Monthly Archives: January 2012

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

After starting a relationship with her guardian angel, the mysterious Patch (Hush Hush), Nora has started to think things could not get better.  After all – Patch is great looking, dark, mysterious, gorgeous… and he was hers.  Yet, after a great day at the beach, Nora had said she loved him and then things went down hill quickly. 

First of all… not only did Patch not return the sentiment, he also takes off.  AND not only does he take off but he goes to Marcie Millar’s home.  MARCIE.  Nora’s nemesis.  When confronted about this, Patch seems aloof and avoids her questions.  What happened to their magical relationship?

*hmmmph!* 

Angels….

It was January 2010 when I read Hush Hush, the first book in this trilogy (see note on bottom) and GUSHED about the story.  I loved the mystery behind Patch and what he stood for… and while Nora annoyed me a bit (think Bella from the Twilight series…) it was still a worthy read/listen.

Fast forward to this second book, Crescendo.  When I seen the audio at my library I was excited to see where this one would go.  Patch was back still brooding and mysterious, and Nora…. well Nora was more annoying then the first book… I think maybe this is because I really like reading about strong female characters and ditzy ones tend to annoy me.  Maybe I need to remember that Nora is a teen and in love and if I think about it… I guess I was a bit like Nora when I was that age…. so maybe, I am just irritated with myself…. :razz:

The audio is good, this one really centers around someone known as “The Black Hand” and Nora’s fathers death, which I do not recall being a big point (if a point at all) in Hush Hush. 

In the end I enjoyed it, but not as much as I enjoyed Hush Hush.  I have however heard that Silence (the third in the series) is fantastic and so I am continuing on.  Silence was released in October of 2011, so for those starting the series, all books are ready to read straight through. 

*AND – recently I hear there will be a fourth book…. called Finale.  We will be watching for that in Fall 2012.

I think this series may appeal to the 12 – 18 year old readers more than me…. Patch is truly SSSQQQQUUUUEEEE worthy and I think that age group would appreciate Nora more. 

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

Borrowed from my AWESOME local library

Morning Meanderings…. A Run In With My Nemesis

Good morning all!  How are we this morning?  I am on cup of COFFEE number two, been up since 5:30 and actually feeling pretty good.  I have almost shaken off the cold/flu thing entirely and am almost ready to conquer my day (after I get ready for work, warm up my car, and pack my gym bag…)  :razz:

So… about the post title. 

Yesterday afternoon after running home quickly after 5 pm to let the dog out, fill the stove, and grab a couple of things before I was out the door again…. I stopped by my mail box and there she was.

I knew eventually we would run into each other.  I mean, it is a small world and all and I had no illusion that I would continue my life happily never crossing paths again…. in fact, I suppose in some sick twisted way, I had hoped this would happen.  That I would have to face her and try again to work this crazy rivalry out.

And so it happened.  She was at my mailbox….  I had my mail, I ripped open a large manilla envelope while driving (kids – only trained book lovers should attempt this)… and there she was….

Jane Eyre.

I think….

I may have screamed.

Honestly, this is not the first time I raved about her.  And in all honesty, I agreed to this encounter.  When Harper Perennial emailed me with a request to read and review Ms. Eyre… I had a mini fit, stomped my feet, slammed my laptop shut, eventually came back to the laptop, wiped away my tears and said…..  “She is a difficult woman but yes, I would like to try.”  (Honestly I did tell them that I have struggled trying to read her for years and would like the chance to try try TRY again).

So here we are.  Jane and I in the same house.  I think I will challenge myself to so many pages a week or something.  Maybe baby steps is the way to go.  I know many of you love her.  I don’t know why she hates me…. but she does.  I have never been able to read beyond the first few chapters without putting myself into a book coma.  I think she has magical (and evil) powers and she drugs me….   there is no reason why I should not be able to love this book too… but this will be my fifth attempt.

Be strong for me.

Do you have any books that are considered by the world to be “Amazing!”  “I couldn’t put it down!”  BEST book ever!” and you sit on the sidelines mumbling, “yeah…. not so much.”

If so please share with me…. I would love to know I am not alone. 

"Sheila, I take my coffee black because I do not have time to harvest sugar or make the creamer."

