Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays and It's Tuesday...Where are you?

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

  • What he doesn't know is that I don't have a penny on me, I have been living on a liquid diet for the past day, and I have not showered or washed my hair or changed my clothes in what seems like a week. I was at the end of the proverbial rope and had he not been there to catch me, I might've fallen into the abyss forever.

    p. 113 from The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano


    It's Tuesday...Where are You?

    I am ....wait, I have no idea where I'm at. I've been in the Witness Protection Program so long and had to change my name and where I lived so many time that I've forgotten who I really am and where I'm really from...please don't ask me. I just received an offer I can't resist, a chance at a "REAL" life, so I've decided to tell the Justice Department to go to hell...I'm going to try to live.

    - The Girl She Used To Be

    Monday, March 30, 2009

    And the book Sonata for Miriam goes to......


    I will email you JD to get your mailing address!! Please respond within 3 days or I will have to draw for another winner!!

    1. JD

    Timestamp: 2009-03-30 13:03:30 UTC

    I used to generate my winner. Thanks to everyone for playing along!! This was fun!

    Mailbox Monday- my first time!

    Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. We share what books that we found in our mailboxes last week. Here is what I got over the past couple weeks. I finally found some time to put this post together....forgive me!

    - sent by Gabrielle at Penguin Publishing
    I reviewed this lovely book last week and today someone is going to win my copy!

    Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
    - this came via Brianne who is participating in the Reading Round Robin that Mellymel is hosting at Lit*Chick.

    Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs
    - Melissa from Penguin sent this to me. I will be reading it later this week and hosting another giveaway so make sure you check back!! Isn't that cover gorgeous??!!!

    The Siege of Macindaw by John Flanagan
    Number 6 in the Ranger's Apprentice Series
    - galley copy from Penguin.
    The kids at my middle school are soooo jealous of me right now! I've had several offers of cookies, candy, and my ultimate favorite-Diet Dr. Pepper for life, if I let them read this!! I'm tempted.....

    Joker One by Donovan Campbell
    -this came to me by way of Alyce @ At Home with Books. Really looking forward to reading this! Thanks Alyce for the opportunity to read this and review it on your blog.

    The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak
    --I received this from the author by way of Nymeth at things mean a lot.

    I hope to be able to participate more often. We shall see what the Mailbox holds for me in the future. What was in your mailbox this past week?

    Sunday, March 29, 2009

    Graphic Novel and Manga Round-Up- my thoughts

    I finished a bunch of graphic novels and some first-time Manga over the last few weeks so I thought I would just include them all in one post. I've found that I really enjoy Graphic novels and lo and behold, I LOVED my first venture in the Manga genre!! This is what I've read lately:

    Laika by Nick Abadzis
    -this graphic novel was based on the dog that the Russians sent into space. I've never really heard about this and history class in high school surely doesn't cover any "cool" history. I'm glad that I checked this book out because it made me see that a lot of the people that worked on this project were absolutely devoted to the animals and some were totally oblivious to the fact that the Russian Government was determined to send a man into space before the USA and were willing to do it any cost--even if that meant sending up a helpless animal that would eventually die. I shared this with my son Marc and we both loved this book!! I would highly recommend this to anyone.

    Other reviews:
    Nymeth @ things mean a lot
    The Written World
    Bookgirl's Nightstand

    Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age edited by Ariel Schrag
    --I laughed my way through this book and found myself remembering those days, agreeing with one comic where it stated,"You were either rocking with Bon Jovi or you had a crush on at least one band member of Duran Duran." I was the one crushing on John Taylor of Duran Duran. I'll admit it. I'm not ashamed. I was totally into the whole Brit scene of music during the 80's while my brother was the rocker, listening to Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Poison, Van Halen. I loved the 80's!! My son and I watched 'Purple Rain' the other night. He was laughing at the clothes and the way people were dancing. I was drooling at how hot Prince was back then and singing along to every song that came on. Remember Morris Day and the Time? Apollonia? (what a stupid name)You know you do!! Some of these comics are definitely a trip back in time. My favorites were:
    • Crater Face by Dash Shaw- yes, this is all about a kid suffering from acne but it is bittersweet and one not to be missed.
    • A Relationship in Eight Pages by Jim Hoover (absolutely reminded me of my son's dating life in the eighth grade!!)
    • Simple Machines by Aaron Renier- this is one that I think teachers should read because it's about a kid who is ADD but when he's allowed to think outside of mainstream education constraints, he shines and amazes his friends, teachers, and even himself!!

