Tag Archives: book

Hometown Legend, by Jerry B. Jenkins

Hometown Legend

Hometown Legend

This novel by the New York Times bestselling co-author of the “Left Behind” series is an interesting read.  I picked it up at a donated book sale at the public library about a year ago, during a break between safety ergonomic classes I was teaching to co-workers in the library’s lecture hall.  I recognized the author, and thought it might be a good read some day in the future.

So, it sat on my bookshelf in the dining room until a few weeks ago, when I remembered that there were a few unread fiction books I had tucked away until a day off.

I seldom read fiction, although I am repeatedly admonished by those closest to me to “lighten up” or “chill” a little more often, and to seriously attempt being less serious!  I was the child who truly read through the dictory and encyclopedia, crossed legged on the floor in front of the book shelves and engrossed for hours at a time.  As I grew into my career, technical journals, software user guides, management literature and law books replaced the encyclopedia.

One of those wise people who periodically remind me of the effort-worthy goal of pursuing more amusing reading is the Obsessive Bookworm, who knows me only too well!  She laughs at my excessiveness and can even get me to laugh at myself now and then, too.  (But then, again, who is she to talk about excessive, obsessive behavior, anyway?)

REading

What I hoped it would be

After the recent death of a family member, I was seriously looking for something not so serious to do while I was sitting around during my bereavement leave, in between dealing with his end-of-life affairs.  I needed a light, pleasant read to give me some emotional balance and to divert my mind temporarily from the soberness of the week.  Remembering this book, I pulled it off the shelf, poured a cup of coffee and dove into the welcome diversion.

This book was every thing that I hoped it would be, and exactly what I needed at just the right time.  An absorbing and believable tale centering around a small town football team, its long-time coaching legend, and the football manufacturing company that helped feed the community economy.  The well-painted complex personalities and relationships made the story engaging, depicting business and global competition for quality goods “made in America” made the story relevant.

hometown_new_poster

Available as a 2002 DVD Movie

Carrying me away into the lives of a circle of people who were struggling to establish their faith through threats against the future livelihood of their town, my heart was warmed and challenged.  Reading this book felt like the author was actually biographing his personal hero to his readers, and artfully sharing the secrets of a great man’s faith and quiet, unpublished personal heroism.  He showed the strengths and shortcomings, and revealed the inner conflicts and tough choices small businessmen often face.  The hero of the story is human and flawed, and that made it more realistic.

This book touched me unexpectedly as I saw the all-too-close parallel to the experiences I have faced in recent years, as a government manager trying to balance budgets and preserve the jobs of my staff.  I experienced this book personally, and was encouraged by the reminders to walk by faith through uncertain times, and to believe in God’s goodness through seemingly unacceptable circumstances.

The plot takes an unexpected leap that keeps the story engaging to the last page.  This is one of those stories you wish would have a few more chapters before getting to the back cover.

This book was an unexpected blessing, and I would recommend getting it new if you see it, or buying used online at Amazon.com.

Rating

Get it used...

Get it used…

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The Lupus Encyclopedia by Donald E. Thomas, M.D.

Lupus Book Review

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia

The Lupus Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Guide for Patients and Families (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book) by Donald E. Thomas, Jr., M.D., FACP, FACR, was recently released.  Within the astounding 43 chapters is an in-depth and exhaustive discussion of the many facets of lupus.  This book is for lupus patients, but is not a quick read, but between two covers holds a broad library of balanced lupus topics that are worthy of investing some time and study.

There is so much in this book, but where should you start?  Begin in the Preface, where Dr. Thomas sets forth seven specific steps a lupus patient may use right away to get the greatest benefits from his book:

  1. Go to the 3 page Lupus Secrets Checklist in Chapter 44
  2. Read the listed specific chapters Dr. Thomas recommends reading next
  3. Get a copy of your medical records, notes, labs, x-rays, etc.
  4. Skim interesting chapters to find and go back to spend more time on ones that apply most to you
  5. Consult the Patient Resources at the end of the book
  6. Visit Dr. Thomas’ Facebook page and follow him on Twitter for current lupus news
  7. Consider sending an email to Dr. Thomas with suggestions for future editions

After ferreting out reliable lupus information for more than twenty years since my diagnosis in the early 1990s, it really seemed there were few sources of fresh information about Lupus, without going to books and references written for the medical community.  This book provides an understandable reference resource appropriate for patients. Happily, there is great depth and much to learn from reading and referring to this important book!

cc

Check out this new Lupus book!

