Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Awakening

by Kate Chopin

The title of this book made me think of new beginnings, spring and hope; like awakening from a deep sleep and opening your eyes, seeing what is before you. What I discovered while reading was not an awakening by my definition, but rather a dark and gloomy depression.

I admit to not knowing little about this classic before reading it, but I had the impression it was about a married woman who "awakens" to a new life as she discovers her own independence.

I did not feel this was a story of finding independence - with independence and "freedom" comes feelings of completeness, satisfaction, contentment and energy. Edna, the main character in this book, never exhibits those feelings. I think she was depressed and because she had financial means, is able to indulge in the "luxury" of her depression. She ignores the running of the house, she ignores her children and allows them to go live with the maid and she moves into a little "pigeon-hole" house alone.

So many passages, so many of Edna's behaviors and feelings were characteristic of depression. There was a sadness to her life, a feeling of darkness and despair. Cutting the ties that bond her in her marriage and motherhood did not free Edna of the darkness. If the story was indeed about the smothering effects of marriage and motherhood, why didn't Edna ever feel relief?

I think the author was trying to decry the feelings of many woman, both in the past and still today, who feel like they are nothing more than possessions. I think the argument could have been stronger if the main character was not suffering depression. Was the author herself suffering from clinical depression and with no understanding of it, blaming those feelings on marriage moires.

This would be a good book for a face-to-face book group. I would like to bounce my ideas of others and see if anyone agrees with my feelings about the book or not. There would be many things about this book to discuss. I think I could better express my thoughts about this book in person rather than in a post.

One quote that stood out was something Robert, Edna's lover, said to her towards the end of the book.
"Why do you force me to idiotic subterfuges? I think you cruel. Maybe not intentionally cruel, but you seem to be forcing me into disclosures which can result in nothing. As if you would have me bear a wound for for the pleasure of looking at it, without the intention or power of healing it."

BTW, I made it to TEN books this month for the NaJuReMoNoMo (National Just Read More Novels Month) Wahoo for me!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Maggie Again

by John D. Husband

I was into this story within the first few pages. I connected with the main character, I was intrigued with the premise of the book and I loved the idyllic setting of Cobblers Eddy, Indiana in 1926. Life is good for Maggie and her friends until she learns of her dad's plan to move.

When her father gets the chance to live his dreams Maggie's family moves to Upper East Side of New York City. Maggie is supportive of her father's dream and unselfishly helps those dreams come true, but once in New York, Maggie and her mother are not happy with their new lifestyle. Maggie writes a letter to her young sweetheart, Tom, to bring Alfie and Gordie and come visit her. They hop a ride in a boxcar of a train. And that's when things go awry.

I really enjoyed this unique time-travel story. I'd love it if the author wrote a sequel that continued the story of Maggie and Tom and their friends. To add to the story experience there's a website all about the author, the book, and further info about Maggie.

Somewhere I learned after finishing a book to go back and reread the quote at the front of the book. This one was a real kicker: "If youth but knew and age but could. --Henri Estienne, 1594" Imagine if you had all the knowledge and experience of a 74-yr-old woman in a 16-yr-old body. That is a reality for Maggie/Margaret. What will she do with it?

Monday, January 28, 2008

And the Lucky Winners Are . . .

