Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Scott Westerfeld with his new book, Leviathan.
It was really cool to meet these authors because they are some of my favorites. I love going to book signings but there never seems to be that many around here. So it was really fun. Have any of you guys met any authors recently?
Monday, November 30, 2009
I read this book a really long time ago, so I don't remember it too well. Sorry about that. But I can still write a review about it! The one thing that I like and dislike about these books is that they are set in England and written by an English author. I think it's a good thing because I like learning about different cultures and broadening my horizons. But I hate that I sometimes don't understand the slang and usage of certain words. So that could be a deciding factor when you see this book in the library or bookstore. But the characters, especially Shiraz, are interesting and really funny. Shiraz sometimes comes off as stupid, but she is actually really smart, which I like. Her family is working class, and I like that she is able to leave that behind and continue with her education in the "smart" classes. I think that it's a story many people can relate to and will hopefully inspire people to continue school even if your family doesn't encourage it.
6 out of 10.
Release Date: December 1, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
2. The Line by Teri Hall
3. All Unquiet Things by Anna Jarzab
4. The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I loved this book! I could stop reading Fat Cat. I loved the characters, especially Cat. She was really smart and I thought her science project was so unique. I liked seeing her become healthy and was happy that she finally became comfortable in her own body. I also really enjoyed reading about her foray into the world of boys. Robin Brande really knows how to get into the mind of a teenager and wrote Cat's thoughts and ideas wonderfully. I would recommend Fat Cat to any fans of young adult literature.
9 out of 10.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
When Libba Bray announced the synopsis for Going Bovine, I thought it was a joke. It sounded so weird that I was certain she was just joking around. But I was wrong. I probably would never have read this book because it sounded so odd; but I love Libba and thought I would give it a try.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Once again, another book for English class. I apologize for the lack of YA books. I've been really busy but have some reviews coming up (hopefully). Anyway, I loved The Great Gatsby. A lot of people have told me that they liked it and I completely agree with them. It's such an easy read, you have no idea that the book is about 80 years old. Even with the time difference, it's easy to relate to the characters, setting, and conflict. I don't want to give too much away, but the book is a tragic love story juxtaposed with social commentary on the 1920s. F. Scott Fitzgerald was part of the Lost Generation and it is easy to see his feelings of discontent with society at the time. I must say, the ending is a tad anti-climatic, but it fit well with the story. The Great Gatsby is a timeless novel that will appeal to readers of all generations.
8 out of 10.
Monday, October 19, 2009
This poetic, graceful love story, rooted in Black folk traditions and steeped in mythic realism, celebrates boldly and brilliantly African-American culture and heritage. And in a powerful, mesmerizing narrative, it pays quiet tribute to a Black woman who, though constricted by the times, still demanded to be heard.
Originally published in 1937 and long out of print, the book was reissued in 1975 and nearly three decades later Their Eyes Were Watching God is considered a seminal novel in American fiction. (taken from amazon)
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Monday, October 12, 2009
I absolutely loved this book! It was just as good as The Hunger Games, and maybe even better! I had been anxiously the release of Catching Fire ever since I read the first book a year ago. It definitely reached and then surpassed my expectations. The romance with Peeta (one of my favorite parts) was still present, but the reader also gets romantic tension with Gale, which was absent in the first novel. I also liked learning about the districts and capitol and a little bit of the history about them. The president (who is more like a dictator) is even a character in Catching Fire, which is cool. I loved the twists and turns the story took and every other page I was saying "Oh my god" to something that happened. I could not put Catching Fire down and now cannot wait for the third installment. How will I survive?
10 out of 10.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
My latest book, The Circle of Friends, Book IV…Mike, features two main characters, Mike and Danielle.
Mike enters the story as a likeable but troubled young man harboring a tremendous amount of guilt. A past incident resulted in a slip of moral judgment and Mike now regrets his decision. He also feels guilt regarding his feeling towar d his best friend’s wife, and fights those feelings on a daily basis. On the surface his life appears quite ideal – Mike is a member of the football team and will graduate soon from college. However, his internal conflicts have prevented Mike from growing as a person.
