Saturday, December 31, 2011

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

358 pages
5 hours

Prachett does it again!  Favorite quote from this book :

I don't feel done down. I felt fine until you told me I was done down,' said Nanny, putting her finger on a major sociological point.
'You've been exploited,' said Granny firmly.
'No I ain't.'
'Yes you have. You're a downtrodden mass.' 

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

Gateway Nominee
Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
326 pages

Carlose and Kiara are two teens falling for each other. But Carlos is on the run from his drug and gang ties, and Kiara is a ambitious girl headed to college. How can their love ever work out?

Friday, December 30, 2011

`Critical Judgement by Michael Palmer

450 pages.................................7 1/2 hours

This Medical Thriller was indeed just that. Set in a near perfect small town, small hospital setting with a young female emergency physician as the main character. Is this town and hospital really as perfect as they seem. Keeps you thinking and wondering the whole way through. A very good read,

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

304 pages

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

Gateway Nominee
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly
 472 pages

Andi has been swept off to Paris by her absentee father. Her mother, without the paints and canvasses that keep the sadness at bay, sits in an asylum. Everyone has been swept away by despair after the death of Truman two years ago. Andi, most of all, since she is the reason her brother died that day,
In Paris, Andi finds a diary from the 1700's tucked away in a secret panel in an old guitar case. The story sends her back to the French Revolution...but will she find her way back out? Out of old France, and out of her own suffering.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

In case they can be counted

Genesis  77pp
Exodus  62pp
Leviticus  41pp
Numbers  50pp
Deuteronomy  55pp
Joshua  31pp
Judges  31pp
Ruth  8pp
1 Samuel  50pp
2 Samuel  41pp
1 Kings  48pp
2 Kings  46pp
1 Chronicles  53pp

Messenger by Lois Lowry



Strange changes are taking place in Village. Once a utopian community that prided itself on its welcome to new strangers, Village will soon be closed to all outsiders. As one of the few people able to travel through the dangerous Forest, Matty must deliver the message of Village’s closing and try to convince Seer’s daughter to return with him before it’s too late. But Forest has become hostile to Matty as well, and he must risk everything to fight his way through it, armed only with an emerging power he cannot yet explain or understand.
In this novel that unites characters from "The Giver" and "Gathering Blue," Matty, a young member of a utopian community that values honesty, conceals an emerging healing power that he cannot explain or understand.

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry



Kira, an orphan with a twisted leg, lives in a world where the weak are cast aside. She fears for her future until she is spared by the all-powerful Council of Guardians. Kira is a gifted weaver and is given a task that no other community member can do. While her talent keeps her alive and brings certain privileges, Kira soon realizes she is surrounded by many mysteries and secrets. No one must know of her plans to uncover the truth about her world and see what places exist beyond.
Lame and suddenly orphaned, Kira is mysteriously removed from her squalid village to live in the palatial Council Edifice, where she is expected to use her gifts as a weaver to do the bidding of the all-powerful Guardians.

Split by Swati Avasthi

Gateway Nominee
Split by Swati Avasthi
282 pages

Christian steps up, makes his father angry, angry enough to hit him. But at least if he is hitting Christian, he isn't hitting his mother. After years of taking abuse from his father, he splits with nothing more than a letter that says "if you look for me, I will testify." He leaves and makes a better life for himself. But he also leaves behind a brother, Jace. After years of taking the same abuse, Jace freaks out, and decides to fight back...and loses. Thrown out of the house, Jace turns to his brother. But can Jace escape the abuse cycle he is already slipping into? Both Jace and Christian have a lot of healing to do before they can learn to love.
This book was an amazing story. Avasthi took such a violent theme and made it gentle, compelling read. Whether you come from an abusive past or not, you will fall in love with these two men, and the women in their lives. I watches as they struggled with a mother too terrified to leave, knowing how this would end, and wishing for more. After the last page, I closed the book, and still had a hard time getting to sleep thinking about what was next. Loved this book. Hope to be reading more of her.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

312 pages
4 hours

A very insightful book.  Amazing that Mr. Stork was able to write a book from the perspective of a autistic person.  I highly recommend this book.

The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler

The Art of Happiness by The Dalai Lama & Howard C. Cutler
319 pages

Could possibly have changed my life.

