Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 38 – Trolling book blogs

So I haven’t really accomplished any actual book reading the last couple of weeks.  Been spending lots of time with “domestic” real life.  I did spend some time today trolling book blogs, wishing I had a high traffic, well written blog, and was a ARC (which means advance reader copy) reviewer, and blah, bloggity, blah.  But I digress.  I did request  a lot of books on the LibraryThing giveaway pages, and though I may not be able to review bestsellers, I may get to review books by possibly one day bestseller writers. 

I’m almost done with the “Hard Eight” audio book, and sadly had to skip seven as it’s currently checked out.  I believe I already have a hard copy but most of my books are still in boxes, and I dare not make the mess of digging through those yet.  I did finish my review for “If You Go Into The Woods”, which I posted yesterday, and though it is not the best, I believe it is somewhat a writing improvement. 

Other exciting events from today, I downloaded the Kindle app for my PC, and can now hopefully make some progress in “Dirty Little Angels”, by Chris Tusa.  And so far I’m quite enjoying it.  And even more exciting I’ve learned how to get smashwords books into the Kindle app on my Blackberry. “Oh happy day!”

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Review: "If You Go into The Woods", by David Gaughran

"If You Go Into The Woods" is a short story by David Gaughran .  I came into reading this as it was part of a LibraryThing giveaway.  I feel the need to single it out here, and this is the reason why.  I've read a lot of books     through the years.  I'd even probably estimate the number in thousands, as I read quite a lot of books as a teenager. I've only looked into reviewing books as it was getting near time for the summer reading program at my city library, and they give prizes, so for two months I throw myself into reading as many books as I possibly can.  I tell you that, to tell you this, at which I'll finally get the point.  In reading these books I looked for a way to keep track of all these books I was buzzing through.  I found two websites I enjoy.  LibraryThing and Goodreads.  The wonderful thing about these sites is there are member giveaways and advance reader copies to be won.  The idea of reading books before anyone else seems almost impossible (remember I'm on Evanovich's 6th book and her 18th is to be released before the end of the year).  "If You Go Into The Woods", is the first book I won.  It is consists of approximately 16 pages and 2 short stories.  Finally, to my point. When I was done reading, I came upon the conundrum of how do I review this.  Before I started this blog I'd googled a "how to review a book", and one page I'd come across one writer who notes she only reviewed books that she enjoyed.  With "If You Go Into The Woods", I did enjoy parts of it, but as a whole I don't know that I'd recommend it, though I do have what one often refers to as "constructive critisism".  

The first story, "If You Go Into The Woods", has some very interesting and creative plot points but as a whole I personally thought somethings were unnecessary.  The first point I'd like to make is the choice of character names : Jiři, and Miroslav.  To me as I read the beginning of this story, I imagine a location more like India, I imagine a little boy running around in loose fitting white tunic and pants, grimy from the dirt ground and sandy buildings, sandels on his feet, but no that can't be right, there is a lake and a forest, more Indiana than India.  The second thing I take issue with is on the background story; a mother who seems wholly depressed and a character named Miroslav, who is mentioned but not at all explained.  Assumingly he is Jiři's friend?  As the naming choices of characters and places (Kolín and Časlav ) are quite irregular, it took me a moment to first divine which of these Miroslav was, and then who he was.  My third issue comes with the actual, what I'll refer to as "meat" of the story, the whole first part is completely unnecessary to get to what is actually in the woods.  I liked the idea here of what he finds but I thought the message he encounters could have been much more creative, or even more aboding.  
Final thought:  It has a few wonderfully written lines, thought provoking plot, but for me reads more as a book synopsis then short story.  I don’t know what other short story “critics” would think of that opinion, but i think the stories theme could have been built up more and the other background stuff could fall away.

