Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy birthday!


Here we are at the end of Oldest' birthday weekend. We had a wonderful time. A family day out on Saturday followed by a birthday party on the Sunday. There was presents and cake, laughter and friends. What more do you need?

I hope all your wishes and dreams come true, little boy! Happy 4th birthday!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Reading Challenges

I've decided that 2010 is the year I join and successfully complete reading challenges. Here are a few that I'm interested in. Any others that I've missed that I should consider? (I'm still away on my blogging break, but I meant to post this during the week and forgot!) I will keep this page up to date with my progress!


J. Kaye is hosting the 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge - I'm signing up for the mini-YA option, in which I'll be reading 12 YA books between January 1st and December 2010. I've read a lot of YA books this year, but is it just a phase I'm going through? We'll see.

1. Nation by Terry Pratchett
2. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
3. Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
4. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
5. Wake by Lisa McMann
6. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
7. Skellig by David Almond
8. Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning
9. Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen
10. Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
11. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
12. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
13. Della Says OMG! by Keris Stainton
14. Ransom My Heart by Mia Thermopolis with Meg Cabot
15. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
16. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
17. Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning
18. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
19. The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman
20. The Butterfly Tattoo by Philip Pullman
21. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
22. What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
23. Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
24. Ash by Malinda Lo
25. Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire
26. Beastly by Alex Flinn
27. Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire
28. Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
29. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
30. Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
31. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
32. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
33. Scarred by Julia Hoban
34. Sticky Fingers by Niki Burnham
35. When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
36. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell
37. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
38. I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak
39. Marked by PC and Kristin Cast
40. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
41. Paper Towns by John Green
42. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
43. Cut by Patricia McCormick
44. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
45. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
46. Forget You by Jennifer Echols
47. Strange Angels by Lili St Crow
48. Betrayed by PC and Kristin Cast
49. Fallen by Lauren Kate
50. When I Was Joe by Keren David
51. Chosen by PC and Kristin Cast
52. Untamed by PC and Kristin Cast
53. Split By A Kiss by Luisa Plaja
54. Hunted by PC and Kristin Cast
55. Betrayals by Lili St Crow
56. Notes From The Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
57. Tempted by PC and Kristin Cast
58. My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray
60. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
61. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart


Also, J. Kaye's Support Your Local Library Challenge, in which I pledge to read 75 books.

1. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
2. Nation by Terry Pratchett
3. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
4. Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
5. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being A Woman by Nora Ephron
6. Persepolis by Marjane Sartapi
7. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
8. Maus by Art Spiegleman
9. Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
10. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson
11. Invisible by Paul Auster
12. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
13. The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
14. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
15. Skellig by David Almond
16. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
17. Boy by Roald Dahl
18. Ransom My Heart by Mia Thermopolis with Meg Cabot
19. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
20. The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
21. Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
22. The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman
23. The Butterfly Tattoo by Philip Pullman
24. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
25. Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
26. Dog Boy by Eva Hornung
27. Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire
28. Strange Angels by Lili St Crow
29. Fallen by Lauren Kate
30. When I Was Joe by Keren David

J. Kaye hosts some wonderful reading challenges - I will also be joining her 100+ reading challenge. So far this year I have read 135 books, so this should be easy! (er, I hope)

1. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
2. Nation by Terry Pratchett
3. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
4. Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx
5. Dear Me: Letters to My 16 Year-Old Self
6. Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
7. A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
8. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
9. I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
10. Persepolis by Marjane Sartapi
11. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
12. Maus by Art Spiegleman
13. Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
14. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day by Winifred Watson
15. Invisible by Paul Auster
16. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
17. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
18. Wake by Lisa McMann
19. Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes
20. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
21. Letter To My Daughter by Maya Angelou
22. The Comical Tragedy or Tragical Comedy of Mr Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean
23. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
24. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
25. Property by Valerie Martin
26. Skellig by David Almond
27. Plain Jayne by Hillary Manton Lodge
28. Nobody's Girl by Sarra Manning
29. Along For the Ride by Sarah Dessen
30. Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
31. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
32. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes
33. Boy by Roald Dahl
34. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
35. Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
36. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
37. Della Says OMG! by Keris Stainton
38. Ransom My Heart by Mia Thermopolis with Meg Cabot
39. Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby
40. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
41. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
42. Guitar Girl by Sarra Manning
43. A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong
44. The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris
45. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
46. Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
47. The Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman
48. The Butterfly Tattoo by Philip Pullman
49. Unsticky by Sarra Manning (reread)
50. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
51. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
52. What My Girlfriend Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
53. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
54. Girl With Glasses: My Optic History by Marissa Walsh
55. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
56. The Graduate by Charles Webb
57. Heartbeat by Sharon Creech
58. Dog Boy by Eva Hornung
59. Ash by Malinda Lo
60. Beautiful Dead: Jonas by Eden Maguire
61. The Body Artist by Don DeLillo
62. Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway
63. The Unfinished Novel and other stories by Valerie Martin
64. Beastly by Alex Flinn
65. Fighting Ruben Wolfe by Markus Zusak
66. Beautiful Dead: Arizona by Eden Maguire
67. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
68. Bloom by Elizabeth Scott
69. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson
70. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
71. Scarred by Julia Hoban
72. Sticky Fingers by Niki Burnham
73. When It Happens by Susane Colasanti
74. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell
75. North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
76. The Woman Who Walked into Doors by Roddy Doyle
77. I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak
78. American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
79. Marked by PC and Kristin Cast
80. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
81. Paper Towns by John Green
82. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
83. Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
84. Cut by Patricia McCormick
85. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
86. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
87. Suite Scarlett by Maureen Johnson
88. Forget You by Jennifer Echols
89. Betrayed by PC and Kristin Cast
90. Strange Angels by Lili St Crow
91. Fallen by Lauren Kate
92. When I Was Joe by Keren David
93. Chosen by PC and Kristin Cast
94. Untamed by PC and Kristin Cast
95. Split By A Kiss by Luisa Plaja
96. Hunted by PC and Kristin Cast
97. Betrayals by Lili St Crow
98. Notes From the Teenage Underground by Simmone Howell
99. Tempted by PC and Kristin Cast
100. My So-Called Afterlife by Tamsyn Murray
101. I Was Told There Would Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
102. Lighthousekeeping by Jeannette Winterson
103. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready
104. The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
105. Skim by Jillian and Mariko Tamaki
106. Maus II by Art Spiegelman
107. Fat Kid Rules the World by KL Going
108. Everything Beautiful by Simmone Howell

