Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Summer Reading Burn Out

I really push myself with the summer reading program and try to out read my previous year.  But it's almost impossible to read a book every two days and blog at the same time.  So the love of reading beats out the blogging and finally the world world beats out the fiction.  But it's been six months and I have a beautiful new reader years behind the curve.  Here's to hoping for a more blog filled 2013.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

It’s Summer Reading Time Again

Here at my local library, they start it off with a reading Carnival.  It was last Saturday and completely free and open to the public.  They have bouncy houses and slides, booths with games, temporary tattoos, face painting and cake walks.  Both of my daughters love it, mainly for the free snow cones and cotton candy.  I love it because it signals the beginning of the program.  It ends August 18th, giving me 60 more days (64 days total).  Online it allows for title and author logging as well as a review if you choose.  It already has 49 reviews.  Which makes me feel behind, as only one of them are mine.  It had reviews on the first day, which I consider cheating, Maybe they did, but I think some people post reviews for books they’ve already finished.  You see they’re are drawings for prizes and each book you log puts you in the running.  I try to make sure most of the books I read are actually even checked out from the library, I guess my personal honor system so to speak.  It’s the time of year I read the most and almost a burn out as I push myself to read the most out of everybody, though there are no statistics so it’s almost an imaginary self challenge.  But I absolutely love it.  The girls being 4 years and 3 years old aren’t able to read themselves yet but they already have 2 hours and 20 minutes.  They win small prizes after 5 hours and a book after 10.  They’re a lot more into it this year then they were last year.

Do any of you participate in a library program? 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

"The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie", By: Alan Bradley

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
Author: Alan Bradley, Read by: Jayne Entwistle
Published by: Random House Audio
Published: Delacorte Press;First Edition April 28, 2009
Format: Audio Book
Source: Library

On Goodreads, "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" only gets a rating of 3.76.  I am utterly stunned.  From Goodreads:
 In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. It is the summer of 1950—and a series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia’s family calls home. A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath. For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”
I have to agree it was "wickedly brilliant".  Having looked it up on Goodreads, I have also found it is the first of 3.  Flavia is a character that I immediately fell in love with.  It is written I would describe like most other 1800 century English writings.    The story begins as Flavia is trying to poison her sister.  I said poison, not kill, as a matter of fact we aren't sure exactly what Flavia's up to till the very end of the story.  Flavia has such a unique "voice" and though it's a murder mystery it kept me laughing almost all the way through.  This was an audio book from my library and Entwistle's voice ties it all together excerpts can be found on Entwistle's Random House page.  I absolutely loved this novel and will be reading or hearing all the others as well.  I believe it deserves 5 out of 5 stars. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Big Girl" by Danielle Steel

Big Girl
Author:  Danielle Steel Narrated by: Kathleen McInerney
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Published: 2010
Format: Audio Book 
Author:Danielle Steel (Author), Kathleen McInerney (Narrator)
Product Description for Amazon;
In this heartfelt, incisive novel, Danielle Steel celebrates the virtues of unconventional beauty while exploring deeply resonant issues of weight, self-image, sisterhood, and family.  A chubby little girl with ordinary looks, Victoria Dawson has always felt out of place in her family, especially in body-conscious L.A. While her parents and sister can eat anything and not gain an ounce, Victoria must watch everything she eats, as well as endure her father’s belittling comments about her body and see her academic achievements go unacknowledged. Ice cream and oversized helpings of all the wrong foods give her comfort, but only briefly. The one thing she knows is that she has to get away from home, and after college in Chicago, she moves to New York City. 
Landing her dream job as a high school teacher, Victoria loves working with her students and wages war on her weight at the gym. Despite tension with her parents, Victoria remains close to her younger sister, Grace. Though they couldn’t be more different in looks, they love each other unconditionally. So when Grace announces her engagement to a man who is an exact replica of their narcissistic father, Victoria worries about her sister’s future happiness, and with no man of her own, she feels like a failure once again. As the wedding draws near, a chance encounter, a deeply upsetting betrayal, and a family confrontation lead to a turning point. 
Behind Victoria is a lifetime of hurt and neglect she has tried to forget. Ahead is a challenge and a risk: to accept herself as she is, celebrate it, and claim the victories she has fought so hard for and deserves. Big girl or not, she is terrific and discovers that herself.