The second story, “The Reset Button”, I enjoyed pretty fully.  The main character Linus is someone people can relate to, is for me someone, I can whole-heartily believe exists in real life, and someone we can empathize for.  The only qualm I had with this is the ending,  the story revolves around the idea that Linus wishes to have a “reset button” in life, but as the story goes on it’s as if someone has pushed a reset button already, and for me if that is the case why then does he wish to push it?  I think if the parts where he is forgotten were replaced with events he wished people would forget this story would have a more seemless flow. 

More about David Gaughran, links to his blog, and an excerpt from his next novel "A Storm Hits Valparaiso" can be found at his website.

Disclosure:  This book was receieved as a part of a LibraryThing giveaway.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Day 34 - Not much reading today

I only got through 3 discs of "Hot Six" today, wasn't able to multi-task as usual, my mind was wandering to a book review I'm trying to write, to learning how to sew. I did finally get an e-mail from the author of "Dirty Little Angels", which I received in a giveaway. So I did begin reading that and am looking forward to having some more time to devote to reading it.

The book review I'm currently writing is quite extensive though not very well written. I hope to have it posted by Sunday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Day 33 – Oh so many missed books reviewing

 So in keeping with the theme of non-daily posting, I have missed another 13 days.  The problem is it’s The Summer Reading Program, so I have faithfully read, read, read… and listened.  I have come to fall in love with audiobooks. 

I just finished “High Five” today by Janet Evanovich.  It was another typical hilarious Evanovich novel.  Another high point was at the end there is a 45 minute interview with Evanovich herself.  I enjoyed listening to how she came to write these books.  And as always made me all whimsical to live the life of a writer, as I’m sure you’ve noticed is not anywhere in my near, to far, future.  I only wish I had even more time to read and blog.  The full-time job and the kids tend to keep to busy for most things though. 

Tomorrow I start the “Hot Six” audiobook by Evanovich, and I currently don’t have another “paper” book started that I’m too deeply invested, those do sometimes occupy a lot of personal time.  But don’t get me wrong; I have two stacks of books (5 or more) in my bedroom, a whole box in my car trunk, and a box hidden somewhere in my closet, of books begging to be read.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Day …Ugh 20?

Day 20…. Where to start?  I’ve missed 10 days well actually a few more then 10, and have missed so many books already, and I want to tell you about each and everyone of them.  Looks like I’m going to have to start double timing on the posts, but the holidays came and went and the kiddies are off to Grammie’s for a couple weeks.  I guess lets do a flashback to yesterday. 
Yesterday I finished the audio recording for “Two for the Dough” by Janet Evanovich.

           Editorial Reviews
Stephanie Plum, the sassiest, spunkiest female bounty hunter in America (or at least New Jersey) is back to take on her second case. She's armed with attitude and outrageous fashion sense-not to mention stun guns, defense sprays, killer flashlights, and her trusty .38-and all the determination a neophyte bounty hunter can muster. In Two for the Dough, she's after a ruthless bail jumper who has an affection for mailing Stephanie deadly notes and pickled body parts, and stealing 24 super-cheap caskets loaded with contraband. When the case overwhelms Stephanie and fast-talking vice cop Joe Morelli, she calls in a real pro: her grandma Mazur, a grey-haired, spandex-wearing dynamo packing heat. In Stephanie Plum, critically-acclaimed author Janet Evanovich has created a resourceful and humorous character who stands apart from the pack of gritty female detectives. C.J. Critt's masterful New Jersey accent fully captures Evanovich's delightful sarcasm. Two for the Dough combines irresistible fun and powerful suspense.
(I know I’m cheating as far as “reviewing”).  I have to say as I began to read listen I couldn’t see why I had enjoyed Evanovich’s novels.  But luckily I stuck with it and found myself often chuckling to myself, wondering if my co-workers were giving me strange looks.  Grandma Mazur’s antics alone are almost enough to keep me reading, and if it weren’t Stephanie’s “car troubles” sure are.  It’s a running gag in all the Plum novels, and that alone I give cudos to Evanovich for.  I started on “Three to Get Deadly” today, with luck I’ll finish it tomorrow.

