Tuesday, January 31, 2012

January Review

Ok, it's January 31st, the last day of the month. I think it would be a good time to go back and give a short recap of what I have read for the month. My full review is in each of the blog posts, so I promise to keep these short. :-)

The first book of the month was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I liked this book a lot and recommended it to anyone. It is a to read!











Lonestar Sanctuary by Colleen Coble was next. It's a light and formulated read. I would say it's a good book to read in between the bigger more thought provoking reads. It's another to read!











Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor was number three, for books this month. I wasn't impressed with it in all honesty. There were just to many little things for me to look over to fully enjoy the story. I'm going against the majority on this book and say it's not to read.









One that did live up to the hype, Divergent, by Veronica Roth. A dystopian still book, that keep you hooked. It was hard to put down. I read this 400+ book in two days. It's a to read!










I switched gears here a little bit and picked up The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure. Well, this book started off ok, then it just bombed. It was watching an obsession grow and became a bit much. I love Little House, but not to the extreme Wendy went. Not to read.








And the last book of the month, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I'm on another re-read of this series and I love it. If you haven't read it, you need to. It's another dystopian read, which I'm really liking. To read!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Hunger Games


The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I'm on my 4 or 5 re-read of this series. I figured with the movie coming out in March, I better brush up on the story again.

This is a story, I can re-read easily. This has fast become a staple in my yearly TBR pile. When I first read the Hunger Games two years ago. I honestly didn't know what to think. I read the synopsis, and it intrigued me. Then I started reading it, with high hopes from all the praise I had read about it. In all honesty, the first chapter made me stumble. We see Katniss, talking about her life in the Seam. Ok, it's dark and dirty and you're not allowed to do anything, but you do any way. You hear about her troubled family like and her mother's bouts of depression and Katniss's anger.

As you read though, you feel Katniss's devotion to her little sister. Her constant desire to protect her no matter what. fast forward to the reaping. Prim, Katniss's sister is called and Katniss, is willing to sacrifice herself to become a tribute to save her sister. I was hooked as soon as chapter 1 ended. I saw then what drew everyone to the book.

America has fallen and what remains of the land is now called Panem and there are 12 districts and they are more of prisons made by the capitol to help keep the people in as slave labor, while the people of the capitol live off the hard work of these districts.

At one time, there was an uprising, but the capitol crushed it and to show their true dominants over the people of Panem They started the Hunger Games. Two tributes between the ages of 12 and 18, one boy and one girl will be chosen in a reaping and sent to the capitol to fight to the death with the other districts tributes. 24 enter the arena and only one will come out the victor. The people of Panem are forced to watch their children fight and die by order of the capitol. It's all that these people have known for the last 73 years. The Hunger Games is set right before the reaping of the 74 Hunger Games.

Suzanne Collins puts such a wonderful spin on the ancient Roman games that they watched in the Coliseum in ancient times. It's a riveting read and so hard to put down. You become emotionally attached to characters, and several times, I remember, my jaw dropped at the turn of events in the story.

The Hunger Games is a to read! for me. And I can not wait for the movie!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie


The Wilder Life: My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure is, well, interesting I will say. This is a biography of sorts about Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of the Little House books. I say of sorts because, it is about Laura, but more about the Laura we all know and love from the books and Wendy's discovery of the real Laura and her family. It is about Laura Ingalls and has some interesting tidbits in her I hadn't heard before, mainly on Laura's daughter Rose Wilder Lane.

Wendy loved the Little House books as a kid and then grew up and moved onto different forms of literature. Only to come back to the Little House books after her mother passed away of cancer. The Wilder Life is a story of Wendy's pilgrimage to all the sites where Laura Ingllas Wilder lived, that were mentioned in book and later the TV show.

While reading this, I realized I'm watching a person's obsession bloom before my eyes. The start of the books is ok. Like most people, she went to research on the internet about Laura and started to read books/biography's on Laura. That seemed pretty normal to me. I have a couple of the books she has myself.

Then as the book progressed, Wendy wanted to start experience things like Laura did in the book. She wanted to make butter the same way as it was done in the books, not like how school kids do it today. So she scoured the internet for an antique butter churn to make her own butter at home. However, it wasn't very much like Little House since she sat in front of a TV to do it.

