Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Friday, December 31, 2010

NOVEL GLIMPSES (1) --VAMPIRE ACADEMY, THE QUEEN'S PAWN, DRACULA IN LOVE, AND OTHERS

Novel Glimpses is my new feature for mini-reviews...really just a fancy name for them! The only difference with my traditional mini-reviews is that I will include my Goodreads rating, something I do not do with my regular reviews.  Feel free to participate...just credit me and link back if you do.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Finished reading on October 23, 2010

My Goodreads rating:  4 Stars
The glimpse:  I was skeptical about this book (and series) because of all the YA paranormal out there these days.  There have been a few that were so similar to Twilight.  Girl meets *insert paranormal creature here* and he is God-like, perfect, an Adonis and "I'm so inadequate...I can't believe he wants to be with me."  Now this isn't a bash on Twilight because I love the series.  But when it's done once, a new way of telling a paranormal story needs to be utilized.  Vampire Academy is that book.  The characters are original and Rose, a dhampir (part human blood, part vampire blood) has one priority...and it's not a guy...to protect her best friend, the Moroi (a mortal vampire), Lissa.  The story is fast paced and compelling.  I'm hoping the series continues in this vein.  That is, when I get around to reading the rest!

The Queen's Pawn by Christy English
Finished reading on September 23, 2010

My Goodreads rating:  4 Stars
The glimpse:  I am obsessed with Eleanor of Aquitaine.  I do not think the woman will ever fall out of fascination for me.  I read two books about her in 2010--this one and The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton.  In the latter book, she didn't figure as prominently, but she was so much larger than life--even in a small part, she stands out.  This book explores the complex relationship between Eleanor and the betrothed of her son, Alais.  Alais becomes a political pawn in the constant intrigue of King Henry and Eleanor.  This version of the story is very entertaining and one of the best historical fiction books I've read.

Dracula in Love by Karen Essex
Finished reading on October 31, 2010

My Goodreads rating:  4 Stars
The glimpse:  Oh, how I love Dracula! I loved Bram Stoker's novel and I love every story he's involved in...from The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova to any movie he is featured in.  What I really liked about this book though was how Essex combined the paranormal aspect along with the issues that women faced in Victorian England.  In this "vampire" book, blood figures more prominently and in a different way than in the way you would think.  John Seward, the doctor who runs the asylum, is convinced, along with Dr. Van Helsing (Von Helsinger in this version), that women are inferior and need men's blood to strengthen their characters and fortitude.  This quote is an excellent explanation:

"I hold to my theory that blood transference is the key to expedited human evolution.  The female, strengthened by male blood, will be relieved of her biological and moral weaknesses, and from the union of two superior beings will come a race of supermen with the highest and purest of human qualities and the most desirable genetic characteristics."

Pretty messed up, huh?  This part of the book was so infuriating to the feminist in me! But it made for an interesting concept.  Also, Mina's origins are really quite different in this book.  I won't give it away, but it was very interesting.  This was a great read!

Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney
Finished reading on August 29, 2010

My Goodreads rating:  5 Stars
The glimpse:  It's so funny because I really hate being sad, but I can always tell a great book when it makes me cry.  I cried and cried at the end of this book.  Delaney has written one hell of a book here and I can't believe I haven't heard more about it around the blogs.  He has such a strong Irish voice in his writing.  It really reckoned me back to Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt.  Delaney's writing has the authenticity of a memoir...his characters are so rich and real.  This is another historical that is worth a read...or two.  It has an interesting plot and excellent historical and cultural detail.


Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
Finished reading on November 23, 2010

My Goodreads rating:  4 stars
The glimpse:  A medieval murder mystery/thriller with a little CSI/Bones mixed in...what else could a girl want?  I loved this book! The characters are interesting and the historical detail is right on point.  It is definitely a book that keeps you guessing until the end on who the murderer is.  Pretty impressive, considering that nine times out of ten, I figure it out before the end.  Adelia is a great character.  A female forensic doctor in an age when most women rarely ventured farther than the hearth and home, she faces adversity at every turn as she assists in solving the murders.  This book is a series and it continues with The Serpent's Tale, Grave Goods and A Murderous Procession.