    The Walking Dead, Vol 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
    --This is a series of Graphic Novels and my son Marc loves them. He begged me a month or so ago to read one. So, I picked up the first one and flew through it. This series is graphic, violent, and at time gory but I can see why Marc likes them. They're based on the concept of An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions that has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. Not many people have survived and you get to follow along the journey of Rick Grimes to see if he makes it or not! So far he has 9 books which is a compilation of over 50+ comic books. I told him that over spring break I would pick up the other ones. Honestly, they give me the willies because I'm afraid of Zombies!! I may have to read Marc's book titled,"The Zombie Survival Guide: Protection from the Living Dead."

    The Wall:Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis
    --excellent book about what it was like to grow up in the Soviet Union before the wall fell in Berlin. He is an artist who loved to draw. He drew what the government dictated to him during the day at school, but at home, in secret, he drew what he loved. Interspersed between his drawings are snippets from his journal that he kept during this time.

    November 3, 1957 The Soviet Union launched a rocket carrying a little dog named Laika into space. I wonder how the dog is going to land?

    January-February 1969 Jan Palach and Jan Zajic, students, set themselves on fire to "wake up the nation from lethargy."

    Gave me some interesting looks into Russia and the time of the Cold War. He won several honors for this book:Sibert Medal; Caldecott Honor Book.


    Now, let me be upfront with you all right now....I have never ever understood the appeal of the Manga book. My son Marc faithfully follows Rave Master and so far he has 26 of them, I believe. I've never read one of them. I have tons of kids at my middle school who come into the library looking for them. We don't have any. That is about to change! I'm in the process of researching some series that I could carry in the library that would appeal to 5th - 8th grade. Sometimes you have to be careful because they do include nudity and stuff like that. But there is a big world of MANGA that is entirely appropriate for all ages!! I wouldn't have had my eyes open to this though if I didn't read Nymeth's blog. About a month or so ago, she posted about Emma. A manga series set in England during the Victorian Age. I was intrigued by her reviews so I immediately requested them from my library. I started them on a Friday night, took them with me to Marc's all day wrestling match and had a high schooler raz me about reading Manga!! I told him, "Brice, leave me alone. I'm reading some great stuff here!!" I finished them that night, well 1-4 that is. My library doesn't have the rest but I've requested them from libraries elsewhere and I'm anxiously waiting for the call to tell me that THEY'RE IN!!! If you haven't read these....YOU SHOULD. Enough said.

    Other Cool People that liked Emma:
    Tanabata: In Spring it is the Dawn
    The Written World

    Have you read a graphic novel or manga? If so, leave me a comment recommending one that I should read!! If not, what are you waiting for?

    Saturday, March 28, 2009

    Catching up with some stuff.....

    Blog Awards

    My fellow bloggers are some of the greatest people you could ever wish to meet. These past months they have been kind enough to honor my blog with several different blog awards and I've been a bad recipient by not posting them in a regular post. So I plan on rectifying the situation today. Some of these awards I've received twice so I would just like to say that any blog you see in my blogroll are all more than worthy of these awards, so I won't be nominating any blogs for those. But my newest award, The Sisterhood Award, I will be sending on to others!!

    Kristi from Books and Needlepoint awarded my blog this:
    Premio Dardos Award
    `This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day.

    *** Can I just say that Kristi is a fantastic book blogger and I really enjoy the diverse posts that she does! Thanks Kristi for passing this award on to me!

    Bonnie from Redlady's Reading Room gave me this award:

    Proximidade Award
    --This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!

    Bonnie, I think you rock and your blog is fantastic!!

    Lisa at Books and Cooks sent me this awa

    Your Blog is Fabulous!
    This award is given to either newbie blogs or blogs that are new to you.

    Lisa, Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog and to come back every now and again, always leaving me great comments and for this award!! I'm glad that you found me!

    Matt at A Guy's Moleskine Notebook gave me this award:

    Blog Friends Award
    -Matt's blog is one that I feel makes me grow as a reader. I'm always learning new things from his posts and I would love to be a student in his classroom!! Matt, thanks for your friendship!

    and last but certainly not least I received this award from Bonnie at Redlady's Reading Room

    Sisterhood Award
    --Here are the rules to spread the sisterhood spirit:
    1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
    2. Nominate up to 10 blogs which show great attitude and/or gratitude!
    3. Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
    4. Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
    5. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

    Before I list my nominees, I just want the blogger world to know that Bonnie is the truest example of Sisterhood Spirit. She was one of the first people to visit my blog and leave me a comment. She's never missed a post regardless of how trivial it may be, and she always corresponds with me when I send her an email. Her personality comes through in her posts and she's just a positive person!! Bonnie-a big huge Thank You!!