It just kept progressing with her research in to "Laura World" as she phrased it through out the book. Wendy then decided she wanted to go to all the sites in the books. And as you read you see her build up high expectations that things will be the same as in the books even though it's about a hundred twenty years difference. I know that things will be different, because there are hardly any buildings left that were built in that time. So, most are replicas. And the original homestead of the Ingalls in DeSmet is now a tourist area of sorts with a camp ground.

The reviews I read on it, said it was a funny adventure into the world of Little House, but I see it as a growing obsession of a person who is trying to find some thing to help fill the void of her mom. She continually wishes she had Laura's mom close by or at least have her tell her certain phrases that she had stated in the book.

This is a not to read, in my opinion.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Oh where, oh where can you be?

A book rant of sorts.

I've been having issues with finding books lately. I will see books on the shelf and the cover catches my eye, and I make a mental note on it for later. Well, when I'm able to go look for the book to buy, I've been having issues finding it in store to get. Not just Target or Walmart either, but Barnes and Noble. And with the closing of Borders, there are no close bookstores anymore, the two closest Barnes and Nobles are each thirty minutes away.

This first happened with Divergent, now it's happening with Matched. Shortly after I started looking for it to read, I saw it was being put out there on several message boards about how people like it.

Well, darn! Not that it is good, just that it now makes it difficult for me to get my hands on. I'm an impatient person and like to have my book in my hands when I pay for it, sad I know. But it looks like I will be going by way of order my books from now on, online. It will save the hassle of driving around looking for it and my frustration of not finding it.

And yes, I'm really liking the Dystopian type books. So if anyone has any more recommendations, pass them on.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Divergent


Holy rusted metal, Batman!!

I just read Divergent by Veronica Roth in two days (thank you potty training child who gave me the time to read) and I just have to say, WOW!!

I've heard so many good things about this book every where. I started looking for this book in mid December and couldn't find it in store at all. I finally ordered and waited for it so show up and it did, finally! Yay!

The book is set in set in Chicago in the future. The society is broken up into factions and each faction cultivates a certain virtue. There is Candor, they are the honest. Abnegation is the selfless. The Dauntless, are the brave. Amity are the peaceful and finally there is the Erudite, the intelligent.

In the year when a person turns sixteen, they are asked to pick what faction they want to join after a test they are to take. They either stay in their faction or move on to a new one and leave their family behind and move on to a new life. And in this time, you are only to be able to fit one of these factions. To not fit into just one but many, you are Divergent and that is a hazardous thing to be.

I don't want to give to much away to the people who haven't read this story.

It's a story of a girl trying to find out who she is and the strength she has. And the story drags you in and keeps you thinking about it. The choices you make and where those choices lead you. As it says on the front of the book, "One choice can transform you."

Beatrice is a character I like. She doesn't seem strong in the beginning, just reaching for it, but she realizes it's been there and grows with it. She grows through the book in many areas. The characters are written so well, that you like who she does and hate who she hates. I can not wait for the second book in the series Insurgent, that comes out this year. If you liked the Hunger Games, you will LOVE Divergent! It is a definite, to read!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A book funny


I couldn't stop laughing when I saw this photo.

However, it has a very serious message behind it! Watch anything else, other then the Jersey Shore! Blah!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kid's Books



Alrighty, I was thinking tonight as I was reading to my kiddo, I need to do a post on kids books. Don't worry, I don't mean picture books...good heavens, I don't think I could survive writing a review for all the picture books my kiddo has in her library.

I'm talking about those books that all off us...well, the ones of us who read as a kid, read. They are truly classics. I'm going to talk about three different series in this post. So bear with me as I dive into children's books...and I have a feeling there will be more.


The first of these of the kid literature world I would like to dive into is Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne. I didn't read this book as a kid, I will admit, so I come to this book with only an adults point of view. I grew up with the Disney's cartoon of Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and Tigger, Too, and finally, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. I loved these films. So, I assumed that the movies would be close to the book. Boy was a wrong.

Ok, not really, but what really drew my attention when I was reading this to the kiddo last year, and we're reading it again now, is that it rambled. At first I thought it was my dyslexia that was making it hard to process....No, I actually lost my train of thought reading through this book. It rambles and that made it difficult for me to follow in parts of it. However, I did enjoy seeing wonderfully big words that you just do not see these days even in some adult literature. People were so much smarter in 1926 when this book was first published.