For this next one, I'm really pushing myself. It's the Terry Pratchett 2010 reading challenge hosted by Reading Adventures. I've tried a Terry Pratchett book before and it wasn't my cup of tea, but I think I need to try again. I've signed up for the lowest level - Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint - which means I may only read one book, but at least I'll have tried!

1. Mort by Terry Pratchett
2. Nation by Terry Pratchett
3. Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
4. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

I don't want to over extend myself, but the GLBT Reading Challenge appeals to me. I've chosen the Lambda level and will read four books with GLBT themes and/or authors. Here is a tentative list of books I'd be considering:

1. Sexing the Cherry by Jeannette Winterson
2. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
3. The Night Watch by Sarah Waters
4. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
5. Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
6. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima
7. If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Books I've read for the challenge:

1. Sexing the Cherry by Jeanette Winterson
2. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
3. Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
4. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
5. Ash by Malinda Lo
6. The Unfinished Novel and other stories by Valerie Martin
7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
8. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith
9. Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki


Next up, we have the Flashback challenge, hosted over at Booklust. I've chosen the Scholar level to read 4-6 that I've loved as a child, in high school or as an adult. I love re-reading, I never feel like I have 'time' for it though.

1. Unsticky by Sarra Manning (book I've loved as an adult)

The next challenge puts a smile on my face - the Rory Gilmore Books Project, which lists all the books that she read during the course of the Gilmore Girls! It's an ongoing project and all the books are listed. Fabulous. Here is a list of books that I'm considering reading for this challenge:

Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Anderson
Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm
Snow White and Rose Red by the Brothers Grimm
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Tender is the Night by F Scott Fitzgerald
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway - read January 2010
The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Living History by Hillary Clinton
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King


A little scarier, is the TBR challenge, hosted by MizB in which we read 12 books (with 12 alternates) that have been on our TBR piles for more than six months and then read the books on the list, with no changing! Scariness. Here are my lists:

1. Sometimes A Great Notion by Ken Kesey
2. Schindler's Ark by Thomas Kenneally
3. One Good Turn by Kate Atkinson
4. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
5. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman - finished 8th March 2010
6. Leviathan by Paul Auster
7. Moon Palace by Paul Auster
8. The Hotel New Hampshire by John Irving
9. Matrimony by Joshua Henkin
10. Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
11. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
12. Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon - finished 1st March

Alternates:

1. Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman
2. For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
3. Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow by Peter Hoeg
4. Unless by Carol Shields
5. The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
7. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell
8. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
9. Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
10. The Grass Is Singing by Doris Lessing
11. The Ghost Road by Pat Barker
12. Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek


And finally, I couldn't pass up the Women Unbound challenge which focuses on books relating to 'women's studies.' Even though the non-fiction aspect of the challenge is pretty steep for me, I must join. I've chosen the Bluestocking option, which is to read five books, two of which are non-fiction (eep!).

Here are the books I'm considering and I will update the list below for books that I've read and reviewed for the challenge.

Fiction:
Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
Possessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker
A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
Out by Natsuo Kirino

Non-fiction:
Perseoplis 1 and 2 by Marjane Sartapi
My Invented Country by Isabel Allende
I Feel Bad About My Neck by Nora Ephron
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Through the Narrow Gate by Karen Armstrong

Fiction:

1. The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff
2. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
3. Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto
4. The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera
5. Miss Pettigrew Lives for A Day by Winifred Watson
6. Heartburn by Nora Ephron
7. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
8. Property by Valerie Martin
9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
10. Girl Meets Boy by Ali Smith


Non-Fiction:

1. I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts About Being A Woman by Nora Ephron
2. Persepolis by Marjane Sartapi
3. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
4. Under the Duvet by Marian Keyes
5. Letter to My Daughter by Maya Angelou
6. Girl With Glasses: My Optic History by Marissa Walsh

Which challenges are you joining in 2010?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

1. My beautiful boys
2. N, for always making this day special for me
3. Free phone calls to America, so I can wish my lonely dad a Happy Thanksgiving...
4. Libraries and librarians
5. Wonderful book bloggers
6. Nerdfighters
7. Charity shops - especially my local one which often sells it's books at BOGOF
8. Readitswapit.co.uk - where I get everything else!
9. Laughter
10. Butterflies
11. My yearly haircut which makes my head feel a lot lighter
12. My digital camera
13. My comfy pyjama bottoms
14. My magic blanket which heals all sickness
15. My pretty iphone
16. Everybody who comments on my little blog, it makes me feel happy inside
17. Kitkat Chunkys
18. The TV shows Ugly Betty, Fringe and The X Factor
19. Hank Green's songs
20. Jelly belly jelly beans
21. Especially the juicy pear flavour
22. Friends
23. The health of my family
24. My beautiful mother-in-law who does so much for our family
25. My annual pass to the zoo
26. Legoland
27. Teachers
28. Bubble baths
29. Lie-ins
30. Swinging in the park
31. Picnics in the living room
32. Donkeys
33. The wonderful people who work at my son's nursery
34. Toast
35. Toast with peanut butter
36. Memories
37. Pretty notebooks
38. Finding a place where I belong
39. Future plans
40. My university course which is endlessly fascinating, though incredibly difficult
41. My perseverance in my university course
42. Hands
43. The fact that I am able to stay at home and watch my children learn and grow
44. Christmas just around the corner
45. Figuring out what I'd like to be when I grow up
46. Finding it easier and easier to see the good in myself
47. Mashed potatoes
48. Oldest
49. Littlest
50. N (all three deserve to be listed twice)


