Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shelving Saturday - #14

Welcome to Shelving Saturday

Shelving Saturday is a weekly blog event I have started here at Eastern Sunset Reads. Each week I will post a shelving dilemma or question and you can join me in the response.

Please feel free to post on your blog and link back here, please be sure to post the link to your response in the comments so I can come and check your Shelving day out!
So the last couple of weeks we completed re-organizing our bookshelves in a way that suits each of us. Now this week I want to start discussing virtual shelving.  Most of us little bookworms already are aware of the online websites that help us keep track of our books, but I want to spend a few weeks discussing them.  The main sites that I know of are Shelfari, LibraryThing and Goodreads.  So do you use any of these sites or all three of them? Or do you know of another one that I don't have listed? Please share.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will go over the features of these online book shelves.
Me personally I currently have a goodreads account and recently started a shelfari account and plan to open a Librarything account within the next couple of weeks.
Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Bedtime Story: Flutterby

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Flutterby finds out what she is by painful trial and error."

My Review: This was one of my all time favorite books as a kid.  Of course anything to do with horses and ponies topped all my lists.  Poor Flutterby didn't know what she was and no one could tell her.  She tried to be an ant but got stuck in the hill, so she tried to be a bee but got stung and crushed the honeycomb, and then she tried to be a butterfly but couldn't float on a 'whisper of wind'.  Its a good think the old butterfly pointed out her reflection and told her "You are you. Just as I am me. {...} Nothing more, nothing less." He then helped her figure out what she should do, and she was to watch for the first signs of fall and warn all the animals of the forest.  Its a great lesson for kids to learn, that they don't need to be anyone else, just be themselves and they will find what they are good at.  Of course the illustrations are super cute, I absolutely adore Flutterby!

My Rating: Definitely a Four Paw book!

Good Night, Sweet Dreams!

Follow Friday, In My Mailbox & August RAK

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Host { } and any one else you want to follow on the list
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers - Hands & Home &
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. LINKY TOOLS IS BACK! I paid for the subscription - finally so now you can add the links to your own post!!! To add the code to your own post click on GET THE CODE here under the list of names.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments
  5. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "HI"
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love...and the followers
  7. If you're new to the follow friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!

Q. Talk about the book that most changed or influenced your life (was it a book that turned you from an average to avid reader, did it help you deal with a particularly difficult situation, does it bring you comfort every time you read it?). 

Wow, that is a difficult question.  I honestly don't think I can pin point one particular book that influenced me as a reader, but I think one of my most memorable books was when I read the Alanna series by Tamora Pierce. That series seemed to have kicked my whole book obsession into high gear, I absolutely gobbled those books up as fast as the library could get them.


In My Mailbox is a weekly event hosted by The Story Siren that I have decided to participate in.

How IMM works:
Make your own IMM post! You can post about books you've bought, gotten from the library, received for review... books don't have to arrive via your mailbox.
I post every week, but you don’t have to. You can do one week out of the month or every other week it’s up to you.
You don't have to call your post In My Mailbox... (some people don't even have mailboxes!)
I post my IMM on Sunday, but choose a day of the week that works for you.
Once you have your IMM posted, come back to The Story Siren on Sunday and add your link to the list.
Try to post a comment on other bloggers IMM posts. I don’t expect you to post a comment on every single one, but pick a few!

All book bloggers are welcome, while I’d like to keep the theme to YA literature it’s NOT a requirement.

There is no right or wrong way to do In My Mailbox, you can vlog, you can take fun picture, you can use the books cover art, it’s up to you!

Most importantly HAVE FUN!
Guess what?! I was a very good girl this week and didn't get any more books! Aren't you all proud of me for only reading the books I already have?! :P

Book Soulmates
Time for August RAK!


• Sign up each month that you'd like to participate.

• Show off your participation by grabbing our RAK button :)
• Create a wish list (on Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog etc) and post it in the Google Doc located in each R.A.K post for the month.
• If you choose to do a R.A.K for someone, check out their wish list and contact that blogger for their address.
 • At the end of the month, SHOW US YOUR R.A.K!