Oh – and if I disappear from the blogosphere….. remember…. I was last seen with Jane.  She may be small… but she is feisty.  :shock:

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

Welcome to It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling me how many you visited.  **You do not have to have a blog to participate! You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

This past weeks winner:

Niina at For The Love Of Reading


WOO HOO!!!!  Please choose an item out of the Reading Cafe Grab Shelves  and email me your choice with your mailing address as well!   journeythroughbooks@gmail.com

Wow, how did it get to be Monday already?   I think I had a good reading and blogging week… but the week was hindered when Thursday evening I became sick and remained that way through the weekend.  I am still sniffling now but had a good nap today and am hopeful that this is the end of it and I can get back on schedule tomorrow.  My workouts have suffered, but my reading has not as when not wanting to move…. I can always read.  :D

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (I am so glad I read this!  I really LOVED it!!!)

 

Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (a book I have been meaning to read for years – an audio that really amazed me – true story.)

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh (have you read Haigh yet?  You need to!)

 

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic (debut author this year and a great read!!!!)

One For The Money – Book and Movie review (I read the books YEARS ago, seen the movie on Saturday!)

 

I also finished Crescendo and The Fixer Upper on audio and watched Into The Wild the movie and have reviews yet to post on both of these.  I am in the process of listening to Silence which is the final and follow up book to Crescendo.

So this week hubby will be working out of town which for a wild girl like me means….

more books.  :razz: 

I already peeked this afternoon to see what I was up for this week and am excited to share with you the plan:

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. What if you could change it back?

In this brilliantly conceived tour de force, Stephen King – who has absorbed the social, political, and popular culture of his generation more imaginatively and thoroughly than any other writer – takes listeners on an incredible journey into the past and the possibility of altering it.

It begins with Jake Epping, a 35-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away: a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Reading the essay is a watershed moment for Jake, his life – like Harry’s, like America’s in 1963 – turning on a dime.

Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession – to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson, in a different world – of Ike and JFK and Elvis, of big American cars and sock hops and cigarette smoke everywhere. From the dank little city of Derry, Maine (where there’s Dunning business to conduct), to the warmhearted small town of Jodie, Texas, where Jake falls dangerously in love, every turn is leading, eventually of course, to a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and to Dallas, where the past becomes heart-stoppingly suspenseful – and where history might not be history anymore. Time-travel has never been so believable. Or so terrifying.

I started this one a couple days ago… it is a 30+ hour audio so thought I had better get started!  So far?  Loving it!

 

 

 

Frances, a Chinese-American student at an academically competitive school in San Francisco, has always had it drilled into her to be obedient to her mother and to be a straight-A student so that she can go to Med school. But is being a doctor what she wants? It has never even occurred to Frances to question her own feelings and desires until she accidentally winds up in speech class and finds herself with a hidden talent. Does she dare to challenge the mother who has sacrificed everything for her?

I found this at my library…. thought it sounded good!

In LIFE IS A TRIP: The Transformative Magic of Travel, Santa-Fe based travel writer Judith Fein describes many such in-betweens. For her, the most mundane moments are often turning points, when a trip can turn into a catharsis, where plans are thrown out and intuition takes over. Fein loves to take herself off the beaten path and then wait to see what happens. Her collection of essays is not so much about an intrepid traveler as a spiritual searcher, someone willing to travel to the ends of the Earth to find answers.

I started this one this afternoon and am enjoying the funny short travel stories…

Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother’s room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories–Ben’s told in words, Rose’s in pictures–weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder

I must be into “BIG ADVENTURES” as this baby is over 600 pages.  But – this was going to be my first book of the year and got pushed back.  Now it is time.

I think that is more than enough for this week – but it should be a fun week to read!  I am hoping to get around to many of you to see what you are reading as well!  Please add your link below where it says “Click Here” and stop in and see a few of the other readers who have linked up as well.  You never know where your next great read may come from!  :D

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and for those of you who are mainly YA, MG, and Childrens book readers…. be sure add your link here as well:

 

To Re-Read: To Read…. and Then….. Read Again :)

I have seen a couple posts as of late on re-reading.  It really got me thinking about this as book lovers, who usually have more books in-house and on our wish list then we could ever hope to read… what makes people like us drop everything to read a book again?  Certainly you can not have that same “first time” experience again…. yet I am betting each and every one of us has at least one go to book that they hang on to and know they could read it again and again and love it every time.

So why?

For me, I get something a little more out of a book each time I read it.  I may pick up something I missed before, or now knowing how it all turns out, words can take on new meaning, and I can appreciate the author even more for a turn of a phrase, or a clue to something coming that at the time… I did not realize was a clue of things to come. 

I refer to books like these as comfort reads.  Books I can turn to at any time, I know they are there… I know they will satisfy.  I already know I love these books.  Characters can become deeper, more three dimensional the second third and fourth time around.  I now… know them.  Not only do I know what they will do and why they will do it… I go through it all with them. 

