Saturday, April 30, 2011

Shelving Saturday - #2

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 for today's Shelving crisis, yup it sure has reached a crisis level, is your TBR books.  What do you do with them? Do you put them in a box? Do you have a shelf dedicated to them? Or are they mixed in with the books you have already read?  Or are you one of those crazy people who only get books when they are ready to read and don't have a massive to be read pile?!

So I pose these questions to you today because when I added my IMM to my to be read pile it started to lean dangerously! I need to read faster I think, that or slow the intake down (oh the horror!).

Yes that is double deep almost up to the light switch!

Even poor Valerie doesn't know what to think of the massive pile of books taking up room in "her" room!

Soo please share, I know most of you out there have piles like this somewhere in your house too!!


Friday, April 29, 2011

Bedtime Story: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Ok so to start off with I am sorry for the influx of posts, I don't really want to be posting more than 2 times a day but I wanted to get started on my own personal book challenge for this year.  When better to review a children's book than right before bed?!

Tonight's bedtime story is:

If You Give a Mouse A Cookie
by Laura Numeroff & Illustrated by Felicia Bond

Synopsis from Goodreads: "If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to ask for a glass of milk. When you give him the milk, he'll probably ask you for a straw. . . ." So begins this delightful story about an energetic mouse and an accommodating little boy."

My Review:  I was only two when this originally came out but it took things a while to arrive in our tiny town, so I vaguely remember when it arrived.  I remember when I was little I loved this book because the mouse wore overalls! How cute is that?! I also remember that next to the Very Hungry Caterpillar this was one of my brother's favorites. Now that I re-read this one as an adult I wonder what exactly is the moral of the story? I would venture to say that pretty much all children's books have a moral or lesson to be learned.  After a little pondering I think that the moral of this story is not to feed animals or pets people food, a good lesson to be learned.  Honestly though if someone is going to come in and sweep their mess and then get carried away and sweep the whole house, I am more than willing to give them a cookie and milk and a straw!

My Rating: Its a little hard to rate a children's book, should I be rating it as an adult or as a child? Either way I think I would give If You Give a Mouse a Cookie a rating of Three solid Paws. I do love this book, the illustrations are great, and its fun for kids, but I can imagine my poor mother got sick of saying  . ."If you give a mouse a cookie . . ."

Sleep good & Sweet Dreams tonight to you all!

Next book is Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs!

In My Mailbox - #2

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!

So here is my In My Mailbox  #2

What can I say Target had a sale on some books! I also got a couple I have been waiting for and even downloaded on or two on my nook!

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux   Synopsis from Goodreads: Once upon a a fair maiden lay weeping upon a cold tombstone, her heartfelt desire was suddenly made real before her: tall, broad of shoulder, attired in gleaming silver and gold, her knight in shining armor had come to rescue his damsel in distress...

Jude Deveraux's dazzling bestseller greets a new generation--with this special edition featuring new material. The thrillingly romantic tale of thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomer, left alone and brokenhearted in an English church, and the sixteenth-century hero who carries her heart away, A Knight in Shining Armor is a story for all time, and for anyone who believes in the power of love...

Abandoned by her lover, thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomery finds herself alone and brokenhearted in an old English church. She never dreamed that a love more powerful than time awaited her there... until Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, a sixteenth-century knight, appeared.

Drawn to him by a bond so sudden and compelling that it defied reason, Dougless knew that Nicholas was nothing less than a miracle: a man who would not seek to change her, who found her perfect just as she was. But she could not know how strong were the chains that tied them to the past -- or the grand adventure that lay before them

The Lilac Bus, Firefly Summer & Silver Wedding (3 books) by Maeve Binchy   Synopsis from Goodreads "Beloved on both sides of the Atlantic, bestselling Irish writer Maeve Binchy has been acclaimed by critics and readers alike for her heartwarming, beautifully crafted takes celebrating Ireland, its people, and the journey of life itself. Now three of her finest, most memorable works have been brought together for the first time in an outstanding collection that shines with the luminescent storytelling that has earned the author international renown.THE LILAC BUSFeaturing two novellas, The Lilac Bus and Dublin 4, this national bestseller showcases Binchy's talents at their finest. In The Lilac Bus, Binchy masterfully and poignantly interweaves the lives and fates of eight very different individuals who travel from Dublin to the Irish country town of Rathdoon every Friday night in a lilac-colored minibus. In Dublin 4, a quartet of stories vividly portrays the quiet desperation and everyday heroism of ordinary people living ordinary lives in contemporary Ireland.
When American millionaire Patrick O'Neill comes to Mountfern in the fateful summer of 1962 to convert a dilapidated manor house into a luxury hotel, his intrusion turns life in the small Irish village upside down. The ensuing conflict between new money and old traditions, which strains families and friendships to the breaking point, is brilliantly explored in this truly unforgettable family drama that will live in your heart long after the last page is turned.
Guilty secrets from the past and plaguing fears in the present surface when sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, and friends and lovers reunite to celebrate Desmond and Deirdre Doyle's twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. Among the difficulties the Doyles must come to terms with: the daughter struggling to become a nun, the son who prefers the dreary farm in Ireland to life in London, and the enviable successes of their best man and bridesmaid."

