Monday, August 30, 2010

From Dusk Till Dawn Read a Thon Wrap Up

I had a lot of fun participating in this read a thon.  I didn't get as much read as I would have liked.  Here is what I did get read.

The Shadow of the Wind

Four books isn't bad, and except for Push, they are all pretty substantial books.

Review: Life Before Man

Life Before Man

Synopsis from Amazon:
Imprisoned by walls of their own construction, here are three people, each in midlife, in midcrisis, forced to make choices--after the rules have changed. Elizabeth, with her controlled sensuality, her suppressed rage, is married to the wrong man. She has just lost her latest lover to suicide. Nate, her gentle, indecisive husband, is planning to leave her for Lesje, a perennial innocent who prefers dinosaurs to men. Hanging over them all is the ghost of Elizabeth's dead lover...and the dizzying threat of three lives careening inevitably toward the same climax.

My review:
Margaret Atwood is one of my favorite authors.  This is one of her earlier books and is very different from most of her most recent works.  Like most of her books, Life Before Man is focused mainly on the characters and their interactions with each other.  I really didn't like Elizabeth.  I thought she was controlling and annoying.  She has cheated on Nate for most of their marriage, having one lover after another and not hiding it from him.  But the moment he finds a girlfriend, somebody who he genuinely loves, Elizabeth freaks out and wants to get him back.  Nate was also kind of annoying.  He is spineless and would not stand up to his wife.  I did like how the characters were very developed and you get to know them very well, not an easy task in 200 some pages.  Like usual, I love Atwood's writing style and the focus on the characters.   I have to say that this is not one of her best books, and you can definitely tell that she has grown a lot as a writer.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day, Newton

Isn't he adorable

Three years ago, my husband and I got our adorable kitty, Newton.  We had been looking for a cat for a few weeks.  When I found his picture online, we immediately knew that he was the one.  His picture was so cute; his tongue was stuck out just a tiny bit, something he still does sometimes when he gets really excited. When we went to his foster home, he was the first one to come meet us. It was like it was meant to be!

He loves to curl up on objects that are dark colored. This makes it very hard to see him, especially in the dark.  On more than one occasion, one of us has gotten our feet attacked while getting up in the middle of the night. 

Newton is a total momma's boy.  He especially loves to curl up with me when I am reading on the couch.  He is also very fond of his "grandpa" (my father in law).  This is mostly because he gives Newton a lot of treats just about every day.  He also loves running up and down the stairs.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Read a thon Update and Mini Challenge

Here is what I have read so far:

Since it is Ramadan, Reading Through Life has asked what you what choose to eat for a fast breaking meal without worrying about calories.  Here is what I would pick:

-Some kind of pasta
- A fruity drink like a cosmopolitan or strawberry daquiri
- Hot breadsticks or rolls
- Cheesecake

Knitting projects

I am very lucky to have wonderful in-laws, especially my mother-in-law.  I have always been interested in crafty hobbies, but my mom was never into that kind of stuff.  So I was happy when I met my husband's mom, who is an artist.  She is amazing at whatever she tries.  About three years ago, she got really interested in knitting and she taught me.  I really enjoy it, and try to do as much as possible.  Somehow I acquired a ton of yarn with nothing in particular to do with it.  I decided to knit some things for charity.  So far I have made 10 baby hats and I am starting on some cushion things for pets in shelters to lay on.  My favorite hat is the yellow and blue stripes. This is the first time I have knit something with more than one color, and I think it looks pretty good! I also like the yellow ones that have hearts and diamonds on them.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

From Dusk Till Dawn Read a Thon

Book Crazy is hosting the From Dusk Till Dawn Read a thon this week.  Since I start school next week, I thought this would be a great way to finish up some reading before I start.  The point of this read a thon is to read from 8 pm to 8 am (hence the name).  Go over to Book Crazy to sign up.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Can't Believe I've Never Read

1. The Bible- Have it on my shelf, but haven't read it.  I just haven't been able to get past the religion part and consider it literature.
2. Middlemarch- Own it, but it is so big and intimidating.
3. Ulysses- Ditto.  Also, it is widely considered one of the best books ever, so I feel pressure to get through it and like it.
4. Most books by Charles Dickens- I read Great Expectations in high school and enjoyed it.  I recently tried to read a couple of his other books and couldn't get through them.
5. The Fountainhead- Again, own it but always keep passing over it to read other books.
6. Most YA books- I see all of these young adult books on blogs all over the place.  I'm just not a big fan of most young adult.  However, I have read and enjoyed Harry Potter and The Hunger Games series.
7. Catch 22- Tried to read it and couldn't get into it.  This seems to be on almost everybody's list today!
8. Most Jane Austen- I have read a few of her books, but didn't enjoy them as much as I thought I should.
9. Crime and Punishment- Again, have it but haven't gotten around to it (see a trend here?)
10. Anything by Virginia Woolf- I have tried to read several of her books, but didn't get very far into them.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Current giveaways

This is an ongoing list of giveaways around the blogosphere.  I will keep adding to it as I find new ones.