 Make a post saying 'Thank You' to whoever granted one of your wishes and share it with us :)

So head over to Book Soulmates to Sign up!

I have plans to send a few books out this month, maybe you will be the one I send one to!

On my major wishlist for this month are the Frost Series by Kailin Gow (books 2 - 5: Forever Frost, Silver Frost, Frost Kisses & Midnight Kisses) and the last three books I need for Melissa Mayhue's Highlander Series (Soul of a Highlander, Highlander's Destiny & Highlander's Curse).

Hope you all have a great weeek

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Character Creation

So my review of Fire by Kristin Cashore earlier this week brought some points to mind.  There is a lot of controversy over how feminist the book as a whole is and about Fire's character.  As I read the book I didn't notice these issues, maybe its because I just became so involved with the character herself and I could understand her decisions.  After finishing the book and looking at other peoples reviews and comments it got me to wondering about how authors create their characters. 

It seems to me that the each of us who writes put a tiny bit of ourselves into our characters, not that they are exactly like us but we might give them a feature, habit or value.  I think that maybe with Fire, Kristin Cashore might have put a little of her own self into the character, she then allowed Fire to make her own decisions.

In my own writing I often use little quirks about myself or an experience.  For example in one book I started a couple years ago call Tamlyn Marie's Grace I gave Tamlyn an gentle likability that would like to think I have as well, she was quite and yet friendly and most people around her liked her. However I didn't make her entirely like myself, I gave her a talent for singing. Another one of my characters has a habit of chewing on their bottom lip when nervous, a horrible habit of mine but I think it makes the character a little more real.

I think that using that little bit of yourself helps you to connect with your own character and really delve into who they are and what makes them tick. That extra little bit also helps the readers connect with the character, if it is something real to you then chances are it is real to someone else as well.  Just like our own opinions and values there are going to be people who don't agree with a particular personality trait chosen for the character, but there will be those who connect so well that they feel like they are with the character.

So those of you who are writers, what are some of the little bits of yourselves that you give to your characters? And readers, what about a character makes them real to you?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review of From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Synopsis from Goodreads: "When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.
Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it?
Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself."

My Review: This has been the best middle reader I have read so far this year. What a great idea to run away to the museum! I loved both Claudia and Jamie, both are smart kids with a lot going for them. I really enjoyed their relationship with each other, they may have fought some but they always made up and realized that the other was smart (even said so) it reminded me a lot of my own relationship with my brother. The best part about the book was that it was almost believable. I also liked Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, she is quite the character and had some wonderful ideas about secrets. This was a very enjoyable book, and even though it was written for younger kids, it can still be enjoyed when you are older.        

My Rating: This was a fun and entertaining book and I give it Three Paws and a Stump Wag!

Review of Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Synopsis From Goodreads: "Cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is on a streak of real bad luck. First, her co-worker gets murdered and no one seems to care. Then Sookie is attacked - and poisoned - late one night by some weird and apparently mythical beast. She only survives because the local vampires roll up and graciously suck the poison from her veins (like they didn't enjoy it). But in return the blood-suckers need a favor.

Which is why Sookie ends up in Dallas, using her telepathic skills to search for a missing vampire, on the condition that her undead friends don't do anything, well, vampiric while she's there. Easier said than done. All it takes is one delicious blonde and one small mistake for things to turn deadly.."

My Review: Well another enjoyable fast read. I am not super impressed with the book but I did enjoy it. I feel like the writing is a little jerky, thought lines aren't complete and there are too many random tangents, maybe its just the way Sookie is but it makes the flow not as smooth as I would like. I unfortunately didn't feel any sympathy for any of the victims because they were such minor characters and again it seemed like there were plot lines that didn't need to be in there, but maybe they will arise in later books. I am also starting to dislike Bill and even Sam a little, honestly I didn't really connect with any of the characters in this book except Godfrey! It was a fun book, I keep reading just to see what sarcastic comment will come out of Sookie's mouth next.        

