Tag Archives: books

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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Filed under Book to film, Christian, Review, romance

Dear ebook retailers (an open letter type rant)

EBooks. One of the most wonderful things to come out since sliced bread. No longer must I lug an extra bag for my books on vacation. I have instant access to a large library of books that I own. If nothing in my library suits me at the moment, I can always buy something new. It’s wonderful! I love eBooks. Really.

I personally own the B&N nook because of the one simple idea that I can go into a physical store and read for an hour a day for free. Sometimes this means I can get a shorter book done in one sitting (no, I’m not kidding). This feature alone made me pick up the nook over the kindle. It helps that there is store about a mile from my house.

I said that this was going to be a rant and it is. I just wanted to be fair before I ripped them a new one. I have one very big issue with eBooks and eBook retailers. I’m sure if you use eBooks at all you’ve discovered this one as well. When the cost of an eBook is more than the price of a real book without all the cost of production behind it! I’m tired of seeing eBooks for 12.99, 14.99 or even 24.99 each! I wouldn’t pay that for a book period, let alone one that I don’t physically own. What is going to happen when these companies go out of business or change hands or the technology becomes obsolete? Are we all going to get physical copies of these digital books? Of course not! Is there going to be some kind a refund for the fact that we no longer have access to them? Nope. Ebooks have become the long-term library where we don’t know the due date and we have to pay for the books.

Personally, I have no problem paying 4.99 or less for an eBook. However, if I really want to read something there is this amazing free resource called the library where you can borrow eBooks for free or get physical books for an extended period of time for free. Then if you must have a book in your library you can buy a physical copy of it from the same place that is selling those eBooks, often for much much less.

My current policy has become that I will buy the book or eBook depending on whichever is cheaper if I must own a book. There are a few essentials in my library that I own both a physical and electronic copy of simply for the convenience factor.

I love how convenient eBooks make a reader’s life but I hate the cost connected with them. While I feel like authors should get paid for their hard work and the retailers should make money, I don’t think that the cost of an eBook should be similar to the cost of a physical copy. You know what I would love to see? I would love to see what the movies have done with ultraviolet. You get a digital copy along with your purchase of a physical copy.  Maybe eBooks should work the same way. Only new books are entitled to the download, used books would lose that privilege.

Something needs to change but until the industry realizes there is a problem, I have a feeling we are going to deal with the ‘it’s not broke so don’t fix it’ issue.

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Book Review: The Hunt

Book: The Hunt

Author: Andrew Fukuda

Recommend: It was much better than I thought it was going to be.

I picked this up a while ago and have been wanting to read it but hadn’t gotten around to it. Then I heard some horrible things from a couple of other people who had read the book. That really put it on the back burner for me. Finally, this week it was at the top of my stack of books to be read and so I decided to brave it. A few pages in and I was hooked with one exception.

Imagine you were one of the few real humans left in a world full of vampires. You had to do so many thing to evade being noticed and killed by anyone and everyone around you. Every action and natural reaction had to be completely controlled so that you would fit into the mold and escape notice. For one boy, he had escaped notice his whole life until he is selected to participate in the hunt. Anyone would be thrilled to be able to hunt down the last humans known to exist, unless of course, you were human yourself.

The only thing I had a problem with in this book is the fact that the vampires just didn’t seem to notice that he wasn’t human. It had to be done to make the story work but there were too many unanswered questions for me. However, the book really clipped along. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go quite the way that it did at the end which was nice. Definitely a fun, easy read for fans of real vampires. This is not Twilight type vampire action. Not that there is anything wrong with that.

Definitely a great read if you enjoy a good horror story.
Oh and MERRY CHRISTMAS 😉

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

 

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Filed under Review, Teen Book review, thriller/horror

Book Review: The Eleventh Plague

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Book: The Eleventh Plague

Author: Jeff Hirsch

Recommend: An easy, fun, post-apocalypse read.

Confession: I picked this one up for the cover alone. It’s a great one. I didn’t even read the jacket flap before it found the inside of my book bag. Sad but true. I really do try to not judge books by their covers but sometimes it happens. I had a feeling this was either dystopian or post-apocalypse and I was right with the second one. Honestly this reminded me a bit of The Postman meets the The Passage (minus the vampires) written for younger teens.

