Thursday, December 30, 2010

Throwback Thursday

I came across this meme tonight and thought it was perfect and different from all the others that I have seen.  Thanks to Take Me Away for doing it.

The purpose is to highlight a "throwback" or an older book that deserves some recognition.

Throwbacks can be:
  • a book you've read and loved, or a book you've always wanted to read
  • a book that brings back memories for you
  • from as far back as your childhood, or just from last year
  • a classic or a hidden gem

  My throwback this week is: To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I know that it has gotten a good bit of publicity over the past year with it being the 50th anniversary of its release, however, this was the book that began and solidified my love of reading.  I still to this day years later (we won't mention how many) absolutely adore this book.  I also still have a "crush" on Atticus Finch. 

One more challenge.....

Ok, so I told you that I was addicted to challenges.  This new one that I found tonight wandering around the wonderful world of blogs is like no other I have ever seen!  Life....With Books is hosting this one.  I just HAD to sign up for it!!
Here's the info: 
Basic Information
  • The concept of the challenge is to take chances with your reading by finding books to read in unusual or random ways. I’ve listed 10 different ways to find books below. Feel free to complete at many as you want. However, anyone completing all 10 challenges by December 31, 2011 will be entered in a prize drawing to win a book of their choice from Amazon.
  • The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 until December 31, 2011.
  • Crossover books from other challenges is fine. You can read books in any format.
  • On January 1, 2011, I will post pages for each of the 10 challenges so you can link up your completed posts.
The 2011 Challenges
1: Staff  Member’s Choice: Go to a bookstore or library that has a “Staff Picks” section. Read one of the picks from that section.

2: Loved One’s Choice: Ask a loved one to pick a book for you to read. (If you can convince them to buy it for you, that is even better!)

3: Blogger’s Choice: Find a “Best Books Read” post from a favorite blogger. Read a book from their list.

4: Critic’s Choice: Find a “Best of the Year” list from a magazine, newspaper or professional critic. Read a book from their Top 10 list.

5: Blurb Book: Find a book that has a blurb on it from another author. Read a book by the author that wrote the blurb.

6: Book Seer Pick: Go to The Book Seer and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.

7: What Should I Read Next Pick : Go to What Should I Read Next and follow the instructions there. Read a book from the list it generates for you.

8: Which Book Pick: Go to Which Book and use the software to generate a list of books. Read a book from that list.

9: LibraryThing Pick: Go to LibraryThing’s Zeitgeist page. Look at the lists for 25 Most Reviewed Books or Top Books and pick a book you’ve never read. Read the book. (Yes … you can click on MORE if you have to.)

10: Pick A Method: Pick a method for finding a book from the choices listed below (used in previous versions of the challenge).
  • Random Book Selection. Go to the library. Position yourself in a section such as Fiction, Non-Fiction, Mystery, Children (whatever section you want). Then write down random directions for yourself (for example, third row, second shelf, fifth book from right). Follow your directions and see what book you find. Check that book out of the library, read it and then write about it. (If you prefer, you can do the same at a bookstore and buy the book!)
  • Public Spying. Find someone who is reading a book in public. Find out what book they are reading and then read the same book. Write about it.
  • Random Bestseller. Go to and, using the True Random Number Generator, enter the number 1950 for the min. and 2010 for the max. and then hit generate. Then go to this site and find the year that generated for you and click on it. Then find the bestseller list for the week that would contain your birthday for that year. Choose one of the bestsellers from the list that comes up, read it and write about it.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2 More Challenges for 2011

Ok, so I am addicted to challenges.... aren't we all???  Here are two more that I plan on participating in for 2011.

Historical Tapestry is hosting a Historical Fiction Challenge. I am shooting for "Undoubtedly Obsessed" and 15 books. 

The other challenge I am adding is hosted by My Love Affair With Books & Splash of Our Worlds. It's simple.... read as many books as you can/want that were published before 2009.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday... Top books of 2010

It's that time again. Broke and Bookish hosts this every Tuesday.  This week the top ten is: The Top Ten Books of 2010...

