Thursday, July 23, 2009


Isn't that a beautiful cover? What's even better is that the story inside is even more beautiful and intricate. I love Robin McKinley. I read her Beauty years and years ago and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. Robin McKinely's writing is absolutely gorgeous and she's pretty much the queen of fantasy and fairy-tale retellings. In other words: my hero.

Chalice is a winner. The world it takes place in is imaginative, original, and purely magical. Plus, I love honey and Jon and I have talked about wanting to keep bees someday. If you want to find out what on earth I'm talking about you're just going to have to read it.

Dragon Spear

There are a lot of dragon books in this world. Have I said that before? Sometimes I feel like dragons are way overdone, but then I read a book like Dragon Spear and change my mind. Everyone else should stop writing about dragons, but Jessica Day George can keep going as long as she likes. I adore Creel (the heroine of this tale) and all her dragon friends. Just a personal preference, but I thought the romance in this book (and the other two in the series) was a bit underdeveloped. Obviously, I wouldn't want it to come anywhere close to the book reviewed below, but a little more love couldn't've hurt. It's perfect for younger readers, though.

This book's predecessors are Dragon Slippers and Dragon Flight; both books are fantastic reads. If you haven't discovered Jessica Day George yet, you really need to. I just received another book by her as a gift, Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, (thanks mom!) and although I've read it before I'm so excited to read it again, and sooo happy to own it! I'm also dying to get my hands on her latest release: Princess of the Midnight Ball. Hopefully it'll be coming my way soon from the Idaho Falls Public Library...

The Time Traveler's Wife

So many people love this book. Really, truly worship it. Tell all their friends to read it because it's the best book ever written. Sometimes I think it's sad that it's not always safe to "seek after" things that are "of good report". If you are looking for some lit that uplifts and is, most importantly, CLEAN, do not read The Time Traveler's Wife!!!

What a frustrating book! I loved the concept. I'm a big fan of time-travel books and movies. It's one of the reasons that Harry Potter 3 is still my favorite of the series (well - maybe it's tied with Deathly Hallows). Anyway, I loved the mixed up time-lines, the future Henry's helping the past Henry's, the almost believable scientific explanation for Henry's condition, and so many other things about this book are admittably brilliant, but DON'T READ IT! It's not worth it.

Not only is the language horrible (I didn't count, but it wouldn't surprise me if the "F" word is used more than 100 times), but there is so much sexually explicit material in this book that if you were to cut it all out you'd be left with 8 pages. Maybe 9. Out of a 560 page book! It was incredibly distasteful.

Don't waste your time!

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

This book had a very interesting concept (click here if you'd like to read a spoiler-free overview) and was quite beautifully written, but I'll confess that I found it boring. Not that I have anything against sci-fi. I definitely have a couple sci-fi bones in my body (one of my all-time favorite books is Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card), so I don't think it was the weird "out there" factor of this book I didn't like. It just seemed to be lacking drive and heart. Nothing was propelling me forward and I never felt emotionally invested in any of the characters. There were also a couple significant plot and logic holes. On top of that, it seemed to me that the whole book was one big lecture on the evils of modern medical technology - which I happen to be a big fan of.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Gathering Blue and Messenger

After finishing The Giver, I was eager to read these two sequels. I knew going into it that they would be more the "same-world-different-people" kind of sequels, but I was excited anyway; The Giver is so amazing, the sequels had to be good, right? And they were good. But neither of them had anything on The Giver, I thought. They're both very interesting books, very compelling, very disturbing, very symbolic, and very religious - surprisingly. They're not overtly religious, but if you've read Messenger, you can't deny that there are some serious Christian parallels present at the end. I enjoyed reading them. I wonder if I would have liked them better, had The Giver not been so amazing...