Dr. Thomas clearly demonstrates his broad understanding of Lupus, and this book should stand the test of time as one of the great books about this complex auto-immune disease.  The first printing of this exhaustive patient reference initially sold out in both hard and soft cover edition at a reduced price through Amazon.com but a few more copies are now available, and more are on the way.  It is also sold at BarnesandNoble.com in both cover styles and as a Nook e-book at the lowest price I have seen online so far.  If other sources are out of stock and you don’t mind paying full list price, purchase it direct from the publisher’s website at John Hopkin’s University Press.

I heartily recommend The Lupus Encyclopedia, and urge you to check it out, too.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: The Road

Book: The Road

Author: Cormac McCarthy

Recommend: This one is not for the faint of heart but worth the read.

I have heard so much about this book. It is mentioned almost constantly when discussing post-apocalyptic works as the standard to measure against and now that I’ve read it, I can completely understand why.

This story centers around a boy and his father as they travel through a burned out country where most of the people they meet are corpses or much worse.  The lack of complete detail in this book about why the world is the way that it is actually adds to its intensity. You have no idea why the world burned or what caused their struggle, only that they fighting to stay alive in the grim world they are faced with.

Definitely worth picking up but the gore level and suicidal tendencies might keep younger readers from this one. Not easy to get through but well worth the journey.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: The Selection

Book: The Selection

Author: Kiera Cass

Recommend: Surprisingly yes!

Okay, I’ve heard about this book from fellow reviewers and when I heard the main character’s name I simply couldn’t get over it and decided that I wouldn’t read this one even though there was a ton of buzz about it. An author who can’t even come up with a decent name was not about to take up my time. However, when I had a close friend tell me that I simply had to read it despite the name, I reluctantly picked it up and I’m so glad that I did!

With hints of the Biblical story of Esther combines with reality TV, this series has a fresh new spin that has been lacking for quite a bit of the YA I’ve read lately. The main character is truly conflicted and is trying to figure out who she is and what she is capable of. I love how this character really struggles with what she she do in a way I haven’t seen in much YA recently. There really isn’t an obvious choice and I have picked a boy that I’m hoping to win for the first time in a long time because it’s not obvious what her choice will be.

The only real weakness with this book is the names. They really are painful but after a while they can be avoided.

This is definitely one to pick up if you are a YA fan.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: The Weird Sisters

Book: The Weird Sisters

Author: Eleanor Brown

Recommend: This is a very different and original tale. One that is outside what I normally read but I loved it!

There are different kinds of reads. Some books race through forcing page turn after page turn, making it impossible to put down until you make that final flip. They make the reader frantic, cause hearts to race and can leave you breathless. There are books that tear the reader’s heart out a little more with ever page turn and bring them back up with only a few words. Then there are books that really make you think. One where you put it down every few pages and contemplate what the author is saying. This book is one of the last kind. It took my twice as long as it should have to get through this one because it kept me thinking the whole way through.

This story tells the tale of three sisters who have grown up in a small college town with their professor father and stay at home mom. The girls had all come home after some kind of failure or another to a mother sick with cancer and a father trying to cope with his wife’s illness. Each of the girls dealing with the mess that their lives have become. One pregnant without having any kind of plan. Another freshly fired for stealing from her job. The third about to tear apart her relationship out of fear.

This book really dived into common aspects of what the girls were going through that could be understood and related to by any reader. While I don’t have a parent with cancer, I do have one with a severe illness that can cause her issues. I am the oldest child like the main character. We have all done things we regret and continued to do others in order to not deal with the guilt like Bean. We have all felt completely unprepared for adulthood like Cordy. Add in a family that reads like mad and you have something that almost any reader can connect with and learn from.

The only slight negative I might be able to come up with is that the narrator can be a bit hard to pinpoint, however it is very effective for the story being told. If you aren’t ready for a bit of confusion on this it might through you a little bit. Definitely worth the slight aggravation though.