    • Nymeth at things mean a lot- Nymeth is a shining star and her blog is absolutely fascinating. I love to read her opinions on the books she's read and she has helped me to step outside of my "normal" reading habits and to expand!
    • Lenore at Presenting Lenore- her comfortable writing style is so welcoming to others and she's always quick to comment on my blog and to continue the conversations. I love her reviews and the questions she comes up with for her author Q&A's.
    • Brenda at It's a Beautiful Life- her blog is filled with gratitude and she has a wonderful, optimistic and loving attitude!!
    • Janel at Janel's Jumble- Janel and I tend to send short emails back and forth to each other about books, current posts, family's health...she's just a great person who always is there supporting her fellow bloggers!!
    • Dar at Peeking Between the Pages- Dar might not know it but all of her encouraging emails and comments has really given me the courage to continue to blog about the books I read and to just be myself when I post about my thoughts!! Thanks Dar!
    • Kaye at Pudgy Penguin Perusals- Kaye has been so generous to give me advice about posting book giveaways and some other cool ideas about my blog layout. Thanks Kaye for taking the time to help me...I appreciate your kindness.
    Now, I know that I've left out so many great people out there and believe me I could go on and on, but I want to make sure that you check out my sidebar to the right because there are so many great book blogs out there and so many wonderful supportive people in the blogosphere!

    All of these awards I would like to pass on to all my friends that stopped by today and in the past and left me comments, encouraged me, and have extended the hand of friendship. I thank you!!

    Thursday, March 26, 2009

    Living Dead Girl- my thoughts

    Living Dead Girl

    Author: Elizabeth Scott
    Genre: Young Adult
    Published: 2008
    Pages: 170

    From the inside jacket:

    Once upon a time I was a little girl who disappeared.
    Once upon a time my name was not Alice.
    Once upon a time I didn't know how lucky I was.

    When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.

    Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

    This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

    I read this story in one day not because I was in love with it, rather because I needed it to end. Don't take this the wrong way. It was a good book, but the subject matter made me uncomfortable and sick to my stomach. I know that this happens to kids, both boys and girls, all over the world. I realize that there are sick and twisted people that walk among us. But this book brought these people off of the pages and into my world. The book starts out fast and furious and never lets you go. I found myself being truly disgusted with Ray and wanting to kill him with my bare hands. He used psychological terror and deprivation of food to control "Alice," to make her bend to his every whim and sadistic pleasures. Your heart will literally ache at the abuse she endures and how she feels absolutely hopeless. The hardest part of the entire book, for me, is when Alice realizes that the only way out for her is to help Ray find a replacement Alice and how happy that thought makes her. This is not an easy read for anyone and if your child is thinking about reading it I would totally recommend that you TALK about this book with them. Read it before them so that you know what's going on. There is plenty here to discuss and to be totally honest, this book could give you or your child nightmares, especially if you read it before going to bed. I found so many powerful passages but I don't want to weigh this book review down with those so I'm just going to highlight a few that really were gripping and stark.

    The day I got too tall to wear the white dress with short, puffy sleeves and little tucks along the chest, he filled the kitchen sink with water and shoved my head into it.

    "You'll hold her," he says, and everything I own is easily pushed down, away, clothes falling off me like water. "You'll hold her, and I'll love her."
    He grins at me. "You'll like that, won't you?"
    I nod because he wants me to. I nod because I will. She will get his love and I will hold her down to take it all because then there will be none for me.
    I cannot save myself, and I do not want to save her.

    Other reviews:

    The Story Siren
    Heather @ Book Addiction ***This review is what prompted me to read this book ***
    Dewey's Thoughts @ The Hidden Side of a Leaf
    Lenore @ Presenting Lenore
    Maw Books Blog
    Jenn's Bookshelf
    Bookshelves of Doom

    For other passages I marked please see my other blog, Quotes and Passages.

    Wednesday, March 25, 2009

    Library Loot- March 25

    Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra
    asks us to list what we brought home from
    the library this week.