My Rating: It wasn't the best book I have read recently but it wasn't a waste of time either, just mediocre.  So I give this one Two Paws and a Stump Wag.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Poetry Pause: A Girl by Ezra Pound

As I said last week I am working in the poetry section of my own 2011 Reading Challenge.  I had planned on posting the poems for you to join me in reflecting on them; however, I am not entirely certain on the copyright laws regarding some of the poets we will read.  So to be on the safe side I decided to try to link you to the poem I will be reading.

Another option, if you are looking to purchase a book of poetry, I suggest Half Hours with the Best Poets (Barnes & Noble or Amazon)
This is a fantastic collection of poems, nearly all of my top poems are in this one book!

So the next poem is

The title is a link to the poem

Well I will honestly admit, I didn't get this one. I was never really a fan of Pound's work to begin with but this one threw me.  I did read some of other readers thoughts on it and there are several ideas of what Ezra Pound might be trying to portray through this poem. Some ideas are of a girl maturing and how she changes, another thought is the story of Daphne & Apollo.  After reading several thoughts and going back and reading the poem again, I like the idea that he could be describing a daughter or granddaughter and how his love for her grows with each passing day and year as a tree would grow. She brings him life, but the world doesn't care, it just keeps moving on, it doesn't pause a moment to let him enjoy this love.

Well hopefully these poems get easier, I seem to have lost my love for poetry :( but I am looking forward to regaining that love, as several of the next poems are ones I know and love.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Review of Fire by Kristin Cashore

Synopsis From Goodreads: "Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story."

My Review: Fire ranks easily in my top ten favorite books of all time. It is an emotional yet exciting fantasy tale. Kristin Cashore does a great job of building a unique and amazing new world for us. Her characters are realistic with true emotions, grudges, pain and joy. I loved how characters that weren't even alive anymore when the book takes place still have such a huge role in the book. By the end you feel like you really know each of them personally and are a part of their family (honestly if Brigan was real and I wasn't married I would hunt that man down and marry him). The story line had so many twists and turns that it kept you on your toes, never knowing what to expect next. I also really enjoyed the dark tones of the book, Fire (and pretty much all the other characters too) had so much internal turmoil that it wrenches at your heart. I was laughing at some comments in the books, and crying with them in pain and joy. I could see how someone with her power could abuse it as Cansrel did and it takes more effort not to give into those urges. I really enjoyed the whole depth of this book!

I will make a comment on the fact that some other reviews I have read of Fire were really upset with the feminist agenda that Kristin Cashore supposedly was pushing. I didn't see it as others have, and tend more into the fact that she just followed where her characters led her. I think anyone who writes puts a little of themselves into their characters, and maybe Cashore did add a little of her own values and ideas into Fire but it is her book so she can do that (and I thank her for it)! I will have to address this in more detail in a full blog post about our own personalities in our characters ;)

My Rating: I love this book so much I almost wish my critters had Five paws hahaha, so I guess I have to settle with Four Paws and a Stump Wag!

It's Monday! What are you Reading?

Its Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. Share what books you have finished in the last week, are currently reading and what might be coming up next!

I decided to join in this meme for my sanity and your own to keep track of what books have bookmarks in them!

What I Read Last Week:
Links will take you to my review

Ode to Autumn by John Keats
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Bitter Frost by Kailin Gow
Leo the Lop (Tail Two) by Stephen Cosgrove

Currently Reading:
Fire by Kristin Cashore - PB ARC & Nook, page 382 of 461
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg - PB, page 21 of 176
A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin - on my Nook, page 20 of 1439
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - PB - on page 23 of 269
Next Books to be Read:
Flutterbye by Stephen Cosgrove - Childrens/ Bedtime Story
Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris - Paranormal
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke - YA/ 2011 Challenge
A Girl by Ezra Pound- Poetry/ 2011 Challenge
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - Middle Reader/ 2011 Challenge
Exile by Anne Osterlund - YA