Steve is a scavenger. He wanders what is left of a civilization he can’t remember looking for scraps of what they had lost when their whole society collapsed due to an overwhelming plague. When his father is injured, he has no choice but to trust a group of strangers and he ends up in a small pocket settlement in what used to be a gated community. However, in this world a single error can tear everything apart.

I think the best thing about this book is that while there was a small romance, it wasn’t overdone. It wasn’t the focus of the book. In the end, Steve made his choices based on what he needed and not what a girl wanted. While that would bother me normally, for some reason in this book, it was a refreshing change of pace.

It was enjoyable. I wouldn’t go as far as memorable, but not bad for a debut.

Final Rating:

Get it used…

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Filed under Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Teen Book review, thriller/horror

Book Review: The Double Game

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Book: The Double Game

Author: Dan Fesperman

Recommend: I don’t like spy novels…

I received this book as an ARC. I don’t know why I kept putting it off but for some reason I just couldn’t bring myself to read it. Then I got a few pages in and realized that this was an old-fashioned spy novel. UGH! I really don’t like spy novels. They are not a genre I enjoy but I wasn’t sure if I had requested this ARC or not and so I gamely kept plugging through.

The story is dated, the action is trite and there never really is anything exciting. A spy novel should have something to really hook the reader but this author frequently uses the same idea over and over again. There was no surprise and no suspense. The best thing I can say is that the author was very good at creating a scene that I could imagine in my head, of course, most of the time, I didn’t want to.

Not one to waste your time on. I promise.

Final Rating:

TRASH IT!!

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Book Review: Outpost

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Book: Outpost

Author: Ann Aguirre

Recommend: It wasn’t a horrible read – if you like zombies.

Okay, book two of this series, which started with Enclave, honestly left quite a bit to be desired. I honestly felt like I was reading a watered down version of The Passage by Justin Cronin and one that wasn’t nearly as good.

They have reached the settlement called Salvation and everything is not going as well as planned. Deuce can’t seem to leave her fighting days behind and become the more traditional girl she should be. When the new, smarter Freaks start threatening their safety, Deuce throws away all convention and volunteers to help guard the town. When Fade is taken by the Freaks, nothing will be the same again.

Okay, honestly this one was somewhat annoying. Deuce is about as thick as they come for main characters. She might be strong and a good fighter but sometimes she’s as dumb as a box of rocks. I was still pulled in as I read but it was not as good as the first one. I really don’t see myself seeking out any more books in this series.

Final Rating:

Get it free

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Book Review: Leviathan

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Book: Leviathan

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Recommend: Definitely!

This is my first introduction to Scott Westerfeld and I can’t wait to read more. Leviathan was even better than I thought it would be. A big fan of steampunk, this book was a huge hit with me.

To say that Deryn is a hug tomboy would be a large understatement. When she decides to disguise herself as a boy and enter the military so that she can fly, she knows it is a huge risk but decides that it is worth the risk. Everything seems to go well for her until they crash and a mysterious boy comes to rescue her. When her loyality is divided and it either her kingdom or the safety of the boy who saved her life, which will she choose?

Okay, this is some of the most inventive steampunk I’ve run across. The writing is great, fast and entertaining. At first I didn’t think I would enjoy the illustrations but after a while it was a help to envision some of the more bizarre things described in the book and they didn’t happen so frequently that they were a distraction. First time I’ve ever really seen full out illustrations be truly helpful to the story telling.

If I had to come up with some kind of criticism for this book it is that Deryn is just a bit too convincing as a boy. You don’t really see her struggle to maintain her lie very often. I think the conflict that should be here hasn’t really shown up and I hope that Deryn becomes a bit more realistic in the second book.

This book was great and I can’t wait to read the next book in this wonderful trilogy!

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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Filed under historical fiction, Review, Sci-Fi/ Fantasy, Teen Book review

Book Review: The Help

Cover of "The Help"

Book: The Help

Author: Kathryn Stockett

Recommend: No question about it. This one is an instant classic.

I’ve been hearing about this book for ages it seems. Everyone was shocked when they found out that I hadn’t read it yet. Sometimes when a book is so insanely popular, I tend to avoid it. I think it might be a bit of latent teen rebellion that’s not quite worked through my system yet. I actually am glad that I waited to read it. If I had read it when the movie came out, I know I would have been pressured to go see the movie and as much as I loved the book, I just have no desire to see the movie. I just think I would be terribly disappointed by it.