Danielle is a lot less troubled, but she has issues as well. She is a strong-willed, outgoing young woman who sometimes intimidates others with her assertive nature. She has no difficulty cultivating relationships but struggles to maintain friendships. She’s occasionally demanding of others, and Danielle is a bit of a perfectionist.
Both characters have flaws and imperfections, but it’s these very traits that make them interesting. How they deal with these issues becomes the meat of the story.
Danielle’s friendship challenge is a fault of which she is aware, especially when she is hard pressed to find a Maid of Honor. Sensing Mike’s concerns regarding his friendship with Matt and Sarah, she works very hard to maintain close contact with Sarah. Once she and Mike are married, her independent and perfectionist nature must compromise to accommodate her husband. A crisis toward the end of the story also forces Danielle’s assertive dominance to subside, although it nearly destroys her spirit in the process.
Mike’s changes are more dramatic. His relocation to New Mexico removes the temptation of Sarah, but it’s not until Danielle enters his life that Mike finally overcomes his struggle. However, his guilt remains, and when forced to recognize his mistakes, Mike almost folds. With Danielle’s help he is able to forgive himself, and at that point feels he is free. However, as often happens, issues have a way of resurfacing when new challenges appear. Mike experiences a moment of total relapse and grows angry and resentful. He flounders mentally and emotionally, trying to place blame rather than accept his present situation. Only through the help of a friend is he able to acknowledge his immature behavior and accept his responsibilities.
Just like real life, challenges are required to inspire character growth. When life proceeds smoothly and no risks are taken, growth doesn’t occur. It’s in the trials and tribulations that strength is discovered. The person who refuses to move forward stagnates. If no character rises to the call, then the reader is disappointed and feels just as stunted. Without any challenges, the story stalls and grows boring.
Mike and Danielle face numerous situations that force then to change. They are by no means perfect by the end of the story, but they are much further along. It’s my hope that not only will readers enjoy following their growth, they will experience a little personal growth as well!
L. Diane Wolfe, professional speaker & author
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
I was pleasantly surprised by The Catcher in the Rye. I thought that I wouldn't like it, but I actually did. I had to read it for my AP English literature class, so look out for reviews on a bunch of "classics" because I have to do a lot of reading for that class. Anyway, Holden definitely has that teenage angst/moodiness thing going on. He is what some adults think every teenager is like. He's sarcastic, uses profanity, fails classes in school, the whole deal. He also thinks that everyone around him is "phony" and is putting on some kind of act. I actually thought that aspect of his personality was quite annoying. Obviously, there's psychological reasons why he thinks that way, but to believe that everyone is putting up some kind of front is ridiculous. It's also ridiculous because Holden lies all the time. Besides that, I enjoyed the book immensely. It was easy to read and was actually pretty funny at times, since it's told in first person with Holden narrating the story. It was not what I expected at all, but in a good way. I would definitely recommend this book to all readers, and especially to those who need a "classic" for their book report.
7 out of 10.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I recently received an email from a representative of http://www.booksalemanager.com/. She wanted to let me (and other bloggers) know that there is a website with lists of book sales that support local libraries. All you have to do is type in your zip code and state and find tons of used book sales. Read on for more info.
All across the nation, many Friends of the Library organizations hold book sales that feature cheap books that were either donated or removed from circulation. Typically these sales sell books, CDs, magazines, and DVDs for rock bottom prices. A typical sale will sell most of their items for under 3 dollars.
Being charity organizations, these Friends of the Library organizations often have limited resources to advertise and promote their sales. As such, many people are never made aware of the excellent deals they are missing within their own communities. That's where booksalemanager.com comes in. We are attempting to bridge the gap between Organizations looking to more effectively advertise their sale, and people looking to find more places to get good deals on books and media.
