Friday, July 31, 2009

Non-Fiction Challenge

I finished one of my challenges for the year!!  I wanted to read 5 Non-Fiction books.  I'm suprised I finished this one second of out of my 6 challenges since I have such a hard time with non-fiction books.  They take me forever to read!  So here is what I read:

  1. Marley and Me by John Groban                     4 out of 5 Stars

  2. The Diana Chronicles by Tina Brown             3 out of 5 Stars

  3. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson           3.5 out of 5 Stars

  4. Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt                 3.5 out of 5 Stars

  5. Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley         4 out of 5 Stars

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Flags of Our Fathers by James Bradley


I give this book 4 out 5 stars!


Description: The Battle of Iwo Jima, fought in the winter of 1945 on a rocky island south of Japan, brought a ferocious slice of hell to earth: in a month's time, more than 22,000 Japanese soldiers would die defending a patch of ground a third the size of Manhattan, while nearly 26,000 Americans fell taking it from them. The battle was a turning point in the war in the Pacific, and it produced one of World War II's enduring images: a photograph of six soldiers raising an American flag on the flank of Mount Suribachi, the island's commanding high point.
One of those young Americans was John Bradley, a Navy corpsman who a few days before had braved enemy mortar and machine-gun fire to administer first aid to a wounded Marine and then drag him to safety. For this act of heroism Bradley would receive the Navy Cross, an award second only to the Medal of Honor.
Bradley, who died in 1994, never mentioned his feat to his family. Only after his death did Bradley's son James begin to piece together the facts of his father's heroism, which was but one of countless acts of sacrifice made by the young men who fought at Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers recounts the sometimes tragic life stories of the six men who raised the flag that February day--one an Arizona Indian who would die following an alcohol-soaked brawl, another a Kentucky hillbilly, still another a Pennsylvania steel-mill worker--and who became reluctant heroes in the bargain. A strongly felt and well-written entry in a spate of recent books on World War II, Flags gives a you-are-there depiction of that conflict's horrible arenas--and a moving homage to the men whom fate brought there.
This book borderlines 4.5 stars.  I can not begin to describe all the emotions it brought out in me.  The only reason I downgraded it was because it was a bit repetitive.  I love the line "The real heroes of Iwo Jima are those who died there", but really how many times did it need to be said?  And this wasn't the only thing repeated throughout the book.  I also felt it dragged in places.  But, this book left me in awe of those brave men who fought and gave their lives on that tiny little island.  And it gave me deep respect for those who battled it until their death after they left.  The Photograph is such a part of American History, but to the soldiers that were there that "one" meant nothing.   This book also made me wonder were that kind of patriotism has gone?  I'm sure some people still feel it.  But, not the country as a whole.  I wonder what happened?

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull


I give this book 4 out of 5 stars!


Description: For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite...

Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.

While it's not Harry Potter or Twilight, I have to say I may have found a new series to enjoy that isn't finished yet!!   I really enjoyed this book, devouring it in a little over a day.  The characters are fun and interesting.  I do wish more of the story was devoted to the creatures that inhabit Fablehaven because I'm sure the author barely even touched this subject.  I can't wait to get the next one and learn more about Fablehaven, the creatures who inhabit it, and those who take care of it!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt


I give this 3.5 out of 5 Stars!

Description: "Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood," writes Frank McCourt in Angela's Ashes. "Worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood." Welcome, then, to the pinnacle of the miserable Irish Catholic childhood. Born in Brooklyn in 1930 to recent Irish immigrants Malachy and Angela McCourt, Frank grew up in Limerick after his parents returned to Ireland because of poor prospects in America. It turns out that prospects weren't so great back in the old country either--not with Malachy for a father. A chronically unemployed and nearly unemployable alcoholic, he appears to be the model on which many of our more insulting cliches about drunken Irish manhood are based. Mix in abject poverty and frequent death and illness and you have all the makings of a truly difficult early life. Fortunately, in McCourt's able hands it also has all the makings for a compelling memoir.

I haven't being looking forward to reviewing this book.  I honestly don't know what to give it.  I feel almost guilty for giving it 3.5 stars (I considered giving it 3).  Nothing about this book really stands out to me.  I don't understand Irish traditions and customs, nor do I really understand War torn Europe during World War II.  And this books doesn't really help with any of that.  I keep waiting for someone to admit this is a exaggerated fabrication of what life was really like.  I have to admit every time the drunken father shows up I'm reminded of an episode of Family Guy.  Plus, I'm curious were did the father go?   Am I suppose to feel in awe of this young boy who made something of himself by saving money stolen from an elderly women?   Does it make his story more interesting than those who weren't able to escape poverty?  I just don't know....  I do want to know what happened when he reached America, but I'm not sure I will read the next one.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

More Books!

So lately I seem to be picking up books faster than I can read them!  Here's what I've gotten in the mail and bought!