Colleen is really awesome! She said she would send a signed copy to 3 different winners - one for each book. So it's TRIPLE the excitement around here.
The 1st winner is
who wins a copy of The second winner is
~~~Les from Nebraska~~~
who wins a copy ofAnd the third winner is
who wins a copy of

Congratulaltions Framed, Les and Cassie. I know you will enjoy these books immensely. Please email your mailing addresses to me at booklogged AT gmail DOT com. I will send them to Colleen who will sign your books and send them to you. Pretty darn cool.

There were about 17 people who put in for the drawing that haven't read the first one. Let me encourage you to. It's fun, suspenseful, romantic, adventurous, humorous, dangerous and a very good read.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bare Bones

by Kathy Reich

I read this for the Themed Reading Challenge. I choice the theme of books with the word 'Bone' in the title. I know it sounds bizarre, but I had a lot of books on my shelves and on my TBR list that contained the word bone. Seemed like an obvious choice to me. Ever since I decided on my theme I've seen so many books that will fit this challenge. For the challenge I only need to read 4 books and I have a list of 18.

Bare Bones is a mystery AND it belongs to a series. Of course, I didn't read the first in the series, but I probably will someday. I definitely want to read more about Temperance Brennan, anthropologist. The TV series Bones is based on this series. Anyone into that series. I may have to check out the first season and watch it.

This is the first Kathy Reich book I've read. At some points I felt like there were too many story lines to keep track off, but they were all related in the end. I like a good mystery and this one filled the bill. Nothing really great, but enjoyable, nonetheless.

Be a Lucky Winner

The weather outside may be frightful, but I have news that will warm your hearts. Colleen Gleason's new book The Bleeding Dusk is being released on Feb 5, but you could win a signed copy on Jan 28.

OR... You could win a signed copy of book two in the Gardella Vampire Slayer Chronicles, Rises the Night.

OR... If you haven't started reading this series yet, you could win the first book, The Rest Falls Away.

If you would like a chance to win one of these 3 marvelous adventure/romance books, leave a brief comment and let me know which book you would like to win. I will draw the winner's name on Monday, Jan 28.

Click on the names of the books to read my reviews or for further information and excerpts check out Colleen's website.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Midnight for Charlie Bone

by Jenny Nimmo

This series is a definite Harry Potter copy cat. I really hate it when authors aren't original enough to come up with their own theme. I was more annoyed at the beginning of the book and more forgiving towards the end. I just about quit reading at the first, but for some reason I kept reading and eventually was interested in the characters and what was going on.

Charlie Bone discovers that he has special 'endowments' when he is able to hear photographs speaking. His 3 aunts send him off to Bloor's, a special school for geniuses. He learns bits and pieces of a horrible mystery that he feels compelled to solve in spite of the dangers.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


by Shannon Hale

"Jane Hayes is a seemingly normal young New Yorker, but she has a secret. Her obsession with Mr. Darcy, as played by Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, is ruining her love life: no real man can compare. But when a wealthy relative bequeaths her a trip to an English resort catering to Austen-crazed women, Jane's fantasies of meeting the perfect Regency-era gentleman suddenly become realer than she ever could have imagined." -from the Publisher

I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this romantic escapade, but I did. In fact, I enjoyed it a lot. Hale has added some fun twists to this modern retelling of Austen's masterpiece.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Only You Can Save Mankind

by Terry Pratchett

I've read four novels by Terry Pratchett and thoroughly enjoyed each one. This year I've set a goal to read more books Pratchett. His work is creative, contemplative, humorous and often includes a touch of mystery. Pratchett has had 22 consecutive best sellers. Quite remarkable. He's most famous for his sci fi tales about Discworld. My favorite to date is Mork, followed by his YA series featuring Tiffany Aching.

Only You Can Save Mankind is the first in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy. It's written for the 5-8 grade audience. If you have a son in that age group, this may be one he'd enjoy. Girls, too; but I was thinking of a boy who wasn't that into reading.

Johnny is called to from the darkness of a space alien computer game. The ScreeWees are all be killed off and they want to surrender and have safe conduct back to their home planet. Safe conduct is promised to prisoners under the international rules of war.

With my recent read of Ender's Game still fresh in my mind, I thought the idea smacked of Ender and his computer games. This book is much gentler and does veer from Ender's Game quite a bit. Much better book for younger readers.