My kiddo loves Winnie the Pooh whether it be in movie form or the book and I'm quite glad she enjoys it. I was spoiled by the movies growing up, so it changed my expectation of the book. I will say to read! on this book, because if I don't, I'm afraid the kiddo would clobber me. I kid. It is fun to see how Winnie the Pooh was first thought of and how the original story was told.

Now then, it's time to move on to The American Girl Series by several different authors.
I grew up with this series of books and I just found out around Christmas, that American Girl is celebrating 25 years! Holy cow! I had no idea they had been around that long. I am glad that they are still around and thriving. I started reading the series to my kiddo right before Christmas. I started off with Meet Molly, then Meet Felicity and Meet Samantha. The kiddo has picked Molly as her favorite so far. We've made it almost all the way through the Molly series.

I've always liked these books. And thinking back as a kid, I remembered these books to be longer! How perceptions have changed on what a long book is. Anyway, I love the lesson's behind these books. The importance of family, friends and many of other things. I'm so glad that I can now share these books with my kiddo. So, I say to read!



On to the last, but definitely not least, Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I think that this is a staple in most of American kids libraries. I hadn't read these books in a long time. I decided to pull them out of some book boxes and read them for the first time to my kiddo last year. When I first read these as a kid, I didn't understand some of what I was reading. These were actually some of the first books I ever read, after learning how to read. So they hold a special place in my heart.

However, now that I'm older and understand the things that have been written about. I realized, my kiddo wasn't ready to hear some of what was written. In Little House in the Big Woods, I had no idea the detail that was written down on butchering a hog! Granted Laura is right around the age my kiddo is in the book, but times have changed and our meat is bought packaged in a store. So, I figured it would be better to hold off on reading that to the kiddo till she is a little older. Granted, learning what head cheese is and crackling a pigs tails sounds interesting, but hey, I really don't want to know how said animals goes from mooing and oinking to ham or a hamburger on my plate.

Seeing how the books are written, I liked seeing how Laura Ingalls Wilder had the book grow with the life she was describing. Little house in the Big Woods is read like a kids chapter book in a way, but as you get to These Happy Golden Years, it's kind of a jump to go to older books. It wasn't all kept on the same level. It grows with the reader. And, this series is to read!

There will be more to come with kid's books as the year goes on. There are some not to positive reviews I have for a series or two, but I will save that for another time.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Daughter of Smoke and Bone

I follow some message boards and I kept seeing this book mentioned and quite a few people say that they really enjoyed it. So I picked up Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. I will say right now, I don't know much about it other then it has had a lot of good things said about it. I will let you know what I think when I'm done with it.

The cover is unique and I will admit even if I hadn't heard about the book, the cover would have made me stop to pick it up.

When I first started reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone, I was a bit apprehensive. For one thing, the language and the push in the story to make it seem dark. It seemed like the first few chapters were trying to show the main character Karou as dark, close to goth, but not quite. Second, the names. Yes, the book is set in Prague for some of it, but really, if the names aren't normal, you will lose some of my interest. Trying to read a weird name over and over again, takes away from the story for me, because I keep questioning myself if I'm pronouncing it right.

The book has a Romeo and Juliet feel about it. Two "people" ( I use "" since this is a supernatural story of Angles and Demons that takes place on Earth) who are complete opposite fall for each other. A raging battle between their kind has been going on for a thousand years, but they question it. They meet and have a fight, really a small battle. The girl leaves to go heal, the guy goes back to his place, and can't stop thinking of the girl he almost killed and sets off to find her. He finds her, they fight, she wins this time and feels bad and their relationship blooms from there.

When I say that the book is over Angles and Demons, it's not in the Biblical since. So, cast that out of your head because, this is a mythical world where Angles are from their own world that is parallel to ours in away, or another layer of worlds where the Demons got sick of the Angles rule, hence the war. There is no God, just godstars that created the Angles. And the demons are similar to how the Egyptian gods looked. Part human, part animal or several different parts of animal meshed together. There are people who are dealers/traffickers who are wanting to acquire wishes. So they procure the payment needed to recive their wishes they want, but have to be careful in how they wish since the wishes are dark magic.

