didn't have cars and grocery stores and heating and things like that - they really had to do with what they could gather or grow.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Various Titles

Something Familiar by Pamela Carrington Reid

Who doesn't love a good clean romance every once and a while. I really liked this one because it wasn't as sappy and predictable as some. Although, if you don't like romance novels don't go for this one.(remember I said not AS sappy and predictable...not that it WASN'T sappy and predictable!) I really enjoyed it. I think what I really liked about it was, I could put it down. Some romance novels keep me reading into the wee hours of the morning. I devour them like a chocolate candy bar. This book was more like chocolate cake, I could eat it one bite at a time.

I listen to this one on CD and enjoyed it as much as the first. It's very different, but still lots of fun! I love that these books appeal to such a wide variety of people and ages.

This is another one I listen to. It too was different then it's predecessor, but I still really liked it! It's such an interesting look into human nature and its frailties. It's amazing how much our perspective taints what we see. My dad was an investigator and I remember him coming home once telling me to read a particular news article and when I had finished, him saying, "That's not what happened, I can't tell you what happened, but that's not true." Another thing he use to say was, "You can have 5 eye witnesses to a crime, and they will tell 5 completely different accounts of the same event, often contradicting one another." Knowing this makes it pretty easy to dismiss a lot of negative accounts of the prophet Joseph. It also makes me wonder how much of the news stories we hear or read about, are actually what really happened. As you can see, this book really made me think. I'm looking forward to reading the 4th one.(the 3rd is a prequel to the 1st, and I'm not sure if I'll read it.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society

I second Kellie's recommendation of this book. It was really fun. It's probably aimed at kids aged 8 or 9 to 11 or 12. It's an easy read but good plot and good characters.

I also reread The Three Musketeers (Alexandre Dumas) recently, which I loved as a teenager, but now I thought it was kind of depressing. The plot gets pretty dark at the end. It's a good book, but I'm not sure I'll be reading it again.

And I reread The Hobbit, just for fun. I'm already looking forward to the boys getting old enough to read aloud with me because it's really a fun adventure, much lighter than The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The City of Ember

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

Another one I listened to on CD, I like having the noise while I do housework! It was very intriguing a good read for a 10-15 year old boy or girl. It's about a city underground that's loosing power. They don't know they're underground's sort of a mystery. I really really liked it and am listening to the second book, The People of Sparks, right now. I enjoy the way the writer expresses herself.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Absolutely loved it! Would appeal to both girls and boys. I listened to it on CD and the reader, Del Roy, was very good. I wasn't sure what to excpect and couldn't guess where the plot would lead me. I like to be surprised and not be able to guess at what's going on. It was refreshing to read (listen to) something so unique.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Time Enough For Drums

Time Enough For Drums by Ann Rinaldi

Loved it! Found it amidst Matt's old books. He said he'd never read it and that it might have been one of you girl's books. It's a historical fiction novel about the revolutionary war. A fabulous story with just enough of a good clean romance. I'd read this again.

A Room With A View, EM Forster

The book is mostly about Lucy Honeychurch who with her aunt travels to Italy for an educational vacation that ends up expanding her view of the world in unexpected ways.

I think this is the 3rd time I've read this book, and I think I like it more every time. That's a good book! I picked it up again because I wanted to read something that I wouldn't get obsessed with but would still offer a little escape before bed at night. I enjoy Forster's characterizations and his subtle humor. He creates some strange and memorable scenes that really stick with you. Definitely recommended.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Truth About Sparrows

I just read The Truth About Sparrows, by Marian Hale. It is a young adult book, and I liked it. It is the author's first book, and it looks like she's written a couple more since then.

It's about a family who, during the Depression, has to leave their farm and move to where they can find work fishing. The 12 year old girl comes to realize a lot about life as she watches new people observe her father, who can't use his legs, and as she works in a shrimp factory to help out, take care of her mom and siblings, etc., all while feeling very upset about losing their home and living in a shack by the sea.

I suppose it's kind of a "coming of age" book, where she goes from being a girl with a happy life to growing up in her thoughts and actions through her adversities.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Enchanted Chocolate Pot

Sorcery and Cecelia, or The Enchanted Chocolate Pot
by Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

A friend recommended this book to me, and I'm so glad she did!

The novel began as a writing game. The two authors wrote letters back and forth to each other, one as each character, without discussing plot or anything. This is the result. It's the story of Cecelia and Kate, two cousins living in Jane Austen's England -- but with a magical twist.

Highly recommended!

The Chocolate Touch

The Chocolate Touch
by Patrick Skene Catling

Jared, Calvin and I read this book aloud as a bedtime story. Here's what the boys have to say about it (beware of many spoilers):

"I liked when everything turned into chocolate, whatever he put in his mouth, in The Chocolate Touch. I thought it was funny when his trumpet turned into chocolate. I think other people would like to read this book because when they bobbed for apples, the water turned to chocolate syrup then he ran home, it was so funny."

"I really liked the chocolates. It was funny when the Mom turned into chocolate. I liked that he kept eating chocolates. It was so funny."

