Tag Archives: orson scott card

Book Review: Shades of Earth

Book: Shades of Earth

Author: Beth Revis

Recommend: If you read the first two, you might as well finish the series right?

Okay, I read all of these in one day. I was completely in the zone reading wise. While these were very enjoyable, I couldn’t help but notice how much they ripped off the plots from other places. The first two books were very obviously ripped from something Orson Scott Card would have written and while some Card remains in this one, there is also some serious shades of the movie Avatar thrown into this one. I half expected the same aliens to show up.

Elder and Amy take the risk and leave the ship with the cryos. They land on the new planet only to find more secrets and dangers than they had ever expected, including Amy’s own father, who has taken control of everything, treating Amy and Elder like mere children most of the time. I actually feel like the two main characters move backwards in the first half of this book. They regress into actual teenagers, losing the mature nature that was thrust upon them by their situation. However, by the end of the book, things speed back up again and they are acting with a maturity the adults can’t even figure out. The characters lost all sense of consistency to me in this book. I spent most of the time reading wanting to reach through the pages and deck someone for simply acting stupid or completely out of character in order to serve the plot line the author wanted. I hardly even want to mention the stereotypical ending that I could see coming a mile away.

It was deeply flawed but wasn’t so painful that I didn’t keep reading at a fast pace so I guess that’s something right? Right?

Final Rating:

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Get it free


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Book Review: A Million Suns

Book: A Million Suns

Author: Beth Revis

Recommend: Actually it was much better than the first one. Still reeked of Orson Scott Card though..

Okay, this one has Amy and Elder searching for answers while Elder attempts to run the society now that Eldest is gone. With the ship not working properly, they are desperately searching for answers. When everything they thought they knew is wrong and a choice must be made, will Elder be able to choose or will everything break down into anarchy?

I actually really liked the characterization a lot better in this book. Amy and Elder make so much more sense. I like that the author doesn’t force them into this unnatural agreement with each other when it is obvious that they will not agree due to their vastly differing backgrounds. I also like how the conflict is dealt with in most ways. There are a few moments where I was a bit annoyed at the easy escapes the author took but it was much better than the first book.

The big flaw of course is the idea that this is a slightly better but still weak imitation of Orson Scott Card.

I have to say that now I am more excited to read the next book in the series.

Final Rating:

Get it used...

Get it used…

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Book Review: Across the Universe

Book: Across the Universe

Author: Beth Revis

Recommend: Well, it was different..

I feel like I have this reading list that I will never reach the end of. There are now so many books on it that I feel like even if I read the rest of my life, I would never finish. This book is just one of many that has been sitting on that list for far too long. I thought the whole idea of a book set on a space ship would be great. Honestly, I think this author read a bit too much Orson Scott Card as a kid. The whole generational star ship business is right out of one of his books. Elder is an interesting character and I liked how they kept the conflict centered around figuring out who was unfreezing the cryos, however when I read the ending, I have never been so let down in my life. Instead of being the shocking revelation that the author intended, it made me flat out annoyed. After such an interesting story (rather stolen from Lovelock but – different for most YA being written right now) the fact that the author took it in such a stereotypical YA direction was painful.

I’m really not sure if I’m going to continue this series or not. It was enjoyable but I get annoyed when I can see the structure underneath the book.

Final Rating:

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Top Ten Tuesday: Light and fun reads

Top Ten TuesdaysOkay, honestly this topic terrifies me a bit. I don’t really do light and fun. My view of something light and fun would make most people run  for the hills because  the kind of thing that I find fun is not at all what others find light fun reading. I think a lot of the reads in this category for me include things like classic literature or horror. Yah. I know. I’m strange. I’m going to attempt to write a list though.

1. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – This is just a fun read if you are gamer, grew up in the 1980s or find dystopian novels fun. (Yah, number one on the list and there is already a dystopian novel. I’m in trouble).

2. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Wiesberger – A book about a horrible boss and a girl’s attempt to deal with her. (yep. I fail at fun and light reads).

3. Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford – Hilarious book about Jane Austen trying to get published in the modern day. How is she still alive you ask? Simple. She’s a vampire. (great. Now I’m including books involving vampires – this is not working well)

4. Maps in a Mirror and Keeper of Dreams by Orson Scott Card -This man is the master of short stories. Short reads with something for everyone.. including one of the scariest stories I’ve ever read. (now I’m recommending scary stories… good job)

5. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer – umm…  (*facepalm*)

THAT’S IT! I fail at this – completely!!