The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth Chadwick (audio)
Finished December 2010

My Goodreads rating:  5 Stars
The glimpse:  Another excellent historical read.  I can always tell when a character makes me angry enough to throw something that I'm going to love a book.  The second husband of Miriel Weaver, Robert, is just that character.  He is just so deceptively evil.  I swear, if I was in the book, I would punch him in the face.  This book weaves a clever combination of rich historical detail with a compelling narrative about a girl in medieval times who is just trying to make her way in the world and the many obstacles she faces along the way.

As you can see by some of the dates that I finished these books, I wasn't kidding about being behind on reviews!

Happy New Year!

THE "NOT MY YEAR" IS OVER...BRING ON 2011!

TOP TEN BOOKS READ IN 2010, READING RELATED RESOLUTIONS, AND A WORD ABOUT READING CHALLENGES
2010 TOP TEN
(Except for #1 on the list, the remaining nine titles are in no particular order.  Also, I decided not to include rereads on this list)
  1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  2. Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
  3. Hush by Kate White
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  6. The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton
  7. Virgin and the Crab by Robert Parry
  8. Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin (not yet reviewed)
  9. The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth Chadwick (not yet reviewed)
  10. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (not yet reviewed)
This was kind of a tough list to come up with.  I read 50 books this year and there were several others that deserve honorable mention.  The Dark Divine by Bree Despain, Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show by Frank Delaney (not yet reviewed), The Queen's Pawn by Christy English (not yet reviewed), The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran (not reviewed), Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman, and Dracula in Love by Karen Essex (not yet reviewed).

Good Riddance 2010!

READING RELATED RESOLUTIONS
  • The main thing will be to do more reading and less time wasting.  I'm an epic time waster and easily distracted from one task to something entirely different. 
  • My plan for Reading Deliberately...My Way.  As many of you know, I have over 1700 fiction books in my home library (I will not even mention my non-fiction)...a massive TBR pile.  And there are books that I really want to read in my library.  So, as I have every fiction title catalogued alphabetically, my plan is to plug the number of books for a particular letter into random.org and let it pick my read.  I will do this once a week, with the intention of reading one of these books a week, but will allow myself more time if it's a longer book or if I am swamped with review books.  Pretty soon, my entire catalog will be online.  I created a blog specifically for my library catalog, A Huge Library in a Small ApartmentIt is under construction, but I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of January.  *fingers crossed*
  • Cutting back on review books--I am SO behind on review books! I still have books from early fall that I haven't read or reviewed (so sorry authors/publishers).  Most of you know that I was very ill over the summer and this was the first of my setbacks.  Then I found out I had to move...during Christmas (now you know the reasons behind "Not My Year"!) and we're still not completely moved! That being said, I'm doing my best to limit review books in 2011 to one per month...hopefully.  There are so many good ones coming out.  It's hard to resist! The main thing in January will be to catch up on review books I already have.
  • Review EVERY book--either full review or at least a mini-review--and review it as soon as I finish it.  I'm such a terrible procrastinator!
A SPECIAL WORD ON READING CHALLENGES


Reading Challenge Overload?

I am a challenge junky.  I see all the new reading challenges and I'm like a kid in a candy store! I started my blog in August of 2009 and I had no idea about reading challenges.  I was beyond thrilled when I discovered them...too much so.  I signed up for 29 challenges and failed miserably.  When I found out in early December that I was going to have to move during Christmas time, I decided to take a fail on all the 2010 challenges I was part of....wipe the slate clean, so to speak! My challenge blog, Challenges of the True Book Addict, will have all 2010 challenges removed from the sidebar.  I'm going to attempt to limit myself to 10 maximum reading challenges (give or take 1 or 2...heehee) for 2011 plus the two perpetual challenges I host, The Michener Challenge and the 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge and the Goodreads group challenge, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.  We will see how it goes.  Wish me luck...I'm going to need it! I will be back this weekend with which challenges I'm signing up for.  There are some really great ones (I already have a few in mind)! Can't wait to go shopping! LOL!


Okay...enough of my rambling! Happy New Year to you all! Be safe and have fun!




Thursday, December 30, 2010

CAT THURSDAY & HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I'm combining my Cat Thursday and New Year's wishes post today.  I hope you all have a safe and happy New Year's Eve and Day! I still have a few things to wrap up on the blog in the next couple of days so be expecting some posts.  I'll have my top ten reads of 2010 and some reading related resolutions.  I also have a bunch of mini-reviews...trying to wrap up books I read in 2010 (WAY back) and have not reviewed yet.  I'm not announcing any reading challenge participation until the first of the month, but I will say it's going to be a lot less than last year.  I learned my lesson! So again, Happy New Year to you and yours from me and this lovely little kitty!