Let me start this by saying that this was a slow year for me.  I still work full time and was taking graduate classes full my reading for "fun" came to a crawl.  I have remedied that and went to part time in school, so hopefully 2011 will be a better year of reading. Now for my top 10...
The Bronze Horseman is a story that takes place as the bombing of Russia in WWII begins. Throughout the story you become mesmerized by the war torn Leningrad, the starvation that the people endure, and the fear of being taken out of their homes. You are entranced by the relationship between 17 yr old Tatiana and Alexander who is an officer in the Red Army. The story is one of growth, strength, courage and love. I was completely blown away by this book. Even at its large size I finished it under 2 days, and still 4 months later think about it and its characters. The courage and strength that it took to endure the conditions of that time, the war, and the love will leave one spellbound for a long time after reading the final page
This was a beautiful book that has so many layers among its simple writing. Simple beauty.

Stephen is a Chinese man who is away at college when he is stricken by an illness and is sent home to recover. His parents decide to send him to their family home in Japan to recuperate. It is Japan where Stephen learns that many things in life are not as they seem, the things he once thought were important are irrelevant. Stephen is taken care of by his family's caretaker Matsu. Matsu has taken care of the family beach house all of his life and is the man who shows Stephen things through different eyes. Stephen is introduced to a simpler way of life, to Sachi, who has hidden most of her adult life, and to the beauty that lies within people.

This story alternates between 1942 and present day.  It shows the story of Sarah and her family during the French roundup, of which I knew nothing about until I read this book.  Stories of the Holocaust have always been some of my favorites.  It was such as tragedy during our history and I love learning more about it.  This story haunted me for months after I finished it.  I still wonder what could have happened.
Aminata is 11, she has just seen things that no 11 year old should see. She is then chained, stripped, and forced to walk for 3 months to an awaiting ship bound for America. She now has to learn how to survive.

This was a really wonderful story. It involves heartache, happiness, horror, and everything in between. Aminata may have been born free in her village in Africa, but she quickly becomes a slave. She learns to read and write and becomes the voice of other slaves that she meets and ones that she has never met.

All of the emotions that I went through with this book are, to me, a sign on a wonderful book. I cried with her, got angry with her, grieved with her and rejoiced with her. Her story was truly an adventure. I highly recommend this one.

I really enjoyed this story. The mystery of Nell's past and of her attempt to unravel that mystery made the story move relatively fast. At the age of 21 Nell's life as she knew it changes when her father tells her a secret. She sets out to solve the mystery before her grand-daughter comes to live with her. After Nell's death, Cassandra picks up where Nell left off in revealing the secrets of the past.

The story is full of deceipt, lies, loyalty and mystery. It kept me turning the pages as I wanted to know where each character fell into play. I haven't read any of Kate Morton's other books, but I am certainly looking forward to doing so.

I really liked this book. The historical parts of it were good, but some based on facts, others on imagination. It did bring the gladiators, the colliseum, and the soldiers to life.

Some of the characters I did love, some I despised, some I thought were funny. Some of the comments that were made were great "interesting in a poisonous snake kind of interesting" in describing a child's mother.. was right on T.
I liked this story as it tells of some important things in a teenagers life. You don't always have to be with the "in crowd" or pretend to be something that you aren't. The most important thing is to be true to yourself. I will definitely read the rest of the series. For a first in the series, this one was better than most that I have read. I can only imagine how the rest will evolve into better ones.   
From Goodreads: This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....  
From Goodreads: The epic saga of love and war continues—the heart-stopping sequel to Paullina Simons's beloved international bestseller The Bronze Horseman.

Tatiana is eighteen years old, pregnant, and widowed when she escapes war-torn Leningrad to find a new life in America. But the ghosts of her past do not rest easily. She becomes consumed by the belief that her husband, Red Army officer Alexander Belov, is still alive and needs her desperately.
Meanwhile, oceans and continents away in the Soviet Union, Alexander barely escapes execution, and is forced to lead a battalion of soldiers considered expendable by the Soviet high command. Yet Alexander is determined to take his men through the ruins of Europe in one last desperate bid to escape Stalin's death machine and somehow find his way to Tatiana once again.
This is an autobiographical story of a Jewish woman living in Austria during the rise of the Nazi's power. Edith Hahn Beer was an intelligent and educated woman only one exam away from becoming a lawyer and judge until Hitler implemented a certain rule and she was dismissed from college. The story is an account of the fear, lies, deceit and the surprising people who helped her survive. It is about completely losing the identity that she had held onto, becoming someone she never thought herself to be, and then slowly emerging as a stronger Jewish woman. She tells her story of fear, hunger, pain, love during a dark time in our world history.