Though Thanksgiving is not a holiday here in the UK, it is still a holiday our family celebrates and so I will not be around the rest of this week as I try to get in as much family time as I can. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

What're you thankful for this year?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

REVIEW: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood


I read The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood one afternoon while Littlest slept. It's only little. In this novella, Atwood would like us to see the world from Penelope's eyes. And not just during the 20 years that Odysseus was away fighting in the Trojan War and his adventures afterwards. Her upbringing, her relationship with her cousin, Helen of Troy, the early years of her marriage, all are discussed in this small book. I have read Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, but many years ago and only have a dim recollection of the stories. I think a better understanding of The Odyssey in particular would help any readers of The Penelopiad.

Either way, I really felt for Penelope after reading this book. She comes across in Homer's epic tales as a faithful and virtuous woman and not much else. Atwood gives her a personality, a voice. She lets us into Penelope's head as she struggles with the isolation of being left behind. While most of the novel is concerned with Penelope's story, we also hear briefly of the twelve maids who are kiled along with the suitors by Odysseus and Telemachus when Odysseus finally returns. Atwood uses the maids as a modern day chorus - telling their stories in songs, poems, a court-room drama and an anthropology lecture. While I did find some parts of the novel to be funny and interesting I felt like it also disrupted from the story and at the end I didn't feel a strong emotional connection to any of the characters or the story.

Having only ever read Margaret Atwood's dystopic novels (The Handmaid's Tale, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood) I found The Penelopiad to be slightly disappointing. It was light and fun read but perhaps if it were longer I'd have enjoyed it more.

Other Opinions:

Biblioklept
things mean a lot
Rhinoa's Ramblings
Collected Miscellany
1morechapter
Adventures in Reading

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

REVIEW: Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor


Shortly after I wrote about Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor on my Friday Finds post, I found this book on the New Releases shelf at the library. I was thrilled. I started reading it immediately and found that I couldn't stop. LOVED it. Here's the summary from Amazon again, if you didn't catch it the first time around:

'What would I do without you, Lucy Brown?' he said, and kissed me softly. I held his face in my hands and kissed him back. I felt that life just couldn't get any more perfect. And I was right, it wouldn't. By the end of the next day, I'd be dead. Lucy is about to marry the man of her dreams - kind, handsome, funny Dan - when she breaks her neck the night before their wedding. Unable to accept a lifetime's separation from her soulmate, Lucy decides to become a ghost rather than go to heaven and be parted from Dan.

But it turns out things aren't quite as easy as that. When Lucy discovers that Limbo is a grotty student-style house in North London she's less than thrilled. Especially after meeting her new flatmates: grumpy, cider-swilling EMO-kid Claire; and Brian, a train-spotter with a Thomas the Tank Engine duvet and a big BO problem. But Lucy has a more major problem on her hands - if she wants to become a ghost and be with Dan she has to complete an almost impossible task. How the hell does a girl like Lucy find a girlfriend for the dorkiest man in England? IT geek Archie's only passions are multi-player computer games and his Grandma. But Lucy only has twenty-one days to find him love.

And when she discovers that her so-called friend Anna is determined to make a move on the heart-broken, vulnerable Dan, the pressure is really on...


Honestly, from the description alone, I was desperate to read this book. And that cover is quite pretty. But then there are all these wonderful reviews I'd been reading. And they're all true. This really is a lovely book. I want to be Lucy Brown's best friend, and also Cally Taylor's. This book really has everything. From the very first page I connected with Lucy. I think she's adorable and I was rooting for her to succeed right throughout. I think as the story carries on and we see glimpses of Lucy's relationship with Dan when they were both alive I was won over again by how incredibly sweet and romantic they are with each other.

I loved all of the secondary characters, especially the other Living Dead characters, train-spotter Brian and emo Claire. Geeky Archie is quite fun as well, as is his inappropriate boss. Honestly, I'm trying hard not to turn this review into too much gushiness, but I really did love this book.

Go out and read Heaven Can Wait. It's fun, it's funny, it's romantic.

Monday, November 23, 2009

REVIEW: The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks

I started reading The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks last month on the recommendation of a friend. I'd seen Kevin Brooks' books in the library pretty regularly, but hadn't ever picked one up before. I thought I'd give one a try. I won't lie, it was a very difficult experience reading this book. It is very dark and very grim reading. And at the same it was kind of beautiful as well. I did like that mixture of harsh and pretty. I did have to put it down half-way through, just walk away and clear my head before I could get back to it.

Blurb from Amazon: Late one night, two brothers learn that their sister has died in the worst imaginable way. She's found, strangled, in a desolate place hundreds of miles from their East London home. Ruben and Cole Ford set out to find their own answers. Ruben is the smarter of the two, with a gift for getting into other people's hearts and feeling what they feel; Cole may be older, but he's a dark-eyed devil's angel who doesn't care if he lives or dies. Together they retrace their sister's final journey to a remote Dartmoor village with a dark, menacing core. This is a heart-stopping, heart-breaking thriller about three ill-fated siblings and the love, and blood, that runs between them.

I should have known from that description, shouldn't I? But I didn't. Kevin Brooks takes these two brothers much farther than I felt comfortable with during the course of this book. I feel like, on their quest for the truth of Rachel's murder, they've both lost a part of themselves. Ruben and Cole both do things that cross that line of decency and I find it sad, because I don't think that people can come back from that. I feel sad for another reason. During the course of this book, there is murder, rape, violent assaults, a dead dog, characters wetting themselves out of sheer terror. It's all too much for me, especially considering that this book is aimed at a young adult audience.