Friends of the Library organizations and other non-profit groups can freely advertise their sale on our site. Our site currently has 2500 active listings, and we have been adding over 100 everyday.
People looking to find sales can use our powerful search tools to find these sales. They can search by state, zip code, sale size, and date ranged. Furthermore, people can create an account and save sales to their calendar to help them better track the sales they want to go to. You can also sign up for notifications to be emailed when a new sale in your area is listed, or a reminder email a few days before the sales on your calendar so you don’t ever miss a sale you want to attend.
I believe book sales are a great way to find bargain books and media while at the same time supporting the local libraries and non profits we all know and love. It's a total win-win.
I thought this was such a good idea and will definitely be using it to find cheap books.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Family Legacy Workshop
Can you tell us about the Family Legacy Workshop?
I teach people how to take their family history or their own autobiography and turn it into interesting stories. It’s important to teach our children their heritage. Each of us has a story from our ancestors to tell. If these stories are unwritten, then they’ll be lost forever. Our children need to be proud of their ancestors. To read samples of what you can do with your stories, visit my website at http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/ and read the “short stories” of my ancestors.
How is writing about ancestry different than writing fiction?
When writing your own ancestors stories, everything is taken from biographies, letters, or autobiographies. Sometimes, they’re stories that have been handed down for generations. Leon Garfield said: “The historian, if honest, gives us a photograph; the storyteller gives us a painting.” What I’m teaching people to do is how to paint their stories, to be the storyteller.
What kind of information do people need to have before they start writing their family history?
First, write down any experiences that you remember. Talk to family members and discuss memories. Use letters they wrote to one another. If possible, go to the area your ancestors settled, walk around, find specific places of importance, where your ancestors lived, went to school, and played. If you can’t go there, then do research and find pictures of that area. Time Period is another important part of research. Find out what the country was going through, and insert it in the history of your ancestor. The turmoil of a country helps you to understand what your family went through and why they suffered. Did they live during the depression, and if so, how did it affect them? If they lived during war times, it helps your children understand why their grandparents had such tough times. When writing my father’s biography, I found out that in 1942 they rationed gas to three gallons a week. To me, that was amazing. How about prices? Did it cost ten cents to go to the movies and five cents for an ice cream cone? And what flavors existed? Did they travel by horse and buggy or a Model T Ford?
What have you learned from traveling all over the United States?
I have learned that many, many people are interested in writing their family history. I have met wonderful people who are family oriented or want to bridge the gape between them and their children by writing their stories down.
I see that you work with abused teenagers. What techniques do you use to teach writing as a therapeutic tool?
Writing can be a healing process. When writing your own autobiography or even fiction, it helps to express your innermost feelings and desires. What I teach the youth are the writing techniques that will help them put a story together. We discuss setup, characters, plot, and the importance of conflict and emotion. The secret of holding a reader is using emotion. It’s the difference between a slow or a lively recounting of a story. The greatest reward I received was the hug of a young teenager.
What is your historical fiction novel David and the Bear Lake Monster about?
It’s about deep-rooted legends, long family traditions, and a few mysterious events! While visiting the Roberts family, David finds himself entranced with one very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. Sarah isn’t like the average woman. This beautiful and dainty lady has a disability that no one seems to notice. He finds out that Sarah has gone through more trials than the average person. She teaches him the importance of not dwelling on the past and how to love life. After a few teases, tricks, and mischievous deeds, David begins to overcome his troubles, but will it be too late? Will he lose the one woman he adores? And how about the Bear Lake Monster? Does it really exist?
It was so much fun to research. My great grandmother, Sarah Eckersley Robinson, was my inspiration. I wanted to use her experiences for my heroine to bring some reality into my story. As a child, she lost her hearing but she never let her deafness stop her from living life to its fullness. I took a lot of her experiences from her biography and gave them to my heroine to bring some reality into my story.