A truly wonderful book.

There you have them.... As you can tell, most of my top 10 involved WWII.  What can I say, that is a time in history that I have always been fascinated with.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Review: Cross Fire by James Patterson

Happiness, fear, mystery and the pace of a speeding train are what you experience in the latest Alex Cross installment:  Cross Fire by James Patterson. 

Alex Cross is back.  He and Bree Stone are planning for their upcoming wedding when two killers begin sniping high profile people of Washington, DC. Throw in John Sampson and the killer known as “The Numbers Killer” and what Alex Cross novel would be complete without the Mastermind himself, Kyle Craig.   

The story is classic James Patterson with its fast paced storyline, short chapters and twists when you least expect them.  I received this as a Christmas present and finished it in less than 6 hours.  Alex and Bree are finally planning their wedding, Nana Mama and the kids are excited to be sharing in the joy of the upcoming nuptials.  During that time, Alex receives a call that two snipers have killed some high profile corrupt politicians for what they believe are the right “patriotic” reasons.  And the train takes off.  Enter Max Siegel, an FBI agent who has been on a secret operation and has come back to Washington.  He and Alex don’t see eye to eye, nor care for each other much.  Sampson finds a body that brings back The Numbers Killer, and Kyle Craig, Cross’s #1 enemy,  shows up when and where you least expect him.  If you’ve read any of James Patterson’s stories, you know that you are in for a thrill ride.

I really enjoyed this installment of Alex Cross.  It brought back the fast paced energy of his earlier stories.  It leads you to believe that there may be a combo partnership of Lindsey Boxer (The Women’s Murder Club) and Alex Cross in future novels.  And in grand Patterson style, it leaves you wondering if what you think happened to Kyle Craig really did. 

Cover Crazy

This is a new weekly meme created by Tawni over at The Book Worms.  The idea is simple, you just post a cover that you are crazy about this week.  I love covers, and we all know that sometimes we pick up a book just because of its cover! I know, I know... you aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover.... but really... sometimes it just happens.

This week I'm crazy about this one..... Why???  I love the blue and black cover.  It's simple, but catches the eye easily.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Support Your Library Challenge 2011

6/ 30 books

In an attempt to keep from having to add some book sellers to my taxes as a dependent for 2011, I am going to enjoy this challenge.  Thanks to Book Junkie's Bookshelf for hosting this challenge.  I'm going to start with the Mini-30 books. Come join in!!


1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate. Just create a post for the challenge and link to your challenge post in the linky below.

Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post.

2. There are four levels to this challenge...Pick your poison:

The Mini – Check out and read 30 library books.

Fun" Size – Check out and read 40 library books.

Jumbo Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

Mega Size – Check out and read 51+ library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 30 by the end of 2011, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – basically any book counts just as long as it is checked out from the library. Books MUST be checked out like with a library card, books purchased at a library DO NOT count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

6. Challenge begins January 1st 2011 and goes thru December 31 2011.

My List: 

1. A Secret Kept by Tatiana de Rosnay
2. Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay
3. The Long Walk: True Story of a Trek to Freedom by Slavomir Rawicz
4. Bright Young Things
5. Paradise General
6. The Devil's Queen: Novel of Catherine de Medici

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top Ten Tuesday

Its that time again for Top Ten Tuesday hosted by Broke and Bookish.  Each week there is a new top 10 list for you to answer.  This weeks question is Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings:
Hmmmm, only 10, huh?  Let's see if I can narrow this down some.......
1. Wintergirls : 
2. Noah's Compass
3. Tha Haunted Bookshop
4. Complications: A Surgeon's Note on an Imperfect Science
5. 31 Bond Street
6. Girl In Translation
7. Band of Angels: A Novel
8. Girl Missing
9. A Secret Kept
10. The Distant Hours

Ok, there you go..........boy that was hard!!!  So, what are your top ten??

