Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” —Groucho Marx

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I've Never Met an Idiot on the River by Henry Winkler...a Review

This was a short memoir on fishing, photography and family written by the former Fonz, Henry Winkler!   I bought the book for my son for Christmas with the stipulation  I be allowed to borrow it and read it after he finished.   A book about fishing in and of itself would never entice me to it’s pages, but I am so glad I read this one.   The writing came straight from the heart of Winkler and his personality exuded through the written word. Full of humor and wisdom, Winkler spoke to my heart.   I could feel his excitement at
learning to fish and then to fly fish.   I heard his joy in his connection to the great western outdoors.    I felt his pride of family.    He is one content man.   His career is successful and life is good.

Did you know Winkler had a learning disability and did not excel in school?   HE was dyslexic.  He now speaks to schools and children about being able to overcome whatever holds them back!  The book was positive, motivational, and happy.   It could be rated up there with the best motivational material on the planet…just a different approach.   I enjoyed this read tremendously….I found it uplifting and I liked the glimpse into Henry Winkler’s life.   I am so very glad he shared!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Septimus Heap Flyte by Angie Sage....A Review

Noah brought this book home for me to read.   He had explained he was reading book one in the series, Magyk, and it would be a new series he would like grandma to purchase for him.  When he told me he was reading Magyk, I told him I had read it last year, thus I had spring break to finish the second book in the series and I was successful in doing so.   However, I must remember to explain he should not be checking books out of the school library for his granny to read.    I’m sure there are kids who might’ve liked to check it out as well as he did! 

Angie Sage is a great storyteller in my opinion.    She has a recipe for success with this series, a little bit of magyk, a lot of adventure, spiced with humor that leaves the reader chuckling, and characters that are very well developed!   Septimus Heap is a good lad and the apprentice to the Extra Ordinary Wizard, Marcia Overstrand.    Septimus is the seventh son of a seventh son and that does make his Magyk stronger than most.   In this edition, Septimus’s oldest brother, Simon, is dedicated to being the apprentice of darke magyk since Marcia selected Septimus as her apprentice rather than Simon!   Simon has set out to destroy the kingdom and kidnaps the princess in his efforts to please DomDaniel.   It is an adventure that is fast paced and woven intricately between the characters which makes the book interesting and hard to put down.   It definitely follows the age old good vs evil theme.   I guess I will pursue the rest of the series with Noah and Septimus til we reach the end of the road!  

Happy Reading Friends! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sunday TBR

It's Sunday again and time to announce the books I found this week to add to my TBR  list.   I love this part but I think I will never be able to read them all!  So many are sitting on the shelf begging to be read and yet there are so many new authors I long to read as well as the old ones who have already made their claim to fame and fortune!    Someday, I might even join their ranks, although right now is my time to read.   Well enough, here is this week's TBR list:

Taste by Kate Evangelista
The Kekaju & The Hidden Swamp by Robert Sweeting
Calico Joe by John Grisham
The Bungalow by Sarah Jio
Wither by Lauren De Stefano    
Love Walked in by Francine Howarth

I am currently reading Septimus Heap Flyte.   I only have a week you know til spring break is over!

Also, you might be interested in Parajunkie.com and their Feature and Follow Friday.   This is a site in conjunction with Alison can read.com that helps promote book bloggers and you can gain new followers to your blog.....follow for follow.   Please check them out!

Life is good!   It doesn't matter what you read...if you can read, you can accomplish anything!   Happy Reading friends!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by Alexander McCall Smith....a review

This is the thirteenth book in the No 1 Ladies Detective Agency series and it is so good to get my yearly visit with the ladies of Botswana who operate the detective agency.  In this edition they face the dismissal of Mma Potokwane at the orphan farm and the arrest of Fanwell for working on a stolen vehicle.  Phuti Rhadaphuti and Mma Makutsi have hired a sleazebag contractor to build their home and Clovis Anderson is visiting Botswana…..yes, THE Clovis Anderson.  It’s an enjoyable read and great to visit old friends.   I wish Mr Smith could write two or three stories each year, because I love the common sense investigative results put forth by the ladies of the detective agency.   This manner of investigation may be slow, old fashioned and peaceful, but it’s always successful too!

This is the type of reading one can do in a day and if you are seeking a memorable,peaceful read, Mma Ramotswa and her friends can provide an enjoyable time for you.   There is always time for a cup of tea and visiting your neighbors in Botswana.  By visiting, you learn the real stories about people and their problems.   Once you visit, you will want to come back often!   Highly recommend for a change of pace and characters you won't forget!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Best Day/Worst Day

Some days are just meant to make you sigh a sigh of appreciation and this was one of those days you love to remember forever.   Before I go on, I want you to know that all three of my grandsons and the baby granddaughter are all my favorite grandchildren.  I couldn't love any of them more and I try to be fair and love them equally.   I have written about Noah before and that it may seem that I favor him.  It's just that my husband babysat for Noah since birth and I have a special bond with him.   We love to read!