Sarah was known as one of the most graceful dancers in town. My mother told me that she glided across the floor with ease, with just a touch of her partner’s hand. Sarah had such agility and gracefulness while swimming, that people actually threw coins in the water so they could watch her dive after them. Once an intruder hid in her bedroom under her bed, thinking he could take advantage of her since she was deaf. He must have thought she was an easy victim but was sadly mistaken. She swatted him out from under her bed with a broom, and all the way out of the house, and down the street for a couple blocks, whacking him as she ran. What a courageous woman! Because of my admiration for my great grandmother, I named my character “Sarah.”
In my research about the “hearing impaired,” and talking to a friend who became deaf in her youth, I became educated about the struggles they have to bear. I didn’t realize that concentrating on reading lips for long periods of time could be such a strain, resulting in a splitting headache. After all my research, I found that I had even more respect for my great grandmother and her disability.
Now you may wonder about the Bear Lake Monster and how it fits into my story. Is it fiction or non-fiction? Well, my book is considered historical fiction so I decided to add some parts of history that may sound incredible to you but actually happened.
The mystery of the Bear Lake Monster has been an exciting part of Idaho history ever since the early pioneers arrived. Some people claimed to have seen it and gave descriptions of it. The monster’s eyes were flaming red and its ears stuck out from the sides of its skinny head. Its body was long, resembling a gigantic alligator, and it could swim faster than a galloping horse. Of course, it only came out in the evening or at dusk.
Throughout the years, no one has ever disproved the Bear Lake Monster. A bunch of scientists tried to discredit the monster and said it was a huge codfish that was shipped in from the East but could not prove this theory. Does the Bear Lake Monster exist? Whatever conclusion is drawn, the legend still lives on and brings a great deal of mystery and excitement to the community.
I love to learn about the past. It has always intrigued me but one of the greatest reasons was because I had just finished writing my ancestors’ stories and their experiences were still vivid in my mind. They settled in Paris, Idaho so I decided to set my Òfamily sagaÓ in Bear Lake Valley and then gave some of my fictional characters their experiences. To me, it brings a story to life. For example: In “Melinda and the Wild West,” I inserted an experience that happened to my dad. When he was young, his father asked him to bury the skunks he had shot. Before my dad buried them, he drained their scent glands into a bottle. He called it “skunk oil.” Then he took it to school to show his friends. While explaining how he had done it, he must have gotten a little too excited because he accidentally dropped the bottle and it splattered on the floor. The scent of concentrated skunk oil permeated the room with a stench that was indescribable. Everyone ran out of the school as fast as their little legs would go. And the teacher followed close behind. My father said that he was a hero for one day because he got school out for his classmates. This novel eventually won an award as one of the semi-finalists for the “Reviewers Choice Award 2007.”
In “Edith and the Mysterious Stranger,” I based this story around the courtship of my parents. They wrote letters to one another before they ever met. She said that she fell in love with the soul of my father, what was deep down inside and they didn’t even know what one another looked like. The day they met, my mother told me that her heart leapt within her and a warm glow filled her soul and she knew she would marry this man. I knew this would be the basis of my next novel, but there’s one difference. In my story, you don’t know who the mysterious stranger is until the end of the book. Some readers guessed right while others were pleasantly surprised.
What do you like most about being an author?
I love uplifting others with my stories. To bring a smile or a laugh to a weary person makes it all worthwhile. I also enjoy teaching others to write and see the enthusiasm in their faces.
How did you know that you wanted to be a writer?
I have always loved writing, but it wasn’t until I wrote my own ancestor’s stories that I realized how much I loved it. Afterward, I couldn’t stop writing so I turned to historical fiction.
Is there any other information you think the readers would like to know about?
Oh yes! “Elena, Woman of Courage” is the last in this series and was just released. It’s set in 1925. It was a blast to research. I found words that I didn’t even know such as: Cat’s pajamas! Ah, horsefeathers! Attaboy! Baloney! You slay me! When referring to a woman, they used doll, tomato, and bearcat. When a person was in love, he was goofy. If a person was a fool, he was a sap. And when a woman wasn’t in the mood for kissing or romance, she would say, “The bank’s closed.” I was able to use all these words and much more in my book. The language was great!