If I step back from the fact that this book is incredibly violent and deals with some truly horrific things, then I'm able to say that I think Kevin Brooks writes really wonderfully. I wish I hadn't been so quick to return my copy to the library so I could highlight some passages for you, but I don't. But I loved Ruben's voice. His insights into his brother, himself, those around him, for me, were worth reading the book. Ruben has such a big, sensitive heart. Also, I found the relationship between the brothers to be quite sweet at times. They're very different and see the world in very different ways but the connection between them is unshakeable.

Maybe if I were more into the mystery/thriller genre, I'd have handled this book better, but I'm not. Revenge and murder aren't my normal reading, but this book was really fast-paced and atmospheric. I have to say, more than a week after reading this book, this book is still on my mind. There's something there. I'm hoping it's the writing style of Kevin Brooks, because I have another of his books waiting for me...


Other opinions:

A Passion for Books
Vulpes Libris
Flip the Switch
BookEnvy

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Boys, Part 2



Oh, Oldest is growing up so quickly. Look at him, he's grown so tall now. N and I went to an open evening this week at the local primary school. It's about that time that we started the whole process of getting Oldest into 'big-boy school' as he calls it. Until the other day, I was always picturing Oldest in Reception as a larger more structured pre-school, like he goes to now. And then when we went, and had the tour and heard the teachers give their little speeches I realised that this is it. Reception will fly by and before I know it, he'll be learning to read and bringing homework home and going on field trips. And he'll no longer be this little boy. He'll be all grown-up and off to university.



I'm not handling this passage of time very well. At Legoland recently, Oldest was measured to be over 1 metre tall and could go on some of the 'scarier' rides. And I have to keep reminding myself that this is a good thing. And exciting time. But for me, it's mostly just sad. With his birthday coming up, I can't help but remembering him as the little baby who I brought home from the hospital. The little baby that changed our lives entirely and stole my heart.



You should hear the things that come out of his mouth. Sure, he still says little boy things like 'restronk' instead of 'restaurant' and he told someone his birthday is on the 'fifty-eighth of November' but already I see flashes of the boy he'll become. A sweet and polite boy who I'm very proud of.

(by the way, this is my 1000th blog post here at Fluttering Butterflies)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Boys, Part 1


Hello. A few weeks ago, I had a regular commenter (hi Stella!) who was amazed that my Littlest is now running around, playing in the leaves. I think a lot of people are under the assumption that the Little Guy is younger than he is. Because time does move very quickly. And he's no longer a plump little baby stuck in one place. He's 20 months now and oh boy, is he on the move.. His default setting seems to be 'run.'



With that cheeky little smile of his, he seems to think he can get away with anything. (He's mostly right!) He's very charming in a totally different way to his older brother. Instead of being hugely open and friendly and chatty like Oldest, Littlest is more cautious and wary. He shows interest in other people then hides. It's a real 'hard-to-get' approach. It works. Everyone wants a smile out of Littlest because he doesn't give them to everyone freely. And of course, he saves all his best smiles for his Mama...

He's at a wonderful age right now. He's trying to assert his own independence but he still runs to me to kiss away his hurts. He's on the edge of speaking, but he's being stubborn and holding on for just a little while longer. There's still so much that he has left to learn and I can see it in his face when he gets something for the first time. After naptimes, he still needs that bit of a cuddle and I love that time with him, him resting on my shoulder, trusting me entirely.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Another week...

...Another trip to the library! Sorry about the terrible photos. Bad lighting, bad angles. Oh well. Some interesting looking books though...

First up we have The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver which I snatched up from the New Releases shelf. I try to be dignified about it all, but failed pretty miserably. I got looks. Then we have Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer, which was recently seen on a Friday Finds. I'll give it a try. And also, The Cleft by Doris Lessing. Which I've never heard of before, but I'm still working under the assumption that if I read enough Doris Lessing she will end up being one of my favourite authors. I'll let you know how that goes.

We also have Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut and Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Coupland. I hear a lot of things about Kurt Vonnegut. Lots of people feel very strongly about him, enough to tattoo phrases from his books onto their skin and I find that very intriguing. I was hoping to pick up Slaughterhouse-Five, found Hocus Pocus instead. Also, I finished reading Generation A by Douglas Coupland last week and I wanted to give some of his other books another try. Again, I was searching for a different book (Microserfs) but picked up this one anyway.

Then we have the children's finds. The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven, which I mentioned in a Friday Finds post. Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landry which I *think* was mentioned by somebody (?) on Twitter recently, and Evermore by Alyson Noel. Because I think it'll be awful and I want in on that sort of awful.

Anyone read any of these books? Where do I start?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Musical memories... Michelle

Growing up, it was mostly just my brother, my dad and I. We didn't keep much in contact with my mother's side of the family and very complicated reasons, we didn't keep in contact with my dad's two older brothers either. Families are difficult. But we did see my dad's little sister fairly often. We'd spend Christmas at her house a lot, with my uncle and an older cousin. My aunt's like a female version of my dad. And by that I mostly just mean 'very loud.' And her husband was very different. He was very quiet, sort of subdued. Maybe everyone seems a bit subdued around my aunt.

But Uncle S made me laugh. He was really keen on Formula One. Or possibly the American equivalent? Car racing, anyway. And my brother and I would pretend to have an interest in it as well, because it made him happy. It was such a small thing to do, to like something that he liked. He'd get all excited and animated about it all. I love, now, that I have a lot of little memories of my uncle that meant a huge deal to me. A yawning competition when we were out camping once. Having a drink together in a cafe where I kept tipping my glass up and the ice kept hitting my face. A trip to the zoo. Because my Uncle S died a few years ago of multiple brain tumours. At the end, he didn't remember me, and that's OK. Because I remember him.