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See  Synopsis from Goodreads "In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart"

Tinkers by Paul Harding Synopsis from Goodreads "An old man lies dying. As time collapses into memory, he travels deep into his past where he is reunited with his father and relives the wonder and pain of his impoverished New England youth. At once heartbreaking and life affirming, Tinkers is an elegiac meditation on love, loss, and the fierce beauty of nature."

Curiosity Thrilled the Cat by Sofie Kelly  Synopsis from Goodreads "When librarian Kathleen Paulson moved to Mayville Heights, Minnesota, she had no idea that two strays would nuzzle their way into her life. Owen is a tabby with a catnip addiction and Hercules is a stocky tuxedo cat who shares Kathleen's fondness for Barry Manilow. But beyond all the fur and purrs, there's something more to these felines.
When murder interrupts Mayville's Music Festival, Kathleen finds herself the prime suspect. More stunning is her realization that Owen and Hercules are magical-and she's relying on their skills to solve a purr-fect murder."

Eternal Rider by Larissa Ione  Synopsis from Goodreads "They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

His name is Ares, and the fate of mankind rests on his powerful shoulders. If he falls to the forces of evil, the world falls too. As one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he is far stronger than any mortal, but even he cannot fightdestiny forever. Not when his own brother plots against him.

Yet there is one last hope. Gifted in a way other humans can't-or won't-understand, Cara Thornhart is the key to both this Horseman's safety and his doom. But involving Cara will prove treacherous, even beyond the maddening, dangerous desire that seizes them the moment they meet. For staving off eternal darkness could have a staggering cost: Cara's life."

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson   Well if you have been following my blog you have already read the synopsis on this one a long with the review.

So what did you discover in your Mailbox this week?!

Review of The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Synopsis from Goodreads: "Ginny Blackstone thought that the biggest adventure of her life was behind her. She spent last summer traveling around Europe, following the tasks her aunt Peg laid out in a series of letters before she died. When someone stole Ginny's backpack—and the last little blue envelope inside—she resigned herself to never knowing how it was supposed to end.
Months later, a mysterious boy contacts Ginny from London, saying he's found her bag. Finally, Ginny can finish what she started. But instead of ending her journey, the last letter starts a new adventure—one filled with old friends, new loves, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Ginny finds she must hold on to her wits . . . and her heart. This time, there are no instructions."

My Review:   This is a sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes in which we followed Ginny on an adventure all through Europe.  This continues on after Ginny returns to the US without finding out what the final letter had said.  I really enjoyed the fact that we actually got a little closure with The Last Little Blue Envelope. We get to return to Europe and the relationships that were left open at the end of the previous book.  There are some new lessons to be learned and I do like how Maureen Johnson presents them.  The one thing I didn't really like about this sequel is that it felt like Maureen Johnson pulled away from Ginny's character in the first book, maybe she was trying to show a more grown up version of Ginny but it felt like she was less the goodie goodie and had less of a conscience.

My Rating:  I am stuck wavering between 2 Paws and a Stump Wag or 3 Paws.  I think given that it is a young adult book that it should get 3 Paws but if it were to be suited more for adults I think it lacked a little depth and that there should have been more consequences for what was done during this adventure.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - #1

This week Deb on Booking Through Thursday asked
If you could see one book turned into the perfect movie–one that would capture everything you love, the characters, the look, the feel, the story–what book would you choose?

Geeze that is a tough one, I tried to think back to all the books I have read and one really sticks out in my mind.  Fire by Kristen Cashore, the scenes that I have in my mind are fantastic and with all the technology now the effects of the Monsters would be possible, and I would love to see the love/hate relationships of the characters develop.  The only way I would want this book in a movie though is if it was exactly as stated in the question, actually capturing everything the way it should be; because if it wasn't just right I think it would spoil what I have drawn up in my own imagination.