I loved this one. It tells a great story without going to one extreme or the other. Sometimes, books about racial conflict can be extremely biased. This one felt honest. Instead of taking a side, it seemed to simply share both sides of the conflict. I also love that this isn’t about the center of the civil rights movement and that there isn’t some HUGE and seemingly instant resolution.In real life, prejudice doesn’t disappear instantaneously. It is a slow progression until one day someone realizes that they have reached the end of a journey they didn’t even realize they had started.

If you haven’t picked it up yet, what are you waiting for?

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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

Dragging my hubby out for books

What my hubby would like to use my books for…

I don’t know who did it. Someone must have done it. For some reason my otherwise logical and fun-loving husband hates to read books. He’ll play video games. He’ll watch TV for hours. However, if you try to get him to pick up a book, good luck to you. In the five years we have been married, I know that he has read fewer than ten books. Only a couple of those were for fun. When I ask him what books he actually enjoyed reading, he could only come up with one answer. ONE!

As a reader, anytime I need new books, this becomes a problem for us. I am a social shopper. I don’t like to go out by myself. However, when it comes to the bookstore/used bookstore/library, I am on my own. The only ways I have found to get him to come with me is to use the two best gifts women have: guilt trips (with a side of logic) and bribery.

Yep. That’s all the time. But even worse when it’s books.

The first tactic is rather simple. Honey, I’ve been so good. I haven’t bought a book in weeks! Won’t you please come with me so I don’t have to go alone? You know that I am not to be trusted in a bookstore by myself. You know that I will spend way too long and far too much money. If that plan doesn’t work, it’s on to phase two: bribery.

The bribery approach usually involves Starbucks. Mind you, my husband doesn’t like to drink coffee but if I’m going near a Starbucks, it’s a whole new story. The bribe changes depending on where I am headed but it generally involves a stop there – after. I have learned my lesson. Going before means that I get about 20 minutes for my 5 buck bribe. If we go after, I can sometimes stretch it to over an hour.

I keep hoping someday he will figure out what he is missing. Until then, we will continue our game of coercion in exchange for trips out for books.

Update: He laughed when he read this.

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100 favorite books for my 100th post!

In celebration of the fact that this is my 100th post I thought I would do something a little different. 100 of my favorite books. Some of these I’ve mentioned before in reviews but many are being mentioned for the first time. These are in no particular order since I don’t really have one favorite book.

