Sunday, February 28, 2010

Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan

I was browsing through the teen new book section at my library and there sat Leviathan. I had been wanting to read a steam punk genre book and I had read a great review last week, so I added the book to my stack. Quite honestly I remember reading either Pretties or Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and not really enjoying it, though I did need to know the ending, I was not drawn into the world enough to pursue any of the other novels in the series. Nonetheless, the cover jaket summary gave me hope for Leviathan. I spilled tea on a book I was reading and had to layer paper towels and weigh it down with books in order to save it (the book is safe now and being read again). So I look over my stack of library loot and picked up Leviathan. It seemed like a good book for the afternoon.

Review: It was not my favorite book of February. It was a quick read. I think it took me about 3 hours. I read part of it Friday and finished it last night after Olympic coverage. I kept feeling as though the book was striving for its potential, but not quite reaching it. When it concluded I wondered if I had secretly been reading book one of a series. Having looked at Borders I know it is book one. I can forgive the ending now. The following is the trailer from the Borders web page

Summary: Alek is the son of Archduke Ferdinand, and a Clanker. Deryn is a Darwinist British soldier maquerading as Dylan to serve. Clankers and Darwinists are not exactly enemies, but they are definately not friends. At World War 1 in this alternate timeline begins, the lives of our two protagonists converge. Both youngster's have their world expanded, their training tested, and their beliefs questioned.

3 out of 5 stars.
Speculative Fiction Challenge 2010 book

Side Note: I definately want to check out more Steam Punk Novels. I liked the idea of the technologies.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

First Test

First Test By Tamora Pierce returns the reader to Tortall. I listened to the audio book. It was once again a lot of fun. Keladry is the first girl accepted into Page Training in the Kingdom of Tortall. However, She is under probation. She is in the first year to prove her worth or return to her parents home. For those who are familiar with Tamora Pierce's world, Kel has recently returned from living in the Yamani islands. Armed with her unique background and her determination, Kel begins to win over some pages, while building enemies among others. In order to avoid Spoiler's I refrain from sharing more, however I will say I love Kel's spunk and grit.

I continually enjoy reading of Tortall. This book is definately aimed towards younger readers than Terrier or Trickster's Queen. Kel was only 10 at the book's beginning, while Becca and Ali were a few years older. That definately has an impact on how the book plays out.

Speculative Fiction Challenge 2010
Fantasty Fiction Challenge 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010


I finished Persuasion by Jane Austen this week. It was not my favorite Jane Austen book. So here is my theory. I watched multiple versions of Emma before I read it and love it. I watched muliptle versions of Pride and Prejudice before reading it and loved it. I had no prior knowledge outside of the back book cover of Persuasion and it was a challenging book. So my theory is that part of the enjoyment when I read Austen is foreknowledge. Reading the cleverly written lines, while knowing full well what is going to happen later is a major part of my enjoyment. I the faux pas of Emma, as she bungles match making and  mixes up friendships are so much funnier knowing how the story ends. So here's what I plan on doing. Step one watch Persuasion. Step two read Persuasion again. I feel it didn't have the same change Austen's other books had.

At this point I would give Persasion a 3 out of 5.
This book is part of the Austen Challenge.
This book is part of the 451 Challenge.
Persuasion is the story of Ann Elliots. She lives with her sister Elizabeth and Father Sir Walter. Do to exravagent spending they lease out their property and move into simplier lodgings in Bath. However Anne spends time with her married sister Mary's and at the Lady Russell before joing her father in Bath. During those days, she meets back up with Frederick Wentworth, her love from 8 years ago. Through a series of events including new connections, families, and old associates, Jane Austen crafts a beautiful story around the life of Anne Elliot.

I got this book through using bookmooch.

Friday Fill-Ins

Visit Friday-Fill-Ins for all the other participants sentences.

1. A cup of tea is the perfect cure for ailments from sleeplessness, to sleepiness.

2.The right acessories makes a place feel like home.

3. Everything has its beauty Though not all has it clearly apparent.

4. To a lovely vanilla yogurt she added the beauftiful ripe berries, Ah how I love coming into summer and the taste of strawberries?