    I was very, very, very good this week. I only picked up 3, yes you're seeing the correct number, 3 books this week!!!! I'm actually doing a pretty good job of getting through my existing stack so I'm really trying to restrain myself! Here's what I brought home:

    Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

    * I brought this home Saturday and finished it Sunday. Again, Picoult doesn't let me down. After I was done with it I was left with a lot of questions that don't have any easy answers. Totally recommend to anyone out there.

    The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

    * I'm blaming this book on Melly from Lit*Chick. Read her fantastic review here. Once you've done that you'll understand why I had to get this one!!

    North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley

    * I read a beautiful review of this book by Amanda at A Patchwork of Books.
    I knew that I had to read this book after that, so I get to blame Amanda for getting this one.

    Believe it or not, that's all!! I'm slightly bewildered myself but it's a good thing because I really need to get all of those other books read. I hate having to take books back that I never got to open.

    To Read List Total today 3/18/09 : 651
    Last week's To Read List Total 3/11/2009: 632
    Books Read in 2009 to date: 36

    Tuesday, March 24, 2009

    Teaser Tuesdays and It's Tuesday...Where are you?

    TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

  • I want to lie down on the bench then, or better yet, on the grass, rest on something living and see if I can hear the dead underneath. But I can't, because then people will look and Ray doesn't like looking, wants me silent, his little ghost girl.

    p.96 from Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

    It's Tuesday...Where are you?

    Someone help me!! I'm in middle school again!!! My emotions are all over the place and I swear if these braces don't come off soon I'm getting the pliers out!!
    - Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics From an Unpleasant Age

    But honestly, I'd much rather be in middle school, taking tests, eating horrible, unidentifiable lunches than what I'm enduring right now. I've been kidnapped by a disgusting pervert and I haven't seen my family in 5 years....I'm praying that someone will help me....and soon.
    - Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

    Monday, March 23, 2009

    Sonata for Miriam- my thoughts and a book giveaway!

    Sonata for Miriam

    by Linda Olsson
    copyright 2009
    273 magical and beautifully written pages

    From Penguin Books:
    Once again Linda Olsson captures poignantly the pain of loss and the universal longing to uncover the past. On the day of his only daughter's death, composer Adam Anker visits a War Memorial Museum in New Zealand, and discovers a photograph of a man who shares Adam's name, or at least the name he was born with: Adam Lipski. After a year spent grieving the loss of his daughter, Adam embarks on a journey. His search takes him to Krakow, Poland, where he meets Moishe Spiewak, an elderly Jewish man who knew Adam Lipski and his family well, and who was one of the last people to see him alive. As Moishe and Adam's friendship deepens, Adam begiins to understand what happened to his family. But there is one more person he must see before he can begin life anew: the mother of his daughter and the love of his life, to whom he hasn't spoken in twenty years.

    This is my first experience with Linda Olsson and I'm so thankful that I have found her. Her writing is exquisite and invokes such emotion, that I find it hard to put into words the feelings I experienced while reading this novel. Her descriptions of the places and people make you feel as if you are there along side Adam. I felt his pain accutely in so many parts of this book. The loss of his daughter is always moving like a whisper in the background of the story. Everything that he is and does is because of this love that he experienced while raising her and then losing her. With that loss, he has to find a way to live again. Living is something that he finds extremely hard to do, but he realizes that he did not give his daughter everything that he could've...he never gave her the mother that she needed to know. He himself never got to know his real father, so he decides to explore the clues that he uncovered in the War Memorial Museum. As he uncovers his family's history you get to really know, understand, and to see how his past has influenced his life and the choices he has made along the way. With the help of family he never knew about and newly found friends, he eventually is able to reconcile his past so that he can embrace his future. Olsson's writing is spare and eloquent. She has such a masterful command of language and I found myself falling in love with her words.

    "I never knew how Jan's father had discovered that our time was running out. He must have made some elaborate preparations after he heard about the imminent deportation of Jews. But he never discussed it with me--not then, not later. When I arrived at their apartment, they were ready to go, and we left the same afternoon. I was to travel with them to London, officially as Jan's tutor. And that was how I ended up as the only surviving member of my family. I survived. But I lost my life.