Johnny runs with a mismatched group of dweebs, nerds and other social outcasts. Here's Johnny's description of one of his friend with the nickname Wobler. "He wobbled. It was glandular, he said. He wobbled especially when he ran. Bits of Wobbler headed in various directions: it was only on average that he was running in any particular direction." Can't you just picture it?!

I don't suggest you run out and buy this one. It was a fun book and it was nice to have something simpler to read when I needed to take a break from Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell. (I may never finish that one!)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Chunkster Challenge

I vowed I wasn't going to join any more challenges, but this one will fit in without any major adjustments in my reading schedule. I already have several chunksters in the plans for 2008.

The challenge, as issued by Dana from So Many Books, So Little Time is to read 4 chunksters during the year. My list is:
1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
2. Colony of Unrequited Dreams by Wayne Johnston
3. Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
4. Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Masterpiece Theater Reminder

I just wanted to remind you (and me) of Masterpiece Theater broadcast adaptations of all of Jane Austen's six novels plus a new drama based on her life will be starting soon.

Here is a schedule of the Austen novels that will be aired.
Jan 13 - Persuasion
Jan 20 - Northanger Abbey
Jan 27 - Mansfield Park
Feb 3 - Miss Austen Regrets
Feb 10 though Feb 24 - Pride and Prejudice
Mar 23 - Emma
Mar 30 and Apr 6 - Sense and Sensibility

For my benefit (and anyone else that lives in the mountain time zone) Masterpiece Theater is at 8 pm. If you live in Utah the movies will be aired on KUED.

If you read/watch at least two Jane Austen novels/movies in 2008 you will have satisfied the requirements for Becky's Mini-Austen Challenge. How's that for wonderful?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Bleeding Dusk

by Colleen Gleason

I received an unexpected, but delightful surprise in November when I opened a package and discovered an ARC of Colleen's latest book in the Gardella Vampire Chronicles. I immediately sent off a thank-you email expressing my surprise and delight. Colleen emailed back and told me to be sure and read the acknowledgments. There, right after the illustrious name of Carl V, was my name! I had to sit down and do some deep breathing exercises. In the acknowledgments Colleen expressed her thanks to several blogging friends who have read and reviewed her books and sponsored contests. I was downright tickled to be mentioned.

Those of you who have been following the escapades of Victoria Gardella, vampire slayer will be happy to know that The Bleeding Dusk will be out and on shelves on Feb 5. We learn some pretty interesting things about Max and Sebastian, the two main men in Victoria's life. Desire puts her at the mercy of Sebastian, while loyalty binds her to Max, but can she trust either man? And what of the 3rd man lingering in the shadows?

I found myself a bit annoyed with Victoria. She's so young and impetuous and gets herself in some dangerous situations. Doesn't she have a brain to go along with that beautiful body? It's just a good thing she has others who aren't so full of themselves watching out for her best interests.

As with the first two books, there are a lot of suspenseful moments. I love that part, as well as the mystery surrounding the main characters. One of the good things about this series is the slow reveal of important aspects of the characters' lives. I look forward to the next book so I can get more insight into both Max and Sebastian. AND of course, I can't wait to read what further adventures await.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Last Battle

by C. S. Lewis

The last in The Chronicles of Narnia series iss a short, quick read. Aslan shows up unexpectedly and commands the people and animals to do things that appear contrary to his previous benevolent teachings and actions. King Tirian is beside himself and calls for help from Eustace and Jill. Of course, it is not the real Aslan but a donkey dressed up in a lion's costume who only appears to his subjects at night. That symbolism made me smile.

As the title suggests this is the last great battle and is symbolic of the last battle talked about in the Book of Revelations in the Bible.

I enjoyed reading this series very much, but felt this book ended a bit too abruptly. My mind didn't stay focused on it as well as the others in the series. Can't say as it was the book's fault or mine. I may give it another try in the future.

I do love this cover and would like to buy the whole series with this type of artwork, but I've been unable to locate them. I bought what was advertised as this, but I received a different set. Guess all I can do is keep my eyes open.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Silver Chair

by C.S. Lewis

