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26th-Jun-2008 09:56 am - Newes from the Dead
Though I have been reading a lot this summer, I realize  I haven't really been blogging! I was going to wait to post about this one until I'd written up something about a few other books, but I figure I may as well just post it. :)

Newes From the Dead-Set in England in the 1600’s, this book describes the life, death, and “rebirth” of Anne Green. The book begins with Anne inside of a coffin, believing she is experiencing what must happen to those who have died. She comes to the conclusion that she is really alive, but she in unable to move a muscle and is panicked, believing herself to be buried underground. She had been hanged until presumed dead, unrightfully convicted for the killing of her own child. Anne was a lowly housemaid for a rich and prominent family and was seduced by the grandson of her employer. She became pregnant with his child and tried to hide it, ashamed of what she had done. She later gave birth early to a stillborn child whom she was accused of murdering. Because she was lower class and her employer was so influential in the court system, Anne was sentenced to death for the crime which she did not commit. She was hanged and declared dead, though it turned out she didn’t really die. Being lower class, her body was set to be used for dissections at Oxford, and while on the dissection table, her eye twitched and the doctors “revived” her, brining fame to both the doctors and Anne herself.
What makes this book so interesting is that it is based on a true story. All the major events were true, though of course, the author had to use her imagination to fill in what happened in between. I highly recommend this book.
30th-May-2008 02:19 pm - Two great books
I've been completely neglecting the blog, I know! I have been reading a lot this past month, however. Stephanie and I have picked up with the book club and have done three books so far. I've read a bunch of books on my own as well and still have a massive stack of library books checked out ready to be read. Here are two books that I have really enjoyed:

The Shape of Water
By Anne Spollen
This is probably one of my favorite books that I read this year (so far). It was so well-written and really captivating. Magdalena, or Magda, has always felt apart from those around her. The only person who really gets her is her mother, of whom she resembles and is described as “artistic” by others. As the book opens, Magda’s mother has just died and her father is now in a relationship with a woman who is the exact opposite of her mother. Magda begins setting fires and her father, a fire dispatcher, is clueless to both this and the feelings that Magda has had since her mother’s death. A family of fish have occupied Magda’s brain and speak to her, adding a unique and sometimes comical touch to the book. An amazing read that is highly recommended.

Generation Dead
By Daniel Waters
After reading a review of this one on a book blog I decided to check it out. Having never read a zombie book before, I didn’t know what to expect. What I got was another really good book. The book takes place in the United States in the close future at a time when some teenagers who die are coming back as zombies. However, actually calling them zombies is an off-limit word- “differently biotic” and- my personal favorite- “living impaired” are the politically correct terms. Phoebe, a goth girl, is fascinated by the differently biotic (DB) kids at her school. She befriends them and develops a bit of a crush on Tommy, a DB boy.  Phoebe, a few of her living friends, and the DB teens at the school join an extracurricular club-type thing which is working to better understand DB teens and promote their rights. There is much prejudice towards the living impaired teens, and all of the members- living and undead, are being targeted by a group of violent students. This book features a great group of characters and was an enjoyable read. I would love to read a sequel to this book, as there is much that goes unexplained, plus I’d really like to see the story continued.
1st-Jan-2008 04:39 pm - Year End Round-up
Book Addicted
Since I have been tracking the books that I read all year, I figure I should share the statistics here on my book blog. :)  I actually read quite a bit in 2007 and am unlikely to top it in 2008, considering school and everything else, but who knows. :D

Total Books Read: 40 (Not including anything for school)
Total Pages Read: 14,468
Average Number of Books per Month: 3.33

Best Books (In no specific order):
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Looking for Alaska by John Green 
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Worst Books (Though not necessarily bad):
Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Sorceress by Celia Rees

Genre Most Frequently Read: Fantasy

I have no goals in 2008 except to continue to read as much as I can.  I hope to read many of the books that I've been wanting to read but didn't get a chance to in 2007 and also to read new releases.
1st-Jan-2008 04:21 pm - Books Recently Read
I didn't get a whole lot of reading done over the holidays.  A lot of this had to do with going away (which is something we never do) and being stuck with my family in a small cabin for five days.  Don't get me wrong- I'm really glad we went and I did have a good time, but it's hard to read when  no matter where you go in the cabin you can hear the TV or people talking.  Here's a brief catach-up of the books I've read:

Looking for Alaska by John Green - Every since I started viewing the Brotherhood 2.0 video blog I've wanted to read John Green's book.  He's so witty (and nerdy!) that I have grown to have a fondness for him.  When I picked up Looking for Alaska, I didn't really know what to expect and had no idea what it was about.  It was a really great book, though.  It's about Miles (later known as Pudge), a teenager who is fascinated by last words.  He starts going to school at a boarding school in Alabama where he meets new friends whom he pulls pranks with.  After Alaska, one of his friends (whom he had a bit of a  crush on) dies in a fatal car crash, he feels that he needs to know the truth about her mysterious life.   