This book is one that deserves a lot more attention than it has received.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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Book Review: Dead Ever After

Book: Dead Ever After

Author: Charlaine Harris

Recommend: If you’ve read the rest of the series, I don’t think you’ll be able to avoid it, although I think poor fan fiction would be better written than this book…

I have read this whole series form the first book on. A friend of mine at work recommended them after she realized that I loved the Twilight series and that I could probably use something more adult. While I enjoyed the first few books of the series, I got tired of Sookie‘s constant relationship shifts. After the fourth or fifth one, I was done with the ridiculousness although I continued to read because I was so far into the series.

I kept hoping that somehow she would get a fresh inspiration and decided where she wanted the whole thing to go but by the last book of the series it was still feeling stale and the ending was crazy forced. Let’s not even discuss who Sookie ends up with at the end and how annoyed I was by that whole thing. It felt like it came completely out of left field and was done to tick off a large portion of the audience. While there was no way to make everyone happy, she picked the ending that I think made the least amount of people happy.

The last book was completely anticlimactic and the story was lacking. Definitely not a good reason to start this series up but if you’ve read to this point I don’t quite know how you could resist the last book in the series. All the same, I’m glad I picked this one up at the library instead of paying for it.

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

TRASH IT!!

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Book Review: Agenda 21

Book: Agenda 21

Author: Glen Beck and Harriet Parke

Recommend: This one is a MUST read

What if the United States was simply a dim memory? Freedom was a word never spoken and daily life was something out of a futuristic dystopian novel? What if your job, spouse and movements were all carefully controlled by your government? That is the life of Emmaline, a young girl who is among the last to have been raised by her parents instead of the state. She is paired (marriage is a thing of the past) and forced to produce children she will never get to see, let alone hold. When the government can take away everything, how can anyone fight back?

This book was a great read. It was cleaner than most YA I read (although it is adult fiction) and yet it had an edge that left me sitting on the edge of my chair waiting with bated breath to find out what would happen next. The characters were a great mix of innocence and a hardness created by their rough environment. The characters had depth and were very memorable. I think that Emmaline and David will be resonating through my head for quite some time to come.

By the way, whatever you do, don’t forget to read the afterword on this one – it will knock the wind right out of you.

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

Need more than one copy!!

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Ender’s Game – After the movie

Okay, so I actually went to the late night showing of Ender’s Game on Halloween night. I was expecting to see full theaters and lots of buzz. I wasn’t expecting Twilight levels of enthusiasm but I was expecting that when we arrived at 10pm that we would be quite a ways back in the line. Instead, we were the first ones there. I looked at my best friend and the only thing we could come up with between the two of us was that due to the poor choice of premiere date, they theaters were just going to be slow for this one. We decided to see it on IMAX because it was epic space battles and seemed necessary for the subject matter being explored, so we paid the extra cash and the decided that since there were very few people there, we would get dinner.

We returned only a few minutes before the movie was going to start and were still able to get the exact seats we wanted (right in front of the metal bars so you can put your feet up without annoying the people in front of you). We sat through a ton of preview trailers (I swear they add more and more of those things every time I go to a movie). Then finally settled in for the feature presentation.

By the time the movie was over I felt somewhat vaguely satisfied but very much thinking exactly one thing. I wanted much more than there was. The movie was much shorter than it should have been. There was so much story that that simply glossed over or didn’t bother getting into at all. It felt incomplete and rushed. I think the most painful thing for me was not being able to seethe progression of the character develop in an even semi-logical way. Being a fan of the books and having read them numerous times, I know exactly how long Ender was at each stage of battle school and how many battles they fought. They left entire sequences that shaped who Ender was completely out of the equation and didn’t give enough cause to the issues that caused Bonzo to finally snap. Also, the fact that Bonzo didn’t die on that bathroom floor felt cheapened the depth of his eventual death and it’s impact on Ender seemed to make less sense. Overall, I felt that there was far too much action and so little character development that the story felt like a shadow of the original, paling to almost nothing in comparison to the impact of the books.

While it was definitely gratifying to finally see this movie hit the big screen, it almost felt like someone was trying to sabotage it from every having much success from the rushing the telling of the story to the poor choice of debut weekends. I feel like they could have done so much more and it would have been so much better and that will probably keep me form adding it to my shelves when it is all said and done.

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Book Review: Virals

Book: Virals

Author: Kathy Reichs

Recommend: Definitely! Worth a read.