Wednesday, December 29, 2010

OUT WITH A BANG READ-A-THON



We all know I'm a sucker for a read-a-thon! That's why I've decided to sign up for the Out with a Bang read-a-thon hosted by Book-Savvy and The Bookish Type.  Not sure how much I'll get to read.  May only be able to read on Wednesday and Thursday, but we'll see.  Right now, I'll focus on two books and see how it goes and they are:

The Mischief of the Mistletoe by Lauren Willig
By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan

In other read-a-thon news:  Since my fall read-a-thon was such a success and many expressed interest in my hosting it seasonally, I will be having my winter read-a-thon some time in January, A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

MAILBOX MONDAY

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and now has it's own page HERE. Currently on monthly blog tours, MM is being hosted this month by Jenny Q at Let Them Read Books.

Look what my mother-in-law gave me for Christmas! Squeeeeeeee!



I'll be back next week with what I purchased with it AND the books I got for myself as a gift (I deserved to treat myself after my year)!

Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas!
P.S.  Have you entered my Christmas Book Extravaganza giveaway over at my Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit?  If you haven't, what are you waiting for?! Go HERE for details and entry.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

A MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU

I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you a merry Christmas, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.  Good tidings I bring, to you and your kin, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS!

And just because the day is done today, does not mean that the season is over! There are still much doings over at The Christmas Spirit blog.  The Sharing the Joy event and The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge are still going on through Twelfth Night (January 6th).  And yesterday I announced the Sharing the Joy Christmas Book Extravaganza Giveaway.  So why not stop by over there and read some of the wonderful guest posts that have appeared in the past few weeks...and there is still time to jump in on the reading challenge, almost two weeks until Twelfth Night!
  • for details and to enter the giveaway, go HERE
  • to check out the Sharing the Joy event, visit the blog HERE
  • for details and to join in on the reading challenge, go HERE
All my best, at Christmas and always,
Michelle

Friday, December 24, 2010

CHRISTMAS BOOK REVIEW: SANTA AND THE LITTLE TEDDY BEAR BY PETER JOHN LUCKING

This is a cross point from my Christmas blog, The Christmas Spirit , from September 2010.

SANTA AND THE LITTLE TEDDY BEAR--Written & Illustrated by PETER JOHN LUCKING (released Oct 2010)

COVER IMAGE
I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this book. I read it with my sons (ages 7 and 8) and it was such a fun experience. The story is about a sad little teddy bear that never gets bought from the toy shop and so he never gets to make a child happy on Christmas day. He is very sad about it and it's looking like this Christmas will be the same...until Santa shows up. The teddy bear accompanies Santa on his Christmas Eve journey delivering presents to little children around the world. Along the way, the teddy bear learns about self-esteem and self-discovery and finding a way to be happy in the world. Interlaced throughout the story are lyrics of traditional Christmas carols and then there are pages with the entire lyrics of the songs for singing along with the family. Also, each stop that Santa makes is in a diffenrent country so we learn about new places and cultures. There is even the story of the Nativity and the Immaculate Conception. For me, the piece de resistance of this book were the wonderful illustrations. They are absolutely gorgeous (I've included a few here...aren't they beautiful?).


This book would make a wonderful addition to any family's holiday book collection. Not only does it help us recognize the spirit of Christmas, but it also helps us to celebrate and enjoy the beauty of Christmas and learn a few important lessons along the way.

Thank you to Peter for allowing me to read and reviw his wonderful book!



About the book:
Dedicated to the children of the world.

Love, Peace, and Joy to All!

A magical ride with Santa and the reindeer takes a teddy bear on a whirlwind adventure to become a special Christmas gift.

Get ready! It’s Christmas Eve! Free your spirit, fly around the world with magic transportation on this epic action-packed adventure roller coaster ride.

Visit exotic places, far beyond Woop Woop and the Black Stump. Encounter strange creatures and cultures and sing along with the characters in an enchanted unforgettable ride.

Book 2, Coming Soon--SANTA AND THE LITTLE TEDDY BEAR: THE MYSTERY OF THE MISSING LETTERS

Visit the WEBSITE to learn more and if you'd like to purchase a copy.