And there you have it. :)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Walk Two Moons

I read this book on the plane to and from Denver. It's a young adult book I first read in a children's literature class in college. It's a Newbery Award Winner. It's about a girl driving across country with her grandparents to Lewiston, Idaho. She is telling her grandparents a story about her friend, while at the same time discovering her own story. I like it, it's easy to read and has some good messages to it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Chronicals of Narnia Books

Hi, this is Regan. A few months ago Hadyn and I wanted to watch the Narnia movie, but we had to read the book first. So we started reading the Narnia books. When we were done with the second book, which is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, we watched the movie. I liked the movie better than the book . The book is mostly about four kids. The kids' names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. My favorite people in the movie was the witch and the two girls, Lucy and Susan. Lucy discovers the wardrobe when they were playing hide-and-go-seek on a rainy day. She hided in the wardrobe and she met a half person/half goat , and the goat guy is Lucy's friend. Then the witch finds the half person/half goat and then he gets arrested. Lucy and her brothers and sister, Peter and Edmund and Susan, helped Lucy find Mr. Tumnus (that's the half person/half goat). I think you should read this because it's cool.

We are still reading the Narnia books. Right now we are in the middle of the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I like it because this mean kid, Eustace turns into a dragon because he was selfish. Eustace had a gold bracelet on, and when he turned into a dragon it got stuck on his arm, which was now a dragon leg, and Lucy wanted to help the dragon with the bracelet.

You'll like the books as much as me. I promise.

See you later!


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Ties that Bind, Ties that Break

Note:  These books are some that were given to Deb while we were there.  Mostly children's books.

By Lensey Namioka, 1999.  Great book!  Informative, educational, interesting.  Story of Arlen Tao, in China 1911, about traditions of that time.  A young child in a high class family, Arlen  has no experience with life outside their home.  She is schooled at home, a marriage is arranged when she is 5, but her future mother-in-law is very disproving that they haven't bound her feet yet.  Her older sister invites her into her rooms when the servants are washing her feet, and she sees for the first time what binding the feet means and  refuses to let them do that to her.  Her father takes her side.  He realizes that times are changing and they need to move in that direction in their family.   He also lets her go to a school for girls where she learns English and about the outside world.    Of course, the marriage is cancelled since she isn't a proper girl anymore.  Her father dies, an uncle takes over the family compound and refuses to pay for her schooling anymore, and basically kicks her out.  

A lot of historical information, intriguing story, and a look into a culture we know almost nothing about.  One of my favorites that I've read recently!

The Summer of the Swans

Newberry award book by Betsy Byars, published 1970.  Says it's for ages 8-12.  Story told by 14 year old girl, Sara who has a younger brother, Charlie.  Charlie had a serious illness when he was 3 and it damaged his brain.  He doesn't speak, and is behind developmentally.  They and an older sister live with an Aunt.  Their Dad works in another town and and comes home occasionally.

In the spring, swans come to a small lake nearby for a short time each year.  Sara and Charlie walk down to the lake to watch them and Charlie is fascinated by them.  That night Charlie disappears.  Touching story about the entire town trying to find Charlie, and Sara's emotions as she realizes how much she loves her brother, and finally accepts help from a boy she previously  thinks is a jerk who helps her find Charlie.  Touching story.  Probably good for teens maybe up to 16. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I finally got around to getting a Google account so I can join this group.  Deb commented on Lemon Tart - definitely not the most scholarly piece, but a fun read anyway.  I don't have a lot of free time, and I read late at night, or on trips, etc., and usually pick things that are pretty light.  More later on the recent books I've read.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ralph S. Mouse, et al.

Calvin, Jared, and I are reading Ralph S. Mouse together. I'll try and get Calvin to write a review when we're done. :)

I'm also reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (I got bored with Robinson Crusoe) and I just finished The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson which I really liked. I'll write a review when I have a minute.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


That's the name of the book I'm reading. It's by Karen Kingsbury. She writes a lot of books, puts them out fast. This is one of a series. She's a Christian author, and all the books quote scripture from some version of the Bible and someone always finds their way back to church, but I like to read her books because there isn't anything bad in them - I know there won't be any swearing or anything like that. They're easy to read and I don't have to think about it, which I like, since I read at night to fall asleep or while I'm eating lunch to distract me from the rest of the day's duties.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Lemon Tart

I just read Mom's copy of Lemon Tart, by Josie Kilpack (? something like that). It's one of her Mormon mysteries. It was pretty good and a fast read but definitely in need of a better editor. It could have been a lot better had someone helped her tighten up the prose and stop talking down to the reader.

Mom's read about 5 books since she's been here, so I'm trying to convince her to write about them on here! Stay tuned! :)

Monday, April 6, 2009

Fablehaven 4

That sounds like a good boy book. Treasure Island is another one that boys would love! Peter Pan is pretty good too! Also, Sherlock Holmes. Just some suggestions. I'm currently reading Fablehaven 4. For anyone who wants to start the series I have the first book but not the 2nd or 3rd. I love them. They are fantasy books. Younger kids like them too, but you'd have to read out loud because there are lots of words.


Let's give this a try and see how it goes. Here's my first post:

I'm just starting Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. It's the first novel written in English, and I've never read it. It seems boyish and I'm trying to expand my knowledge of boy-books. :) I'll let you know how it goes.