  Night World Volume I (includes Secret Vampire, Daughters of Darkness, and Spellbinder) by L.J Smith


Vampires, werewolves, witches, shape shifters -- they live among us without our knowledge. Night World is their secret society, a secret society with very strict rules. And falling in love breaks all the laws of the Night World.
     In Secret Vampire, Poppy thought the summer would last forever. Then she was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Now Poppy's only hope for survival is James, her friend and secret love. A vampire in the Night World, James can make Poppy immortal. But first they both must risk everything to go against the laws of Night World.
     Fugitives from Night World, three vampire sisters leave their isolated home to live among humans in Daughters of Darkness. Their brother, Ash, is sent to bring the girls back, but he falls in love with their beautiful friend.
     Two witch cousins fight over their high school crush. It's a battle between black magic and white magic in Spellbinder.


I love combined novels!!  Especially when you can get them for the same price as one of the individual book.  Looking forward to this series!  I will probably review them as individual novels.


 Kissed by an Angel(includes Kissed by an Angel, Power of Love, and Soulmates) by Elizabeth Chandler


An angelic romantic suspense trilogy in one volume!
"Kissed by an Angel": Ivy and Tristan have the love of a lifetime--until Tristan dies in a car accident. Tristan returns as an angel, but Ivy is unable to feel his presence.


"The Power of Love": Tristan has learned that the person responsible for the car crash is after Ivy. Can he cross the boundaries of life and death to warn Ivy that she is in trouble?


"Soulmates": Tristan must rescue Ivy, but if he does so his mission will be finished and he will have to leave his true love forever.


Another triology in one book!!  The cover is what brought me in (the original covers of each book probably would not have caught my interest)


 The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordon


Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse: Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. Percy's mom decides it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from. She sends Percy to Camp Half-Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends, one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena, Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.


I have a feeling I might drop all other books to read this one.  I hope its good.  I love mythology!!  That's what caught me on this book.


 Blue Bloods by Melissa De La Cruz


When the Mayflower set sail in 1620, it carried on board the men and women who would shape America: Miles Standish; John Alden; Constance Hopkins. But some among the Pilgrims were not pure of heart; they were not escaping religious persecution. Indeed, they were not even human. They were vampires.The vampires assimilated quickly into the New World. Rising to levels of enormous power, wealth, and influence, they were the celebrated blue bloods of American society. The Blue Bloods vowed that their immortal status would remain a closely guarded secret. And they kept that secret for centuries. But now, in New York City, the secret is seeping out. Schuyler Van Alen is a sophomore at a prestigious private school. Suddenly, when she turns fifteen, there is a visible mosaic of blue veins on her arm. She starts to crave raw food and she is having flashbacks to ancient times. Then a girl from her school is found dead . . . drained of all her blood. Schuyler doesn't know what to think. Could those vampire legends really be true? Steeped in vampire lore and set against the heady backdrop of the rich, young, and powerful in the heart of New York City, Blue Bloods will be devoured by Melissa de la Cruz's legion fans.


Another vampire series...what can I say.  I'm a sucker for them lately.


 

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Book Blogger Appreciation Week (BBAW)



Announcing the Second Annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week September 14-18, 2009



Last year over 400 blogs came together to celebrate the art of book blogging during the first ever Book Blogger Appreciation Week!  I am so pleased to announce that the second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be taking place September 14-18.

WHO Anyone who blogs about books is invited to participate.  In fact, we want everyone who blogs about books and reading to be a part of this week!
WHAT A week where we come together,  celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recogonizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards.  There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.
WHEN September 14-18, 2009
WHERE Here at the new Book Blogger Appreciation Week Blog!  (Please note that this year there are three separate blogs and feeds—one for the main event, one for giveaways, and one for awards.)
WHY Because books matter.  In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word.  I, Amy, the founder of Book Blogger Appreciation Week love this community of bloggers and want to shower my appreciation on you!

WANT TO PARTICIPATE?
Please help us spread the word about Book Blogger Appreciation Week by posting about it on your blog, stumbling this post, twittering about it, and telling everyone you know that it’s time to have a party and celebrate book bloggers!

Visit http://bookbloggerappreciationweek.com/ for more information!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Movie

I went to see this movie last night and I was not disappointed.  I know that it seems many die hard fans are, but I thought it was great!!  Maybe it was because I knew the ending was a little different.  I didn't think anything important was left out (I'm with those that think the absence of the fight between the Death Eaters and The Order was ok).  And I think somehow either Dumbledore's funeral will be show, or the the importance of the wand will be shown in the next movie.  I'm still not sure of the scene with the Burrow burning.  But, I put faith in the fact that the director, screen writer, and J.K. Rowling know were they are going with this.  There are things that I wish the touched on a bit more, but it's been that way with every movie.   Overall I give it 4.5 out of 5 Stars!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Books, Books, and more books!