I must admit that I have never read a sing book by this author before but I am a big fan of other characters she has created, namely those for her adult books about Temperance Brennan which was the inspiration for one of my favorite TV shows, Bones. While the Bones books are on my eventual reading list, I was able to get a hold of all three books that are in the YA series thus far and couldn’t help but dive in. I was fairly certain before I cracked the cover that I would enjoy these books.

The plot is refreshingly original, the main character is a lot of fun, if not a bit too much like her Aunt Temperance. This one had a bit more meat to the plot line than many YA books and for once, romance isn’t the main character’s major motivation. For some reason most YA authors feel the need to shove romance down their reader’s throats but this author refreshingly leaves it alone.

The story made a lot of sense and somehow, even though it dealt with superhuman capabilities, it remained within the realm of believability. I can’t wait to see where the author takes it next!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Book Review: Revolution 19

Book: Revolution 19

Author: Greg Rosenblum

Recommend: Definitely. One of the more original works I’ve come across lately.

This book has all the basic elements of dystiopain YA right now. Family in distress, slight romance, and seemingly insurmountable odds. This is where its similarity to everything out there ends though. This is more like The Matrix minus the machines meets I, Robot if the robots had won, The general plot was original and fun to read. A bit more desperate than most YA fiction.

The biggest flaw was the ending. I have said it once and I will say it again, the series is not always necessary and in many times painful. This could have ended at the end of this book. I already know how they will defeat the bots and his mother’s fate and yet we are going to have to suffer through at least two more books in order to confirm it. I think that authors need to stop being greedy when a series doesn’t make sense. Stop with the formula and simply write your story. Don’t try and make into a money grabbing machine. So many of the series that are out right now simply didn’t need to be series. They could have been finished in twenty more pages. Now, some need the length of multiple books to get there, but this one simply just doesn’t.

Overall, this was a great book and I think I’ll read the follow up.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Book Review: Viral

Book: Viral

Author: James Lilliefors

Recommend: It was an interesting read for sure… along the lines of Outbreak meets The Da Vinci Code.

I picked this one up for the cover, put it in my library bag after reading the synopsis and dug into this one when I realized it was in the group of books that was due to the library next. Not normally the kind of thing I pick up but as an occasional change of pace, this kind of book can be a great distraction.

The story centers around two brothers who find out about a plot to kill of millions of people using biological warfare in order to create a perfect society in the aftermath. Definitely had an engaging plots, full of all kind of twists and turns designed to keep the reader guessing with a finish that no one could see coming. It was exactly what was advertised and was a lot of fun to read, minus trying to keep track of the large amount of details in these kinds of books.

My only pet peeve with this genre, is the fact that the characters seem to be able to function just fine on next to no sleep. Adrenaline will really only get you so far. Also the massive amount of globe hopping that comes with a book like this can seem rather unrealistic. I want to know how they had the money for all these flights. I think that sometimes authors don’t really think through the mundane details enough in order to make it believable.

Definitely an intense ride and worth a read.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Top Ten Tuesday: Authors on my auto-buy list

Top Ten TuesdaysMy top ten artist on my auto buy list. An auto-buy list being a list of authors that you would buy a book from simply because of the author no matter the topic or genre. I can definitely thing of some names for this but I hope I can come up with ten. Many will be easy to guess I think 🙂

1. Stephenie Meyer – let’s just get this one out of the way 🙂

2. Orson Scott Card – I love everything this man has written with the exception of the Alvin Maker series and that isn’t bad, just not up my alley. I haven’t met a book by him that was badly written.

3. Terry Goodkind – Amazing. That’s all 🙂

4. J.K. Rowling – Despite The Casual Vacancy, I really love the way she writes and the characters she creates.

5. Christopher Paolini – As much as the end of Inheritance drove me insane, I love his books and would read anything he’s written.

6. Neil Gaiman – His stuff is amazing. I would start with Neverwhere or Stardust.

7. Rachel Joyce – She’s only got one book out. On the basis of her first book, I’ll buy everything else she writes… Harold Fry is NOT my kind of book but it was amazing.

8. Elizabeth Kostova – Read her second book, The Swan Thieves and you’ll see why she made this list.

9. Arthur Golden – As far as I know, he’s only written one book but that book was amazing. Might not be for everyone though.

10. Thomas Harris – This one is not for everyone. Thomas Harris created Hannibal Lecter. I really enjoy physiological thriller like these books. Monsters don’t scare me. When I am in the mood for a good scare though, these books are some of my go to favorites. Again, this not for everyone. If you don’t handle gore well, don’t pick up this author.