I kid you not, these were the immediate thoughts for fun light reads. Others included Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Sookie Stackhouse books, and A Series of Unfortunate Events.  I think there is really something rather wrong with me….

I went through my list of read books on goodreads even and couldn’t come up with anything decent to list. Yep. No luck there either.

Anyone out there have actual light and fun reads to recommend? Since I apparently don’t do light or fun reads…


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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I recommend Most

Top Ten TuesdaysThis topic is actually going to be rather difficult. To come up with only ten that I recommend most is tricky. Part of the reason that I did this blog was so that I could give better recommendations of what to read to people who asked me quite often what to read. Not everyone enjoys the same kinds of things and since I think the most important thing about reading is that you actually do it, I recommend whatever people are most likely to enjoy. That being said, there are some books I recommend more often than most. Here is the ones I suggest the most often in no particular order.

1. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Great science fiction with wonderful characters and the start of two fabulous series of books that are still being written. Yep. Worth reading.

2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – I grew up on these books. I love them so much that I wore out multiple copies completely and had to get new ones. Definitely the one I recommend to my female students who are looking for something new to read.

3. Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer – I usually recommend this to people who have refused to read it before I tell them to. Normally these are people who have only seen bits of the movie and have no idea what the story is really about. While it isn’t the best thing ever written by far, the plot line is wonderful and the characters are so much fun to read. It was the first light reading that I fell in love with and was the books that got me started on YA fiction.

4. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – I loved this series. The feels. Oh the feels that go with the story of Jace and Clary, especially in the first three books. Wow. This book is the definition of angst.

5. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – This is probably my favorite book of all time. The story is wonderful and complex and tragic and amazing all at the same time. There is something for every mood you might be feeling at any given time. It is epic wonderfulness. Am I gushing? Yep. Is the book completely worth gushing over? Oh yes.

6. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – This is a wonderful story of what happens when everyone betrays you and you seek revenge only to realize that living a life and being happy is more important than revenge. I ALWAYS recommend the unabridged version. There is so much that you miss out on in the abridged version of this classic. So much of the priest and his time in prison which makes the whole book make more sense.

7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Completely tragic love story that ends so very badly. A cautionary tale of how love can ruin you completely. So wonderfully written with parallel stories running through it that capture the imagination. The ending is tragic of course but the whole thing is a wonderful read.

8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – This is a wonderful book that will caught my imagination completely and wouldn’t let go the whole time I was reading. Competing magicians who have no idea what is going to happen or how the competition will end.

9. Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind – If someone is looking for really good fantasy, this is where I send them every time but I’m sure those of you who read my blog know this by know.

10. Quiet by Susan Cain – I recommend this to every single introverted person I know and anyone who knows someone introverted and doesn’t seem to understand them. As someone who is an introvert, this book helped me understand myself so much better.

Okay, I’m sure there a bunch I would recommend that I didn’t include on this list but these are the ones I can come up with right now. What are the books that you recommend most often?

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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: 2013 Debuts I’m looking forward to

Top Ten TuesdaysOkay, I had to put some research into this one.. and I chose to interpret this as new books not new authors because I’m just not enough in the know for that.

1. The new Rae Carson – I can’t wait to read the next book by this author. I’m hoping that it will be making out this year. Please??

2. The end of Sookie Stackhouse – I loved her. I’m ready to see it end. Really. It is definitely time. (Wish the TV show based on these books was actually viewable – just saying…)

3. The new Diane Setterfeild – Crazy since I haven’t actually read her first book yet. It is still sitting on my shelves waiting to be read (along with a ton of other books). She has something new coming out though. Can’t wait.

4. Middle C by William H. Glass – Pretty much am a sucker for anything about musicians. Yep. The only reason it’s on the list.

5. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare – Love this author and can’t wait to see where she takes this next piece of the series.

6. Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Can’t wait to see if this second book lives up to the first, Cinder which was one of the most surprising books I read last year.

7. Prodigy by Marie Lu – Can’t wait to read the second book in this series loosely based off of Les Miserables.

8. Rise by Anna Carey – The third and what should be last book in the Eve series. This one has kept me on my toes….

9. Anything Orson Scott Card – I know that the sequel to The Lost Gate is coming but I’m sure we’ll get more than one book from him this year.

10. The untitled Terry Goodkind book – If you haven’t read any of these yet, run and pick them up. Seriously, walking won’t get you there fast enough to get through these before the new books come out but they are worth the time 🙂

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Book Review: Pathfinder

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Book: Pathfinder

Author: Orson Scott Card

Recommend: Worth the read, especially if you are a fan of Card.