What I remember most is that everytime he'd see me, he'd sing to me. He'd even get out his guitar and always play the same song. Michelle by The Beatles. I always pretended to be very embarassed. How else does a young, shy girl react when someone starts serenading her? But secretly? I always loved it. And I will always love this song.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Finds, the fourth

And it's that time again. Friday Finds is the post where I tell you about all the wonderful reviews I've read lately, the ones that have inspired me to read books bsaed on other blogger's recommendations.

First up this week, we have Heaven Can Wait by Cally Taylor reviewed by Caroline Smailes

Caroline wrote a lovely review of this book and had a very interesting interview with the author on her blog. There was even a chance to win a signed copy of the book! I completely missed out on that, but the book sounds great. What really sold it for me in the review was the line 'supernatural meets geek meets romance' which sounds like a win to me.

Blurby thing from Amazon:

'What would I do without you, Lucy Brown?' he said, and kissed me softly. I held his face in my hands and kissed him back. I felt that life just couldn't get any more perfect. And I was right, it wouldn't. By the end of the next day, I'd be dead. Lucy is about to marry the man of her dreams - kind, handsome, funny Dan - when she breaks her neck the night before their wedding. Unable to accept a lifetime's separation from her soulmate, Lucy decides to become a ghost rather than go to heaven and be parted from Dan. But it turns out things aren't quite as easy as that. When Lucy discovers that Limbo is a grotty student-style house in North London she's less than thrilled. Especially after meeting her new flatmates: grumpy, cider-swilling EMO-kid Claire; and Brian, a train-spotter with a Thomas the Tank Engine duvet and a big BO problem. But Lucy has a more major problem on her hands - if she wants to become a ghost and be with Dan she has to complete an almost impossible task. How the hell does a girl like Lucy find a girlfriend for the dorkiest man in England? IT geek Archie's only passions are multi-player computer games and his Grandma. But Lucy only has twenty-one days to find him love. And when she discovers that her so-called friend Anna is determined to make a move on the heart-broken, vulnerable Dan, the pressure is really on...


And then we have Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols reviewed by Lisa at Books. Lists. Life

I hadn't heard of this book before Lisa's review. But she really sold it for me. This is one of her favourites of this year, and she includes John After as a favourite male romantic character. The premise of this book really grabs me and I'm hoping I can find this book somewhere.

Amazon says:

High school senior Meg revels in being a rebel. She sports choppy blue hair, and tight t-shirts, cuts class, and is often found where she's not supposed to be. Like hanging out on a railroad-tracks-covered bridge that's off-limits to trespassers. When she and her friends are busted for trespassing and underage drinking, she's sentenced to spend her spring break riding along with a rookie police officer on his nightshift patrol. Compounding the punishment is the fact that the cop, John After, is only two years older than Meg, and a former classmate to boot. He thinks he has Meg's number and has nothing but contempt for her childish rebellion. Meg in turn has nothing but contempt for Officer After's straight-laced, by-the-book attitude. But Meg has her reasons for lashing out, and John has his reasons for his need for law and order. And they're about to discover that they have a lot more in common than either one of them could have dreamed...


Next, The Black Tattoo by Sam Enthoven reviewed by mariel at where troubles melt like lemondrops

This one sounds all a bit weird. I've seen this book in the library many times before. It's been on the library recommended shelf a few times and I've never given it a chance. And then I read mariel's review and I thought 'huh. I did not think it'd be about that.' And I'm intrigued. Kung-fu? Vomiting bats? I want to see how that plays out. It's clearly written with teenage boys in mind, but that's never stopped me before!

Blurb:

Jack doesn't know what he's got himself into. One minute he and his best friend Charlie were up in Chinatown having crispy duck with Charlie's dad (and Jack was having to listen to Charlie shouting at his dad for leaving his mum) - then next minute they were in a mysterious room above a theatre, with some of the strangest characters they'd ever encountered. And they were about to take The Test...and something very very weird was about to begin. The Test transforms Charlie - leaving him with the distinctive markings of the Black Tattoo - and with a temper that seems out of control. The boys' meeting with Esme, a young girl with the most impressive martial arts skills this side of Bruce Lee, her huge and hairy father Raymond, and the mysterious Nick seem to have swept Charlie and Jack into a world they had no idea existed. And it's only going to get stranger...This epic tale of good and evil, demons and hell, vomiting bats and huge battles marks the debut of an incredible new talent for children's books. Drawing on influences such as comic books, computer games and Eastern martial arts, "The Black Tattoo" is a book no self-respecting teenage boy will want to miss.


And finally, one I almost forgot to mention Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden reviewed by Becky at Becky's Book Reviews

I read Becky's review and it was like my eyes were suddenly opened to this series. Reviews all over the place. How had I not heard of this book or the series before? It sounds right up my alley. I've just had a quick look and the first three books in the series are out there in my library system. I think it'll be the first time I use the inter-library-loan. I'm excited.

What Amazon has to say:

Six teenagers spend five idyllic days camping in a remote and tranquil beauty spot called Hell. But when they return to their homes, they find their families gone, their farms deserted and the animals lying dead in the fields. That's when they begin to understand the real meaning of hell.

And that's it for me, for this week. Check out other Friday Finds over at Should Be Reading.

Have you read any of these books? What books did you come across this week that you'd like to read?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

REVIEW: The Enemy by Charlie Higson


Wow. I finished this book last night and I'm left almost speechless by it. It isn't what I was expecting and in a really good way. Charlie Higson, author of the Young Bond series (which I've loved up to a point), has gone in a different direction with The Enemy. He's taken on zombies. Zombies are all the rage at the moment, but I can't say that I've had much experience with them, either in books or movies. So this is a new one for me. Here's the description on Amazon:

They'll chase you. They'll rip you open. They'll feed on you...When the sickness came, every parent, policeman, politician - every adult - fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. Only children under fourteen remain, and they're fighting to survive. Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city - down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground - the grown-ups lie in wait. But can they make it there - alive?