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

CAT THURSDAY (CHRISTMAS)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

It's almost Christmas! Today I'm sharing with you some cute and funny holiday LOLZ.  Wishing a joyous holiday season to you and yours!






Tuesday, December 21, 2010

MAILBOX MONDAY (TUESDAY EDITION) & HOLIDAY SWAP GOODIES

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and now has it's own page HERE. Currently on monthly blog tours, MM is being hosted this month by Jenny Q at Let Them Read Books.

Won:

A prize pack during the Halloween giveaway hop from author Courtney Allison Moulton (http://www.courtneyallisonmoulton.com/), pictured here:

--A Dracula Nutcracker...divine!
--A Personal Demons bookmark, signed
--Angelfire bookmark & sticker, signed
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Firelight by Sophie Jordan

The Gentleman Poet: A Novel of Love, Danger, And Shakespeare's "The Tempest" by Kathryn Johnson, signed!...from Arleigh at http://www.historical-fiction.com/

and

an autographed India Edghill book set, Delilah for me (since I already have the other two) and the other two are a Christmas gift for someone very special...also from Arleigh

A Little Fruitcake: A Childhood In Holidays by David Valdes Greenwood from Rob at Books Are Like Candy Corn.


And now, from the Book Blogger Holiday Swap, my wonderful goodies from Jennifer at Extreme Reader Book Reviews.  I actually received this last week, but I was so busy with my move, I didn't have time to post about it.  Anyway, thank you so much, Jennifer...I love absolutely everything! Truly...Jennifer rocks! She got me one book that I have been wanting for the longest...The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner! Here is a pic of everything:

--A lovely card
--A Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark candy bar...yum!
--A Lifesavers tin with 7 Lifesaver rolls
--A Super Bubble bubble gum tin ornament
--Snowman playing cards
--Christmas tissues
--Christmas cocktail napkins
--Homemade ornament...gorgeous!
--Homemade book thong...equally gorgeous!
--Infinite Days by Rebecca Maizel
--The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner

Thanks so much to everyone!

Merry Christmas!!!

VIRTUAL ADVENT TOUR: A MEMORY OF CHRISTMASES PAST

(This is a cross post from The Christmas Spirit blog)

When my sister and I were growing up in the 70s and 80s, we had three Christmas albums we listened to each year. One was the Partridge Family Christmas album and the other two were more traditional with standard carols sung by a childrens' choir and the like. Around Christmas time 1976, she was five and I was eight, we started putting on yearly Christmas pageants for our parents. We would choose five or six songs from the three albums and then would make up dance routines and sing and dance to the songs. The costuming wasn't elaborate. Just a red or green sweater and jeans. Later, I think we added Santa hats. Several years later, we added a couple more Christmas albums (cassette tapes by this time). The Beach Boys Christmas and The Chipmunks Christmas. We continued these pageants up until 1984, the Christmas before my parents split up. By this time, I was sixteen and Tracy was thirteen. My sister had a best friend that was practically like our sister and she joined us for that last pageant. We had been putting on the shows for my parents for eight years! When we get together (Tracy lives in Michigan and I'm in Tennessee), whether it's the holidays or not, we always talk about those times and how much fun Christmas always was for us. We didn't have any other family around us growing up in Michigan so it was just the four of us...Mom, Dad, Tracy, and myself. But we had so much fun every Christmas and the pageants just added to the fun. I'm not sure what happened to all those Christmas albums/tapes, but I do still have the Partridge Family Christmas album, though it's just a keepsake...it's so scratched up now. That album was our tradition, whether it was during the pageants or just listening to it while we decorated or made cookies. Luckily, I came across the CD several years ago at Walgreens and I bought two copies so I will always have a back-up. And it has come full circle because that record is a favorite of my sons now. No pageants from my dear boys yet, but a mom can hope...can't she?!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Friday, December 17, 2010

BOOK TOUR: RED IN THE FLOWER BED BY ANDREA NEPA

Red in the Flower Bed: An Illustrated Children's Story about Interracial Adoption

by Andrea Nepa

My thoughts:

Red in the Flower Bed is a book written to help children understand adoption, specifically interracial adoption.  The seed cannot thrive and survive next to its "mother" so she sends it in the wind to find a place where it can.  Eventually, the seed finds a place amongst other flowers, not of its species, but it fits in none the less.  The wording is simple, but poetic and would be easy enough even for small children to understand.  The illustrations are also simple, but no less beautiful.  I recommend this picture book...not only for adopted children, but for all children.  It really is a good story showing that it's okay to be different and that you can still fit in.