I must admit that Card is one of my favorite authors. So, pretty much anything he writes is going to be great in my opinion. While I wouldn’t put this one on the same level as the Ender series or the Shadow series, it definitely has a flavor that is unique and fun to read.

This book introduces the reader to Rigg, a boy who was raised by his demanding but fair father. However, when his father is killed in a freak accident and Rigg is blamed in the death of a young boy, he sets out to find his sister, a girl he has never met. what Rigg doesn’t know is that he isn’t the nobody he believes, but someone of great importance. So important that it could get him killed.

I think the most interesting part of this book is that it comes across as fantasy – at first. It’s not. It took me a little while to figure out why in the world Card wrote it the way he did. There is a short storyline at the beginning of each chapter that seems very odd, until it’s not. This one is hard to talk about without giving everything away but it was definitely worth the trek.

I would say my one issue with this book is that sometimes Card can get a bit long-winded in places. There were definitely some spots where I wanted the action to get going already. Although it bogged down a bit periodically, overall it didn’t mess with the enjoyment of the book to the point that it made me not want to keep going.

This is a long one for YA but worth the time.

Final Rating:

Get it used…

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Books that need a movie!

Okay, we’ve all read books that simply would make amazing movies and yet for some reason or another, no one has bothered to invest in them. With the amount of poorly written plots that have invaded cinema today, I wish they would turn to books for inspiration more often. If I worked in the film industry, the following books would be my pet projects.

  1. The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolni – I know some of you are thinking that they already made a movie version of the first book and it flopped. It flopped because they didn’t stay true to the book and the casting was HORRIBLE. I would love to see this whole series done well and put on the big screen. I would just tell them to feel free to change the ending to the last book.
  2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I think this would be a huge hit. A cyborg version of Cinderella. Yes please. I am also slightly afraid that not done right, it would come out incredibly cheesy, which would be a HUGE disservice to a great book.
  3. Eve by Anna Carey – I can’t say enough good things about this book. The main character is well written. This dystopia is even more frightening than The Hunger Games and the show of what true love really is, is a message that teens need to understand.
  4. The Lost Gate by Orson ScottCard – While they are just now getting around to turning his Ender’s Game into film, this one I think might be a better movie. With a unique setting and original magic system, it would bring a breath of fresh air to the screen.
  5. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – This series started out so strong and was never finished! I want to see the completion of this series. It could be picked up where it left off with little problem since the original four children don’t make an appearance until the final book as adults. Of the books I would be most anxious to see The Horse and His Boy and The Magician’s Nephew.
  6. Jane Bites Back by Michael Thomas Ford – Jane Austen as a vampire on the big screen joined by other famous authors. Enough said. I also think they would have to do the whole trilogy. Darn 😉
  7. The Wizard of Oz series by L. Frank Baum – I know I’m going to get some huge objections, but just hear me out. I absolutely love the original movie. I don’t think they should touch that. I think this Oz series needs to stay very true to the books, not be a musical and have a much darker tone. I don’t want something to replace the classic. I want a more accurate telling of the story along the lines of the new Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton and I want a whole series of movies, including the story of Ozma.
  8. The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan – This vampire story was simply written for the big screen. We are in desperate need of good horror and this one completely fits the bill.
  9. Glitch by Heather Anastasiu – This book hits shelves August 7th. I was lucky enough to get my hands on an ARC (advanced reader copy). A whole society forced underground by lies and a desire to control mankind through chips. This tells the story of one girl who has a chip that malfunctions and her journey to the truth. I honestly think that if this book gets enough notice, we will be seeing it on the screen in the near future.
  10. The Sword of Truth Series by Terry Goodkind – I know this will never happen simply because the books are far too long and have too much action. You would never be able to do a book by book retelling like they’ve done with most series. The TV show however, was a massive flop as well because they strayed too far for the original storyline. Still a girl can dream can’t she?

What would be on your list of books that should make it to the movie screen?

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Books that shouldn’t hit the big screen

Okay, I like a great movie based on a book just as much as the next girl. I can’t tell you how much I love the current trend of turning much-loved YA books into film series. I currently can’t wait for Cassandra Clare‘s series to make it to film, starting with The City of Bones. I’m also eagerly awaiting November and the final Twilight movie. Not to mention Catching Fire!

Even when a book doesn’t follow the book exactly, many movies based on books are enjoyable. Some eclipse the popularity of the book (Gone with the Wind or The Silence of the Lambs are good examples).