    I lay down on the bed clasping the pictures and buried my face in the pillow in a vain attempt at silencing my sobs. But it was as if all my life's accumulated grief had finally found an outlet and was allowed to take its course. I screamed, I cried, until the grief became bearable. Afterward I lay staring into the air above the bed.
    And eventually I fell into a dreamless sleep.

    p. 175

    I could list a thousand such passages that moved me but I want you, the reader, to experience them for yourself. If you haven't read Linda Olsson then I strongly recommend this book to you. I believe that it will become a favorite read for 2009, just like it has for me!

    For more information about Linda Olsson and her previous book, Astrid & Veronkia please visit her here.

    I want to thank Gabrielle at Penguin Books for giving me the opportunity to read this wonderful story!

    Would you like to win my copy of this book?

    I have one paperback copy of Sonata For Miriam by Linda Olsson to share with one of my readers courtesy of Penguin Group. This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only (no PO boxes). Here are the rules:
    • For one entry leave me a comment with an email address. No email address, no entry. If you would like to send me your email privately please do so at
    • Blog about this giveaway and spread the word for two entries. Posting on your sidebar counts
    • Follow my blog and get three entries (if you're already a follower, let me know-that counts too)

    I will draw for a winner on March 30th!! Good Luck!!

    Check out these other great reviews:

    S. Krishna's Books
    Kaye @ Pudgy Penguin Perusals

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Winter Reading Challenge Wrap-Up

    This is my first time participating in this challenge and I really enjoyed it!!
    I want to thank Robin from My Two Blessings for hosting this challenge!!

    I wanted to read 29 but only completed 19 books.

    Here is the list of the books that I did finish:

    Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson- I absolutely loved this book. A favorite for this year for sure. I will be posting my thoughts later this week and offering up my gently-read copy as a giveaway!!

    Who By Fire by Diana Spechler- This was a great read which came highly recommended by several fellow bloggers. I will post my thoughts about this one later this week too.

    Laika by Nick Abadzis- graphic novel about the first dog sent into space by the Soviet Union. Thanks to Nymeth for reviewing this book on her blog a while ago. It was so moving and it made me cry. Another book that I need to post my thoughts about!!

    Skim by Mariko Tamaki- another graphic novel that I really enjoyed. I was intrigued by the cover art and had to take this book home with me from the library. I wasn't let down!!

    Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas- even though the subject matter (husband has emotional affair while wife is 8 months pregnant) left a bad taste in my mouth, the book was well written and there was a lot to talk about in regards to the subject matter. Thanks Mel at Lit*Chick for suggesting this one.

    Still Alice by Lisa Genova- this book made me an emotional wreck. I highly recommend this to everyone!! A must read for 2009!!!

    Bliss by Lauren Myracle- a great YA book that is very, very dark, sinister and creepy!!

    The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby- this book was hazardous to my TBR list!! And now I can't wait to read the other 2!

    The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton- not a bad book but not a great one either. Just so-so for me.

    The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen- I really enjoyed this book but I loved her first one more!! Still, I can't wait until her 3rd novel is released later this year!

    The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister- I adored this book!! Everything about it was wonderful and for those that love food and books about cooking, food, and relationships...this one is for you!!

    Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel- this is a superb graphic novel! I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a great graphic novel read, and especially to those that have never tried reading a graphic novel.

    Interpreter of Maladies byJhumpra Lahiri- her first collection of short stories and my first foray into reading a book of short stories. Wonderful experience.

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- I'm so glad that I read this. I've watched the movie versions so many times that the words in the book came alive for me!!

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel by David Wroblewski- I never did post my thoughts about this and I think I really should because this book really touched me. I loved the entire story even though I didn't make the connections with Hamlet/MacBeth (whatever!!) I just enjoyed this book immensly...when it ended the tears were rolling down my checks.

    Cross Country by James Patterson- yes, I know a lot of people diss Patterson but I love Alex Cross so I won't say I'm sorry for reading this series...I like it!

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer- told in letter form much like 84, Charing Road, this book was simply marvelous!! One of the best of the year for me!

    A Mercy by Toni Morrison- very deep and emotionally raw book. One that I feel I should re-read some day.

    Sweet Life by Mia King- another book with food as a key element and a great storyline!

    The Books I didn't finish:

    • The Lady Elizabeth
    • The Jane Austen Book Club
    • The Heretic's Daughter
    • Confessions of a Shopaholic
    • Cellist of Sarajevo
    • God of Animals
    • Anna Karenina
    • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell
    But I have every intention of reading them sometime this year...
    Thanks for reading to the end of this extremely long post!

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    Friday Fill In

 we go!