I'm a little queasy when it comes to horror. I generally avoid it. And my assumption that because this book is aimed at a young adult audience that it would be watered-down, less horrific was entirely false. Higson does not hold back on the scary. It's fast-paced and very thrilling. But it's also very gory. Kids die. They get eaten, dragged away or attacked by dogs. Bad things happen and nobody is safe.

And in this very horrific new world these kids are living in, there's also some humanity left. The book focuses around a group of kids who have made their home in a Waitrose in North London. They try to protect the little ones, they try to maintain this sense of what's right and what's wrong. They struggle with the responsibilities of leadership, and their guilt when things go wrong. There's some great dialogue here and you really get a sense of who these characters are and where they are coming from. When a new kid comes along telling these kids about a safe place, they must figure out who to trust and how to work together. Meanwhile, the grown-ups are organising themselves, getting smarter and stronger...

It's the first in an exciting new series, and I cannot wait for the rest.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

REVIEW: Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn


I found Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn to be utterly charming. I read it very quickly and found myself smiling on more than one occasion. I absolutely adored this book. It's epistolary, which I didn't realise until recently is a genre that I love, and it's dystopic which just makes it even more fabulous.

It's the story of a fictional island, Nollop, who reveres Nevin Nollop, the creator of the pangram 'the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.' A statue is erected in his honour, but when the tiles from this statue start falling off, the government believe that this is a direct sign from Nollop himself that those letters should no longer be used either verbally or written and create new laws accordingly. The first letter to fall is the letter 'z' which doesn't seem like it would affect life in any major way, no? Then more and more letters fall, and life becomes increasingly difficult for the citizens of Nollop.

This book is saying something about censorship, freedom of speech, totalitarian states. But it's doing it in a very quirky, fun and light-hearted way. It's also a book for people who love language. In fact it took me a few pages to accustom myself to the different vocabulary used by the Nollopians, but once that happened, I found this book to be original, fun and very clever. You'll finish this book with a better appreciation of the English language.

It was an excellent way to spend an afternoon and I highly recommend it.


Other Opinions:

A Striped Armchair
Rebecca Reads
Fyrefly's Book Blog

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What I Want For My Boys


I recently read a book by David Levithan, Are We There Yet? I don't mean for this to be a review or anything, but the book is about brothers. Brothers who were once close and have since drifted apart. Their parents trick them into going on a tour of Italy together and during the course of their holiday, they reminisce about memories of their childhood together, how and why they grew apart, and realise how each admires the other and that though they are different, they are also quite similar at the same time. It's a sweet story. I loved it as I was reading it.

Mostly I was thinking, I hope that my two boys grow up to be close. And stay that way. I was never very close to my own brother. We each went through particular experiences in our childhood, and we reacted to those experiences in very different ways. It would be hard for those things not to have changed us, but I think the biggest change was that a gap grew between us and it was too difficult and too wide to cross that division with everything else going on. I haven't spoken to my brother on a regular basis for more than 10 years. I do not want that for my children.

Reading the Levithan book and thinking about my own relationship with my brother, it got me thinking of famous or historical brothers and the things that they have achieved together or are remembered for. Here are some of the brothers that I have found.

Romulus and Remus are the first brothers that I thought of when I was compiling this list. The twin brothers who were suckled by a she-wolf and later fought each other over who was to be ruler of Rome. I know my boys will end fighting over many things, but hopefully it will not lead to death. Or politics.

Next I thought of the Biblical brothers, Cain and Abel, who also ended badly. They are the sons of Adam and Eve and Cain is so filled with jealousy that he slays his brother Abel. I think sibling rivalry must be something that children everywhere have to deal with. I struggled with it for a long time, but I hope that the boys see that each of them will have his own relationship with other people that has nothing to do with the other brother.

I don't know much about the Marx Brothers, but they seemed pretty cool. A family of brothers who worked together in a comedy act with music, having success in vaudeville, Broadway and Hollywood. Just reading the wikipedia page had me stifling giggles. I'd like my boys to see the funny side of life, to be able to laugh at themselves.

Next up, we have the Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, who famously collected the fairy tales and folk tales. The fairy tales seem to be a by-product of their academic research but either way, the end result is wonderful. I would love it if my boys were able to work together to bring the world something so fascinating as the stories that these two brothers have collected and shared.

I'm enjoying 'researching' for this post as I've read up on the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orville. They've been credited (with some controversy) with the first flight of an airplane in 1903 followed by later improvements related to the aviation field. I hope that whatever my boys end up doing, they are able to handle criticism with grace.

And then we have the Coen Brothers, Ethan and Joel, the successful filmmakers responsible for such movies as Raising Arizona, Fargo and O, Brother, Where are Thou (one of my favouritest movies). They are successful and talented and have some wonderful dialogue in their films. I truly hope that my two boys are creative in some way and can have a bit of fun with their talents.


What's that you say? I'm such a dork for including the Mario Brothers in my list of famous brothers? I accept that. But Mario and Luigi are absolute legends. Two plumbers saving the world from the creatures that live in the sewers? I'd love it if my boys fought together against the evil, wouldn't you?



And then there is John and Hank Green, who couldn't be left off my list. A few years ago, when the two brothers were living across the country from each other they started up Brotherhood 2.0 in order to fill each other in on their daily lives by video blogging. They're very entertaining and it's very obvious how proud of each other they are. John is a bestselling YA author and Hank, his younger brother co-founded a record label that promotes Youtube musicians. I sincerely hope my boys grow up to be as smart and funny as these two.


That's not too much to ask, right?
Can you think of any brothers that I've missed?

Monday, November 09, 2009

REVIEW: The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff


I'm still not sure what to make of this one. I picked up The Bride's Farewell because I've read some of Meg Rosoff's other books and were very pleasantly surprised (haven't yet read What I Was). I didn't know anything about the story and hadn't remembered reading anything about the book before I picked it up. I was relying entirely on Rosoff's beautiful writing to carry me through this one. And it worked. Up to a point. Meg Rosoff does write beautifully and I love how very different each of her books have been. But when I finished this book (fairly quickly, it's quite short) I was left with this feeling of .. 'well, that's finished. I don't know where to go from here.' Thinking about it now, more than a week later, and I begin to appreciate more of the story. It's all very subtle.