However, just because a book is wonderful, doesn’t mean that it always belongs on-screen. For one reason or another, these books should never make it to film:

  1. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway – If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that there is no love lost between me and anything related to fish. This book however is mostly a guy sitting in a boat by himself thinking and trying to catch a fish. Might be interesting reading to many (not me but many others) but it makes for some of the most boring stuff ever put onto a reel of film.
  2. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams – I’ve seen the movie. It was entertaining. Then I read the book and realized how bad the movie is in comparison. While Hitchhiker isn’t among my favorites, the book has far too much to ever make sense in film!
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – While my review of this book isn’t up yet (it’s coming soon), I was writing the review and realized that I really didn’t want to see the movie. This book is a whole lot of people sitting around talking and the action sequences wouldn’t make much sense. I have a feeling that a lot of the depth would be missing as well. I just don’t see that one going well.
  4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – I love this book. It is an amazing read. I accidentally read the abridged version first and was appalled when I found out how much I was missing! There is simply no way to condense this story for film without losing too much of the story!
  5. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – Again, far too long to condense down without losing too much of the story. Plus so much of the emotion in this piece would be too hard to translate into film.
  6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – 300 characters. Do I need to say any more?
  7. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – Okay. I love this book. I am going to go see the movie. My problem is that there is NO WAY they are going to find kids that are smart enough and young enough to play these parts convincingly. Plus the chance that it is going to be very cheesy is extremely high.
  8. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce – I know you haven’t heard about this one on my blog yet. I have two reviews scheduled for this one because it is just that good! This one is all about a guy taking a very LONG walk. Definitely not something that I think will translate to film well. Internal dialogue books rarely do.

What books do you think should NEVER be turned into films?

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Obsessive List of Books that Should be turned into Musicals

One of my favorite book based musicals

What makes a book a good candidate for musical theater?

  • plenty of action
  • fresh material
  • intense emotion
  • where bursting into song at the drop of a hat isn’t awkward 😉

Here is my list of books that I think would make for a fantastic musical experience.

  1. Hadassah by Tommy Tenney – This book tells the story of Esther through the eyes of her descendants. The powerful portrayal of a young Jewish girl forced to become the wife of a king who will save her people from extinction. The movie did a great job of telling the story but song might be a better way to communicate some of the raw emotion of the situations Esther ends up in.
  2. The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma – H.G. Wells? Check. Funny Narrator? Check. Time Travel? Check. Con men? Check. Overly emotional and dramatic characters? Double check. Tons of Great Roles for Men? Check. I think you get the point 😉
  3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss – I’m shocked this one hasn’t been done yet! There are already some great songs associated with the story. Add in a few more and bam! Instant musical!
  4. Songmaster by Orson Scott Card – The way this book talks about music alone makes it musical worthy. The whole time I was reading, I wanted to hear the music going through the author’s mind at the time. I can’t even imagine how powerful a musical based on this book would be! Some of the scenes might be difficult to transfer to the stage but if they could figure it out…
  5. The Lottery by Shirley Jackson – I know I’m getting some very puzzled looks right now. People are going what is she thinking? Sweeney Todd is what I’m thinking. A musical about a whole town who sacrifices one person just because it is the way it has always been. The turmoil of having to give up your life, your friend, your family member, etc. How people deal with the grief. This would require some expanding by a talented writer but it would be a powerful story.
  6. Fairest of All by Serena Valentino– What made Snow White’s stepmother hate her so much? is the basic idea behind this book. It’s a powerful story and I love seeing fairy tales from the villain’s point of view 🙂
  7. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – A book about a spider saving the life of a pig. Great stuff. With the stylized musicals about animals that Disney has done as a template, this could make a great musical. If it is done well.
  8. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett – The story of a little girl who has it all, losing her life completely but never giving up hope. It’s a great story but finding a young actress to play Sara might prove difficult.
  9. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas – A musical all about getting revenge on the people who wronged you. The only trick would be cutting down the source material while allowing the story to still make sense. This one would be a LONG musical but has the potential to be the next Les Miserables if done correctly.
  10. Matilda by Roald Dahl – Okay, I debated putting this one on the list but decided to for the purely selfish reason that  would love to see this as a musical. I don’t know how many others would, but to me, this would be great fun with songs worked in. Good luck finding a kid to play the title role though. **note – after writing this article I found out that there is a musical based on this book but it hasn’t made it to the US.

What do you think? Love my list? Hate it? Did I miss one (or more) that you thought should be included?

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Help! I’m in a reading slump!!

Reading away..