5. Art makes me Happy especially when I am creating. (see my newest art below)

6. LOL I just noticed I forgot to eat breakfast, but I just remedied that.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to more Olympics Coverage, tomorrow my plans include A walk with a friend if the weather cooperates and Sunday, I want to Bake something yummy!

Monday, February 22, 2010


Okay so, I have not been reading much. I am nearly done with Persuasion, and the Mermaid Chair. However, with the Olympics on, books, keep being put down to watch Olympic History. I love watching everything from Curling, to Moguls, to Ice Dancing. I have had time to crochet during commercials and cross country skiing. I have also utilized my crockpot to cook delicious stew without much effort, and I've done some inventive baking. Which leads me to the title.
Someone's blog shared a cupcake they recieved for Valentines Day which had a peppermint patty inside the cupcake. I thought, what else can I put in a cupcake.

One Betty Crocker Chocolate Cake Mix
1/2 c All Natural Peanut Butter
1/2 c Powdered sugar.
1 can of Whipped Chocolate Frosting

How To:
I mixed the peanut butter and powdered sugar together in a bowl and set aside.Then I mized the cake mix as directed (I substituted Apple Sauce for the oil.).  Next I filled mini muffin tins as directed. Then I took about a chunk of the peanut butter mixture (about an average marble size). I flattened it and pushed it just below the surface of the cupcake batter. Bake as normal (mini cupcakes take less time than regular size). After they were cool, I gave them a thin layer of chocolate frostings. I took them over to my pastor's house for evening church and had no leftovers.

I had requests for making them again.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins February 19

Clearly I have Olympics on my mind. I only pause to watch my hour of Gilmore Girls and then it's back to whatever channel has the best sport.

1. Johnny Weir leaves an impression (and is bilingual, which is cool).

2. I am planning my schedule around the 2010 Olympics.

3. And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was overcome by the chances awaiting the fairy upon reaching full bloom.

4. There are things in the Olympics like the triple lutz, which take practice and skill, that you must work for years to obtain. Then there are things like throwing a stone in curling, which while not achievable on Olympic level, are indeed attemptable, if you get an urge.

5. Having sweet dreams comes from having a sweet life hypothesized the character in animal dreams, but I'd leave it at enables one to wake up rested.

6. What does it take to create an art piece worthy of being sold.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching ice dancing, tomorrow my plans include housework and more Olympics and Sunday, I want to be watching the ice dancing finals!

Weekly fun hosted at Friday Fill-Ins

Thursday, February 18, 2010

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of those required books I read in school. As my 7th grade computer class is reading it Literature and doing an extension project in computers, I thought I would reread the classic text. I am so glad I did. Harper Lee did a superb job crafting her novel.

Summary: Scout Finch is the daughter of Atticus, a lawyer in Maycomb, Alabama. The book covers a few years of her childhood. When her father is appointed as the defense attourny of a black man against a white family, Scouts idyllic existence begins to erode. Scout and her brother Jem learn about the harsh realities within 1930’s Alabama. Through various members of her family and town Scout discovers racial issues, class differences, and most importantly standing up for what is right.

Review: The book is worthy of classic status. The book was meticulously researched. Details about the Great Depression, the state of Alabama, and the current events of the time were integrated into the story to create a natural memoir feel to the text. It even included a section about Alabama in the Rose bowl. Personally I know they were in the Rose Bowl multiple times during the 1930’s. The book also deals with cultural issues of the south in the 1930’s. The racial issues in the book are well developed and complicated, which carried a Scout through understanding the society she was growing up within. Her father chided them to not take advantage of those who were easy prey. He aunt, while displaying her own prejudices, urged her to be proud of history. Her community displayed the best and the worst humanity offered. Lastly, the mockingbirds, which do no harm, are explained on multiple levels.

Recommendation: A Resounding Yes (5 out of 5). If you have not read it, find a copy and give it a go. If you have read it as a child but have forgotten it, it is worth a reread. I am certainly glad I picked it up.

This book is also part of the 451 Challenge 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl was my most recent audio book completed. I am not certain about what to do with it. I enjoyed listening to the story, but had issues with the book upon completion. It is part of a series and I think I would give the next book a try, but I am not rushing to acquire it. At times it was fascinating, and at times I felt it was a bit oversimplified.