    1. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
      Classic Russian tale of a failing marriage and the consequences of doing whatever makes you happy. Love the story because the reader can feel her pain while seeing what the right choices can do through the complex storyline. The ending of this one makes me cry every time I read it. My copy is tatted, torn and written all over.
    2. The Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
      One of the best tales of revenge ever written. This story follows a young man who is falsely accused of a crime to protect a powerful man’s family. After enduring prison, he makes a daring escape and comes back not as the simple sailor he had been but as the powerful and mysterious Count who comes back to seek revenge on the people who sent him away. I suggest the unabridged version. It’s a long haul but so much richer in detail.
    3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
      Jane is one of my favorite characters ever written. She is so normal and humble and yet she wins the love of the man she wants. She is a teacher and a classic introvert. In high school Jane was one of my favorite characters to go back to. You can read a more in my notable character post on Jane Eyre.
    4. The Fellowship of the Ring – J.R.R. Tolkien
    5. The Two Towers – J.R.R. Tolkien
    6. The Return of the King – J.R.R. Tolkien
      I read The Hobbit of course but while it’s a fun read, it really doesn’t compare to the epic high fantasy level of the trilogy. The story of Frodo and Sam as they travel to Mordor and to destroy the one ring is broad-sweeping and completely engaging. Definitely worth the read!
    7. Twilight – Stephenie Meyer
    8. New Moon – Stephenie Meyer
    9. Eclipse – Stephenie Meyer
    10. Breaking Dawn – Stephenie Meyer
      On principle I haven’t reviewed these books simply because I know that I am not objective when it comes to this series. While I know that Stephenie’s writing isn’t amazing, I find the story completely captivating. I get lost the world of Edward and Bella and have spent quite a bit of free time writing speculative fiction based on the world she created. I am admittedly a Twilight fangirl and not ashamed of it.
    11. Wizard’s First Rule – Terry Goodkind
      While I love the whole series, the first book is what draws you in and captivates the reader. The story centers around Kahlan and Richard who are sent on an epic journey to stop the evil Lord Rahl from ending the world using an ancient and powerful magic. Richard has lived without magic his whole life until Kahlan comes through the impenetrable barrier that separated them from the world of magic. Richard is one of the best heroes I have ever read and the books are a satisfying long read. This one starts a series that is now on book number fourteen.
    12. Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
      The first book I ever read about an amazing spider trying to spare the life of a wonderful pig. A children’s classic and something every child should read.
    13. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
    14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J.K. Rowling
    15. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkiban – J.K. Rowling
    16. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J.K. Rowling
    17. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J.K. Rowling
    18. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince – J.K. Rowling
    19. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling
      No matter whether you love the series or hate it, there is no denying the fact that Rowling single-handedly reignited a love of reading in children around the world. A whole generation of kids was turned into bookworms because of this series. From the moment Harry find out he is special to the final battle, the whole journey is a wild ride that shouldn’t be missed.
    20. Eragon – Christopher Paoloni
    21. Brisingr – Christopher Paoloni
    22. Eldest – Christopher Paoloni
    23. Inheritance – Christopher Paoloni
      Starting with Eragon and going through Inheritance this series tells the story of a young boy who finds a dragon egg and becomes a magical dragonrider in a world where they are almost completely extinct. I loved this series, even though the ending was a bit disappointing. My review of the final book can be found here.
    24. Ender’s Game – Orson Scott Card
      The story of a young man who is born in the hope that he will be the one to save the world from an alien invasion. One of the most original pieces of science fiction I have read with one of the coolest games ever written into a book.
    25. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
    26. Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
    27. Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins
      Futuristic dystopian society where children are forced to fight to death in a modern-day arena while the country watches for amusement. Just came out in film recently and I really want to go see it again! So good that I had to talk about it twice! You can find my reviews here and here!
    28. The Secret Garden – Francis Hodgeson Burnett
      A little girl is orphaned when disease kills her parents in India and she is sent to live with a distant relative in England. A spoiled little girl has to learn how to live without servants and without getting whatever she wants. As Mary grows into a healthy normal little girl she helps her family overcome a tragedy that has plagued the house for years.
    29. A Little Princess – Francis Hodgeson Burnett
      This book is one of the sweetest stories I have ever read. This was a story that I would get lost in over and over again when things were going bad for me as a child because it reminded me that eventually things would be better again. Sara is a girl who has everything but somehow managed to remain unspoiled. Everything is perfect in her life until her father dies and she is left penniless, a charity child who must now serve the people who were once jealous of her. 
    30. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
      The story of a man who goes to jail for fifteen years for stealing a loaf of bread and his fight to be able to live a normal life after being released. I love Jean Valjean’s story but the other characters are so wonderful and deep that I could never pick a favorite. This is a very long read but I would suggest reading the full book. There is so much that is missed in the abridged version. It is worth the long haul.
    31. The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis
      This series was one that was read to me over and over again as a kid. Then I read them myself so many times that I’ve worn out two sets of the books and my husband and I have our own copies because it is the one set of books we just can’t share. If you’ve never read them, you need to.
    32. The Scarlet Pimpernel – Baroness Orczy
      The Scarlet Pimpernel, a rogue fighting against the crown to free the people from a corrupt government. A man with a secret identity. A man who is desperately sought by society – some to help and others to catch. This book is just a ton of fun to read. It’s a simple story with a somewhat predictable plot but such a great read that I reach for it when I want something light and fun.