Day 9 - I absolutely loved "On the Beach" by Jane Green.  I most especially enjoyed the ending.  I find that lately I've been surprised by a lot of the books I've been reading, but in a good way.  I haven't read much of anything today though, do much to do to get stuck inside a book.  I forgot to mention a book I picked up at the library the other day it's call "The Strain" by,(who did the movie "Pan's Labyrinth" that I absolutely loved).  

Day 8 -  Still haven't had tons of time to be reading as much as I would like but I have gotten farther in On The Beach which has multiple story lines all running at the same time though I believe they're about to converge all together in a few chapters, but I'm just guessing at this point.  The only negative is I did find myself a little unsure of the characters storyline as the chapter began, there is quite a few characters, that with his "shocking" disclosure I wasn't thinking about the statement itself but rather which character is this. 

Day 7 -  Well I've made it somewhere around page 68 in 1-2-3 Magic but haven't really got to anymore actual "practices" you might say.  I'd much prefer to put it down and find a good fiction book.  I've read a couple pages from "On The Beach" by Jane Green which looks like it may turn out to be an interesting read, though I find I tend to enjoy more these days the mystery and action books.  I've heard to many Ms. Marple or Hercules Pirot stories on the BBC to just be content with a romance.

Day 6 -  Halfway through Full Tilt, and it's so far, in my opinion, better then "Full Blast".  This one has more action included then romance.  I also picked up two read-a-long books for the girls: "Is Your Mama a Llama" and "When Sophie gets really, really angry".  I don't know how they'll like the audio books.  This summer they've been less open to being read to then in the past.  I did get to read them a little bit of "Stuart Little", and then we switched to "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", but only to the part where Dorothy's house is on top of the cyclone.  Now I'm even curious to read it, because like most people, the story I know is the movie.  Books to tend to always be better then their cinema counter-parts but this is one I'm not too sure about.  I also picked up a couple parenting books, figured maybe I could find something helpful over the summer as well, though my local branch only carries about 5 actual titles.  The one I've started is called 1-2-3 Magic.  I'm to page 40 and it has a lot of fluff in the beginning, but it's finally starting to look like it has some good ideas.  And I will take all the suggestions I can find.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Day 5 - Now to Find a Book I Can Put Down

Bad thing about summer reading is the little widget to the right will hardly ever be accurate. You see our local library has prizes for reading, the more you read the more of a chance to win. Last year I won 2 totebags and a digital camera, well worth the lack of sleep. Plus they count audiobooks, so I listen to those at work, bad thing about audiobooks id if you let your mind wander you have to go back and listen again. "Full Blast" was pretty good at the end and suprised me with who ended up being the murderer. I did go ahead and get the second in the series on audiobook today though I don't rememeber the exact name I'll hopefully post it tomorrow if I can get the girls to bed at a decent hour. "Mini Shopaholic" I'd have to say is one of my favorite Kinsella novels. I definitely recommend the series if you enjoy upbeat funny stories. Not sure what other book I'll read next. But good news is I've got a whole box of unread books and looks like I'll have a box coming this Saturday as well!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Day 4 - Just a short update

One common aspect of motherhood is having hardly any time to yourself and after playing musical beds with my 2 year old til 11 I find I'd prefer to read a few pages of "Mini Shopaholic" and head for bed, as opposed to writing about books I could be reading. "Mini Shopaholic" like the rest of the series is absolutely amusing, and I find more so because the "mini" refers to the maincharacter Becky's two year old daughter who reminds me quite easily of my own two, who I refer to as the children of the corn. Not to spoil your fun I won't detail the antics in the book so far but to give you one example, its christmas and guests have arrived to almost immediatly be spray with ketchup by the two year old. I can not recommend Kinsella's novels enough. One postive note is though it is of a series they will stand alone as "Full Blast" by Evanovich. Turns out it is number four of the series, but thats on audio tape and I'm about halfway through it so I'll tell you all about that one tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Day 3 – Kinsella, Kinsella, Kinsella

