Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Sunday, April 4, 2010
I'm a people watcher--it's actually one of my favorite past times. I want to know people's back story--why they dress/act/or behave the way they do. Which is exactly why I was excited to read Secret Sisters by Tristi Pinkston because as the back cover says "Ida Mae Babbitt, president of the Omni 2nd Ward Relief Society, didn't mean to become a spy."
Ida Mae Babbit, isn't that a great name?, is one likable character. She's dedicated to a fault, extremely hardworking, and overall a no nonsense type of person. She's not perfect which makes her even better.
When Ida Mea and her Relief Society Presidency learn that a family in their ward is suffering they set out to get the whole story. The family assures Ida Mae that they are fine, but Ida Mae knows they're lying.
And that sets into motion a hilarious scheme to gather information.
First the newly formed "Secret Sisters" plant just a video camera to see if the family has enough to eat. When that doesn't get them the information they want, they add audio only to get more than they bargained for-- there is something going on that shouldn't.
To get to the bottom of the mystery, the "secret sisters" launch a whole new set of plans that include late-night patrols and planting a "spy" only to realize that they may have gotten themselves in over their heads.
Secret Sisters has a bevy of wonderful supporting characters that we can all relate to because we know someone like them. The way that each "Secret Sister" went about doing good was completly different and as the story progressed we, along with Ida Mae, we able to see the strengths of each sister and her service. But these characters were by non means without their faults, and maybe that is why I liked them so much. Their flaws somehow this increased their likability.
If you are looking for a delightful read filled with wonderful characters and a cute little mystery, that all the while celebrates the amazing work done by individuals as we look out for each other than Secret Sisters is just the title. Secret Sisters will make you want to do more and be more. My only complaint with the book, was that it was such a short read...but I guess that means I'll just have to wait until the next book comes out so I can read more about Ida Mae and the rest of the "Secret Sisters."
While this title was sent to me for free by Valour Publications, I was not paid to review this title. The review posted was my own.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
A Curse Dark As Gold is a brilliantly woven tale filled with romance, ghosts, witchcraft, folk magic, the struggles of Georgian society set in rural 18th century England. The characters are distinct and language effortlessly weaves the story around you. From start to finish I was drawn into this tale and found myself thinking about the characters and the story long after I had finished it--always a good sign.
Upon the death of her father, seventeen-year-old Charlotte inherits the family business--the Stirwaters woolen mill. But the mill is in trouble and the townspeople talk in hushed voices of a curse on the mill that goes back generations.
Charlotte doesn't believe in the curse, but even she can't explain away some of the strange happenings at the mill. As the mill falls further and further into debt, Charlotte will do anything to save the mill even if it means striking up a bargain with Jack Straw. A strange little man who can spin gold out of straw--for a price.
With an uncle who apparently wants to help and a rival woolen mill poised to take over Stirwaters, Charolotte bargain with Jack Straw appears to created a web that will destroy all she holds dear--the mill, her family, the townsfolk, and her heart.
A Curse Dark As Gold is a brilliantly woven tale filled with ghosts, witchcraft, folk magic, the struggles of Georgian society, and of course romance. Bunce does a wonderful job of creating characters that are distinct and language that weaves the story effortlessly around you.
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I call it the "they were good except for fill in the blank" problem. The stories were great and kept me entertained, but then "bam" something would be thrown. I have a really hard time when "adult" things are thrown into YA literature. (I don't like seeing it in adult novels, but I feel that the readership is better able to handle it)
A majority of the last novels I've read had references to sex--from fantasies to it actually happening-- drugs, drinking, smoking, violence and language. I even picked up an "award winning" YA novel only to find the main characters having sex in the first paragraph. I didn't read the rest of the novel, but upon further investigating I found that the novel included sex, rape, and sodomy among it's adult themes.
I think glamorizing immorality, drugs, drinking, and smoking in YA novels is a scary trend. It sends the wrong message and forces kids to grow up too soon. We all have to be adults way too soon, why can't we just enjoy childhood a little longer?