    1. Why do we have to__sleep when I would love to keep reading___?

    2. __Blogging and reading blogs___ are now very bad and time- consuming habits.

    3. I have _so many books to read from the library____.

    4. I had never heard the phrase "__I can't think of one___" and it __is making me feel stupid, so skip #4!!___.

    5. __Just keeping it real___ the way I always do.

    6. How was I to know __that having a computer would open up a whole new world to me with my reading?___.

    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to __reading___, tomorrow my plans include __an all-day wrestling match___ and Sunday, I want to _do laundry, try to avoid spending hours on the internet and read____!

    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Bliss- my thoughts

    by Lauren Myracle
    Published: 2008
    444 pages
    Genre: YA

    From Goodreads:
    When Bliss’s hippie parents leave the commune and dump her at the home of her aloof grandmother in a tony Atlanta neighborhood, it’s like being set down on an alien planet. The only guide naive Bliss has to her new environment is what she’s seen on The Andy Griffith Show. But Mayberry is poor preparation for Crestview Academy, an elite school where the tensions of the present and the dark secrets of the past threaten to simmer into violence. Openhearted Bliss desperately wants new friends, making her the perfect prey of a troubled girl whose obsession with a long-ago death puts Bliss, and anyone she’s kind to, in mortal danger.

    I've read the TTYL series and really enjoyed it. When I saw this book I picked it up because of the author and the front cover. I'm glad I did because it was a very creepy read. The story setting is during the 1960's and while Bliss is going to school the country is riveted by the Manson murders. What really added to the scare factor was that Myracle used transcripts from the Charles Manson murder trial as chapter dividers!! So you would read these horrific snippets and then dive back into the story. Then the next chapter divider might be a short passage from The Andy Griffith Show. Which shows such a quaint and picturesque state of America. The one that Bliss is aware of, not the dirty, dark, murderous part of society that Bliss has been sheltered from all of her life. I quit reading real scary books a while ago because my husband works a swing shift and I just don't like reading that stuff knowing that I'm home alone, because I have a very imaginative mind!! But this book didn't scare me like that, it was just one of those books that can give you the willies. I always have kids that want a scary or creepy book and this one would be right up their alley. The book has 444 pages but the pacing is fast and the story is just hard to put down. I will leave you with two my favorite passages in the entire book:

    "I had to honor her," Agnes says. "Don't you see?"
    "What is it?" Sandy asks. "A piece of her scalp?"
    Agnes's eyes blaze. "It's what came free. I wasn't.....I didn't have time to be picky."
    "Agnes, that's disgusting," Sandy says gleefully.
    As for me,I'm slogging through the horror of my thoughts. Liliana died...she jumped from the window and her skull smacked the ground...and Agnes kept a piece of her?

    p. 215

    My tears make everything waver, but I'm perfectly capable of seeing what Sandy does. She dips her finger in Staci's blood and, looking straight at me, puts it in her mouth. When she pulls it out, she smiles.

    **I changed the name to mine so I wouldn't spoil anything for a future reader!!

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009

    Library Loot- March 18

    Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra
    asks us to list what we brought home from
    the library this week.

    Geez, I think I just need to step up to the front of the class and tell you all right now, "I'm a bookaholic and I need help." There, it's out in the open and we can all see that I have problems and I'm trying to come to grips with them....maybe!! I went to the library because there was 1 book waiting for me, did you hear me? I said 1, but I came home with 5 extra ones. Somehow when I got up to the check-out counter there were all these "extra" reads. Here is what I brought home:

    The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman

    --I saw this on someone's blog in reference to the WWII Challenge. I usually always mark where I saw the book review but this time I messed up! I will blame all my book blogging buddies.

    The Owl Service by Alan Garner

    --This is entirely Nymeth's fault. Read her awesome review here.

    Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard

    --no one to blame for this one. I saw this at B&N and thought it might be interesting to read. Then I ran across a student that was reading the series and she told me they were good, so I figured why not?

    Against Medical Advice by James Patterson

    --I thought that this story just sounded interesting. I want to know what is wrong with this little boy and how his family helped him.

    Sucks to Be Me- The All-True confessions of MINA HAMILTON Teen Vampire
    by Kimberly Pauley

    -- I'm a sucker for a teen vampire story!

    Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

    --I've seen this book and the author on blogs so when I ran across this one I decided to add it to my pile, because I'm INSANE!!!!