Pell Ridley wakes up on the morning of her wedding, and runs away with her horse and her mute little brother, Bean. She's determined not to be married and instead plans to make her own way in the world. The story is set in 1850s England and things do not go as planned. I don't want to ruin the rest of the story, I think it was better for me to not know much of the plot beforehand.

I did love Pell's character. She's very strong and independent. I love that she has this special knowledge of horses. She doesn't walk down the easy path in life and she does suffer for it in this book. Even though I loved Pell (and Bean), the way in which everything in the book is connected in a roundabout way, Meg Rosoff's beautiful writing, and the unconventional romance, something was missing from this book. I did enjoy it, but there was no lasting emotional response when I was finished.

No matter. I'm still a fan of Meg Rosoff and will continue reading her books.


Other opinions:

So Many Books, So Little Time
My Friend Amy
Bibliophile by the Sea
Oops...Wrong Cookie
Sassymonkey Reads

Friday, November 06, 2009

Friday Finds the third

Hopefully back for good with my Friday Finds. Because I haven't been around lately, it'll take a few weeks to get back to current finds! This is definately one of my favourite posts to put together!

First up we have The Hate List by Jennifer Brown reviewed by Ali at Worducopia

I'd seen a couple of other reviews of this book around the same time as Ali's review, but I liked the inclusion of a Love List on this review. It makes me happy making Love Lists. I'll share one with you coming soon. There's also a playlist for the book. An interesting concept.

This book does sound quite powerful though and quite emotional. Not one to enter reading lightly, I think.

Blurb from Amazon: Five months ago, Valerie Leftman's boyfriend opened fire on their school cafeteria, killing five students and one teacher before turning the gun on himself. Valerie, who was shot trying to stop him, is initially implicated in the shootings because of the hate list she helped create. The hate list her boyfriend used to pick his targets. As Valerie integrates back into school, more of an outsider than she ever thought she was before, she is forced to confront her feelings of guilt and loneliness. Exploring the gray area between hero and villain, she navigates the rocky relationships with her family, her former friends, with the memory of the boyfriend she still loves, and with the girl whose life she saved five months ago. As she moves toward graduation and the year anniversary of the shooting, Valerie must come to grips with the tragedy that took place and her role in it all in order to make amends and move on with her life.


The next one seem to be any more cheerful...

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer reviewed by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness

I tried reading Jonathan Safran Foer previous book, Everything Is Illuminated, but I didn't make it very far into it before I gave up. It would have been very easy to dismiss this book in the same way, until I read Kim's review. She gives it an A+ and admits to lots of crying. Sounds really powerful and emotional, plus Oskar sounds like a fun little kid with all of hs quirks. I'm slightly worried about some aspects of the writing format, but I'm pretty convinced that I will read this. Soon.

Amazon says: Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he disovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.


This list isn't all about depressing books, next we have The Man of My Dreams by Curtis Sittenfeld reviewed by Diane over at Five Minutes Peace

I've never read anything by Curtis Sittenfeld, and hadn't even heard much about Sittenfeld's other books, including American Wife, but what caught me in the review, was when Diane writes..

'Women who were teenagers in the 90s, or who have tendency to social awkwardness will especially relate to this book'


..which HA! describes me perfectly. How about you?

Blurby thing from Amazon:

In the summer of 1991, Hannah Gavener is fourteen. In the magazines she reads, celebrities plan elaborate weddings; in Hannah's own life, her parents' marriage is crumbling.

Over the next decade and a half, as Hannah moves from Philadelphia to Boston to Albuquerque, she finds that the answers to love's most bewildering questions become more rather than less complicated. At what point can you no longer blame your adult failures on your messed-up childhood? Is settling for someone who's not your soul mate an act of maturity or an admission of defeat? And if you move to another state for a man who might not love you back, are you being brave, or pathetic?

Full of honesty and humour, The Man of My Dreams is an unnervingly insightful and beautifully written examination of the outside forces and personal choices that make us who we are.


Because I Am Furniture by Thalia Chaltas reviewed by Natasha at Maw Books Blog

OK, this goes back to depressing. I couldn't find a proper product description at Amazon, but it's the story of Anke and her family as they suffer under the abuses of her father, whether it be mental, emotional, physical abuse, or of neglect. It's written in verse, and I'm finding that I absolutely adore verse novels. Though the subject matter of this is heartbreaking, I feel like novels such as this are important to read.




And to wrap this up, we have Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck reviewed by caribousmom

The bit in caribou's review that caught my eye was the comparison between Tortilla Flat and King Arthur and the knights of the round table and 'their skewed view of morality' I like that it's Steinbeck, that it's short and apparently, funny.

Amazon says: Steinbeck's first major critical and commercial success, TORTILLA FLAT is also his funniest novel. Danny is a paisano, descended from the original Spanish settlers who arrived in Monterey, California, centuries before. He values friendship abovemoney and possessions, so that when he suddently inherits two houses, Danny is quick to offer shelter to his fellow gentlemen of the road. Their love of freedom and scorn for material things draw them into daring and often hilarious adventures. Until Danny, tiring of his new reponsibilities, suddenly disappears...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

REVIEW: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick


For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

(Summary from Amazon)

Oh, I really wanted to love this book more than I did. It's the cover, so beautiful. But I didn't love this book. It was very readable, but I had a lot of problems. I do love the idea of it. Fallen angels and whatnot. It's an interesting angle. It's no secret to the reader who the fallen angel is though, but the main character, does not found out until well into the book, which makes the storyline drag. Nora, herself, was kind of a boring character though I did enjoy some of her inner dialogues. Responsible, studious. I wish there were more strong female characters who have other interests and hobbies. A more rounded and believable person. Also, I found her best friend, Vee, to be a little tedious with all her chatter about boys. I don't know. Vee didn't work for me because I don't know anyone like her. Maybe you do.