What makes me turn to these books, when again, I am surrounded by lovely books yet to be read…

It could be a mood… maybe I am going through something hard in my life and I don’t want to crack the code on a new book… I want to go where the characters are known, where I can enjoy a butter beer (oops… have I said too much?  ;)  )  Perhaps I am tired, or in need of an old friend… but time and again I will visit these books.

My list … currently is short.  While I have many books that I keep and feel I may one day re-read… there are few that I actually have. 

The Harry Potter series.  All of them.

Seriously… every time I talk about them I want to read them (like now!).  I can easily go back to Hogwarts any time and see these fantastic characters.  Every year I read at least one of these books.  When book 7 came out I read through it quickly in three days to avoid hearing any spoilers… and then turned around and read it again that same week… more slowly, savoring and enjoying every page. 

Summerhouse is truly a magical read of what if you could go back and make a different choice…  I ADORE this book.  Every time I see it somewhere at a sale I buy it to give to friends.  I personally own two paperbacks of it and two hardcovers, one in large print.  Fantastic book I have read probably 5 times so far…

Dance Upon The Air was our first ever book club pick in August of 2001.  At that time, and to still to this day, I am not a Nora Roberts fan.  Never much of a romance reader….  HOWEVER – this is not Nora’s typical fare…. this series is about three women with powers…. one who doesn’t know she has them (Nell, Dance Upon The Air), one who knows she has them but wished she did not (Ripley, Heaven and Earth) and one who has them, loves the ability to do good…. and embraces them, (Mia, Face The Fire).  For the record…. Mia is also my favorite all time female character.  She is tough, independent, beautiful, and the owner of a book store.  Seriously, what is not to love?  :razz:  About every couple of years I read this series again… and…. I am about due….

No classics on this list…. yet.  While I have classics I adore (To Kill A Mockingbird), I still love basking in the memory of the story and as of yet, do not wish to dive in again. 

Do you have books that you read time and again?  Why?  What do you get out of them that second and third time around? 

One For The Money – The Book and the Movie Review

 

A long time ago…  (long before this blog or before I even knew what a blog was) I had read Janet Evanovich’s book One For The Money.  It was light, it was funny.  It was about this big haired girl named Stephanie Plum from New Jersey who was down on her luck after losing her job.  The bills were piling up and she found herself looking for a job from her cousin Vinnie who owned the local Bond Agency.

Then it gets hilarious.  Stephanie has no idea what she has got herself into but tries to bring in the biggest bail, Morrelli, who she had a brief encounter with many years ago and thinks this could be some pay back.  Morelli is not only a good-looking guy, he is also a cop – on bail for a crime he did not commit but all evidence to say so seems to has disappeared. 

When Stephanie requires a little assistance in her new job, she is introduced to Ranger (yay!!!!  Three cheers from my section *doing the wave* !!!!)  Ranger is dark and mysterious and has a way of showing up just when Stephanie needs him.  He also teaches her how to shoot a gun, and how to break into a suspects home… but you know… that’s just part of the fun.

The book… is fun.   Really it is.  SO much fun in fact I went on to read Two For The Dough, Three To Get Deadly, Four To Score, High Five, Hot Six, Seven Up, Hard Eight, To The Nines, Ten Big Ones, Eleven On Top and Twelve Sharp.  (In Twelve Sharp the book irritated me/ got a little gross and I stopped reading the series there).  Currently I think the books are on eighteen.

The series is just funny bail bond situations that Stephanie gets involved in and Morrelli and Ranger dig her out of messes.  She usually winds up accidentally uncovering something that leads to big arrests….

 

Movie…

 

On Saturday I went to the movie with four other Bookies (my book club).  Although we never read this book as a book club, we had read a couple of the later ones in the series.  A few in my book club are HUGE fans of the series and have read every book. 

I felt the movie was well done.  Although there has been grumblings of the casting of Katherine Heigl as Stephanie (too tall, and too sophisticated), I thought she did a great job.  Morrelli and Ranger were wonderful and over all I personally thought this movie version was even better than the book.  Yup.  I did just say that.

If you are looking for a fun laugh out loud movie, I would recommend giving this one a try. 

Morning Meanderings…. NEVER Say Never

Good morning!!!

UP early – ready to go…. things to do…. things to do….

Do I feel better?  For the most part, yes.  Not 100% and I did just sneeze… but I am moving.

Do you have any of those authors you read and then one day you decide… never again?  I had that with Stephen King.  As a teen and early 20’s – LOVED just about everything he wrote.  In fact between him and Dean Koontz…. my favorite genre at the time was dark mystery with a touch occasionally of horror.  (My how times have a changed….LOL)

Then… at some point… his writing became just odd.  I didn’t get it… I didn’t want to get it… and I gave up on King, never to be read again by me.