It’s about a “Happy-go-lucky Bachelor” that is completely fascinated with a woman doctor: Elena Yeates. Of course, women weren’t encouraged to go to college back then, let alone become a doctor, and this fascinates him to no end. With the 1920’s rise of women’s rights, this novel gives you an insight at the struggles women had to go through, while watching a young love blossom! To read an excerpt, visit http://www.lindaweaverclarke.com/samplechapters.html.
Thank you so much Linda for doing this interview with me! I, and the other readers, have certainly learned a lot about you, your books, and the Family Legacy Workshop. If you would like to learn more about Linda Weaver Clarke, please visit her website.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
I have been swimming competitively for almost ten years, so reading a book about an Olympic swimmer is right up my alley. Though I am nowhere as good as Pip, I could definitely relate to her love of the water. I originally picked up this book because I wanted to see how the author would approach the topic of swimming. Everything I saw seemed correct, but I actually wish there were more references to swimming. The author probably wanted to make this book accessible to people who have no knowledge of swimming, but I would have liked to see this book be a little more authentic.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Since this book is written by Sarah Dessen, you automatically know it will be good. And Along for the Ride definitely was. It wasn't my favorite (it's still Just Listen) but it was one of the better books Sarah has written. What I really like about Sarah's books is that she continually uses people and locales from her other books. So we got to go to Colby again (it appears in both Keeping the Moon and The Truth About Forever), and the characters that live there (Isabel, for instance). I like that all the books are connected. What was also fun was that I was in North Carolina while reading this book, which was neat because all the books take place in that state.
What I realized about Sarah's books after reading Along for the Ride was the complexity of the plot. There are always a lot of different things going on, but they are intertwined nicely into a wonderful story. Seriously, we had Auden's relationship with a bunch of different people (her parents, brother, Heidi, Eli, the girls at the shop), then all the stuff with college, learning to ride a bike, the insomniac/childhood quest with Eli, overcoming stereotypes, stuff like that. It's just crazy how many different things go on, and it's all completely relevant and interesting at the same time. And that is why I love Sarah's books. Okay, it's not the only reason, but it definitely makes her books stand out from the other ones on the shelf. So go out and read this, and while you're at it, pick up the rest of Sarah Dessen's work.
8 out of 10.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Friday, July 31, 2009
I know a lot of people really liked Prophecy of the Sisters, but I wasn't that impressed by it. I wanted to love it, because I had heard great things about it. Instead, I felt like the author was so close to writing a good book, but didn't go that extra step. Not to say that Prophecy of the Sisters wasn't enjoyable or entertaining, because it was, it just wasn't all that good. In short, the book is pretty much about two sisters who are on different sides: one's good and one's evil. Lia and Alice are twins, and supposedly they used to be close, but now are not. I wish the author provided more backstory so we could witness the change and learn more about these two girls. The author just jumped into the story without explaining anything else, and it took awhile for the reader to become acquainted with the two main characters. I also thought the book was really predictable. There were some "twists" that I guessed would happen before they actually did.
Prophecy of the Sisters has also been likened to the Gemma Doyle trilogy, but I don't think it's anywhere near as good as that series. It's definitely similar, so if you enjoyed A Great and Terrible Beauty, you'll be familiar with some of the themes present in this book. Fortunately, Prophecy of the Sisters is supposed to be a trilogy, so I think we'll get more backstory on both Lia and Alice, and then the prophecy itself. Hopefully, those extra books will add more depth to this series.
7 out of 10.
Release Date: August 1, 2009
Side Note: This is the cover of the ARC, but I thought it was cool, even though I like the hardcover better. I discovered from Reading Keeps You Sane's On the Outside post that this cover was meant for the hardcover, but enough reviewers didn't like it, that they decided to change it. Which do you like better?