    What did you bring home from the library? Please include your link in your comments so that I can visit you!! And probably add your titles to my huge TBR list!!

    To Read List Total today 3/18/09 : 632
    Last week's To Read List Total 3/11/2009: 620
    Books Read in 2009 to date: 29

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009

    Teaser Tuesdays and It's Tuesday...Where Are You?

    TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall open to a random page.
  • Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

  • And suddenly music would fill my mind. I would try to hold on to the image while I hurried to my room and took out my violin. And when I was able to stay inside that vision, the music would pour from my fingers.
    ~Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson

    It's Tuesday...Where Are You?

    I married someone I didn't love just to get back at Ashley Wilkes. But he died before the war could really get started. Now all I have is a baby and I'm stuck wearing black, for a long time. When will this war be over?---Gone With the Wind

    I'm also in beautiful New Zealand, which I call home, but there I have found some clues as to my birth father and now I'm on my way to Krakow, Poland. I've experienced the heartache of the loss of a loved one and find solace only in my music.- Sonata for Miriam

    Where are you today?

    Sunday, March 15, 2009

    The Polysyllabic Spree- my thoughts

    The Polysyllabic Spree
    -Nick Hornby
    Published 2004
    143 pages

    From Amazon:
    The Polysyllabic Spree collects a year's worth of Hornby’s riotous and informative "Stuff I’ve Been Reading" columns from the Believer, in which Hornby lists the books he’s read, along with what he bought and may one day read. He ably explores everything from the classic to the graphic novel, as well as poems, plays, and sports-related exposés. And if he occasionally implores a biographer for brevity, or abandons a literary work in favor of an Arsenal soccer match, then all is not lost. His warm and riotous writing, full of all the joy and surprise and despair that books bring him, reveals why we still read, even when there's soccer on TV, a pram in the hall, and a good band playing at our local bar.

    One of my favorite passages:

    Never mind that, as regular readers of this column know, I have over the last few months bought several hundred books I haven't yet read. And never mind that, as it turned out, I found myself passing a bookshop the very next day, and the day after that (because what else is there to do with a new baby, other than mooch around bookshops with him?), and was thus able to buy Mystic River. I didn't know for sure I'd ever go to a bookshop again; and if I never went to a bookshop again, how long were those several hundred books going to last me? Nine or ten years at the most. No, I needed that copy of Prayers for Rain, just to be on the safe side.p. 104

    I absolutely identified with this passage because I'm always worried that I might run out of books to read. Which is crazy, because I always check out about 26 from the library, and then I have over 200 books laying around the house, but when I read that Hornby has those feelings about books, I knew that I would like him! I enjoyed the fact that a high-profile author, such as Hornby, also shares the same problems and dilemmas as us "normal" readers. When I read how he enters a bookstore and leaves with several, only to find the next month that he never cracked them open, I rejoice in the knowledge that I am "O.K." There were times, though, during my reading that I had a hard time keeping up with Hornby. Unfortunately, I am not as well-read as he is and some of his jokes or insider humor fell short. That, however, did not stop me from plowing through this book. In fact, it made me more determined than ever to try to read some of the books that Hornby had read and loved. That is the one thing that I took from this book....that we "the readers" share our love of the written word and in return, our knowledge and experiences grow.
    I can now blame Nick Hornby for some of the books that I will be checking out of my library in the future!! Here's the list that I walked away with:

    Notes on a Scandal- Zoe Heller
    Revolutionary Road- Richard Yates (bought this a few weeks ago)
    How to Breathe Underwater- Julie Orringer
    George and Sam: Autism in the Family- Charlotte Moore
    The Sirens of Titan- Kurt Vonnegut
    Clockers- Richard Price
    David Copperfield- Charles Dickens
    Random Family- Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
    Mystic River- Dennis Lehane

    I am trying to get my hand on Housekeeping vs. The Dirt and Shakespeare Wrote for Money which would round out his column that he wrote for The Believer. I'm sure my TBR list will be out of control once I finish those!!!

    Other reviews:

    Stuff As Dreams Are Made On
    Things Mean A Lot
    The Hidden Side of a Leaf
    Rhinoa's Ramblings
    Tripping Toward Lucidity
    Lisa's Review

    If you've reviewed Polysyllabic Spree please let me know and I'll add your link!!