3 Good Things.
1. The LEP fairy Holly Short was clever and determined. I looked forward to when the narration moved to Holly's thoughts. 

2. I loved how the narrator kept pausing upon introducing characters and saying that they're story was a tale for another day. It gave a sense that this story was just one episode within the larger scheme of life. The minor characters were not just 2D props, but greater players in other areas of their life.

3. The advancements in fairy technology were primarily the result of a Centaur's hard work. I appreciate the diverse creatures within the fairy realm.

2 Not so Good things
1. It irritated me that I never could decide who the protagonist actually was.

2. I did not like Artemis. I could not develop any warmth towards his creative genius. In fact, I did not care for his devious nature either. I am wondering if he gets more engaging as the series progresses.

3. I felt at times the characters were talking down to the readers. Oversimplifying and underestimating the reader. It is a YA book, so maybe it doesn't but my YA friends are clever and would not approve of being talked down to.

Speculative Fiction Challenge 2010

Fantasty Fiction Challenge 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and The Olympians

I love the series and I shared my books with 3 more people. Opening day of the movie was Friday and I had a lot of fun watching the movie with a few friends. All who watched it, loved it. The movie was a bit different than the first book. However, I've come to appreciate the differences in media between the printed text and a moving picture. Not everything translates well between the two. Differences must occur. That being said, There were things I was dissappointed about. There were characters I missed and some changes that I felt were out of character with the overall world created by Riordan.

Would I recommend the movie? Yes.
For people who loved the books, keep an open mind. For people who haven't read them, you get to watch without syncronization issues, so enjoy it.

Mailbox Monday Feb 15th

I have two new books. First, Who Owns the World. I pre-ordered it from Borders and have really enjoyed the parts I have read. I had no idea about the details of ownership between monarchies and the lands they rule. The second is Cleopatra's Daughter. I won this autographed copy at Celtic Lady Reviews.   I am definately look forward to reading this lovely book.

Happy Reading.

This meme is hosted by The Printed Page.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins Feb 12

1. Pickles pickles, pickles, smells, pickle train conductor, to quote Loreli Gilmore.

2. I’m hiding out at my local Starbucks because I have a ton of things on my to do list that are screaming at me at home.

3. The snow is great when I visit it in the mountains where it lives, but not so great when it coats my roads and invades my daily life.

4. Sometimes I sit and look out my picture window, the big one that overlooks the lake and smile, thankful for the variety scene in nature.

5. It's 5:16 PM; that means I’m eating dinner and watching the daily Gilmore Girls episode laughing with Stars Hollow.

6. A good pair of shoes is hard to find.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to The Lightening Thief, Dinner with friends, and the Opening of Olympics , tomorrow my plans include Attending my monthly art group and watching Olympics and Sunday, I want to sleep in!

This is part of Friday Fill-Ins  a fun weekly blog meme that stretches my creativity.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Historic Fiction Book Question.

My principal is not happy with the quality of the current literature book that accompanies the Aztec, Mayan, and Incan history class. Does anyone have a suggestion for an appropriate YA book around one of these three civilizations? It would be for middle school aged students. For an idea of their reading level, I know they read Three Cups of Tea and To Kill a Mockingbird.

I found a few by searching. It would even be helpful if someone knew something about one of the listed books:

The Well of Sacrifice by Chris Eboch
Colibri by Ann Cameron

Thanks for any help you are able to offer.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Ophelia, (yes Hamlet's Ophelia)

Ophelia by Lisa Klein was a find in the YA section of my local library. I remember falling in love with the story of Hamlet my senior year in high school. We read Hamlet, we watched Hamlet, and then we watched Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Since then I have always enjoyed Hamlet adventures. So, imagine my excitement at getting to read the story of Hamlet from the perspective of Ophelia. Lisa Klein has re-imagined the story of Hamlet through the eyes of Ophelia.

Unfortunately, I cannot say that I loved this book. The book started out brilliantly. Ophelia narrates beginning as a young girl. However, I had a difficult time during the middle part of the book. I almost gave up on the book, but I was curious about how the book was going to conclude. I am glad that I finished the book. If you are a fan of Hamlet, the end is worth perseverence.

