Monday, February 28, 2011

Father of Lies

I’ve always had a relatively decent fascination with the Salem Witch Trials. Not enough to call myself an enthusiast or anything, no, but I do enjoy my random books that reference this portion of history while never actually studied the history itself. I know, failure on my part. HarperCollins was kind enough to forward me a copy of this book and once I read synopsis I felt I would enjoy the book. My assumption was completely accurate and I flew through the pages of this book. I knew that had I been a teenager when this book was released I would have eaten it up and likely obsessed over it for quite some time. Even still as an adult I enjoyed it.

The character Lidda, one can assume, is suffering from bipolar disorder. However such disorders weren’t even heard of during the time of the Salem Witch Trials. At fourteen Lidda is beginning to feel overwhelming emotional swings, from happy to sad, calm to anxious, and worst of all she is beginning to hear (and sometimes see) a man. Centered around the development of the Witch Trials the man Lidda begins to hear could easily be assumed to be the devil himself. All of his comments, so tricky and smooth, excited me. I loved the characters and how they were developed. Not much was given forth about the man (Lucian) however you are left unsure if he is good or bad. He speaks much of what our modern minds point out about the girls who accused others of witchcraft. Lies and attention seeking, someone should have stood up against them all to prevent these people from being killed. And yet Lucian seems to push Lidda into getting into trouble.

The detail Ann Turner puts into the lifestyle of people during 1692 I absolutely loved. Mentions of every day activities, what women did in the household, how they cleaned dishes and their own bodies, being placed before a fire if you were sick, the clothing they wore, how they prepared for bed. I loved that detail because many Young Adult books that take place in the past lack that sort of thing. It was refreshing to read and I feel not necessarily forced down the readers throat. The flow of information was smooth and not overpowering. Not enough that it would scare a young adult away who might be weary of reading too much about history. The pace of the story was quick, with each chapter you wanted to know what would happen next, would Lucian convince Lidda to do something she would regret? Would he be exposed as a figment of her imagination or a devil? I adored this book, through and through it was an enjoyable reading.

For anyone, teen or adult, who might be interested in history, the Salem Witch Trials, or bipolar disorder I feel this would be a wonderful book to read. It’s not incredibly long and is fast paced. A perfect and quick read if you feel like staying in for a weekend and just relaxing with a book.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

1998. I was 11 years old, turning 12 in July, when Harry Potter was unleashed into the world. Harry and I have a few things in common, at least back then. Many of the books were released near my birthday (Harry is a July baby too!) and while he was, say, 13 years old in book 3- I was 13 years old and reading book 3. Plus we both wear glasses. The point is that Harry Potter has been an important part of my life and a character I could relate to for years and yes, I grew up with him.

So rereading the first book now, 5 months shy of my 25th birthday, served as a trip down memory lane. I could recall how magical my first dive into Harry Potter had been. Middle School was not a pleasant experience for me. I mentioned this before that anything that allowed me to escape the real world I held near and dear. Unfortunately with all Harry Potter books the escape lasted only a day. I was one of those people who picked up the book the morning of the release and would finish it by bedtime.

This time around I took my time and read it little by little. It wasn't the hunger to devour a story, it was the appreciation of the writing and plot. Maybe I have begun to grow patience with age... no, that's a complete lie. Rowling began the book simply enough. She wrote the information needed to get a clear understanding of who Harry Potter, the boy, is and also to understand the life he has lived thus far. The words are simple, there isn't much excitement or many dramatic twists, but it captures the readers attention and urges you forward. It's after that the reader is quickly set off running, chasing after Harry and his friends to experience every mystery and surprise with him.

What I so loved about the book as a child, and what I still enjoyed, was that Rowling created a world that was believable. And you, the reader, discovered everything along with Harry. As the reader you did not have an omniscient position and that made it all the more exciting.