    Friday, March 13, 2009

    Weekly Geeks- A Quote a Day #7

    "Write it down, boy. If you come across a passage in your reading that you’d like to remember, write it down in your little book; then you can read it again, memorize it, and have it whenever you wish."
    Keith Donohue

    "Statistically, if you're reading this sentence, you're an oddball. The average American spends three minutes a day reading a book. At this moment, you and I are engaged in an essentially antiquated interaction. Welcome, fellow Neanderthal!"
    Dick Meyer

    "When I was a child, it was a matter of pride that I could plow through a Nancy Drew story in one afternoon, and begin another in the evening. . . . I was probably trying to impress the librarians who kept me supplied with books."
    — Kathleen Norris ("The Prodigal Reader," Ruminator Review, Summer 2002

    ***FYI: I was that child. I read the entire Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books during my summer before I went into the 5th grade. After reading them, I went up to the librarian and said, "Where do I go now?" She told me, "Trixie Belden." Oh, how I loved my librarian!!!

    "The reading of a fine book is an uninterrupted dialogue in which the book speaks and our soul replies"
    André Maurois

    Thursday, March 12, 2009

    Weekly Geeks- A Quote a Day #6

    "She said it out loud, the words distributed into a room that was full of cold air and books. Books everywhere! Each wall was armed with overcrowded yet immaculate shelving. It was barely possible to see paintwork. There were all different styles and sizes of lettering on the spines of the black, the red, the gray, the every-colored books. It was one of the most beautiful things Liesel Meminger had ever seen.

    With wonder, she smiled.

    That such a room existed!"

    Markus Zusak (The Book Thief)

    Wednesday, March 11, 2009

    Weekly Geeks- A Quote a Day #5

    "Books to the ceiling,
    Books to the sky,
    My pile of books is a mile high.
    How I love them! How I need them!
    I'll have a long beard by the time I read them."

    Library Loot- March 11

    Library Loot hosted by Eva and Alessandra
    asks us to list what we brought home from
    the library this week.

    ** So last week I was asking for suckers and high-fives because I was so good and not getting more books than I could possibly read. Well, this week I'm due for a good smackdown!! I'm out of control and I honestly don't know how to stop!! So without further ado is the loot that I dragged home with me this week!!!

    The Cellist of Sarajevo
    by Steven Gallowy

    ** I can blame this book on Wendy from Musings of a Bookish Kitty. If she hadn't wrote such a heartfelt review I could've just went on my merry way and never would have known this book existed.

    The Story of Forgetting
    by Stefan merrill Block

    **Lenore from Presenting Lenore left me a comment on my review of Still Alice and she suggested this I will blame her for bringing this little gem home!

    Dope Sick by Walter Dean Myers

    ** I blame myself entirely for this one. I love WDM and this is his new release so I had to get, a student at school has been dying to read this so I told him I would share!! Wait, I can blame Bobby can't I?

    The Handmaid's Tale
    by Margaret Atwood

    ** For some reason I feel like I can blame Nymeth for this one but I could be crazy!! Honestly, I feel that my reading life would not be complete without reading this book.

    The Queen's Handmaiden
    by Jennifer Ashley

    ** First off, I didn't realize until I put this post together that I have two books with 'Handmaiden' in the title..weird. No one but myself is to blame for this me. That and my weakness for awesome covers!!!

    The Gathering
    by Anne Enright

    ** another one I blame myself for...I liked the cover and the description of the book...all about an Irish family and a secret...made me pick it up and then I read Anna's review at Diary of an Eccentric and felt a little sad about my choice. But I am going to give it a go but if I don't like guilt. I will move on!!

    Stuck in the Middle
    edited by Ariel Schrag

    ** I can blame this one on a magazine!! Booklists' current issue featured Graphic Novels and they absolutely recommended this one. It looks like a lot of fun..17 different comics from 17 different comics from 16 talented artists all about those years in middle school!! Can't wait.

    Emma- Manga Volumes 1-4
    by Kaoru Mori

    **The blame goes to Nymeth for these books. I love her reviews and she makes everything sound so great that I feel like I'm missing out on something big if I don't at least try it. So, again, I am stepping outside of my comfort zone and going to read a Manga for the very first time!! You can read her review here and then you too will feel the urgent need to check these out!

    So, there's the wrap up for this week's library loot. I truly feel like I've bitten off more than I can chew!!

    To Read List Total today 3/3/09 : 620
    Last week's To Read List Total 2/25/2009: 562
    Books Read in 2009 to date: 26