I just finished a huge, difficult read. I picked up another book and out of sheer relief was able to breeze through it. Then, I went to pick up another book and couldn’t get motivated, even though I’ve been wanting to read it for quite some time. I finally plopped myself down on the couch and got going. While the book was good, I just couldn’t seem to get into it. The next day, I tried again and kept getting distracted, people talking to me, my mom locking her keys in the car and needing me to rescue her, the allure of shopping and then a stop at the library. While at the library, I couldn’t seem to get motivated to pick out books! Unheard of! Then I knew, I had hit a serious reading slump.

How I felt with my latest reads..

I am lucky. These very rarely happen to me and when they do, they are usually easy to solve. I was curious if others had the same problem I did and did a bit of research. While most of these things weren’t new ideas, or are things that I typically do when I hit a slump, I figured that it would be a good idea to put together a list of things to try when you’ve hit a reading slump for others out there!

  1. New Book – If you don’t like the book you are reading, unless it is required reading, put that sucker down and pick up something else. Don’t push yourself through something you aren’t enjoying. The whole point of reading recreationally is to have fun after all. If you have to read it, reward yourself with a book you love at the same time.
  2. Reread a favorite book – Pick up something from your shelves that is guaranteed to get you lost between its pages and start reading. Getting into a familiar world where you know you are going to have fun gets your mind in the right place to enjoy reading again.
  3. Doctor Who books are on my list for my next reading slump.. or this one if it keeps up.

    Read some fan-fiction – The whole point of fan-fiction is to entertain readers who didn’t quite like how something went in their favorite stories. These are usually shorter and all plot based. It is also a lot easier to abandon a story you don’t like. A good place to start is fanfiction.net where you can find stuff based on almost anything.

  4. Watch TV – Yes you read that right. Watch some TV. Let your brain veg and get your stories another way. Typically when I’m in a reading slump my go to shows are Doctor Who or The X-Files. Pick one of your favorite shows and just relax. Another idea is to pick a show that there are books for and then pick up the books from that show to get you back in the habit.
  5. Write something – This one may not be for everyone, but typically when I can’t stand reading, spending some serious time writing will solve the problem.  I upload my brain with tons of stories when I read and then my head needs to download the ideas it absorbs. I can’t tell you how many times I have to put down the book I’m reading because I just had a fabulous idea come to mind (typically that has NOTHING to do with what I’m reading).
  6. Set a time/page limit – If you need to keep reading because let’s say, you write a book blog and need to have something for your readers to read about or you have to get it done for school, set yourself a limit of how much you have to get done that day. Don’t feel like you have to push through until you finish. Give yourself a good manageable goal. If you go beyond it – great!
  7. Reading buddies

    Find a Reading Buddy (who reads at the same pace as you) – Find someone who likes to read the same things you do and read the same book together. They will help keep you motivated. I would NOT suggest doing this with someone who reads much faster or much slower than you do or you will feel frustrated.

  8. Audiobooks – Listen to a book you have been dying to read. For those of you who typically enjoy audiobooks, this a great way to make reading fresh. If you don’t enjoy audiobooks, it can be motivating in a different way. This one can work for me. I get listening to a book and then get frustrated with how slow the reader is or their voice and simply have to pick it up and actually read it.
  9. Organize your books– This one may sound a bit odd, but if you can’t seem to read your books, putting them in order is a great way to end up with a book in your hands that you simply have to get to. Just don’t leave the job half done and let your significant other find you with your books all over the chairs and you sitting on the floor reading away. It will not be a good experience. Trust me on this one.

    My stacks look even bigger… scary I know

  10. Read a new genre – Sometimes picking  up a book in an area you don’t typically read is a great idea. Reading slumps are usually when I read non-fiction or mystery novels. They are a nice break from my normal choices and make me want to get back into what I enjoy reading more. My thought process tends to be, that was good but something sci-fi or fantasy would be even better!
  11. Read something short – When you are in a reading slump is not the time to pick up something over 400 pages. You’ll get frustrated and bored quickly. Books chosen during a slump should be short to create a sense of accomplishment.
  12. Read something you know you’ll love – Make your next book be something you know you’ll enjoy. When I don’t want to read, one trick is to put off anything else on my list and pick up some science fiction or fantasy by an author I love.
  13. Read Short Stories – Short stories can be extremely satisfying during a reading slump. They are typically extremely well written and are over quickly, giving that same sense of satisfaction as finishing a book brings without having to finish the book. Charles de Lint or Orson Scott Card are great for this.