This book is part of the Historic Fiction Challenge 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Sisters Who Would Be Queen

Sister's Who Would Be Queen by Leanda de Lisle is a Non-fiction account of The Grey sisters, who were Grand-nieces of Henry VIII.

Borders Description: "Mary, Katherine, and Jane Grey--sisters whose mere existence nearly toppled a kingdom and altered a nation's destiny--are the captivating subjects of de Lisle's book. The author breathes fresh life into these three women's lives and provides perspective on their place within history."

After reading a few positive reviews and the above description I was eager to get my hands on the book. I had to do an inter-library loan to acquire the book. I'd read both fiction and non-fiction books about Jane before and honestly knew little about her sisters. I finally began the book a few days ago.

The Good: I thought the book was very well reseached. The author takes time to not only elucidate facts, but also to dispell common myths. I appreciated that. Additionally, I felt the book was very readable and neatly organized. I also loved the family trees in the beginning of the book.

The Negative: The great number of people in the Grey sister's life would be overwelming for someone not steeped in Tudor life. I would have appreciated a glossary of people. The other issue is the book was quite Jane heavy. Since both Katherine and Mary outlived their sister, I had expected a higher percentage of their life included.

Reccomendation: Those who enjoy reading about English history, particularily the Tudor era, will enjoy this very readable non-fiction account of the Grey family. I would be careful reccommending this to a Novice to the Tudor era.

Friday, February 5, 2010

My First Award. Quite Exciting

This was given to me by Jenny Q (The Lady Quilan) at Let Them Read Books.

The rules for this award are rather simple. All I have to do is answer the following questions with a single word answer and then pass this along to five bloggers.

(1) Your Cell Phone? Cracked

(2) Your Hair? Long

(3) Your Mother? Crafter

(4) Your Father? Historian

(5) Your Favorite Food? Pizza

(6) Your Dream Last Night? heartwrenching

(7) Your Favorite Drink? Caffeinated

(8) Your Dream/Goal? Author

(9) What Room Are You In? Greatroom

(10) Your Hobby? computers

(11) Your Fear? lonliness

(12) Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? Marseilles

(13) Where Were You Last Night? Ents

(14) Something That You Aren't? Slender

(15) Muffins? Cosco

(16) Wish List Item? theatre

(17) Where Did You Grow Up? northwest

(18) Last Thing You Did? Blog

(19) What Are You Wearing? flannel

(20) Your TV? none

(21) Your Pets? rocks

(22) Friends? Few

(23) Your Life? Busy

(24) Your Mood? Melancholy

(25) Missing Someone? always

(26) Vehicle? Jeep

(27) Something You Aren't Wearing? socks

(28) Your Favorite Store? Target

(29) Your Favorite Color? Green

(30) When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Thursday

(31) Last Time You Cried? Thursday

(32) Your Best Friend? Rachel

(33) One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Starbucks

(34) Facebook? disenchanted

(35) Favorite Place To Eat? depends

I'm passing this award along to some of blogs that I am currently enjoying.
1. Confessions and Ramblings of a Muse in the Fog
2. Life Undivided
3. Tudor Literature Piece
4. My Life In Not So Many Words
5. Brenda Loves Books

Friday Fill-Ins Feb 5

Friday Fill In’s (My first but fill-in 162) Hosted at Friday Fill-Ins
1. I know all the species in the Camilidae family (camels, dromenaries, llamas, vicunas, guanacos, and alpacas.)
2. How is it that February only has 28 days and yet this already seems like the world’s the longest month.
3. You can't help but laugh when it begins pouring down rain right as you head out across the parking lot.
4.  Printer cartridges on back order, computer incompatibility problems, and two open houses; bring it on!
5. Where have you looked for joy this week? I looked into the eyes of my favorite 12 year old as she sported lovely neon pink earrings.
6. Molded cream cheese for a Super bowl bash is now available.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching my newest Netflic movie, tomorrow my plans include Open house and Cooking Crockpot Chili and Sunday, I want to Bring on the food and Party Super Bowl Style!