Who is on your top ten must buy list?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Best Bookish Memories

Memories when it comes to books are easy for me. I’ve been reading  obsessively since I learned how to read. By the time I was out of grade school my library was almost as large as my parents and since then it has only grown to be massive. Books and reading have always been a big part of my life.

Top Ten Tuesdays1. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – I’ve talked about this before on my blog but I learned to read with Charlotte’s Web. We were riding in a car headed somewhere and I started sounding my way through the first two pages of the book. By the end of the second page I stopped reading out loud and was completely transitioned to reading in my head and worked through the book.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I was eight or nine when my grandmother sent me the Anne of Green Gables books as a kid. I devoured them and found my first literary sister or kindred spirit as Anne would say. something about this character really connected with me. I wore out two more sets of the books until my grandmother started finding them for me in hardback because I just destroyed them so quickly due to the massive number of rereads.

3. When reading made me cool – I’ll never forget the time I got my teacher in trouble because of my reading speed. Almost every year my mom would get the same phone call at the beginning of the year. The teacher would call and say that they were having a problem with me lying about reading. My mom would tell them to ask me comprehension questions and call her back. They would. I would answer correctly and they would call my mom back and apologize. In junior high though I had a teacher with a temper. She didn’t like me from day one. The first time we were to silently read came up. This teacher though didn’t think to call my mother. Instead she asked me comprehension questions and then after I answered correctly, called me a liar in front of everyone and was rather nasty about it. I was furious and told her to call my mother. She did, thinking she was going to get me in more trouble. Instead, they had me read something else and asked me to retell the story. I watched the instant the teacher’s face fell because she had finally realized I was in fact telling the truth. The rest of the class was in awe. I went from being a nerd to being kind of cool. I had gone up against a teacher – and won. I had been bullied so badly by my peers before that and this event stopped it all. For the first time in my school life, I wasn’t being picked on. Of course, less than six months later we moved and I was back to nerds-ville and bullies again but those few months were awesome! As a teacher, this experience really helped me learn to give kids the benefit of the doubt whenever possible.

4. The Portrait of An Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce – The book itself was never something amazing to me but until I read this book I really struggled with symbolism. For some reason this book pulled back the veil for me an I was able to understand the hidden meaning behind what was being written. It gave me a whole new perspective on some of my favorite authors.

5. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – This book helped me discover my love of reading after spending four or five years doing very little free reading due to college and my music education. Well, very little reading for me.

6. The Twilight Series – Did anyone really think I would create a list without it? This helped me discover less intense reading. I needed a way to keep reading without it being in depth, heavy material with my job which was taking a lot from me. This book captured my imagination in a way that very few books had before and got me writing again.

7.  Hitting 250,000 readers – When you hit a quarter of a million readers with your fiction as an amateur author, it definitely leaves a lasting impression. That so many people would read something you wrote is amazing. It made me want to explore writing more. While I have a long way to go, I definitely feel like anything is possible.

8. When someone you know gets published – A friend getting a publishing deal is almost as cool as getting your own – almost 😉 At least I think so since I haven’t gotten one – yet.

9. Every time I read to my kids – As a teacher, one of the best things I get to do is share my love of reading with my students. I get to show them that reading is a part of everything they do and how important it is. I also get to share how fun it can be as well 🙂

10. Getting my first nook – When I realized I could carry hundreds of books at once and never had to carry a separate bag for my books on vacation again. Overjoyed doesn’t quite cover it. Now if I can only convince someone to get me a simple touch with glowlight…

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Top Ten Tuesdays: Most Frustrating Characters EVER

Top Ten TuesdaysI honestly think this one is going to be tough… let’s see..

1. Anna Karenina – Don’t get me wrong. This is one of my favorite books but Anna drives me a bit batty. So many times she could have had a simpler life and yet she chose time and time again to mess it up. Why could she not make a good choice once?

2. Jacob Black – The first time I read Twilight, I could stand him – kind of. Then I read New Moon and he was annoying. Then Eclipse happened. Whatever happened to the idea of doing what is best for the other person? Nope. Not Jacob Black. Instead lets manipulate the situation to get his way. When I read Breaking Dawn all I could thing was that Stephenie Meyer was much nicer to him than I would have been. (I might be team Edward – just for the record).