Eustace returns to Narnia with a new friend, Jill Pole. Aslan tells them that King Caspian's son is alive and they must find him and return him to Narnia. The children are aided by a rather pessimistic marsh-wiggle named Puddleglum. I delevloped a liking for this Eeyore-like character because, even though he was a wet blanket, he was brave and courageous.

I was tickled when Jill's nurse called her a poppet. The only other time I had heard the word, poppet, it was in reference to Lisa Snellings cute little artwork. I stole this picture from Bookfool's blog to show you what they look like in case you've never seen them.

It seems the word poppet comes from the old English meaning a small child or doll. Who knew? Some look on poppets as lucky charms.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

We Shall Not Sleep

by Anne Perry

My first finished book of 2008 may just wind up being my favorite at the end of the year. At least, I would not be surprised if it did.

Anne Perry has long been in my top 10 favorite authors. It's with exuberance that I review this, the fifth and last, in her acclaimed World War I series. The overall mystery that ran throughout the series covering the length of the war was discovering who the 'Peacemaker' was and stopping him before he succeeded in his plan for world peace and dominance. There was within each book a separate mystery that was solved within the time frame of the book.

In book five a nurse is brutally murdered and two innocent people are blamed. The Reavley siblings must discover who it is in order to take care of some secret service work before the war ends. And the end is soon approaching. A young lady the reader knows well from other books was raped and she may be the only one who can shed light on who the real murderer is, but if she comes forward she could loose the love of her life. Perry provides real insight into the feelings of people in the early part of the century towards rape victims.

I seldom cry during movies or books, but I was choked up several times while reading We Shall Not Sleep. I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to finish the book. After doing so, I crawled in bed beside my sleeping husband and thanked the Lord that he never had to personally experience war. And my heart wept for those who suffered and who still battle today for freedom.

Perry wrote a powerful series. The mysteries are captivating, the history is well-depicted, and the storyline is well constructed. I marked a kazillion passages to reread at the end. I love putting a little bookdart* at a thought or passage that I want to reread at the end of the book. It refreshes the ideas and allows me to think of them again but with the end of the book in mind.

When talking with the Peacemaker, Mason (a war correspondent) became aware of the conflicting beliefs of Joseph Reavley and the Peacemaker. "The Peacemaker had argued over and over that the greater end justified the smaller ugliness of the means. Joseph Reavley had said that the means were inextricably bound into and part of the end. Being a chaplain, he had put it in religious terms. He had said that if you picked up and used the devil's tools, you had already served his purpose, because using them had changed you, and that was all he wanted."

In this passage the flaw of the Peacemaker's plan is contemplated by Mason.
"The Peacemaker had begun with such high, clear ideals. They would broker peace, prevent the slaughter and ruin of war, at a relatively small price. Except that it was not a small price. They had not seen then that the lack of open war is not the same thing as peace. There are internal prices to pay that create a different kind of war, another sort of destruction. . . It wasn't nationality that was the issue. It was the passion and belief of the individual, the right to rule himself in the manner of his choice, the chance to be different, funny, inventive, to learn anything and everything, to question, to make mistakes and to start again."
At one point Matthew Reavley (Secret Intelligence) is recruiting Mason's help and tells him of the Peacemaker's plans.
"It would be peace, but without any passion or individuality, any freedom to think and question, to be different to dare new ideas, to complain against stupidity or injustice, to question or work or laugh aloud. It would be the peace of death. . . He still hasn't learned that you can't force people without at the same time destroying them."
Joseph often refers to Dante's Inferno. Here he has a brief insight of his study of that book.
"It's Dante again - Rewarded not for what we do, but by it--and by what we see, and what we see others do."
Joseph confronting the Peacemaker.
"There would always have been some who would pay for the freedom for us to make our own laws, speak our differences aloud, follow the faith we choose . . . If we pay with our lives, then so be it. We will not pay with the slow death of our minds or the withering of our souls."
Though there are more, I will only share one last kernel.
"Great men use power as little as possible."
*I bought several tins of bookdarts for Christmas presents and they sent me a couple of extra sleeves. If you would like to win a sleeve of 12 or so bookdarts, make a comment and I will draw for a winner on Sunday, January 13.