Thursday, March 11, 2010
It's bracket time. And while most of us associate March with March Madness, there is another contest I'll be watching. It's the School Library Journal Battle of the Kid's Books. 16 books judged by 15 author will one book coming out as the "greatest of all." I haven't read a fair number of titles on this years lists--to be honest I'm still working my way through last years list--but those that I have I've really liked.
Since last years winner was the The Hunger Games, I'm expecting this year to bring another book that I love. So fill out your bracket and don't forget to vote for the book you want resurrected before the big announcement on April 5th.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Most of these books have been lost to the average reader which is why I was so excited to see that Bloomsbury is issuing a new series that brings back to the public view "lost" novels of the twentieth century.
Aren't the covers of the just beautiful? I love the bold colors and combined with the black and white illustrations and graphic elements.
I know that I'll be putting these titles on my to read (and to buy) list.
A charming novel from the 1930s that revels in young innocence prior to the First World War and celebrates the fantasies of childhood.
Told through letters and charmingly illustrated by the author, this novel is a hilarious, wry, but often very moving portrait of life in rural wartime Britain.
An endlessly surprising fairy tale from the 1930s, introducing an unforgettable heroine and a story that shows that anything is possible with a little imagination
The twists and turns of romance, misunderstanding and domestic life in Edwardian London entwine in this pin-sharp comedy by the woman Oscar Wilde called his 'Sphinx'
A magical 1950s tale of hopes and dreams that reveals the spirit of East End’s vibrant immigrant community and the charm of a little imagination
Mrs Tim of the Regiment
Ever observant, always witty and more than a little mischievous, the Mrs Tim diaries reveal a timeless tale of a young woman often out of her depth, but, always with an eye for the amusing side of life.
*I took the imagery and book description from the Bloomsbury website
Friday, February 12, 2010
I am so excited that the title of the third book in The Hunger Games trilogy yesterday, and I think the title of the third book is absolutely perfect-- Mockingjay. Since these books are the story of Katniss who herself has become the mockingjay--a symbol of hope and rebellion--I am excited to see how she will accept and respond to her symbol of hope.
I know the previous two covers have had the mockingjay on it, I don't like this cover as well. I really like the symbolism of it--the mockingjay breaking free and taking flight on a light blue background--I just don't like the execution of it. I don't like the drawing of the bird, I know as Katniss has grown as a character, so has the detail of the mockingjay. But this mockingjay illustration seems cartoonish. I also think this particular blue color is jarring when placed against the other two titles.
But despite a cover that doesn't grab me, I will be there on August 24th eagerly anticipating getting my copy before locking myself in my room to finally read how it all ends.
Check out this article for more Mockingjay news.
What do think about the cover? Do you like it? Hate it? Does it make you excited for its release?
Monday, February 8, 2010
Growing up I had a shelf that held those good old standbys. They were the books that no matter how many times you've read them they were still just as wonderful as the first time. They were the books that were read as a matter of habit, the books read when you needed comfort after a long day, or the books that allowed you to dream. Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster is one of those. I've read it so many times that it's now a very tattered book and it was one of the few books that came with me when I went away to college.
I love the story of Jershua "Judy" Abbott an orphan who writes letters to the rich benefactor who is paying her way through college. Because she knows nothing about him, she calls him Daddy Long-Legs. Her weekly letters to "Daddy Long-Legs" have it all--humor, sadness, happiness, and love. Her description into turn of the century college life is wonderful for it's innocence and the illustrations that dot the book are charming in their simplicity. If you've never read it I would highly recommend picking up a both this one and it's sequel Dear Enemy.
While I was kind of sad that they weren't making a movie of Daddy Long-Legs part of me was relived because of this trend in Hollywood has a tendency to ruin perfectly good books. And while I hate to see any decent book ruined when a movie of it's created, I can't stand it when they take some of my favorite books and turn it into a product I barely recognize. Daddy Long-Legs (Daddy Long-Legs, 1955), Rilla of Ingleside (Anne: The Continuing Story), My Friend Flicka (Flicka), and The Indian in the Cupboard (The Indian in the Cupboard) all came to mind as books that were ruined by the movie.
What other books has Hollywood ruined when they turned it into a movie? I would love to hear which movies I should avoid and which books I should read instead.