A Fanatic's Book Blog is giving away books of your choice.
Extreme Personal Measures is giving away an Amazon gift card.
Like Mother Like Daughter is having a 50 follower giveaway
Take Time to Smell the Roses is giving away $50 cash.
Gift Zip is giving away a prize of your choice. Tell them I sent you.
Mom's Focus Online is giving away an Amazon gift card.
Books Complete Me is having a 200 Follower giveaway
Bloody Bookaholic is giving away a bookshelf
Thanks Mail Carrier is giving away an Amazon gift card
Queen of Happy Endings is giving away your choice of book.

Review: The Red Queen

The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War)

I was so excited when this book arrived in my mailbox a couple of days ago.  This is the first book for review I have received, so thank you so much to the people at Simon & Schuster.  I have read most of Philippa Gregory's books and have enjoyed them all.  The second book in the Cousins War series, The Red Queen tells the story of Margaret Beaufort, the mother of Henry VII.  By the age of 14, she has been married twice and given birth to a son.  Through all of her trials, she keeps her faith that God has a plan for her and her son. 

I really enjoyed The Red Queen.  However, I think I liked it's predecessor The White Queen a little better, if only because of the main characters.  Margaret Beaufort is so sure that God has a plan for her and her son, and that is all that she thinks about.  She is a very unlikable character.  She is so full of ambition and does a tremendous amount of scheming to get her son on the throne.  At first I felt sorry for her for being pushed into marriage so young, but as the book went on, I felt she deserved what she got.  The story is well told and well imagined.  As usual, I liked the meticulous research and detail that went into the book.  The Red Queen is a typical Philippa Gregory book, but that is not a bad thing.  I like that she is getting away from the Tudor era that she previously wrote about.  I also like that we are "getting to know" these lesser known figures in history.  I have enjoyed her books so much, that by know I will read just about anything she writes as soon as it comes out.

**FTC: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

Grad School

I have mentioned a couple of times that I am starting grad school in library science this semester.  I start in a little over a week.  I am nervous but excited. Here are the classes I am taking this semester:

Bibliographic and Factual Sources

Information System Design

Information and Society

Organization of Information

Anybody have any advice for getting through my first semester?

Hunger Games and Catching Fire

The Hunger GamesCatching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)

I am SO excited for the release of Mockingjay! I decided to re-read the first two books during the read a thon I did last week, in order to get ready for Mockingjay.  I enjoyed them both just as much as I did the first time.  I am not going to give a review, because I feel like you have read a million reviews of these books. Instead, I am going to share what I would like to happen.  I am totally Team Gale, but wouldn't be upset if Katniss ended up with Peeta.  I just don't like Peeta as much as I do Gale.  I don't think he would have survived in the arena either time if Katniss hadn't been there.  I hope nobody really important dies.  By that I mean, Katniss, Peeta, Gale, Katniss' mom, Prim (especially her!) and Cinna.  Those are just the characters I like the most.  I hope that they are not sent into the arena again, because I feel that that would be just a repeat.  I think that Mockingjay is going to be about the revolt of the district.  I think they are going to find out that there is a district 13, and everybody will live happily ever after.  What do think will happen? Are you team Peeta or Gale?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox

This was a fantastic week for books!

The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War)

I got my first book for review and I am so excited! I was going to buy this book anyway, because I love Philippa Gregory.  I will have a review up in the next few days.

The Passage
This is another book I have been dying to read because of all of the good buzz from other blogs.  I bought this off Amazon about a month ago and have been patiently waiting for it.  I had it shipped to my mom's house and she sent it to me with other mail.  I usually do this because it's a lot cheaper than paying for shipping to Canada.  I just finished reading it and will have a review up in the next few days.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us

I absolutely loved this book!  I bought it from Border's at least 2 years ago, and just never picked it up.  If you have this book, read it now!  The story goes back and forth between Trudy, a history professor in the present, and her mother in Germany during WWII.  Trudy is gathering oral histories about German experiences during the war.  Through this work, she starts to find out the story of what happened to her mother during the war, something her mother refuses to talk about. 
I really loved the writing style and can't believe this is the author's first book.  I liked the way the narrative switched between Trudy in the modern day and her mother during the war.  I was a little disappointed with the ending.  I have read a lot of books about the Holocaust, but they are mostly all about the Jewish people, and I liked that this book was different.  It presented a German woman who tried to help Jewish prisoners. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What Should I buy?

I have some gift cards racked up to Amazon.  There are quite a few recent books I want and I want some help narrowing them down.  Here are the books I am thinking about. 

The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousins' War)
Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, ChelseaChelsea Chelsea Bang Bang
Sh*t My Dad SaysPostcards from Penguin: One Hundred Book Covers in One BoxThe Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksRemarkable CreaturesThe Virgin Blue: A NovelCake PopsThe Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians, Book 5)1001 Books You Must Read Before You DieA Touch of Dead (Sookie Stackhouse: The Complete Stories)In the WoodsSunflowersOfficial Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin
So what should I buy?