There’s that word never.

But who was to know that someday in the future that King would write something that would make me curious.  Who among us seen 11-22-63 coming from this author?  Not me….  and even when it did I was skeptical…. but I added it to my wish list anyway, just in case… and then the positive murmurs began.

The final selling point for me was Kathy from Bermuda Onion said she was listening to it and enjoying it very much.  I knew then my next audible credit would go to this audio chunkster… 30+ hours of audio is a BIG commitment…. but I did it a couple of days ago and I am into the story and…

wow. 

Not only so far has King impressed me with this story of going back in time to save Kennedy on that fatal day, it’s not cheesy weird.  It’s actually something I can visualize… and I like it.  It’s also smart and I have to tell you it is scoring big time with me.  As in this story, a way has been found to go back in time, yet each consecutive time you go back it sets everything you have done previously back to the way it was.  Basically – you have to do it right… and then never go back again.  AND no matter how long you are in the past – when you return to the future only two minutes have past, errr.. in the future.  

Looking for a good read or a good way to spend your audible credit that is worthy?  I think…. this may very well be it.  Treat yourself.  Surprise yourself.  Way to go King.

Never Eighteen by Megan Bostic

Austin Parker knows he will never see his eighteen birthday.  The leukemia he had for years now has slowly eaten away his once strong athletic build and he is tired of fighting. 

Really tired.

Yet, before he goes… Austin has made a list of people he wants to talk with and places he wants to see.  With the help of his best friend Kaylee and her car that she constantly changes the name of, they take a weekend to right wrongs, to speak truth, to try new things, and to come clean about true feelings… no matter what the cost.

One of the songs from Austins play list:

When I went to BEA in 2010 I had the opportunity to hand with the Class of 2011 Debut YA Authors.  Let’s just say…. it was a blast and I had so much fun chatting it up with these authors who’s books were going to be released in 2011.  What a high energy group!!!   I loaded up on their books, read many of them… and still have more to get to!

So when the buzz was starting about the Class of 2K12 I became excited all over again!  Here was a whole new group of authors coming into the scene, and one of those authors happened to be Megan Bostic with her book here, Never Eighteen.

I had such a good time reading this book.  How do I describe it’s impact on me?  Yes, it is sad.  BUT it is also powerful, smart, important, insightful, kind, sweet, brilliant, thought provoking and a page turner.

For a YA read I was impressed how this book makes you think of the what if’s in our lives… and the relationships we have that are either broken, damaged, or there are words that need to be said… but the time never seems right.  What does it take to motivate us into action?  How could lives change if we were the ones to make the steps toward repairing, if we were the ones to point out truths that no one has been brave enough to say out loud? 

Seriously – keep an eye on Megan Bostic…

Amazon Rating

Goodreads Review

Morning Meanderings… a little road trip this morning

Good morning.  Still under the weather here… a little sniffly and a little sneezy (that sounds like two dwarfs!) still, but moving forward.  That said, it did not stop me from putting a baseball cap on my head, throwing on tennis shoes and a sweatshirt over my t shirt and sleep pants and taking a drive down the road to capture some pictures this morning for Alyce’s Saturday Snapshot.

Just down the road from where I live is The old Brainerd State Hospital.  Once a flourishing environment of 22 large buildings and many State jobs, the hospital opened in 1958 and was able to house as many as 1,500 patients.  In fact, in 1981, my first job was there, I worked in building 16 one summer as an activity assistant.  I wasn’t old enough to drive then, but I road my bike to and from, Monday through Friday.  Being a state job, it was the best pay scale I had for many years to come.

 

As Health Treatment philosophy changed in the later 1980’s the patient load declined rapidly until as of the last few years, the only buildings being used are 20,21, and 22.  Last month they began to demo the other buildings. 

I have lived in this home for the most part, since I was 3 years old.  The State Hospital, besides a job – holds many memories for me.  My cousins and I used to ride our bikes through the roadways within the property from the ages of 8 to 14. 

This morning… I grabbed up my camera and took these pictures:

 

 

It is the end of an era.

Today I plan to lay low and recover.  I have a book to read this morning, and a few of us from my book club are going to go to the afternoon showing of One For The Money, based off the book by Janet Evanovich. 

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh

At the age of thirteen Gwen McKotch is at the beach with her younger cousin Charlotte.  As Gwen’s father passes by and glances at the girls he is shocked to see how small Gwen looks in her child sized bikini next to the younger Charlotte.  At this moment the McKotch’s get the first inkling that there is something wrong with their daughter and they soon learn she has Turner’s Syndrome; a genetic condition that stops the body from maturing trapping her forever in the body of a child.