This picture has no purpose except it was cute and I had to share it. Yep. I’m a cat person 😉

Hopefully this gives you some ideas of what you can do to get out of a reading slump and get back to doing something you love.

Anything you do that I didn’t come  up with? Please share it below!

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Notable Character: “Bean” Julian Delphinki

The boy who will play Bean in the upcoming movie!

Ender Wiggin. The boy who sparked a series of books making Orson Scott Card famous. The hero. The boy who saved the world. Not nearly my favorite character from the Ender universe.

Bean is Ender’s second in command. The little boy with the brilliant mind who is virtually ignored past a few brilliant decisions and teasing him for his small size. Bean makes some strange decisions through the course of the first book, decisions that don’t make sense to the reader but seem simple to brush aside.

Cover of the comic/graphic novel series 🙂 Bean is the little one 😉

Bean first makes his appearance in Ender’s Game but Card found this character so intriguing that he spawned his own series, which I find arguably even better than the original. Bean is child who was engineered to be one of the smartest people on the planet. He was a failed experiment. While brilliant, he and the others like him, were cursed with a tragically short lifespan. All the other children were destroyed but something made Bean leave before they could kill him. Bean ends up on the streets of a large city, starving and far too small to be useful to anyone except for his brain.  The section of the book where Bean is trying to make it as a homeless toddler, never fail to effect me. I usually end up in tears, simple because it is so intense. He is found by a nun who helps him get into battle school, where he becomes the man behind Enter Wiggin, ready to take his place should he fail. While Ender thought it was a game, Bean knew the truth. It never had been a game.

Orson Scott Card with the book that made him famous

Bean is a very interesting character because he has to deal with very difficult situations that are unique to the experiments they did on him. He also has a bit of inhumanness that he struggles with, due to the genetic manipulation forced on him before birth. Bean also is interesting because he must deal with his mortality at a young age.

I think one of the reasons I find Bean’s story so compelling is that , unlike Ender, Bean returns to Earth and gets thrown into the world’s politics. Ender never goes back home and by the time the reader reaches the second book, everyone thinks that the real Ender Wiggin died thousands of years before. Bean has to deal with a world that considers him a hero, military asset and danger all at the same time. Through Bean’s story we see what happens to the rest of the former students at the Battle School.

Latest book in the series

For me, Bean is the most complex character of the series. Dealing with his emotions, falling in love, trying to have children, and realizing that he will never see 30 makes him compelling to read. Bean always feels apart in a way that is easy to connect with, as the reader. We have all had those moments where we feel like we are different from everyone else and Bean is the literary embodiment of that. Bean also has to deal with knowing more than anyone ever should and how to handle the fact that no one in the world can see what he does. Throw in multiple world governments trying to sue him for their own agenda, and Bean literally leaps of the page.

In the latest book of the Bean series, I cried when it ended. The end of a hero. The end of little Bean who grows until he becomes the giant. The giant with a heart that won’t support his size.

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Book Review: The Lost Gate

Book: The Lost Gate

Author: Orson Scott Card

Recommend: Definitely! Everyone should read Card’s work. One of the best story tellers I’ve ever read.

I picked this one up when I went to Bookman’s a couple of weeks ago. I have been wanting to get my hands on this book since it first came out and couldn’t pass it up in a used bookstore since it was the only Card book there that I hadn’t already devoured.

If you have never read anything by Orson Scott Card, you need to drop whatever you are reading and pick up Ender’s Game. Now. Not kidding. Don’t bother reading anything further until you have read something written by this man.

Card is best known for his science fiction. Personally I think his science fiction is what pays the bills and fantasy is what he truly loves to write. I love his science fiction but the fantasy novels he writes are even better. This latest book is about a 13-year-old boy named Danny who thinks he has no talent as a mage hidden away in a family compound located in the backwoods of Virginia. However, he discovers, quite by accident that he has a gift. One of the most powerful gifts there are. One that will get him killed simply for existing. Scared, he runs for his life, trying desperately to learn everything he can about the skill that threatens his life. Danny is a gatemage. The only type of mage that can send everyone home. The only kind of mage never allowed to exist.

This is simply one of the best magic systems Card has ever come up with. It’s innovative use of space and time in an almost scientific fashion makes it engaging without being so complex that the reader can’t understand it. Danny is a lot of fun to read with a sense of morality in difficult situations while still being a believable 13-year-old kid. I am really looking forward to the next book in this series and hope for quite a few to follow Danny’s growth as a gatemage.