About the book:

The journey of adoption is beautifully depicted with the comforting imagery of a poppy flower who is welcomed into a garden family. It is a charming story of "seeds" being planted in the perfect place - exactly where they belong. Children and adults will enjoy this simple yet meaningful story and homespun illustrations. The book's loving approach helps children to understand adoption. Andrea Nepa has captured the essence of adoption and family, and has illustrated it beautifully with images and poetry that even a small child can comprehend and enjoy.

Book web site:
http://www.redintheflowerbed.com/

Andrea Nepa Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1664060822

Tribute Books website:
http://www.tribute-books.com/

Tribute Books Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Archbald-PA/Tribute-Books/171628704176

Tribute Books Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/TributeBooks

Andrea Nepa Bio:

Andrea Nepa is the mother of an adopted Vietnamese daughter named Leah. In 2001, Adoptions from the Heart assisted with the international adoption. Andrea dedicated her book to her daughter: "For my dear Leah, whose journey in her young life has already taken her to far away and unexpected places." In 2006, Leah was diagnosed with cancer. She is currently in remission. Andrea lives with Leah and her husband, David, in Haddonfield, New Jersey. She is a registered dietitian for the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Book trailer:



Buy links:
http://tribute-books.com/shop.html#children4

Excerpt:
http://www.tribute-books.com/redfirst10.pdf

I would like to thank Nicole with Tribute Books for inviting me to participate on this tour and to review this lovely book.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

CAT THURSDAY (CHRISTMAS)

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

Today I'm sharing with you Alice decked out in her holiday finery! She looks simply smashing (I know...I'm biased)! This gorgeous collar was fashioned by Sam & Steve's Boutique on Etsy (I just love Etsy!).  I also bought Alice two other non-holiday collars from Sam & Steve's which I will feature in the coming months.  If you would like to check out their shop and their "Happy Gifts for Cats & their People", go HERE.

And now, without further ado.....





Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

MAILBOX MONDAY...ON TUESDAY!

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and now has it's own page HERE.  Currently on monthly blog tours, MM is being hosted this month by Jenny Q at Let Them Read Books.

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last MM post! I have quite a few goodies to share with you today!

(If you would like to read about the books, click the titles for book descriptions on Goodreads)

Won:

Powerless: The Synthesis by Jason Letts (ebook)...from the author

Dandelions in the Garden by Charlie Courtland (ebook)...from the author


Louisa May Alcott: The Woman Behind Little Women by Harriet Reisen (with DVD documentary by the same name)...from Wendy at Caribousmom
An Irish Country Courtship by Patrick Taylor...from Kathleen at Blog O' the Irish

The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick...from Daphne at Tanzanite's Castle Full of Books

The Season of Risks by Susan Hubbard...from Bitten by Books

For review:

Daring to Eat a Peach by Joseph Zeppetello

Blue by Lou Aronica

Bought:

from the Literary Guild:

Read, Remember, Recommend by Rachelle Rogers Knight

The Power by Rhonda Byrne

Fix-It and Forget-It Christmas Cookbook: 600 Slow Cooker Holiday Recipes by Phyllis Pellman Good

from the monthly library sale...1/2 price this month!

The Exploits & Adventures of Miss Alethea Darcy by Elizabeth Aston

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by Ron Hansen

White As Snow by Tanith Lee

Farewell Summer by Ray Bradbury

Katherine by Anya Seton (you should have heard the shriek of delight when I found this one...LOL!)

The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser

Bake and Make Amazing Cakes by Elizabeth Macleod

Christmas with Anne and Other Holiday Stories by L. M. Montgomery

The Lion in the Box: A Christmas Story by Marguerite De Angeli

A Very Mary Christmas: A Collection of Holiday Art by Mary Engelbreit

300 Ways to Make the Best Christmas Ever! Edited by Mimi Tribble

LIFE Books: Christmas Around the World






Was it worth the wait? LOL! So...what did you get this week?


- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.TjHz2Px9.dpuf