FIRE by Kristin Cashore "This fantasy, shot through with romance and suspense, is set in the same world as Graceling (Dial, 2008), but on the far side of the mountain barrier in the kingdom of the Dells. Here there are monsters, enhanced and exceptionally beautiful versions of various animal species. Fire is a human monster, so beautiful that she has to hide her hair for fear of attack by both raptor monsters and human men. She is able to enter other people's minds and exert power over them. It is a tumultuous time in the kingdom, as various lords are preparing to overthrow the king, and Fire is drawn into the fray. With a larger cast and a more complex canvas than Graceling, the story begins slowly and takes its time establishing itself. Fire's path is not immediately clear, and although full of action, her quest is largely internal. While the plotting is well done, there are a few quibbles about Cashore's world-building and about the role of a major character from Graceling, Leck. But, this is Fire's story, and readers will fall in love with her as she struggles with her pivotal role in the war effort as well as her complex relationships with her oldest friend and lover, Archer; with Prince Brigan, whose mind is closed to her and who becomes central to her life; and with her monster father's fearsome legacy. More adult in tone than Graceling, this marvelous prequel will appeal to older teens, who will not only devour it, but will also love talking about it." — From

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday - #1

Waiting on Wednesday is another weekly event I will try to participate in and it was started and is hosted by Jill of Breaking the Spine

This is a little preview of books that I come across that are scheduled for upcoming release, that I am eagerly looking forward to getting my hands on.

The Daughter of Siena by Marina Fiorato  ~ Expected Release Date: In PB 5/10/11 Synopsis from Goodreads: "    
Amid the intrigue and danger of 18th-century Italy, a young woman becomes embroiled in romance and treachery with a rider in the Palio, the breathtaking horse race set in Siena....
It’s 1729, and the Palio, a white-knuckle horse race, is soon to be held in the heart of the peerless Tuscan city of Siena. But the beauty and pageantry masks the deadly rivalry that exists among the city’s districts. Each ward, represented by an animal symbol, puts forth a rider to claim the winner’s banner, but the contest turns citizens into tribes and men into beasts—and beautiful, headstrong, young Pia Tolomei is in love with a rider of an opposing ward, an outsider who threatens the shaky balance of intrigue and influence that rules the land." 
Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley ~ Expected Release Date in PB 5/12/11                                                    Synopsis from Goodreads: "A thrilling, chilling reimagining of the story of the most famous woman in history.

Once there was a queen of Egypt…a queen who became through magic something else…

The year is 30 BC. Octavian Caesar and his massed legions are poised to enter Alexandria. A messenger informs Egypt’s queen, Cleopatra, that her beloved Mark Antony has died by his own hand. Desperate to save her kingdom, resurrect her husband and protect all she holds dear, Cleopatra turns to the gods for help. Ignoring the warnings of those around her, she summons Sekhmet, goddess of death and destruction, and strikes a mortal bargain. And not even the wisest of Egypt’s scholars could have predicted what would follow…

For, in return for Antony’s soul, Sekhmet demands something in return: Cleopatra herself. And so Egypt’s queen is possessed. She becomes an immortal, shape-shifting, not-quite-human manifestation of a deity who seeks to destroy the world. Fighting to preserve something of her humanity, Cleopatra pursues Octavian back to Rome: she desires revenge, she yearns for her children…and she craves human blood.

It is a journey that will take her from the tombs of the Pharaohs to the great amphitheatres of imperial Rome and on, to Hell itself where, it seems, the fate of the world will finally be decided.

Blending authentic historical fiction and the darkest of fantasy, Queen of Kings is a spectacular and spellbinding feat of the imagination that fans of Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Patricia Briggs, Philippa Gregory, and Ridley Scott's Gladiator won’t want to miss."

The Meowmorphosis by Cook Coleridge ~Expected Release Date: 5/10/11                                                             Synopsis from Goodreads: "The phenomenal success of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies inspired a massively popular literary-remix movement. Now Quirk Classics once again charts bold new territory, turning the monster-mash-up formula inside out to infuse Franz Kafka’s horrific masterpiece, “The Metamorphosis,” with the fuzziest, snuggliest, most adorable creatures possible: kittens!

Gregor Samsa is a humble young man who supports his unemployed parents and teenage sister by working as a traveling fabric salesman. But his life goes strangely wrong in the very first sentence of The Meowmorphosis, when he wakes up late for work and discovers that he has inexplicably become an adorable kitten. His family must admit that, yes, their son is now OMG so cute—but what good is cute when there are bills to pay? How can Gregor be so selfish as to devote his attention to a ball of yarn? And how dare he jump out the bedroom window to wander through Kafka’s literary landscape? Never before has a cat’s tale been so poignant, strange, and horrifyingly funny."

One Magic Moment by Lynn Kurland ~  Expected Release Date in PB: 5/3/11                                                                  Synopsis from Goodreads: "Medieval studies scholar Tess Alexander is thrilled for the chance to live in a medieval castle. But then a trip to the village brings her face-to-face with the owner of the local garage, who looks a great deal like the man who married her sister...800 years in the past. She's determined to remain objective about magic and destiny, but she can't help wondering about that mysterious, sword-wielding mechanic"

So many more books to read! 

Have you found your next adventure yet?

Review of Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Pegasus by Robin McKinley

Synopsis from Robin McKinley's Website:
"Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.
But it’s different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close—so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo—and possibly to the future safety of their two nations."