The only negative I can see in this book is the fact that some of the scenarios feel a bit familiar. Like they were taken from some of Card’s other work, although not enough to make the book unappealing. The reader can see bits of other characters coming to play, even the title of what Danny is, is an obvious reference to Ender’s Game. The gate is down indeed.

Final Rating:

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My list of YA books I wish I’d written

In my effort to include more than just reviews on my blog, I have a new category that I’m officially adding. The Book Worm’s Obsessive lists where I make random lists of all kinds of things book related. These lists will be varying lengths, although I will try to keep most of them short. For the second list under this topic and the first written for it, I wanted to talk about the YA books (or series) that I wish I had written. Have you ever read a book that you wish you had thought up? I find myself there quite often. Here are the ten books/series I wish I had penned myself.

  • The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer – Okay, Stephenie Meyer is not the best writer in the world. Despite that, she came up with a plot line that is so captivating that the reader forgets that fact and just gets absorbed by the story. I have to say that I am constantly wishing there was more available. I wish I owned it so that I could simply write more. I guess that is what fan fiction is for.
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling – Getting the other obvious choice out-of-the-way. Rowling definitely has something uniquely amazing here. Whether you are a huge fan or refuse to read on principle, who wouldn’t want to have written the book series that got a generation of kids to read?
  • The Divergent series by Veronica Roth– This is a new add to my list but finally FINALLY someone got the male heart-throb right! Four is the first YA guy since Edward Cullen to really captivate people’s attention and there isn’t even a movie yet! Insurgent is a few books down on my reading list but the temptation to skip a bunch and move right on to it is very tempting.
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – One of the coolest boy books to have come out in a very long time. It was YA before the category really existed. While this is a book about a boy,many of the fans I know are all girls. Card came up with something brilliant here and continues to expand anywhere he can, which I love! Who doesn’t want to know more about their favorite characters?
  • The Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare – I laughed, I cried (a lot) and fell in love with these characters. A great plot line with a horribly painful twist. Clare got me completely hooked. The next book in the series just came out and I can’t wait to get my hands on it! I wish that I had written Jace and Clary myself! I just don’t know that I would have been brave enough to torture them as much as Clare does!
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – Who wouldn’t want to be the one who came up with Aslan? One of the best stories written no matter what age you are. It has stood the test of time and Hollywood has finally done the first couple of books justice. I wish I could come up with an allegory half that good.
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I really tried avoiding putting this one on my list simply because I knew everyone would expect to see it but I just can’t leave this series off the list. I am a huge fan of Katniss. She is the ultimate female heroine in many ways. I would have rewritten part of the book though. I think that the author did a horrible job with her emotions. I wanted to see more of the emotional aspect than she wrote. I think it needed to be tweaked and wish I could be the one to do it.
  • The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini – I love this story. I absolutely love this story. Sometimes though the writing gets distracting. I also hated the ending. I am a big fan of happily ever after which is not what he gave us at the end of a four book trek. I really just want to rewrite this series. I don’t want to do a lot to it but some adjustments with his writing style are necessary in my opinion. Still I wish I had come up with Eragon myself.
  • The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman – I loved this book, until I got to the end. Then the glove came off and the blatant attack on Christianity started. While the undertones were there through the whole book, the end was just brutal. I love the basic storyline but I would rewrite it to leave out the controversial religious material.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle – I think the most amazing thing about this book is that everyone can see a little bit of themselves in each of the characters. I don’t think I would change a word but I wish I had been the one to think it up!

Love the list? Hated it? Think I missed something or put something on the list that shouldn’t be there? Tell me what you would change!

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The short stories can be even better!

Book: Keeper of Dreams

Author: Orson Scott Card

Recommend: If you like short stories or the work of Orson Scott Card or even if you don’t. He’ll win you over almost instantly…

I love everything I have ever read that Orson Scott Card has written. I haven’t picked up a single book by him that I didn’t enjoy reading. I also have his first book of short stories, Maps in a Mirror. So I was expecting to be thrilled with what I was reading. I wasn’t disappointed at all. His short stories are almost more fun to read than his long fiction because he tends to be more creative in a shorter format and it tends to be better written than his longer fiction and his longer fiction is amazing already.

The book is divided into different sections. The only thing that I could say is that the Mormon stories might be interesting to some but for many they might be confusing if you haven’t grown up in a church background they might not make much sense and in particular his sarcastic story about God and the Devil could be easily misconstrued as something very inappropriate if you didn’t understand the Mormon’s view on God.

I definitely would recommend picking this one up. It’s a great book to have in hand (or on your nook or other less worthy e-reader device) for when you have a few minutes to spare but not enough time for a good book. I would definitely check it out.