Sundays a Tiffanys... Expect the Unexpected

This is my first James Patterson book. He wrote it with Gabrielle Charbonnet. I read a good review from one of my fellow bloggers and then ran across it in the audio book section at my library. Quite honestly, it was the title that was the tipping point. One of my favorite songs is Breakfast at Tiffany's by Deep Blue Something. I actually watched the movie because of the song. So now the song has led me to James Patterson.

First, I was not prepared for the book. It has some intense moments. I was quite overwhelmed by the twists and turns. At one point I metaphorically slammed the book on the dashboard and threatened the author. I feel like if a book can elicit that extreme of a response, then it is definately worth a review.

The story begins with Jane and her imaginary friend Michael. Her life is difficult, but since she has Michael, she is not alone. Then fast forward to Jane as a adult. One day she is at the Regis and she sees Michael. The changes in her life that ensue hard for me to begin to describe without filling my blog with spoilers.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Art of Racing in the Rain

I saw this at Cosco the other day. I read it in hardback, but I guess now the Art of Racing in the Rain is out in paperback. For more information on the author Garth Stein and his other books, visit his website.

I smile as I remember Enzo. This book was an unexpected treasure. The book is set in the Greater Seattle area. The protagonist and narrator is a dog. He observes the life of his master through triumphs and tribulations. I read the store copy at a Starbucks. I would stay after my shift ended curled up reading it until I had to dash off to class. It captured me from the very beginning. While the dog as the narrator, it was edgier than your average dog story.


Enzo, looks back over his life and tells the reader about life as he best understood it. We journey back in time and follow Enzo the dog as he attempted to sort out changes around him. His owner Denny was a race car driver and watched races on TV with him. Denny’s life altering events including marriage and parenthood were all witnessed through the eyes of Enzo. The reader is drawn into the confusion and mystery Enzo experienced as he from his four-pawed perspective tried to sort out how to help the people he cared about. We also learn about Enzo’s perspective of life as his philosophical commentary adds an additional layer to the plotline.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Terrier, first of 3 Beka Cooper Books. by Tamora Pierce

I checked this out from my local library as an audio book. I loved Terrier. The narrator was an excellent reader. By the time the first CD was completed, I was eager to travel in my car in order to continue the story.

The story is set in Tortall. In the city of Korus, Beka Cooper was a trainie in the Provost Guards. Called a puppy, she was assigned to two senior guards. Her dogs were the legendary Goodwin and Tunstall. Assigned to the lower city, Beka begins to see her childhood home through the eyes of a guard. Beka had an unusual purple eyed cat and more unusual talents. Her granny called it a bit of magic. Although no lower city dog has an easy life, her puppy training takes an abrupt uphill curve when she begins investigating, not one but two cases of missing folk. She gathers caring folk from the lower city including those not completely on the side of the law into a team determined to set some things right.

Having finished the book in it's audio version I can say I have enjoyed both reading (seemy review of Trickster's Choice) and listening to Tamora Pierce. Her characters have strengths and flaws. Beka is determined to protect the vulnerable, and yet at the same time timid to speak up. Her characters seem to grow. The difference between Beka at the beginning and end of the book clearly reflects her adventures within the book. Thirdly, I appreciate how Tamora has created an imaginary world full of fantasy, still enabling the reader to connect with the structure and the fabric of the life. Tortall is rich and unique, yet there is much that I can see in my own country.

I give this book a 5 out of 5. I would definately read or listen to it again.
If you have not read a Tamora Pierce book, check this one out. And, if you an audio book listener, consider giving it a listen.

This audio book fulfils a book in Fantasy Challenge 2010

This audio book also fufills a book in Speculative Fiction 2010

Mail Box Monday Feb 1

I was convinced that I would not buy, borrow, or acquire any new books this last week, and then I walkked into  B&N needing to kill a half hour. I have two new books. They were only $2 each are not fiction. That helps.
This first is The Acrylic Pain Color Wheel Book by John Barber. (no picture found) I'm hoping to improve my color mixing abilities.
The second is Pretty Little Patchwork, which is full of patch quilt projects. I think it will be instructive and a useful companion to my newish sewing machine.

So that is all. Not a lot to report.

Thanks to the Printed Page for hosting.