I always enjoy Danielle Steel's novels, I always have.  This book had a lot of positives for me.  I loved the main character, Victoria, and I felt her pains with her.  But for me after reading the back and the title I thought, "hey it should be good it's about a girl like me."  No I didn't have a narcissistic father, neither did I have bad parents in anyway, probably more spoiled then anything.  But it was supposed to be about a "big girl".  And the title is a good choice once you read the book , it's really a perfect choice.  But I take issue, and usually always do when the "fat women" is under a size 16.  Okay, maybe that's what qualifies someone as a plus sized model, but for me that's not a big girl.  I myself am usually about a size 22/24.   Victoria through-out the story yes, does battle with her weight.  She goes between a size 12 and a size 16.  A women who wears a six 16, at least a good many, can wear a mini skirt and not have anyone point and laugh or post a picture of them on the people of Walmart website.  So for me, I personally don't qualify her as a big girl, but more an optimal weight.  Disappointed with that fact, but really that's just a personal pet peeve.  The book overall is without a doubt a, "... heartfelt, incisive novel, Danielle Steel celebrates the virtues of unconventional beauty while exploring deeply resonant issues of weight, self-image, sisterhood, and family."

Monday, May 28, 2012

“The Matchmaking Cat” by David L. Dawson

The Matchmaking Cat
Author:  Suzie Dawson pseudonym of David L. Dawson
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Published: 2012
Format: ebook
Source: LibraryThing Giveaway

Jess Cardle has been left at the alter, and is still hurting three years later.  Her cat, Marlon decides it time for her to find a new mate, and has a few creative ideas on how to make that happen.

What I liked about this book was Marlon’s hijinks.  A cat lover myself I love the thought of a cat being an intuitive, thought processing being.  There were a few times I chuckled, I enjoyed Dawson’s since of humor.  It was an enjoyable story.

Sadly with this one there was a lot I didn’t like.  At approximately 10,000 words I do not expect an author to having spelling or grammar mistakes but there was at least on when the author said “go four round four”, when he meant “go for round four”.  I thought for this short story there was too much, as it would work better as a summarization of a longer novel then a novella.  Jess also reveals her story to a co-worker and afterwards comments she should have so years ago.  If it were a commonly kept secret, I might understand, but I have a hard time believing it possible a woman becomes engaged to a man she’s been dating for ten plus years, and her co-worker had no idea she was in a relationship.  This being a novella I would have preferred it to focus more on the Marlon, the matchmaking cat, and less on Jess’s life story.  I think all the details would be perfect in a full length novel. 

Upon researching more about the author I found “The Fall”, by David L. Dawson, which is a full length novel whose first chapter is available on Goodreads.  Dawson appears to me to be a writer with great ideas and tons of ambition.  I did undoubtedly enjoy “The Matchmaking Cat”, I just wish it had been more focused.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Book Blogger Hop

Book Blogger Hop
The Book Blogger Hop is held by Jen over at Crazy-for-Books.  

What to Do:
1. Post on your blog answering this question:

Blogging Question: How do you handle the writing of a negative review?
2. Enter the link to your post in the linky list here (enter your Blog Name, Genre you review, and direct link to your post answering this week’s question; failure to do so will result in removal of your link).
3. Visit other blogs in the list, spending quality time getting to know the people you are visiting. Don’t just visit the post with the question, but click around and read some of the blogger’s other content, too! This Hop isn’t about the number of people you can visit, but the quality of each visit.

My Answer:  
I do occasionally find books that I have some criticism for.  I try to hearken by to my school days where if you didn't have anything nice to say don't say it, and from my creative writing classes, giving constructive criticism.  So I would never say, "This book was horrible, I hated it," but more something like "I hoped I would have enjoyed this book more had" and insert constructive criticism.  The good thing about reviews is many authors (especially new authors) read them, and if it's a valid or useful point it could also help them in their next book.  

Thursday's Thoughts

That sounds like it should be a weekly meme.  I had high expectations of posting everyday.  I understand now the use of meme's.  It's humanly impossible to post a good or at least slightly entertaining blog post every day, read (otherwise you have nothing to post on a book blog, as it turns out), update Goodreads and LibraryThing, work a full time job and do all the other necessary domestic (my weekend to-do list includes self replacement of car parts and lawn mower belts; and escaping into the world of books- as if real life wasn't crazy enough).  The one exciting thing for me, as I assume it was for many other book bloggers, is I got my first NetGalley book today.  One of the few publishers who did not refuse me due to my reach.  I've made it to page 20 of "The Black Isle" by Sandi Tan and am already in love with the way she writes.  I can't imagine it'll be anything less then fantastic.  I've also purchased at least 11 books while out and about at the thrift store.  It'll take forever to ever read what I have along with new member giveaways and galley's I figure worse come to worse I'll save them for when I retire and can spend every waking hour reading and doing nothing else, except maybe blogging about said books.  By that time they'll be classics.