I have spent the small fortune only a grandmother can on books for my grandkids.   Probably due to my motto "if you can read, you can accomplish anything" .   We held a family contest/challenge a couple of years ago...who could read the most during a given 12 month period.  Noah won for the kids.   It probably wasn't fair because he spent alot of time with me.   The prize of course was a book of his choice.   He reads!

He invited me to school with him today.  Today was their Pizza Party for the Book It reading program sponsored by Pizza Hutt.  He's in 5th grade and after this year, he will not be inviting me to go to school with him again.   In Middle School kids don't invite their grandparents.  So today was special and this old grandma found out how much her math skills are found lacking.  We worked with fractions and I missed the first problem...after that though, I got an A in math.   Of course his work was done expediently and mine took much longer.   Later in science I found myself grasping a science concept I hadn't thought about in ages.  Then we ate pizza and after lunch I left.   I needed to check on the husband and the dogs ...I'm sure one of the three probably needed to be let out.  Lol.   So I bade my farewells, and told Noah I would be
back to pick him up.

Dismissal time found me parked in our familiar parking space and Noah raced to join me.  "I had the worst day ever!"  he could barely contain himself.   I was floored so I quizzed him about it.    They had that "5th grade talk" and he was grossed out!   Good thing he has next week off from school to recover.   But when he emptied his book bag, he had checked out book #2 in the Septimus Heap series.   He is currently reading book one and i had told him I had only read book one in the series.    I get to read book #2 on spring break.   Now I ask you, am I not the luckiest grandma in the world?    We love to read.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Reading Fever....WARNING

I believe my TBR list is longer than my lifeline--Beth Cutwright

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Dark Lake by Anthea Carson....a Review

This author sent me a request to read and review her book and included a free download from Amazon Kindle.   What a thrill to be asked to read and be given the free copy!   I am honored to do so.   I enjoyed the excerpts she had on her blog and thought the story sounded interesting.   I am sorry to say, I did not enjoy this book.   The author took a risk with her main character being mentally ill.   The writing went back and forth between Jane of present day and twenty years ago and it was difficult to follow who Jane was speaking to, whether it be her parents, her friends or her therapist.  And it was unsettling that you could not discern whether her friend Krishna was dead or alive, a real person or a fantasy.  I think she was alive and real in the end.    For me, these issues were never clearly resolved and I was left with more questions than answers.  I did not like the main character who was very well developed…her failure to “grow up” was disturbing and her anger issues were very annoying.   However, I am thinking this may have been what the author’s goal was.  And if so, she succeeded.  Of course I am an older adult and am thankful for my children, considering that  Jane could have been a non fictional person and possibly mine.   Thank you Anthea for asking me to read and review.  I am sure the story will linger with me and be in my thoughts and I will probably try to read it again later to see if I glean a different perspective.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking...a Review

In my explorations of young adult literature I came across the first in a series from a newer author, Amanda Hocking.    She was a very good author and was able to grab my attention from the start of this book.   This is a story about surviving American life post zombie infestation.   A virus had broken out and those infested turned into Zombies.  They attacked and ate the flesh of normal human beings. This bite would infect the person and transform them into more zombies.   Our heroine, Remy King, witnessed the demise of her parents at the hands of Zombies and so began her quest to protect her eight year old brother, Max.   During their escape from the Zombies, Max was bitten and Remy suspected he was immune as there were no symptoms during the days following.   When they were rescued by the government forces, they were taken to a quarantine established on the Wyoming border.   She and Max were separated under the guise that Max was ill and needed medical treatment.   When the zombies actually attacked the quarantine,  Max was evacuated to a different quarantine.   Remy and a couple of her friends escaped on their own, just before the quarantine was burned to the ground and killed any of the remaining survivors.    From then on, Remy was in a race against time to find her brother and protect him from the medical researchers using his blood to seek a cure.   Remy would have done anything to protect Max.   The action was fast paced, characters well developed, and despite the fact that the antagonists were Zombies, the story was entertaining and enjoyable.   Although I am not partial to Zombies or vampires, I will probably read the books in this series.   I would like to see how it all shakes out.

Books added to my TBR list:

Never Surrender by Deanna Jewel

The Dark Lake by Anthea Carson

Blue Eyed Boy by Joanna Harris

The Light Between Oceans by ML Stedman

Death's Promise by Cheryl Twaddle

"From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover that you have wings."
Helen Hayes

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey...a Review

I have wanted to read this book ever since it first came out.   I selected it for my book club to read this month and I have enjoyed it immensely.    I enjoyed the writing style of this author and I felt like the characters were well developed and could be friends of mine.   Jack and Mabel had moved to Alaska after losing a baby at birth…to begin anew. 
Mabel dreamed of working together side by side and making a life in the wilderness. Jack’s thoughts were to get Mabel away from inquisitive eyes and sympathetic voices…he would provide for her as a man should.   However, he didn’t accept Mabel’s help…she was to keep the house and make meals.   As the years came and went, the couple grows apart, although they still love one another.  Mabel reached the point of quiet desperation and considered suicide at the river, but the ice was too thick and thwarted her plan.  One night in play, Mabel and Jack built a snow child.  The next morning it was bumped down to a lump of snow, but the mittens and scarf were missing. 
Every so often they caught glimpses of a fair haired child wearing the scarf and mittens.  The child was accompanied by a red fox.  No one saw the snow child except Jack and Mabel until she was sixteen or seventeen years old.   Her name was Faina.    Faina brought hope to Jack and Mabel.   As the years with the snow child passed, they learned patience and the restraint to allow the child to be her own person and their love for her and their family grew.   For me the main theme was that of growth...we are never to old to grow.  Although Jack and Mabel had sought a life of solitude, they soon learned that they did indeed need friends and neighbors.  Faina, the snow child, needed  the love of a family, but the freedom of independence. And Mabel learned that she could choose her own path-- to choose joy or despair.  I highly recommend this book.