I am a lucky girl. Not only do I have beautiful kids, a great life, and an awesome husband who works crazy hard, but that awesome husband of mine is also my best friend, and it so happens that we hardly have any interests that we don't share. We both love learning, reading, writing, music, being outdoors, politics, history, etc... We both love mythology. So...I got him this book as a graduation present this year, and waited what I thought was a respectful amount of time before sneaking it off the shelf and reading it before him. :D He said it was ok. He's not allowed to read anything for fun until after the bar anyway.

I LOVED this book!!! I have always loved greek mythology, and this book is great because it can be used as a reference book, but is also so accessibly and entertainingly written that it can be a recreational read. Along with all the greek myths, roman and norse mythology are included. Someday I'd like to expand my library to include mythology from many other cultures as well (particularly egyptian). One of the amazing things about mythology is discovering how much of it has seeped into our daily lives and pop culture: names, planets, days of the week, ideas, thoughts, and words, words, WORDS! I am obsessed with etymology. Our language is so rich and fascinating as is, but when I discover the stories and circumstances that created the words I use it adds even more zing and zest to everything!

This is a fabulous book! I recommend it to any fan of mythology.

Agatha Christie

I read these novels, once again, because of Masterpiece on PBS. During the summer they have a Masterpiece Mystery series. Usually, I'm not into mystery movies and books; I have an incredibly overactive imagination, and it's not really a good thing for me to sit around thinking about murder and scary people constantly. I avoid Horror altogether. Despite that, I've always been a big Agatha Christie fan. When I was in junior high-ish, I went through a big Agatha Christie phase and read tons of her books. Part of the amazing thing about Agatha Christie is that she's written over 80 mystery novels, yet they all manage to be unique and unpredictable. In fact, there are several things she is a master of that any aspiring writer would do well to learn from her novels. For example:
  • Suspense. Obvious, perhaps, but Agatha Christie is a genius when it comes to suspense. And, really, isn't that what every good plot on the planet needs? Otherwise, what's the point of reading to the end of a book?
  • Clues and Foreshadowing. This goes right along with suspense. Agatha Christie knows exactly how to give her readers just enough to keep them hooked and guessing, without actually giving her ending away. I rarely guess her murderers (or murderesses) right.
  • Character Development. When you're going to write 80 novels, you're going to run into hundreds of individual characters, but somehow Ms. Christie's characters always manage to be unique people. Agatha Christie never has the problem I've found in other authors (*cough* Cornelia Funke) where characters from their novels appear to be clones of each other - with different names.

So, I recommend Agatha Christie as a fun diversion from your usual read. Her books are clean (minus the murder :D), interesting, and fun to read. Of the three novels I just read, A Pocket Full of Rye was probably my favorite, although my all-time favorite Agatha Christie novel is And Then There Were None.

David Copperfield

I loved David Copperfield. Like the rest of my recent forays into Charles Dickens' novels, this one was inspired by a movie. Specifically, the 1999 Masterpiece Theater production of David Copperfield, which had an encore showing during this year's series "The Tales of Charles Dickens". If you haven't seen the movie, you should. It's wonderful! Some of my favorite british actors star in it: Maggie Smith (Prof. McGonagall), Alun Armstrong (Inspector Bucket in Bleak House), Ian McKellen (Gandalf), and even an adorable little 9 year old David Radcliffe (Harry Potter) - just to name a few. So, of course I had to read the book! It was more wonderful and beautiful and intricate than the movie, as is usually the case when comparing books to movies. While the film was moving, the book reaches into your soul, handcuffs itself to you, and shakes you up a bit until you feel like a different person. Dickens does that. He's pretty much the bomb. I loved the whole thing!

Minor frustration: I bought this book at a library book sale a while ago, and only just discovered (as I was reading and getting to the end and thinking, "There's an awful lot of plot left....I wonder how they're going to squeeze it all into the few pages left here...") that the book I bought was only Volume One of the novel David Copperfield! So I had to get it from the library so I could finish it. I've been searching on eBay and Amazon for the correct Volume Two to match my Volume One, but I've not been having any luck. *frustration*