3. Hester Prynne – Just tell someone already. Seriously. The whole book was just not necessary.

4. Martha Jones – For all my fellow Whovians, I only include her because there ARE Doctor Who books. Martha how many ways can we say this? He’s just not that into you… seriously. Get a clue.

5. John Hammond – If you’ve read Jurassic Park, I don’t think I need to go further. However just in case you’ve only seen the movie I’ll explain. This man went into a business he had no reason to be in and still when everything was a mess he was planning to try again. He spent his time and money on all the wrong things. One programmer??? Really? I cheered when he bit the dust. Seriously. The movie version was much less annoying than the book one. Good call Spielberg, good call.

6. He-who-must- not.. forget it… VOLDEMORT – You mean Harry has to kill him exactly HOW many times? Seriously????

7. Arya – Seriously? After all that you aren’t going to go with Eragon? Really??? Can I say that if I ever meet Christopher Paolini I will give him a talking to about the end of the fourth book?? Four books of build up and then – nevermind I’m not going with you. Sorry. ARGH!!

8. Sookie Stackhouse – make. up. your. mind. already.

9. Julian ‘Bean’ Delphinki – His whole relationship with Petra. Love Bean but it seems like every time he makes me want to scream lots.

10. Katniss Everdeen – Many will disagree with me here. I know. This is why I leave this for last. Every time she makes a decision, except for the one to take her sister’s place. I love The Hunger Games but Katniss, think please. She frustrates me every time I read the books.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Goals for 2013

I decided that one of the ways I was going to add more than just reviews on here was to start doing top ten Tuesdays from Broke and Bookish. I really love the idea and I’ve come across it on so man other blogs. I’m going to attempt to at least do this for a few months…

Top Ten TuesdaysBookish Goals for 2013. I’m not sure I have ten but here goes…

1. Read less YA fiction – I feel like I’ve been reading too much YA lately. While I enjoy it and it’s an easy go to, I need to pick up more serious literature again. Although with my master’s degree program still going, we’ll see if that happens.

2. Read at least 100 books this year – Yes, last year I read over 150 but I was working on a year long contest and I’m finishing my master’s up this year, I just don’t realistically think I’m going to get as much reading done as last year.

3. Be more on time with ARCs – I get free books quite often and lately they have been quickly piling up. I really need to be on top of these more this year.

4. Spend more time writing – some day, a long way down the road I would love to be an author myself. In order to do that, I need to spend more time writing and less time reading.

5. Finish NaNoWriMo in 2013 – I entered for the first time this last year and sadly did not complete the journey. I really want to get through it this year!

6. Allow myself to do more rereading – I love to reread. Pretty much the only reason for this goal since I wasn’t doing any rereading due to the page count contest I was in.

7. Read one new classic or book of the 1001 list a month – I’ve been really wanting to get into that list but just haven’t done enough. I need to spend more time getting to know the essentials beyond my favorites.

8. Stretch my horizons and try a new genre – There are a few genres I completely avoid. I feel like I need to try something new. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? I might even – pick up a mystery willingly 😉 Or maybe not…

9. Work on getting my husband to hate reading less – yep. I married a non-reader. It drives me nuts sometimes. I’m still bound and determined to show him that he is missing out on something HUGE. Any suggestions out there?

10. Thin out my library – As painful as that sounds, I have no more room for books and it must be done. Sad but true. Maybe I just need to buy them all on my nook…

I can’t believe I found ten goals! I’m going to be a busy girl this year…

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Book Review: Messenger

Book: Messenger (Giver #3)

Author: Lois Lowry

Recommend: Definitely worth reading if you are a fan of this series.

I was all excited about this book. For extremely lame reasons as well as some good ones. My lame reason was that it was short and would get me one book closer to my 150 books for the year goal and my good reasons had to do with the fact that we were finally going to hear what happened to the half-starved boy at the end of the first book.

While this was a good read, it definitely did not have the feel of the first two books. The author is blurring the lines between speculative fiction and fantasy too far for the world to be completely cohesive. I think that without this sense of the same world really being there, the whole thing loses some integrity for me. Not that the book is bad on its own but as a sequel to the Giver, it just doesn’t completely hold up. I was rather surprised to find this kind of inconsistency from such a celebrated and well-known author.