Monday, April 9, 2012

5B Poppy Lane by Debbie Macomber...a review

Odd time of year to be reading a Christmas story, but I had read all of Debbie Macomber’s Cedar Cove Series except for this one, so, I just had to get it read.   Actually it was an added bonus to the paperback version of Debbie's Christmas in Cedar Cove.  It’s a sweet story and was written in honor of Debbie’s grandfather who served in WWII.  It features Ruth Shelton, a twenty something university student, opposed to war, but fully supportive of US troops serving their country.   She pen pals with Marine Sergeant Paul Gordon and the two fall in love.   However Ruth doesn’t want a military man for a husband.  She introduces him to her grandmother, Helen Shelton, who had a secret past as a member of the French Resistance during WWII.   So while Ruth and Paul struggle to overcome their pride and come to a compromise that will enable them to accept one another for better or worse, we learn of Helen’s secret past and the role she played in history.   It was a very nice short story and reminded me much of the stories written by Emilie Loring during the WWI and WWII settings and    even the Cherry Ames stories I had read as a child.   These writings gave added value lessons about patriotism, courage, doing right and having character.   I very much enjoyed this read.  Debbie's women's fiction books are not demanding but enjoyable and memorable as well as heart warming. 

Time to list my TBR list for the week or maybe the month...I have got to slow down!!

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller

interrupted by Rachel Coker

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

The Devil in Pew Number 7 by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo


Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins...a Review

I purchased the Hunger Games trilogy for my grandson Noah and have it on order for Storm, another grandson,  as well.  So I will be reading the set after Noah finishes each volume.   I was somewhat leary about the series because I was concerned about the violence.   It just seems that youth reading and electronic games are so violent; I just wonder what kind of moral compass they will have as they grow.   I remember fairly calm stories of Black Beauty, Old Yeller, Robinson Carusoe and the Black Stallion, which really dealt with  minimal violence as I recall.  Anyway, the world, (North America) was a different place at the time of the Hunger Games.   The capitol governed 12 districts and each year they were asked to provide a male and a female competitor from each of the 12 districts to compete in the hunger games.   Out of 24 contestans, only one would be victorious and survive.   The other 23 competitors were supposed to die.  The victor would be richly rewarded with money and food for a year for the people in their district.   Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark represented district 12.   Katniss was from the poorest part of district 12, the Seam, and she possessed the practical skills of hunting and gathering food on which her mother and younger sister, Prim, have survived.  Peeta was the son of the baker, and he had secretly loved Katniss since they were five years old.    Therefore as the people followed the hunger games, District twelve brought forth the blossoming love story of the two young representatives and was way popular in the opinions of the audience.   Of course, district twelve won the contest with a bit of a rebellious spirit and this was the account of this years contest.   Alliances and friendships were forged, secrets shared, and horrible events covered the land in blood.  This was such an enthralling book, I read it in one day as I could not put it down for any length of time.   I loved it, but I thank God we have not sunk to that level of societal entertainment and government rule. Or have we in a sense?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge...a Review

 Sometimes you feel that you need something different and lately I have been experiencing just that in my reading tastes.   Usually I like crime, mystery/thrillers and suspense novels.  As a grandmother I try to read some books that my 10, 11, and 12 year old grandsons enjoy.   That's how I met young Harry Potter and how I fell in love with that series.   When I learned that The Little White Horse was J.K. Rowlings favorite childhood book, I absolutely had to read it.
   However, the wierdest thing happened when I picked up a copy and started to read, I went straight to sleep...every time.   I really had a hard time with the length of the chapters and Ms Goudge's lengthy, albeit charming narrative.  I could see that it was going to be a happy story and I did want to sink my teeth into it.  About halfway through, it happened and I read when I could not fall asleep.
  Maria Merriweather is our principal character and she has been brought up as befits a fine young lady.   She has lost her father and her home and travels with her governess, Miss Heliotrope, and her dog, Wiggins, to her cousin’s estate, Moonacre Manor.   This was truly a delightful fairytale, and Maria had a strong heritage of wrongs that needed to be righted and all hoped that she was the one who would right the wrongs and rid the area of Them.   During her adventures at Moonacre Manor, she makes many friends in both the people and the animals..  To meet those folks, and know who Them is, do read the story.   It is charming, sweet and I think I will read it again to my grand daughter when she is a little older.  It turned out to be a very pleasant surprise and as would befit a fairytale, ends with a happily ever after.