    33. The Prince and the Pauper – Mark Twain
      Normally Twain is not one of my favorite authors. Sad but true. This book however is so much fun to read. It is the original case of look-a-likes swapping lives. I read a simplified version of it as a little kid and had to go back a reread the full book again when I was older more than once. Definitely worth the read!
    34. Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery
      I can’t say enough about Anne Shirley and the impact that she had on me as a kid. This is another set of books that I’ve worn out a couple sets of simply because I’ve read them over and over again. I’ve talked about the author on my blog before and my next notable character post will be on Anne.
    35. Divergent – Veronica Roth
      One of the many dystopian novels to come out after the popularity of The Hunger Games but this one stood out from the crowd for its unique story line and the way the society was divided by what people found to be important. I thought the main character is great but Four really steals the show. I hope the author writes a book about Four and his life growing up because I can’t seem to get enough of him.
    36. The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
      I read this one for the first time in college and it was a life changing book for me. Lewis is a master at getting the reader to see Christianity from a fresh perspective. This book in particular really shed light on Spiritual Warfare for me and how important it is. Definitely a must read for any believer.
    37. The Great Divorce – C.S. Lewis
      This book is his spin on heaven and hell. While it is not accurate, it really does make the reader think about being a Christian as more than a life insurance policy. One I have reread many times.
    38. The Hannibal Lecter series – Thomas Harris
      These are the consummate serial killer novels. The way Harris gets into his main character’s mind and the descriptions are complete engrossing. If you’ve only seen the movies, you have no idea how much you are missing.
    39. The Mortal Instruments series – Cassandra Clare
      These are young adult fiction the way it should be written. Clare captures teens in a way that is unique to the teen experience and yet is still engaging for any age. Book five just came out and it is on my must read list. You can find my review of the first three books here.
    40. Matched – Ally Condie
    41. Crossed – Ally Condie
      The first book of this series is a controlled dystopian society where the government decides who you will marry. A society where there are only 100 books, 100 poems, 100 songs and 100 movies. The government controls what you eat and when you will die. A government that experiments with people’s psyches just for amusement. A great read and while the second book isn’t quite as good, the first is well worth the read. You can find my original review here.
    42. The Bible
      No list of my favorite books would be complete without it. My preferred version is the New American Standard Bible. I also rather enjoy the simple communication style of The Message.
    43. Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
      I would call this the original steampunk novel with an angelic twist. Gaiman’s world between worlds is brilliantly written and the outsider discovering it is a classic way to immerse the reader but in this story t is more than a simple device, it is the center of the story. The main character’s struggle to choose between the two worlds is very descriptive and an excellent read. Definitely one to check out.
    44. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
      What a fascinating look into a hidden and largely forbidden world. The struggles of this young girl who goes from servant to the highest paid Geisha ever is a gripping fast-paced and heart wrenching read. Her love for the Chairman is amazing and so innocent in the midst of a world driven by money, power and manipulation.
    45. Jane Bites Back – Michael Thomas Ford
    46. Jane Goes Batty – Michael Thomas Ford
      I must admit, I am more of a fan of the Bronte sisters than Jane Austen but in this book I route for Jane completely. While the books that follow are alright as well, the first one had me laughing almost constantly. How often to read a book where Jane Austen is living today but as a member of the undead? Hilarious book and great read.
    47. The Complete Wizard of Oz series – L. Frank Baum
      The story of a little girl from the middle of nowhere suddenly getting thrust into this great adventure with wizards, witches, lost princesses and an unusual band of friends is one of the books series that every child should be familiar with beyond the classic movie (although that’s good too).
    48. Wurthering Heights – Emily Bronte
      The first time I read this book I couldn’t stand it. The second time I read it, I couldn’t put it down. 
    49. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
      Yes it’s long. Yes it’s definitely worth the time and effort. Good luck keeping track of all the characters though.
    50. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Neffenegger
      How complicated would your life be if your husband showed up at random points during your life, being a different age every time you met him? The ending on this one didn’t quite make me cry but I sure did get close.
    51. The Giver – Lois Lowry
      The first young adult dystopian novel about a boy who carries everyone’s memories so they don’t have to recall them. 
    52. A Wrinkle in Time – Madeline L’Engle
      A series of books that seems like straight fantasy at first until you realize that there is a lot more going on than the surface level story. Charles Wallace and Meg were some of my favorite characters growing up. 
    53. The Once and Future King – T.H. White
      One of, if not the best of the Arthur novels. White captures the story in a way that no one else can quite match.
    54. The Host – Stephenie Meyer
      A book claiming to be science fiction for people who didn’t like science fiction is exactly what this book is. This book doesn’t focus on the science but focuses on the people instead which is a refreshing change from quite a bit of modern science fiction.
    55. Songmaster – Orson Scott Card
      I simply love the way that Card talks about music in this book. he is so descriptive. My original review can be found here.
    56. The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams
      I love this book about a child and their love for a toy.
    57. Redwall – Brian Jaques
      Loved these books in junior high. Not normally a fan of books about animals but this series is so well written that it is worth the time.
    58. Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson
      Great book with a horribly sad ending. Makes me tear up every time I read it. All about the senseless loss of a child. Definitely a must read.
    59. Tuck Everlasting – Natalie Babitt