The hard cover book with the colorful book jacket, the pages that would stay open, the book has been loved repeatedly. Placing the book back on the shelf, next to my other Harry Potter books, I suspect I'll reread the series. I also feel I'll read the books to my children. They are magical and otherworldly and yet deal with the struggles of all young adults. Surely when the final movie is released I'll be very sad however I'll still have the books and childhood memories with my attachment to them.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
"And I must tell you that, unlike you, I came by my education in English haphazardly, and certainly I never learnt it from Shakespeare's plays. Indeed I have passed through many stages of the English language in my wanderings and in my read, but the great majority of my true acquaintance with it has been in this century, and I am writing for you in colloquial English."
Pandora by Anne Rice

Monday, February 21, 2011

Out Stealing Horses

Trond Sander has moved to a remote location in Norway. Far from city life and surrounded by nature he finds it easy to think of his youth and pulls the reader along with him. I grew up in a house that was nestled in the woods. The trees served as a playground and a safety net during my childhood. Even now when I am nearly twenty-five I’ll find myself craving the solitude of the woods if I find I’m stressed. I can relate myself to Trond in this way, with his desire to return to a place of quiet comfort. The description of the forest, the lake, the rain could be seen as just pretty writing. Maybe to some it is, at least. But I read it as the insight of someone who is familiar with nature and has a special tie to it. This isn’t just descriptions penned for detail. It’s the breath of summer air and that musky woody scent found amongst cool trees.

I gathered that much of the novel was Trond’s memories to his last significant summer with his father. The summer in which everything that was normal no longer mattered. But I discovered that… I didn’t really care all that much. The descriptions of nature, the moments alone with his father, yeah they gained my attention. But otherwise I was just like, well, ‘eh’. I’ve heard many good things about this book and expected it would leave me breathless and starry-eyed. However, I only pushed along and wanted to finish it so I could begin reading something else. When the book was done I didn’t find myself lingering over the memories. I didn’t find myself disliking what I had read either. It was simply just a book I had spent some time with. So for that I was disappointed. For someone who is nostalgic or loves the woods maybe you would find meaning in this book but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it otherwise, and for that I am sad. I wanted to love this book but I was only left feeling disappointed.

I wanted to like this book. I really wanted to like this book. But it just fell short.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Borders Bookstores Files for Chapter 11

Borders Group Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in New York on Wednesday, a month after the operator of the Borders and Waldenbooks chains said it may have to restructure in bankruptcy court. Read More Here

This has been a long time coming, in my opinion. I worked for the bookstore chain for over a year and there were many struggles that were not just obvious to me but to shoppers. Hence the multiple newspaper articles over the past year guesstimating when Borders would file for bankruptcy or begin closing stores.

But what does this mean for the book world? Should we be fearful, as readers, that the idea of bookstores is beginning to die out? Is Amazon really gaining that much power? Or are people just not reading like they used to?

I don't know about you, but I like to browse books. I like to see the covers, hold the books in my hand, smell the pages, and flip through them. I like to collect a basket filled with books that I might buy, sit down with a cup of coffee, and make my way through each book to see which ones I'll purchase. I love that contact, that relationship with what I'll be buying, and I'm sorry but I can't have that through online vendors.

Now that doesn't mean I don't buy books online. I enjoy ordering a book and having it delivered straight to my house- if it's a book I already know I want. But typically, I'll end up going to a bookstore first. I'll go through the process of manhandling all of these books and making lists of what I want to buy in the future. The element of a bookstore is something of peace and relaxation for me. Aside from parks (which I can only visit when the weather is nice) I don't really have many other places that bring me that sense of peace.

While I know Borders has been struggling for years and this news is in no way surprising to me it does leave me worrying about the future of bookstores in general.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Teaser Tuesday!!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The hat seemed to be asking rather a lot; Harry didn't feel brave or quick-witted or any of it at the moment. If only the hat had mentioned a house for people who felt a bit queasy.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 
by J.K. Rowling

Friday, February 11, 2011

Blog Hop- 2nd Week of February

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

Question for the week:
"Tell us about one of your posts from this week and give us a link so we can read it (review or otherwise)!"

I kind of failed this week with posts. I've been on a self proclaimed 'hiatus' of sorts so that I can focus on some other things and get some reading done.

-If you'd like to be a guest reviewer on my blog please email me at

I only posted once this week so I'm cheating and taking last week into consideration as well. Last week I posted about a friend of a friend. He was injured in the Middle East and hoping to get a house that is equipped for handicap use.

I talk more about it here- at this post- right here- omg look at it, please!

If you are a long time follower of my blog then you know that the military is something near and dear to me. Okay, well maybe not the structure of the military or whatever, but I have many family members and friends who serve. They mean the world to me and I would try and support them in any way possible because they are my friends and family.