Monstrous Regiment by Terry Pratchett

389 pages
6 hours

Pratchett does it again!  Laugh out loud commentary on the history of the world, complete with puns and references to contemporary history.  Can't get enough on his books (except for the ones with wizards.)

Matched by Ally Condie

Gateway Nominee
Matched by Ally Condie
369 pages
Oh my...this was a fantastic book. Cassia is a healthy, normal teen. Except for the fact the 'the society,' or the governing body, decided every little thing for them. They decide where you live, how many children you have, what you eat, what you will do with every minute of your life, even the day that you will die. Everyone approves of this, it is based on mountains of statistics, and it just makes sense. Cassia dresses up for her Matching banquet, where she will learn who the society has chosen for her future marriage partner. She is matched with her best friend, which is unheard of. Everyone is matched with someone they barely know, someone from another borough. She doesn't need the microcard containing Xander's information, for she already knows everything about him. But she pops it in out of curiosity. Xander's photo fades to black, and another fills it spot for just a minute. So, has the society made a huge error, and who is her true match? Will Cassia learn to make decisions for herself, or will the society block her chosen path?

I thought this was an amazingly written book. There is very little of life as we know it in here, everything is controlled and mandated. But I really felt liked Condie valued the intelligence of the readers. There was no long explanation of how the world ended up this way, that was just the way it was. What explanation was needed she worked in seamlessly, like why everyone must die on their 80th birthday. There is a short dialog about a person only living long enough to have lived a full life, but not long enough to become useless. I was completely drawn into Cassia's struggle, to the point I found myself wondering what choices I would make in same situation. I see a lot of love triangles in YA literature lately, like in Hunger Games and Twilight, and Matched has the same scenario. But for once, I have no clear thoughts if Cassia should end up with Ky or Xander. Both are that great. I could probably talk another 30 minutes about this book...but it is Christmas morning so I think I will wake the kiddos so I can open presents. But I am definitely looking forward to the sequel.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Eat Cake by Jeanne Ray

426 pages
4 hours

Read this in a Reader's Digest condensed book that just appeared at my house.  It was entertaining.  I think I enjoyed her first book more.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve

Mark Twain Nominee
Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve
358 pages

I love award season! Another great read. This fantasy is about a farm where it rains every single Monday at 1:00pm exactly, dragonflies spell, rhubarb plants can talk by moving their leaves. Tourists flock to see the farm and ride the famous umbrella ride, and life couldn't be better for Polly and her family. Until one Monday the rain stops. The plants start to die away, tourist flee after the umbrella breaks down, and Freddy, Polly's brother, becomes deathly ill. Polly must overcome her fears, and find the courage within herself if she is going to save the farm and Freddy. Great book for readers young and old.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

444 pages..............6 1/2 hours

Stockett's "THE HELP" was turned down 60 times before it was accepted and became a best seller.

Set in the civil rights era of the sixties, a budding journalist decides to write a book about the relationships between "The Help" and their employers.

Raised by a black "Nanny" she feels a special kinship to these ladies who raise other peoples children and cook and clean for them for compensation below minimum wage in order to feed their own.

Good book but I actually enjoyed the movie more which is unusual for me.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Scrawl by Mark Shulman


Truman Nominee
Scrawl by Mark Shulman
234 pages

Tod is a bully who is spending a month of detentions with his guidance counselor writing in a journal (it's not a journal, it's a notebook.) There are no instructions, just to sit there and write. Scrawl is Tod's notebook, along with a few remarks from his counselor. Tod is very honest about his being a bully, and why he does the things he does. But as he reveals more about himself in his writing, he is able to do better for those around him.

This book on one hand is uplifting and on the other hand very sorrowful. Tod truly does try to be a better person in some regards, opening up to his stepfather and Luz, the artsy girl putting on the school play. But at every turn people do let him down. Like his favorite teacher hiding the spelling bee from him. Tod is the best speller, but not the image the teacher wants on t.v.  Teachers automatically assume he is up to no good even though he is on the honor roll every time. This is a great read for any bully, any one who has ever been bullied...and a great message that writing can sometimes change your whole world. Love, love, loved this book.