However, I did like all of the action, especially the scenes at the fairground. More books should involve roller coasters. Also, Patch? Entirely creepy. I get that he's rocking the whole 'bad boy' image, but to be honest? I was never one to fall for the bad boy. I can see how some people might go for him, he does seem to circle around trouble and he is apparently good-looking. Nora finds herself doing things she wouldn't normally do around Patch, she finds herself wondering if Patch is behind these mysterious attacks on her during the book, possibly Patch is following/stalking her, etc. The possibility of him being a stalker/out to kill Nora causes me to not see the sex appeal of Patch. Which leads me to the unbelievable sacrifices that occur in this intense relationship which seems to be grounded on nothing. So yes, I did have my problems with this book, but like I said, I was able to read it very quickly, and none of the problems that I've mentioned compelled me enough to put this book down and walk away.

Maybe I'm just disappointed because of all the hype gave me very high expectations. I've heard such good things about this book, but for me, it didn't live up to it all. Which is a shame, because I truly adore a YA with a good paranormal romance. Having said that, I'll probably still read the sequel.


Other Reviews:

Karin's Book Nook
Persnickey Snark
The Compulsive Reader
Frenetic Reader
The Novel Bookworm
The Book Smugglers
A Novel Menagerie
Harmony Book Reviews


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Stuff on my head Part 7



It's funny the phases that kids go through. For the longest time, Oldest absolutely adored the movie Cars. He wanted to BE Lightning McQueen when he grows up. He knew all the cars names from the movie, he pretended to be a racing car. He even said Lightning McQueen was his best friend. And while some of this awe still lingers, and Oldest' favourite colour is still racing car red, he doesn't have the same enthusiasm for it.

Then came the Thomas the Tank Engine phase. I'm not saying this one has finished, but there seems to be a greater overlap period. He loves Thomas. He loves everything to do with trains. He loves the books, he loves the TV programme. He still tells the story of when we went to SEE Thomas the Tank Engine and how The Fat Controller tipped his hat at him. We took Oldest to see Hero of the Rails at the cinema and Oldest loves talking about it. He knows all about coupling rods and funnels and how a train works. I love that he's inspired to learn by some of his favourite characters.

Now, we're in our Bob the Builder phase. It was one that N and I were trying to resist. That Bob the Builder song is utterly annoying. But Oldest has won out. He's convinced his Nana to buy him the different vehicles from Bob the Builder. He asks for Bob books from the library. There's a show at Legoland about Bob the Builder. Even Littlest gets in on this one. He calls it 'Bob-ob' Oldest and Littlest have matching Bob jumpers. So, we have Lofty. On my head.

I wonder what will be next. Please god, don't let it be the Power Rangers. (I'm not sure how I'd able to balance a Power Ranger on my head.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fall

I love the fall. Everything is so pretty. A few weekends ago, N and I decided to go for a walk in the woods. We're surrounded by forests, but as yet haven't done much exploring.




We managed to find a little trail with not too many people and had a wonderful morning, picking up conkers and acorns, colourful leaves and pine cones. And we spent a lot of time throwing leaves in the air which, along with stomping in puddles, is something little kids should do as often as possible. Afterwards, we came home and had a picnic in the living room.





It was one of the best days I've had in a long time, and it didn't cost a thing.

Monday, November 02, 2009

October Recap

Well, it's the end of another month. 10 books read this month. It brings my yearly total up to 123 books, and I'm quite proud of that. It was a bit of a struggle at times this month, as I have many, many books started and unfinished and it was also a school holiday for Oldest. I guess my goal for November is to finish some of the books I've already started and to keep up with the reviews.

1. Charlotte's Web by EB White (re-read)
2. The Outsiders by SE Hinton (re-read)
3. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
4. Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
5. I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder
6. Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris
7. Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
8. Club Dead by Charlaine Harris
9. Dead To the World by Charlaine Harris
10. Dead As A Doornail by Charlaine Harris
11. Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris

Obviously apart from the rereads there (which I've been reading in the hopes that I will someday start telling you about my favourite childhood reads) you can see that the supernatural was my theme for October. This month was about werewolves, fallen angels, ghosts, vampires and shapeshifters. Brilliant. Obviously Sookie Stackhouse kicks ass and as you can see, I was kind of wrapped up in the one series this month. But I had a lot of fun with it all. I probably won't review them separately, but look out for reviews of the other books coming soon.

As for the books I started this month and haven't finished, they are:

Dracula by Bram Stoker and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Both were picked up for the Monsters Duel Read-along. I'm 70 pages into Dracula and probably less into Frankenstein. I was enjoying them both up to a point and then was really desperate to read something more current.

The Road of the Dead by Kevin Brooks. Recommended by a friend and I've been really enjoying it, about a pair of brothers who are trying to figure out what happened to their murdered sister. It's just a little dark and depressing for me. The whole atmosphere of the book is so heavy that I can only read it in small chunks.

The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. This one baffles me. I'm not sure what's going on with me. I'm loving the book, but I occasionally put it down and read another book. Then I'll go back to YotF, read a few chapters, fall in love again, and again put the book down. It isn't slow. The characters are very interesting, there's enough going on for me to be kept entertained. Don't get it.

Which brings me to the fact that it's November. How did this year go by so quickly? It's going to be a busy month, as Novembers always are with a little boy's 4th birthday approaching. I'm pondering the idea of writing a blog post every day this month, but we'll see. I think I need a little more convincing first! (ACK! Only JUST realised today is 2nd of November, therefore missed 1st day! Guess I won't be doing it then!)

What great books did you read this month? What does November have in store for you?