      A great story that doesn’t seem like fantasy at first. What would you do if you discovered the fountain of youth and could make the choice to stay young forever?
    60. Matilda – Roald Dahl
      A book about a girl who loves to read and has telekinesis. What’s not to love? Except for the mind tricks I was Matilda with a better family.
    61. Quiet – Susan Cain
      As an introvert, this book was an amazing read. This book celebrates being an introvert and gives people permission to be who they really are. It is a recent addition to the list but one I know I’ll be reading again. My review for this one is here.
    62. The Swan Thieves – Elizabeth Kostova
      A great fantasy novel that doesn’t read like fantasy. This author is an amazing wordsmith and seems to make any plot plausible. Her other book , The Historian is on my “need to read” list.
    63. Firestarter – Stephen King
      The story of a little girl who has a terrible gift. A great read.
    64. Eats. Shoots & Leaves – Lynne Truss
      Might seem like a bit of an odd selection to someone who hasn’t read this one but not strange to anyone who has. Hilarious book about punctuation. No really.
    65. The Collected Poems of Sylvia Plath
      Her poems always make me think.
    66. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
      Not a book for everyone for sure but one that I’ve read time and time again.
    67. A Walk to Remember – Nicholas Sparks
      Read this one long before the movie came out. While the movie is a good flick the book is so much better. Such a sweet and sad story.
    68. The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks
      This book makes me cry. What an amazing love story.
    69. The Last Song – Nicholas Sparks
      I think this one really got to me simply because of the music aspect.
    70. Violin – Anne Rice
      Normally I find Rice’s writing to be extremely boring to read but this book was the exception to the rule. What a ghost story!
    71. Faith of the Fallen – Terry Goodkind
      Part of his Sword of Truth series. The world perspective in this book and the way that Richard overcomes the obstacles he is faced with makes for one of the best fantasy reads I have ever experienced.
    72. A Girl of the Limberlost – Gene Stratton- Porter
      A book about a girl who never seems to fit in because her mother is haunted by the death of her father. A story about how the pain of loss can pull a family apart.
    73. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
      I love how completely impossible and fun this book is.
    74. Kilemny of the Orchard – L.M. Montgomery
      Not quite sure what it is about this small book that I love but it’s one I’ve worn out three copies of. The story of a girl who can’t talk and the man who takes the time to get to know her.
    75. The Blue Castle – L.M. Montgomery
      What would you do if you found out that you only had a year to live? If you had always played it safe and enver done anything? What would you risk to make your last year memorable?
    76. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
      Great book. Not much more you can say but that.
    77. Roots – Alex Haley
      The story of a family that starts with a man kidnapped from his home and forced into slavery. An amazing story. One I’ve read quite a few times.
    78. The Neverending Story – Michael Ende
      The story of a boy named Sebastian who literally enters the world of the book he is reading. I would recommend that you find a version that is printed with better colors than red and green. The green can be quite straining on the eyes after a while.
    79. A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
      Joyce is the master of imagery and symbolism. This book is one that makes me think every single time I read it.
    80. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
      Not one I’ve read more than once but one that I never need to read again. I couldn’t eat beef for weeks after reading this one.
    81. Ender’s Shadow – Orson Scott Card
      The story of the boy who was the backup to Andrew Wiggin. Bean’s story is a fantastic read and a great series in it’s own right.
    82. Yertle the Turtle – Dr. Suess
      A book about how everything is not all about you.
    83. Hind’s Feet for High Places – Hannah Hunnard
      An allegory of the Christian journey. In my opinion, much better than Pilgrim’s Progress.
    84. The Lottery – Shirley Jackson
      Read it because I had to. Reread it because I loved it.
    85. The Trumpet of the Swan – E.B. White
      A swan that can sing who discovers the trumpet to replace his lost voice. One of my favorite musical tales.
    86. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass – Frederick Douglass
      Lent to me by my mom’s boss, an eye opening read about the world of slavery.
    87. A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket
      Great series of depressing books about a family of orphans who can’t seem to catch a break. A fun satisfying read.
    88. The Book of Lost Things – John Connelly
      A strange but great book. One of the darkest fairy tale like books I have ever read. Worth the time and effort.
    89. The House at Pooh Corner – A. A. Milne
      Who doesn’t love Winnie the Pooh?
    90. Mark of the Lion Trilogy – Francine Rivers
      A series of books about the life of Christians in the early church. This book series is one of the best works of contemporary Christian fiction I’ve read.
    91. Hadassah – Tommy Tenney
      The story of how Esther became Queen and saved Israel from death. The book that inspired the movie One Night with the King.
    92. Sundays at Tiffany’s – James Patterson
      Who knew that the master of mystery novels could write one of best fantasy novels about imaginary friends? Such a great read!
    93. Imogene’s Antlers – David Small
      One of my favorite children’s books even long after I had outgrown the children’s book part of my life. A story of a girl who wakes up with antlers growing out of her head one morning and how the world reacts.
    94. Rilla of Ingleside – L.M. Montgomery
      The story of Anne’s youngest daughter and her coming of age story in the midst of a world war. I love how real and flawed Rilla is.
    95. The Child Thief – Brom
      A twisted dark version of Peter Pan. You can read my original review here.
    96. Enchantment – Orson Scott Card
      I know there is a ton of Card on this list but this is a fabulous fairy tale fantasy novel that doesn’t get enough attention. 
    97. This Present Darkness – Frank Peretti
    98. Piercing the Darkness – Frank Peretti
      One of the best novels about spiritual warfare I have ever read. Peretti brings the world of demons and angels to life in a way that no other Christian author does with the possible exception of C.S. Lewis.
    99. The Law of Nines – Terry Goodkind
      Goodkind brings his fantasy world into the modern world. Lots of fun and something I wish he would continue. My review here.
    100. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
      The story of four sisters and their coming of age. A classic that every girl should read.