My Review:
I am just going to start off with Wow!  I finished Pegasus last night about 1:00 am and it was hard to get to sleep with all the thoughts rolling around in my head. 

But let me start at the beginning, I started this book last week and I had mentioned that I was having a hard time getting into it.  I think the reason I had a hard time is that the first three chapters of the book, you don't really know who the book is going to be about.  You have a girl who is having a memory about a lesson she was learning while she was reading a journal of a second commander in her country's history having a memory of the first time his leader's first time seeing the Pegasi.  Confused yet?!  It was memories inside of memories inside of books of memories *scratches head* I honestly don't believe that all this detailed history was exactly necessary to the whole story line, but if it is I think there could have been an easier way to present it other than shoving it in your face before you even have a connection with any of the characters.

Once you get past that confusing little bit at the beginning of the book, it really gets started rolling! You are quickly absorbed into the scenes and the characters.  Robin McKinley did a really great job of portraying the main character Sylvi.  She really stuck to how a 12 year old (and later a 15 and 16 year old) would feel about a situation, the questions, confusion and joys that a young girl would find in different situations that she encounters as a princess bound to a pegasus.  She is nervous at times, sneaky when she knows things aren't allowed, she get scared and homesick and confused as to who she can tell her secrets to without endangering herself and her friends.

The characters were very believable and easy to become attached to because of how Robin McKinley portrayed them.  No one was a hero, no one knew exactly how to fix all the problems, and no one could magically make everything better.  They were like real people with their flaws.  I enjoyed how the king stays at the castle while the queen is a warrior, definitely a different twist. Sylvi's advisor doesn't give her all the answers, it may be because he doesn't know them or that he wants her to think.  I think the 'villian' in the story Fthoom is an ultimate bad guy though, possibly one that I hate the most of all the bad guys I have come across in books I have read.

I can't say much about the ending without giving much away but it left me speechless! It was not the ending I was expecting and it left my mind scrambling over all the questions that arose. There were a lot of 'What Ifs' rolling around and will remain unanswered for some time as the next book isn't expected until 2012.

My Rating:
Overall I give this book 3 Paws and a Stump Wag.  I would probably give it a higher rating if it weren't for the difficult beginning and the brief lapses into memories that are hard to distinguish. I would definitely recommend this book to other readers, but be prepared to struggle through the first bit and a few other small sections in the book.  All the trouble of getting through that will be worth it!  As you will notice that I have a fun new rating system that I will be sure to explain on a page later today ;)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great Idea, Bad Timing!

Don't you just hate it when you have a great idea and have this urge to run with it, but it really couldn't have come at a worse time?  I had an idea like that this morning as I was waking up.  A great idea for a story, maybe it had stemmed from a dream I had last night or I got some inspiration from a book I am reading, but its really a great idea.

I get these ideas all the time, but I can never manage to do anything with them because they always come when I can't dedicate enough time to see them through to the end.  I am hoping to participate in Nanowrimo again this year, and I think this story idea would be perfect for it.  I may actually be able to complete it this year, as opposed to my story last year which lost steam after about 15,000 words.

So here I sat at work today furiously jotting down descriptions, plot points, characters, key conversations I had come up with, hoping that I could save my notes for Nano and a time I had set aside specifically for writing.  But noooo my mind just can't work with my schedule! So my quick notes quickly turned into full on writing.

Ugh! *smacks forehead* Now I have a feeling this story is going to flow great until my schedule completely explodes in 2 weeks.  Then guess what will happen . . . . my story will get shoved under a pile of stuff that I completely forget about and by the time I find it again the 'mojo' or muse or inspiration or whatever you want to call it will have long since packed their bags and left.

So what am I to do? Write as fast as possible before the time runs out? Still jot down key points in hopes that maybe my mojo will come back for a visit after the craziness of the next couple months? Who knows what is best but I have always been a person who listens to the muse, so I will write like a mad woman, every spare moment I get until Mojo leaves for a vacation.  Maybe just maybe if I can see this through, it will inspire me to work on the other 3 or 4 half finished stories I have laying around.

So that is my news for today, 5,000+ words written on a story that may or may not ever be complete instead of finishing a book or two that I am enjoying.

Have you written your words today?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mundane Monday

Its just another boring Monday.  After the beautiful weather we had here yesterday, it was the perfect temp with the perfect amount of sun and breeze, it is damp and cloudy today.  It always seems to physically weigh me down.  On the bright side, its a slow day at the office so I can get some reading done!

I am hoping to have at least 3 reviews for you this week, some of which will be from my own personal reading challenge.  I also hope to have a few of those weekly events, I'm not sure which ones I will participate in yet.

So that's about all I have for today, blah blah blah.

Hope the sun is shining in your imagination!