So it’s Day 3, and I’ve just finished “Sleeping Arrangements”, by Madeleine Wickham (Sophie Kinsella).  I enjoyed it as I tend to enjoy her sense of wit and humor, but overall I wasn’t nearly as impressed with this book as I am with all of her other books.  It is a story of two British families who go on holiday and find their Villa is double-booked.  Hugh and Chloe turn out to already know each other and this “accident” may not be so accidental after all.  If you enjoy Sophie Kinsella’s Shopaholic series you’ll probably enjoy this one as well (just maybe not as much)  Which speaking of I picked up “Mini Shopaholic”   today at the library, as well as “Full Blast”, a Janet Evanovich novel, on audio book. 
As well, I picked up a few books for my daughters which we spent the evening reading together.  One I though was most indearing is entitled “The Ticky-Tacky Doll” by Cynthia Rylant.  Its a story of a little girl who is quite fond of a sewing scrap doll made by her grandmother.  It’s a cute story that makes me want to attempt to sew one for my daughters (albeit I’d have to add a beginners sewing book to reading list).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Day 2 "Sleeping Arrangements"

Offically Day 2 of the Summer Reading Program. As I mentioned on an earlier post I've already begun "Under the Dome" by Stephen King, and though I was quite excited to get into it, it's turning out to be a slow read for me. So I've begun another that I received from a girl I work with. She brought in a huge bags of books she was intending to donate to goodwill and graciously offered them to us first. And actually I have quite a few from her that I'll be sharing with you this summer. The first book I choose was a Sophie Kinsella novel, which for those of you who don't instantly recognize the name, shame on you she is the author of the "Shopaholic" series. I absolutely fell in love, during last years summer reading program, with her style of writing and her witty humor. The one I started today is under her pen name, Madeleine Wickham, entitled "Sleeping Arrangements", and for me she does not disappoint as I've already made it to page 100 of 295.

((I apologize and ask you to forgive me any spelling error, formatting uglies, poor tag choices, and lack of overall appeal or direction as most and probably a few more (posts) to come are written, edited, and posted with a blackberry notepad and phone internet.))

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer Reading "Kick Off Carnival"

We arrived at the "Kick 0ff Carnival" around twelve, missing the 11:30 pm steel drums. There was lots to see and do. Each separate branch seemed to be responsible for some activity or game. Our closest branch was in charge of the face painting, where my daughters got matching suns on their cheeks. There was a ring toss and a lollipop tree. Both had prizes for winning and everyone was a winner. Having never seen a lollipop tree it was a cute idea. Not only did you get to keep the lollipop but the ends were colored to show which prize box you could chose from. When you got too hot there were sno cones readily available as well as lemonade. And if sno cones weren't your preference there was cotton candy and popcorn. And if all that wasn't enough there were three inflatables: a bounce house, a slide, and what I choose to call the racing obstacle as it was like an obstacle course but made for two to race through.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Reading Begins

It's that time again. Summer Reading Program at the local library. I hadn't done it in a long time and never as an adult until last summer. I very much enjoyed it as a child and pre-teen. And it still, for whatever reason, excites me now as it did as a child. I believe it lasts for 2 months, so I've made my reading goal 50, which though it may sound improbable in a 2 month time period that does include audio books as well. The offical library "kick off carnival" is tomorrow. To include a bounce house, sumo wrestling, games, food and in the words of the local radio DJ, when he parodies radio contests, "big, big, prizes". I hope to do this with my two daughters every year, and hope they find the same love of reading that I have. Here in this blog you will find the chronicale of our summer reading and after all the wonderful reads we find. We'll get the girls books tomorrow. My first book is "Under the Dome" by that little known auther Stephen King. If anyone should happen upon these posts feel free to leave favorite authors or book titles, I'm always looking for a great story to escape into from the non-fiction of what is my life.