Twenty years later, Gwen’s parents are now divorced.  Her older brother Billy is a cardiologist dutiful and dedicated  to a fault battling his own thoughts on what a relationship should be.  Her other brother Scott has struggled with drugs, a lousy soul sucking job, and a lousy soul sucking marriage.  And then there is Gwen, silent and emotionally aloof, bright and accomplished.  She has made peace with the hand she has been dealt and now in her early thirties she is falling in love for the first time.

Suddenly… the McKotch’s world is once again tipped on it’s axis.

Turner syndrome or Ullrich-Turner syndrome (also known as “Gonadal dysgenesis”[1]:550) encompasses several conditions in human females, of which monosomy X (absence of an entire sex chromosome, the Barr body) is most common. It is a chromosomal abnormality in which all or part of one of the sex chromosomes is absent (unaffected humans have 46 chromosomes, of which two are sex chromosomes). Normal females have two X chromosomes, but in Turner syndrome, one of those sex chromosomes is missing or has other abnormalities. In some cases, the chromosome is missing in some cells but not others, a condition referred to as mosaicism[2] or ‘Turner mosaicism’.

Occurring in 1 in 2000[3] – 1 in 5000 phenotypic females,[4] the syndrome manifests itself in a number of ways. There are characteristic physical abnormalities, such as short stature, swelling, broad chest, low hairline, low-set ears, and webbed necks.[5] Girls with Turner syndrome typically experience gonadal dysfunction (non-working ovaries), which results in amenorrhea (absence of menstrual cycle) and sterility. Concurrent health concerns are also frequently present, including congenital heart disease, hypothyroidism (reduced hormone secretion by the thyroid), diabetes, vision problems, hearing concerns, and many autoimmune diseases.[6] Finally, a specific pattern of cognitive deficits is often observed, with particular difficulties in visuospatial, mathematical, and memory areas.[7]

Wikepedia

I knew I wanted to read a Jennifer Haigh book.  I have known this for over a year now.  When the opportunity presented itself to a part of a tour and I had choice of reviewing one of several titles, I asked for the book to be chosen for me.  The Condition is what was offered, and I accepted.

The Condition, after all, is right up my alley.  Books about families with real issues, real feeling tragedy’s and triumphs is something I enjoy reading about.  After all, in today’s world the family without struggles of some kind is extremely rare. Some of us are born with deficiencies we have no control over, others grow into habits and addictions brought on by may causes… and it is amazing how one family member can stumble, and the repercussions can tumble down for years and years to come.

So…. did Jennifer Haigh deliver?

When I sat down and opened this book one thing really impressed on me immediately…. I felt like I landed right in the story.  This is not one of those reads where someone says, “hang on… after page 105 it really gets good!”, no, this book grabbed me from the start.  In fact when I sat down that first day to start it, I only planned on checking out how it started, read a page or two to get the feel of it and then continue the next day. 

That is not what happened.  Instead, I was sucked in and each page made me want to read another.  Right from the start the story pulls at you, causing you to want to know more… to want to read more.  You can’t stop, because you are always in the “happening moment” and who wants to stop while stuff is happening?  :D

I am not going to describe a lot here as this is a book that is best left to the reader to discover.  I will say that I liked how Jennifer Haigh skillfully broke the narration into five parts and each of the McKotch family has a voice, all giving their take on the same event.  This was handled smoothly and allowed me to feel as though I knew and understood each family member.

At first glance, you would think The Condition is about Gwen’s diagnosis, but as you read you will discover that the condition, is part of each of them.

An intelligent read that I will continue to think about for a long time. 

Morning Meanderings…. Should the Sniffling and Sneezing be telling me something?

Good morning.

Stuffy head…. sniffling… sneezing…

I feel like a walking ad for some sort of cold and flu commercial.

I don’t get sick often but when I do…. it knocks me down.

I am ready for work…. just Advil’d up to hopefully take the edge of the queasy and moving forward. I have to get a couple of things done for sure today… if this does not pass I will be home early…

One thing I wanted to be sure and share today (not the sickness…. your safe from that :razz:) is a sale my fellow book lovers need to be aware of:

Yup.  And it’s a good sale!  As my head has allowed I have put a couple of things into my cart on their site…. still have not made it all the way through but found a Laura Lipman, and a couple of others so far.  Beware – it’s an addicting site when you can find good titles for $1.99. 

I have a review up later and hopefully will be 100% better after today….  :D

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