A question I have to writers now is, since when is stalking ok?Is it a law in the supernatural world that it is ok to break into a person's house and watch that person sleep or follow the person around? I'm sorry, in my world if you stalk me and I wake up to find you in my house, don't be surprised if you have a 9mm pointed at you. Stalking is not romantic. It is creepy and illegal. And could get you killed. I don't get this in books now. Then the girl ends up not having an issue with it, really? That drives me batty!

This book is the first in a series. The story was interesting, I will say, but I don't think I will read it again with so many things that just irked me. I will probably read the rest of the series as it comes out, but for me Not to read.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lonestar Sanctuary


I just finished reading Lonestar Sanctuary by Colleen Coble. I have been interested in reading her books for a while now, but I just haven't gotten any to try. In the past I was always afraid to venture out from authors I usually read, but now, I enjoy looking for new things to try. And it didn't hurt either that Mardel had the box set of this series on their clearance section for $10. Can't beat 3 books for $10 these days. So that helped give me the push I need to pick them up.

It's a good read. It is a formula read, in that I knew how it was going to turn out, it followed the pattern of main characters meet, a bit of uncomfortableness/bickering among them, resolve, grow closer, something tears them apart, then finally they resolve or apologize for the wrongs. There is suspense, drama and some romance, but on the G/PG level. I enjoyed it. I believe that this book would be a good book to read in between the bigger books I read, to give the mind a little bit of a rest. It isn't a book I got to bed thinking about.

I did enjoy that the book was set in Texas, because hey, Texas is just awesome! The description to the surrounding areas was very well done.

I say that this book is a to read!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Help


I just read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. I have to say, I liked it! The humor clicks with me. An example, Aibileen is reminiscing about her son and a game they played when he was younger.

"One day I say Crisco. He scratch his head. He just can't believe I done won the game with something simple as Crisco. Came to be a secret joke with us, meaning something you can't dress up no matter how you try. We start calling his daddy Crisco cause you can't fancy up a man done run off on his family. Plus he is the greasiest no-count you ever known."
That has to be the best way to describe a scumbag, I've ever read!

Of course it isn't all humor. It is set in the 1960's in Jackson, Mississippi during one of the hardest times in America. The march with Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, DC. The assassination of President Kennedy are just some of the back drops on display in the book.

All of the characters in the book are so real and personal. After reading about them, it feels like you know them, probably because, you know someone in your life like them. That is how it felt to me. Aibileen is so sincere, and just full of motherly warmth and love in this story. Minny speaks her mind even if it gets her into trouble, but it helps so many people out because they need to hear the truth. Skeeter is in that awkward time in life when a person is on the cusp of finding out what they can really do with their life and then reach for it. Celia was a character I just wanted to hug fiercely. She is so naive and child like.

The Help is such a wonderful read. All of these ladies find their strength in some form or fashion in this book. You watch them grow and in a way find a common ground with one of them. Whether to not be pushed into a mold, be who you are truly meant to be, get out of a dangerous situation and live for yourself. It shows how when one person is strong, you can draw your own strength from them and watch it spread from you to others.

I say this is To Read!

The movie is very good as well. For a book to movie interpretation, it was well done.

The Blog

You may have noticed that the title I chose for the blog is to read or not to read. It's not meant if I should read or not...more along the lines of if the book is good and should be read again, or not. When I find a book I like/love, I will read it again...sometimes that same year or the next year. And if I don't like it, I will save it till I build up a stash and sale it to Half Priced or something.

The books that will be featured will be books that are either new, new to me, or books that I just love and need to re-read them for the year. I have a couple of series that do fall into that category, but since I've never written a review on them before, I think that it will be ok.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Start

I'm starting this blog to help me keep track of the books that I read this year and to give my thoughts on how it was, in case anyone is interested. I like to to try for a goal each year. I've done this now for the last 3 years I believe, and it's fun to see how close I can get. Two years ago, I only made it to 63. My goal was 100, that wasn't going to happen so I lowered it to 50. Last year, I upped my goal to 75 and I hit it, plus 2 over! So, this year, I'm going with 75 again.

I'm already building my TBR pile, and constantly looking for more books to try. If anyone is reading this, I hope you enjoy and if no body is out there...yeah, well. I'll enjoy. Hopefully I can actually remember to blog. :-)