Not to say that this book was bad because it wasn’t. It was actually very good. I just feel like it needed some more though and a lot less of a mystical feel to it. This time her lack of explanation hindered the story, rather than helped.

Final rating:

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Book Review: The Rise of Nine

https://i0.wp.com/img1.imagesbn.com/images/178890000/178895097.JPGBook: The Rise of Nine

Author: Pittacus Lore

Recommend: If you’ve read the rest of the series.

I have been looking forward to this book for a while after reading the second book in the series. I was hoping that the books would just keep getting better as they went along since the second book was so much better than the first. However, I felt like this book didn’t have the energy and interest that the second book contained. It really felt like the two authors who are Pittacus Lore took turns writing, each one taking one part of the story and intentionally doing the chapter switches at the most annoying points in the plot possible. Also after waiting so long between books, a refresher on who all the kids are would have been helpful instead of diving right in.

The story moved along but in some places I felt like saying get on with it already. The plot devices were a bit took obvious and predictable. While this was a good read, I definitely wouldn’t put it on a best of… list anytime soon.

Final Rating:

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Short Kid’s Book Review: What Body Part is That?

Book: What Body Part is that?
Author: Andy Griffiths
Recommend: Umm.. not really.

I got this as as ARC. As a teacher I thought this would be a great addition to my classroom library. A funny book about the body. Awesome. I needed more non-fiction text in my collection anyway. After reading this book, it won’t be joining my classroom library. This book has little to no factual information. In fact, it is filled with disinformation. I really just don’t get the point of it! This one is not going to end up in my classroom library. Instead it is going directly into the “I-don’t-care-how-I-get-rid-of-it-I-just-want-it-gone” pile. Avoid this one if you can.

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

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Book Review: Enclave

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Book: Enclave

Author: Anne Aguirre

Recommend: If you like post apocalyptic zombie books.

Deuce had lived her whole life underground. All she had ever wanted from life was to become a huntress, the noble and brave career choice for her small underground settlement. To hunt food and escape the Freaks were to be her only goals in life. When she is paired with Fade, everything begins to go wrong and as she discovers the truth about her life, it will force her to make a decision that will put her somewhere even more dangerous – topside.

I get seriously bummed out when  I get the second book in a series as an ARC. This means that before I can read the book, I have to search out a copy of the first books. There is simply no way to read the second book without reading the first. I picked this up after a very long, hectic week at work and it was fast enough but light enough to be an enjoyable short read before bed.

I am not really a fan of zombie fiction in any form. I’ve read some good zombie books, but usually they just don’t appeal to me that much. That being said, this book already had one strike against it. When I got into the book, I found it to be engaging and fast-paced but the whole time I wished I was reading something else. I think the book was decent but just not something up my alley.

I would say this book’s biggest weakness is that you don’t really get a sense of where you are as a reader. The author doesn’t spend enough time on scene development in order for the reader to really be able to envision where the characters are at while they are underground. Once they hit topside, it does get quite a bit better but the whole book left me with a sense of reading a sketch instead of a full-fledged painting.

It was interesting but not for everyone and definitely not the best thing I’ve read. I’m glad I didn’t pay a dime for it, but I didn’t mind reading it too much.

Final Rating:

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Book Review: The Pleasures of Men

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Book: The Pleasures of Men

Author: Kate Williams

Recommend: Most of it was a good read but…

I actually somehow received two copies of this book as an ARC directly from the publisher. I was not sure I would enjoy it, so I had been putting it off. The title alone made me wary and finally, I decided that I needed to tackle it before it was released.

This book tells the story of a young woman, stuck within the confines of Victorian England who is somehow drawn to the violent murders occurring in London, near her home. As the body count rises, she gets closer to the truth but can’t she figure it out before she becomes the killer’s next victim?

Most of this book was an enjoyable fast-paced read with a complex, flawed main character that is extremely compelling. However, the amount of sexual content in this book made it very hard to enjoy. This author, in particular used this crude device to keep the story moving and to pad the length. It did nothing for the story but create a sense of shock and annoyance, particularly since it such an obvious tool to keep the reader plowing through the book. The book would have been much better without it.

While it was an interesting read, the center section was just too unbearable to make this something I would recommend to anyone.

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

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Filed under 2012, general fiction, mystery, Review, Summer book challenge