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Notable Character: Jane Eyre

Plain Jane

I am starting a new series of posts in addition to my book reviews and bookworm rants called notable characters. Instead of focusing on the book itself, I decided to take a slightly different approach and discuss some of the characters that stand out the most to me in some of my favorite books.

The first character I knew I had to tackle was Jane Eyre. She is not the most popular of the romantic heroines but the one I find the most compelling. An average girl who finds the right man for her who loves him even though he has a secret that could ruin them both. She makes the right choice even when it is painful and is rewarded for her brave decisions in the end.

I love Jane because she is so ordinary and reserved. She doesn’t seek the spotlight but stands up for what is right when she feels it is necessary. Jane is not your typical, look at me, type of heroine. She stays in the shadows, content to observe rather than be in the thick of things. I find her skepticism refreshing and real. She cannot believe that someone as wealthy as Mr. Rochester could ever love a simple governess, which at the time would be very unusual.

Jane and Adele

Her compassion for little Adele, even after she finds out the truth of her parentage, is amazing considering the attitude that would have been prevalent at the time. As a teacher myself, I connect well with her attitude towards her pupil are great even though she comes from a rough background. It reminds me how much those kids who come from a rough background need me even more than those who are lucky enough to have stable home lives.

I recently introduced my mom to this book. She was immediately sucked in and it kept her attention for quite a while but she recently confessed that she got bogged down in the book. I smiled and told her exactly where she got bogged down and I was right. If you find yourself reading through this one and get tied up in one spot, I would encourage you to push through. The reward is worth the 50 pages or so where the story seems to derail a bit.

Jane and Edward

I love the way that Jane loves people even though she is reserved and a classic introvert. She is one of my favorite characters and if you haven’t read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, you are missing out on one of the best heroines of the time.

I’m also toying with the idea of doing a list of notable authors but not sure. Would that be interesting to anyone?

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Reading is fundamental and reading out loud to kids is a necessity!

Book: The Reading Promise

Author: Alice Ozma

Recommend: Definitely! Especially if you are a reader, a parent or know a librarian.