Monday, December 13, 2010

Mystery/Suspense Challenge

Thanks to Book Chick City for hosting this challenge for 2011.  The goal is to read 12 mysteries/thrillers in 2011 beginning on January 1.  This shouldn't be a problem for me.... mysteries/thrillers are my first love in books.  I will be posting the books here as I read them.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

This week's theme is "Guilty Pleasures". You can find the original posting Guilty Pleasures. The questions are:
  • The Books that you Love but are Embarrassed to be Seen Reading
  • Tell us WHY you love them
  • And (just for fun) tell us your favorite guilty snack that goes perfectly with all that guilty reading
Mine would definitely have to be The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J. R. Ward. I love them simply because of the "Brothers", you come to love them, even when you don't want to. Their strengths, weaknesses, humor and brutality make for a perfect mix to escape with.  And of course, the guilty snack that goes with reading them.... chocolate.... what else?

Thanks to The Story Siren for the weekly In My Mailbox.  This is simply a posting of what's new to your house either by mail, library, e-reader etc.  This week I am trying to stock up on my books for my young adult reading.  I brought home:
Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #1)


Fallen (Fallen, #1)

Blog Hopping

Book Blogger Hop

Ok, so I know its not Friday, but go with me.... Thanks to Crazy-For-Books for hosting this.  The rules are simple for this blog hop: You answer the question posted each week.  Easy enough, right?
This week's question: "What is the thing you like most about reading book blogs?  Is it the reviews, author guest posts, articles, giveaways, or something else entirely?"
My answer: All of the above!! I love being able to read others thoughts on books that I may have already read or want to read.

2nd What I'm reading now

Synopsis from Goodreads:

"A dream, after all, needn't be fueled by particulars, only by desire."

So notes main character, Gracie Antes, in CRESTMONT, a historical fiction gem set in the 1920s.

Determined to take control of her life, sheltered Gracie Antes leaves her unhappy home in 1925 to pursue her dream of a singing career. On her way to the big city, she accepts a job as a housemaid at the bustling Crestmont Inn. Once there, Gracie finds a life-changing encounter with opera singer Rosa Ponselle, family she never imagined could be hers, and a man with a mysterious past. Relive the 1920s with a colorful cast of characters. Discover with Gracie that sometimes we must trade loss for happiness.

Set in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania, the story is interwoven with details about the town, the rich history of The Crestmont Inn, and the family who passed ownership from one generation to the next.

Many attempts have been made to explain how the mountaintop lake nestled in this tiny town came to be. Crestmont gives a new twist to an old Native American legend, setting the tone of grace around which the story is built.

Let the period of the Roaring Twenties spark your interest with its unique social mores, fashion, jazz, and yes, a little bootlegging thrown in for pizzazz.

What I'm reading now

Synopsis from Goodreads:

The bestselling, award-winning writer of Native Speaker, A Gesture Life, and Aloft returns with his biggest, most ambitious novel yet: a spellbinding story of how love and war echo through an entire lifetime.
With his three critically acclaimed novels, Chang-rae Lee has established himself as one of the most talented writers of contemporary literary fiction. Now, with The Surrendered, Lee has created a book that amplifies everything we've seen in his previous works, and reads like nothing else. It is a brilliant, haunting, heartbreaking story about how love and war inalterably change the lives of those they touch.

June Han was only a girl when the Korean War left her orphaned; Hector Brennan was a young GI who fled the petty tragedies of his small town to serve his country. When the war ended, their lives collided at a Korean orphanage where they vied for the attentions of Sylvie Tanner, the beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary wife whose elusive love seemed to transform everything. Thirty years later and on the other side of the world, June and Hector are reunited in a plot that will force them to come to terms with the mysterious secrets of their past, and the shocking acts of love and violence that bind them together.

As Lee unfurls the stunning story of June, Hector, and Sylvie, he weaves a profound meditation on the nature of heroism and sacrifice, the power of love, and the possibilities for mercy, salvation, and surrendering oneself to another. Combining the complex themes of identity and belonging of Native Speaker and A Gesture Life with the broad range, energy, and pure storytelling gifts of Aloft, Chang-rae Lee has delivered his most ambitious, exciting, and unforgettable work yet. It is a mesmeriz­ing novel, elegantly suspenseful and deeply affecting.