Final Rating:

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Buy it new 🙂

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Another book about Bean

Author: Orson Scott Card
Book: Shadows in Flight
Recommend: If you’ve read the series…

This book is the 5th book in the Shadow series a companion series to Card’s Ender series which begins with his most famous book, Ender’s Game. The story is about a group of children who are forced into military service and spend their time playing war games. These children will eventually be the salvation of the human race.

I was so excited to see that he had FINALLY come out with the next book in the Shadow series. I thought that he was going to have to follow Bean into space with his children that had inherited his genetic manipulation.

At first, I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like the book. Bean’s three children were almost too inhuman to be appealing but after a few pages, you started to understand their motivators and it becomes a very enjoyable read.

I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it would spoil it for everyone who is an Ender fan, but let’s just say that Ender doesn’t have the whole story. I can’t wait to read more. I hope that Card takes this further and follows this for at least another book because I want to know what happens to his children. I have a sneaking suspicion that they show up in Ender’s world again.

If you haven’t read any of the Ender series of books, I would recommend starting with the Ender Wiggin series and then moving to the shadow series. It is well worth the time,

Final Rating:

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Buy it new 🙂

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A musical journey

Book: Songmaster

Author: Orson Scott Card

Recommend: Definitely with one caveat..

Okay, I have been wanted to read this due to the title alone for a long time. I’ve read Card’s short stories and find the way that he discusses music extremely powerful. I bought this one at Bookman’s even though it smelled like cigarette smoke and I sneezed the whole time I read it. I was that excited to read this book! I got it right before I got my nook though and for a while anything paper fell by the wayside.

It turns out that it was an extension of one of his short stories which I had loved. It is a wonderful read. The characters literally leap off the page. As a musician I felt an instant connection with it. The main character’s amazing journey is not to be missed. I don’t want to say too much about the plot because it will give away too much of the story on this one. I think that the plot becomes more obvious as you connect with this character.

There was one big negative in the book for me that I was blindsided by because of who the author is. Mr. Card is Mormon and though I felt the build up to this, I was shocked by it being included in one of his books. I know that it will prevent many people who read my blog from picking it up and would have a serious problem with it if I didn’t warn them about this. One of the supporting characters is bisexual and there is a scene in the book that makes it very clear. I didn’t expect this of him simply because of the Mormon stance on the issue. While for me, this isn’t something that will keep me from reading a book, I know there are others that it would. While it wouldn’t keep me from reading the book, I do hold to the Biblical view on the issue.

For me, this is one of the most powerful books Card has written. I would recommend it to anyone who thinks they can handle it.

Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂


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Sleeping Beauty… sort of


Book: Enchantment

Author: Orson Scott Card

Recommend: Definitely- an interesting twist on sleeping beauty…

This is one of my favorite Card books which is somewhat odd because it is not his normal science fiction fare. This book is a fantasy that includes both a typical fantasy setting and the modern world mixed together in an extremely unique and engaging story. What would it be like if you were running through the woods one day and found something straight out of a fairytale book? Would you kiss the sleeping princess? What if that princess wasn’t exactly what you thought she would be? What if your prince charming showed up in tennis shoes instead of armor?

This sleeping beauty tale only takes the essence of the girl in her everlasting sleep and the rest is all original Card.

I can’t really come up with a negative for this one. It will grab you and suck you in from beginning to end.


Final Rating:

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Buy it new 🙂

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Hidden Gem


Book: Hidden Empire

Author: Orson Scott Card

Recommend: Yes, after you read the first book, Empire.

I am a huge Orson Scott Card fan. If you don’t know who he is, immediately go get Ender’s Game and start reading.

I picked up this book at the library, my favorite place to be during summer vacation. I thought the first book was an interesting read and honestly found that I liked the second book much better than the first, mostly because I think the characters were easier to connect to.

It tells the story of a plague outbreak in Africa, starting with one little boy name Chinma. It felt like Mr.Card took the Swine Flu scare and upped the severity. It showed an America that was swiftly becoming an empire instead of a democratic republic due to President Torrent. The heart of this book is about Chinma and the remaining Malich family and how they face this crisis.

There is also a not so subtle call to action for Christians around the world, reminding us that we are supposed to be helping the sick and oppressed. The death toll is only lowered when Christian aide workers go into Africa and begin to help the sick people, getting ill themselves in the process but also having a great impact on lowering the death rate.

This was a fabulous read and something almost everyone will enjoy.


Final Rating:

Get it new!

Buy it new 🙂

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