I was wandering around my local bookstore, looking for somewhere to sit. Every single seat in the place seemed to be taken. I had three book in my hands already all of which promised to be great journeys into the imaginary. I walked over to the cafe, hoping there would be a table available, since my normal spots were taken and saw this book calling my name from the biography section. I am not normally a fan of non-fiction in any shape. Occasionally I will read one that I think is important but lately I’ve found myself picking up a fair share. I’m not sure what has prompted this decision but it’s been happening with increased frequency. I had promised myself fiction and instead sat down with this book that I just couldn’t seem to walk away from. I kept the other ones in my hands and hoped that I might get through two. No such luck. This book sucked me in so much that it took me twice as long to read it as it normally would. For me, the sign of a good book is one that makes me want to slow down and this one definitely did it.

When Alice’s older sister, Kathy turned ten she abruptly told her father that she was no longer interested in having him read to her anymore. It was too childish for her. As an elementary school librarian, it was crushing to a man who knew that reading to children was very important. When Alice turned ten they decided together (although neither can agree how exactly) to read every night for 100 nights. Through everything, they managed to accomplish it. Then, they decided to keep going and began calling it the streak. A childhood growing up through reading.

I connected thoroughly with this story in a way I haven’t since I met Dahl’s brilliant little Matilda one summer in middle school (don’t ask how it took me until middle school to discover that amazing book – I still don’t know to this day what took so long). Alice and her father have a quirky, adorable relationship that thrives even though physical contact is rare and emotions are hardly ever directly expressed. I even love the fact that she made her father promise not to read the book because she seems to be concerned that it would embarrass him.

I tried and tried to come up with a negative for this one and I just can’t! I absolutely loved it and will be adding it to my collection as soon as I can scrounge up the extra money to do so. I am also going to be encouraging every teacher I know who doesn’t let our school librarian read to the kids to read this book and do the research to find out what the facts are about the importance of reading to kids and how it directly impacts their future.

As the granddaughter of a librarian, an veracious reader and a teacher, let me encourage you to read to the children you know. You will help to instill a life long love of reading in children, create more intelligent kids and show them how much they matter to you 🙂

Final Rating:

Need more than one copy!!

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A second look at The Hunger Games

Books: The Hunger Games Trilogy

Author :Suzanne Collins

Recommend: Definitely!

I went to the midnight showing. How could I not? The books were such a stirring read. I couldn’t help but want to see them brought to life even though I knew they would be hard to watch due to the violence and disregard for human life. I was lucky. My theater was filled with young adults mostly, loud college kids who had the sense to actually watch the movie and not scream their way through.

In some ways it was very different than I had interpreted it in my mind. Some things were older than I expected, others newer. The reaping was unimpressive honestly. The sense of grotesque grandeur from the book seemed to be missing. The games were shorter than I thought they would be. They took some of the deeper meaning out with the origin of the mockingjay pin. The games were more violent than I thought they would be and yet not graphic enough compared to what happened in the book. Rue stole my heart and even though I knew what would happen, I still teared up in the theater. The way they had Katniss handle Peeta during the interviews was actually better than the way Suzanne Collins wrote it. Overall, I found the movie very impressive. While I definitely enjoyed the movie, there was a rare sense of more than just a night of amusement. For the first time in quite a while for me, I left a movie feeling the weight of the issues presented.

I was in for even more shock when I left the theater. The people who had been to see it fit into only a few reactions. The young teens who were shallow, were excited and squealing. I was immediately drawing a comparison to the people of Capitol. Most of the guys were fueled by testosterone from the violence which had warmed in their veins, bringing out a primal urge to engage in violence. An echo of the warrior our society so rarely needs. Then there were the shell-shocked. The people who had not read the books and had no idea what they were going to see. The ones were were considering everything the movie had brought to light in their minds. They were quiet and reserved, some charged with a strange energy, a sense of purpose at what they had seen. Then there were the informed. The ones who knew what they were walking into. The were much like the shell-shocked group but lacked the element of surprise. Many annoyed with their male counterparts who were riding their biological high, many not fully grasping why they felt that way. I fell into the last group, with the exception that my husband was contemplating what he had seen and not a member of the charged group of males.

Then I sat down and read the books again with new eyes. There is always something about seeing the movie that brings books out in a new light. Now instead of letting your imagination do all the work, you have images to fill things in with. Things your brain couldn’t quite conjure up on it’s own. Then reading the next two books able to see things through new eyes, having a better idea what they might look like.

This is one movie I won’t forget anytime soon!I can’t wait for Catching Fire!

Final Rating:

GO SEE IT!

Need more than one copy!!

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