The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum - I chose to read this book when I was looking for a Christmas-related one to take with me on our trip. This is a very cute book which is a fictional tale of the life and times of Jolly O'l St. Nick.  I would definitely recommend this as a good holiday read.

Griffin's Castle by Jenny Nimmo - I just finished this one today, and didn't really enjoy it.  It wasn't bad, but I just really wanted to get through with it.  In a sentence, it's about a girl named Dinah who lives in an old, run-down house with her mother in which the stone animals in the front yard come to life.
16th-Dec-2007 10:11 pm - Winter Break
The semester officially ended last Monday and I am ecstatic.  Now I can read!!  While taking classes I felt like I couldn't read for pleasure, and when I did, it would take me roughly a month to actually finish it, and the long breaks in between reading sessions caused me to become lost and/or uninterested in the book.  So reading is what I shall do.  I do not necessarily feel like reviewing the books that I've read thus far. Don't get me wrong- they were great- however, I want to just get on with the next book. Lol. Because of this, I probably won't write too much about the books I've read so far, but I do want to catch you up. 

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray  - This is a historical fiction book set in 1800 (or so) England and about Gemma, a teenage girl, and her experience at Spence Academy, an all-girls boarding school.  It is not your typical historical fiction, with a bit of fantasy mixed in.  It begins when Gemma experiences a vision of her Mother being killed, which actually ends up happening.  While at boarding school and dealing with the snooty and prissing girls, she experiences more visions and with an "Order" which her group of friends forms, visits a mysterious realm.  This book was pretty good, but to be honest, I was slightly disappointed.  I do hope to continue onto Rebel Angels, the second book in the series, though.

True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet by Lola Douglas - This is not generally the type of book I read, but I really enjoyed it.  It's very chick-lit, but also very good.  It tells the story of a teenage starlet and "it girl" named Morgan Carter who meets her downfall through drugs and alcohol.  The book begins after she has completed rehab. She begins a new life with a new identity and moves in with her aunt.  She now has to deal with "normal kid" problems as she starts attending a public high school and deals with the pressures of hiding who she really is.   It is part of a grand scheme cooked up by her manager Sam. The plan is this- she takes  a break from the Hollywood scene for a year, lives like a normal teenager, becomes fully recovered from her addictions, and makes a huge comeback with a tell-all book, relaunching her career and  becoming bigger than ever before.   If you read the book, you'll see that this does not exactly happen and Sam may have ulterior motives in sending her away.

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen - I just finished this book and I loved it.  I now want to read more by Sarah Dessen.  In a nutshell, the book ____. 

You'll probably be seeing more ciondensed entries such as this (if you see any at all) due to the fact that I'll be reading a lot these next few weeks and don't necessarily want to be reading long entries for each book.  If a book does spakrk something in me that I must talk about you will see it here.  :D
7th-Nov-2007 09:15 am - Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
I just finished this book yesterday, after reading rather than doing any of my homework. The book was very good and definitely kept me wanting to read more.  The plot is as follows: Clay, a teenage boy, receives a package of 7 tapes recorded by a Hannah, a classmate, right before she commits suicide.  The tapes explain the 13 reasons (13 different people) why she takes her own life. Anyone who receives the tapes are one of the 13 people who caused her to commit suicide.  Clay has always had a "good boy" reputation and never causes any trouble.  He doesn't know what he could have done to cause Hannah to do such a thing.  In fact, he never knew her very well, although we later find out that he had a crush on her but was too embarassed to ask her out.  As Clay begins listening to the tapes, he discovers more and more about the girl he hardly knew  and her final struggles.

This book really puts into perspective just how much anything a person does- or doesn't do- affects other people.  Even the tiniest things can add up in the big picture and cause larger consequences.  Of course, as in with this story, most of the time other things come into play as well.  Another thing this book brings up is not to let what other people think about you affect your actions.  For instance, part of what caused Hannah to commit suicide was the reputation as a "whore" which other people instilled on her.  This is also the reason why Clay was afraid to ask her out.  By the end of the book, Clay learns this lesson and confronts his fears, asking out a different girl whom he had wanted to, but was too timid to. 