The past week has been one filled with books.  I don't normally have such an influx of books at once.   Today I received 2 in the mail from www.paperbackswap.com, I bought one at Costco, and I won one from http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway.  I also picked up 5 books at the local library booksale a few days ago.  I will post those at another time!  So for today's haul......

IN THE MAIL

  The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

In The Truth About Forever, when asked how she is coping with her father's death, invariably seventeen year old Macy Queen's answer is "fine," when nothing could be further from the truth. In actuality, she is drowning in grief while maintaining a flawless fa├žade of good grades and unblemished behavior. Though she feels lost when her boyfriend heads to "Brain Camp" for the summer, she finds herself a job with the quirky Wish Catering crew, and meets "sa-woon"-worthy Wes, whose chaotic lifestyle is in direct opposition to her own. As the two share their stories over the summer, Macy realizes she can no longer keep her feelings on ice. Though it feels like her future ended with her dad's death, Macy's learns that forever is all about beginnings. Dessen charts Macy's navigation of grief in such an honest way it will touch every reader who meets her.

  Specials by Scott Westerfeld

"Special Circumstances":

 

The words have sent chills down Tally's spine since her days as a repellent, rebellious ugly. Back then Specials were a sinister rumor -- frighteningly beautiful, dangerously strong, breathtakingly fast. Ordinary pretties might live their whole lives without meeting a Special. But Tally's never been ordinary.
And now she's been turned into one of them: a superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid.
The strength, the speed, and the clarity and focus of her thinking feel better than anything Tally can remember. Most of the time. One tiny corner of her heart still remembers something more.
Still, it's easy to tune that out -- until Tally's offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she's programmed to complete. Either way, Tally's world will never be the same.

I BOUGHT

  Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

For centuries, mystical creatures of all description were gathered to a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic in a cynical world. Enchanting? Absolutely. Exciting? You bet. Safe? Well, actually, quite the opposite...

Kendra and her brother Seth have no idea their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws give relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken, an arcane evil is unleashed, forcing Kendra and Seth to face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save her family, Fablehaven, and perhaps the world, Kendra must find the courage to do what she fears most.

And I WON!!

 Destiny's Dowry by Rebecca Gard

In the lovely Croatian countryside of the late 1800’s, a baby near death is taken away. Miraculously the baby survives. Sixteen years later Katya’s dangerous journey takes her where she really belongs.

Not much of a description, but sounds interesting and hey it was free!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Harry Potter

In honor of the release of the sixth Harry Potter movie, I'm rereading the series.   I would review them, but I don't know if I can do that and give it justice.  I've read the series at least 7 times, but probably more.  How do you review that?  Instead I will post the trailer for you all to enjoy!

 



Monday, July 6, 2009

The Devil in The White City by Erik Larson


I give this book 3.5 out of 5 Stars!

Description: Author Erik Larson imbues the incredible events surrounding the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with such drama that readers may find themselves checking the book's categorization to be sure that The Devil in the White Cityis not, in fact, a highly imaginative novel. Larson tells the stories of two men: Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor. Burnham's challenge was immense. In a short period of time, he was forced to overcome the death of his partner and numerous other obstacles to construct the famous "White City" around which the fair was built. His efforts to complete the project, and the fair's incredible success, are skillfully related along with entertaining appearances by such notables as Buffalo Bill Cody, Susan B. Anthony, and Thomas Edison. The activities of the sinister Dr. Holmes, who is believed to be responsible for scores of murders around the time of the fair, are equally remarkable. He devised and erected the World's Fair Hotel, complete with crematorium and gas chamber, near the fairgrounds and used the event as well as his own charismatic personality to lure victims.

I really struggled with this book in the beginning.  I found the parts about the building of the World Fair in Chicago boring.  The magnitude of the project was completely overwhelming but the descriptions did not make me feel connected to the project.  I did like the parts describing H.H. Holmes and the building of his "castle" interesting.   I wish we knew more about the man.  But, how can you when everything he wrote about himself was a careful mix of truth and lie, and the horror of what he was doing almost went completely unnoticed.   How can a man be murdering people for years and what gets him caught is insurance fraud?  Shows what the atmosphere during the World Fair was like, people can go missing, be connected to the same hotel/man and no one connects the dots.   I did like the story involving when the fair was actually open.   Sounds like something I would have loved to have seen.  Sad that pretty much the whole thing burned down in the end.  But, what do you do with something that was built for one purpose only?   Overall I liked the book. 

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead Giveaway!!

Debbie over at Debbie's Word of Books is currently hosting an awesome book giveaway.  By entering you have a chance to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy.  It's the first in the series by the same name.  Now, I haven't read this book yet, but believe me it's on my list!   Here's the link

http://debbiesworldofbooks.com/2009/06/20/new-blog-please-update-your-links/

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