I don't know this man directly but he is a friend of one of my military friends. He deserves support and love just as much as anyone else. So, if you can do something to help as well, that would be great.

Otherwise, I look forward to reading everyones legit book posts for this week since I sort of slacked off.
Have a great weekend boys and girls!!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Blog Hop and an Update- First Friday of February!

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop
"What are you reading now and why are you reading it?"

Are you ready for this? I am reading-
The Complete Poems of William Blake
Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
Modern European History
Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
The Complete Tales and Poems of Edgar Allan Poe

Now if you've been a long time follower of this blog you already know that just about every book on that list, aside from Petterson, are books that I read once in awhile. I'll pull them off the bookshelf, read a poem or a chapter or a historical entry, then I place them back on the shelf where they are forgotten for a number of months. However, they are on my 'currently reading' list on goodreads so I figured it would be best to answer with the most honesty as possible.

I want to know more about history and I want to read more of the 'classics'. That would be the reasoning behind most of those books. And Petterson's book? I just want to read it. About a year ago I came across a review that made the book sound magical. It's just that I couldn't get into it due to real life stuff. It took me awhile but now I feel like I'll be flying through it's pages. We'll see!

I'm on some sort of a hiatus. I'll be trying to do weekly updates like the blog hop and Teaser Tuesday. If I happen to finish a book and have a review that will go up as well but please, don't run away due to inactivity.

I am taking requests to do guest reviews again!
It can be about any book of any genre.
If you're interested email me at

Also, I'm doing a give away!
If you would like to win a free copy of Cecelia Ahern's new book The Book of Tomorrow please see THIS entry.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Book of Tomorrow

For about a year now I’ve had a copy of P.S. I Love You sitting on my bookshelf. I have had the best intentions to read this book however there are about 8 more books on that shelf alone I haven’t read yet. Let’s not even get started on how many unread books I have elsewhere in this house. But when I was offered to read The Book of Tomorrow prior to its release I jumped at the chance.

This is a book geared towards ADULTS. Allow me to state that first and foremost. It seems some people who have read the book have that confused. Not all books that have a teenage protagonist is meant for teenage eyes. However, I find this book to be appropriate for teenagers if they are mature enough to handle it’s content.

Tamara Goodwin has been raised to trust a number of things: She is sixteen, her father is rich, and she will get what she wants. Tamara is a rebellious teenager who smokes and drinks on a regular basis, sneaks out, and is generally very rude to her parents (and likely everyone else). She admits right away that she isn’t nice but she promises to prove that she is better than the first impression we are given.

When her father dies Tamara’s life is flipped. Gone are the days of being spoiled and doing as she pleases. No longer can she have a vibrant social life. She is, in her mind, condemned to the wasteland of Ireland. Specifically- her uncle and aunts home in the country that is beside the remains of Kilsaney Castle.

Dealing with grief and the confusion of her mother’s sudden spiral into depression Tamara is lonely, bored, and itching for excitement. The excitement comes from the most unexpected places when she finds an old diary on a library mobile (traveling library… I feel like no one has heard of these, am I that removed from society that I know of this stuff?). At first she thinks it’s just an old book but something makes her cling to it. Then she discovers it has already been written in- with her own hand- a diary entry of the next day. The diary is written by Future-Tamara and Present-Tamara tries to use this discovery in whatever ways she can.

The book opens up doors Tamara had never seen before. She becomes a stronger person and more passionate about the feelings of others. What’s more is she discovers information about herself that she never knew.

I really hated Tamara when I began to read this. Through the first couple of chapters I kept pausing and going, “Wow. I can NOT believe this girl. She’s such a wench.” Typically when I hate the main character I find it very hard to make it through the story but this moved along quickly and held my interest. Tamara does grow and change for the better however the last quarter of the book really grabbed me. Secrets, love, loss, and all of that. Really I enjoyed the way the book came to a close. I went into the book hating the character but I closed it’s final pages feeling that I could appreciate the character and understand her a little more. Her voice was strong and there was a lot of wit, even in the beginning when I didn’t like Tamara she would get me laughing, and the visual I had of the Kilsaney Castle and summer in Ireland was much nicer than the snowy tundra I have outside my window.