One thing I did not like about this book was the way it was delivered.  I liked how we "hear" what Hannah has to say, followed directly by what Clay thinks as he hears it. What I do not like , however, is how Hannah's tapes are written just like any other book. In other words, to me, it was not believeable that Hannah was actually saying what was written while recording herself.  It was too much like an actual book, rather than a conversation that a girl is having with herself.  I may not have explained that the best, but hopefully you understand. 

On another note- the book club is basically obsolete (as you can probably tell), but I'm hoping to ask Stephanie if she wants to do one with just her and I (we were the ones who started it and were into it anayways). :)
 We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson

I chose to read this book after having to research Shirley Jackson for the literature class that I am taking.  Before that I had only read her short story "The Lottery" (again, for the literature class).  This book was really good and the story is told in an interesting perspective- through the eyes of a mentally distrurbed narrator.  It tells the story of what is left of the Blackwood family- two sisters, Constance and Merricat, and their uncle, Julian.  The rest of their family died one evening after poison was put in the sugar at the dinnertable.  Everyone in the village blames Constance, so she, Merricat, and Uncle Julian keep to their house. The only time Merricat leaves their properties is once a week, when she must go to the village to gather necessities. The townspeople are always very curel, taunting her. 
Charles, a long-lost cousin, shows up at the house one day and Constance lets himstay.  Merricat is not pleased with this, thinking that he will cause problems.  After Charles shows up problems do start happening, though they are not necessarily his fault. 

I really did enjoy this book and may read more from Jackson when I have the time. I currently have a bunch of new teen books checked out at the moment, so hopefully I'll get a chance to read a few of those. :)
22nd-Oct-2007 10:33 am - The Giver
The Giver 
by Lois Lowry

I just finished The Giver yesterday.  I remember my Mom assigning us to read this book when we first started homeschooling and remembered enjoying it- though I hadn't remembered much about it. Being a short book, I thought it would be a good choice for a quick book to read while waiting for one of my holds to come in from the library. 

The Giver is about a young boy named Jonas who lives in a controlled community where "Sameness" is strived for.  Families are carefully created, matching two compatible parents, and only  two children- one boy and one girl.  Everything in every person's life is controlled. This Sameness is said to protect the members of the community from harm and helps to create a better community.  As a person ages certain rites of passages happen, such as when a child turns twelve, his/her career is dictated for them and he/she begins training.  Jonas has just turned twelve and is given the highly unusually task of the Receiver. Through his training with The Giver (the previous Receiver) Jonas finds out that there is  a whole other world outside of the community and he learns all the secrets his community is sheltered from.  Much of it is disturbing and Jonas and the Giver devise a plan for Jonas to get away.  This is a really interesting book that I would recommend to a reluctant reader.
21st-Oct-2007 09:23 am - Where have I been?
Woah! I really haven't posted in a long time.  Unfortunately, I haven't read in a long time either. I just began full-time college classes at GCC and found that I haven't had a whole lot of free time.  I'm really disappointed that I haven't been reading- before this I had read so much this year. I'm planning on getting back into reading starting now!  I'm going to try and manage my time better, and in the free time that I have I want to read. 

Expect many more blogs from me soon! :D
28th-Aug-2007 10:47 pm - The Lovely Bones
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I just finished an amazing book: The Lovely Bones. It was a recommendation for the book club by Karen, one of the wonderful teen librarians at Foothills. I had heard a lot of praise for the book and tried not to get too excited about it before starting it, but I just couldn’t help myself. Fortunately, the book lived up to its hype and I was not at all disappointed.
            The book is narrated by Susie Salmon, a fourteen year girl, as she looks down from heaven. Within the first chapter, she describes her rape and murder committed by a man who lived in her neighborhood, only a few houses away from her own home. It sets the pace for the entire book as not only a novel which is sad, but also inspiring and hopeful. Susie is such a likeable character who has suffered such a horrible tragedy, which she looks upon with such hope.  
            As Susie watches down from heaven she sees the effect her death has had upon everyone in the community. Her four year old brother is unable to grasp the fact that she is gone and continuously asks her parents “Where’s Susie?”. She watches her murderer as he walks free and disposes of her body, and also find out about other the girls he has murdered. She sees the police, as they hit a dead wall and are unable to uncover who her murderer is. Meanwhile, her father has suspicions against the man who committed the murder, and wants revenge. Susie’s sister doesn’t want to be known as the sister of the “dead girl” and tries to push the memory of Susie’s murder away. Her mother and father start to drift a part, and Susie watches as their relationship crumbles and her mom walks out on the family. The members of her family aren’t the only people whom are changed by the tragedy- but also her friends, the boy she loved, and even people she didn’t know.
            The book is marvelous on so many levels. I absolutely loved it!
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