Friday, June 26, 2015

Feature & Follow Friday Blog Hop!!!

Happy Friday people!  It's time for a blog hop!

This blog hop is hosted by parajunkee and alison can read and the goal is to get a bunch of new followers!  Here are the rules:

1) write up a post answering the weekly question
2) enter your blog into the list
3) follow the hosts and the featured blogger
4) follow as many participating blogs as you like and they'll follow you back!

This week's question:
(congratulations to The Boundless Booklist for being the featured blogger, btw!)
Is there a book you were required to read in school that you actually loved?

Oh, God, there was more than one book of course!  I was one of those nerdy kids who actually looked forward to my English classes.  There were a handful of books I hated, a few that I absolutely loved, and many that really impressed me.

Here's my top ten (in no particular order):

(read this book twice, still awesome!)

(First non-fiction I ever enjoyed)

(Always wanted to read this, and while I was disappointed with the ending, I still liked this book)

(One of our high school projects was to create a board game involving this book, most fun project I ever did)

(This book makes me cry, both as a kid and as an adult)

(my most favorite classic, I've read this at least five times!)

(I really, really liked this story.  I thought it was very beautifully written)

(Don't remember why I liked this story so much, but I did!)

(Such a wonderfully sad story, the only novel by Steinbeck that I actually loved)

(first Shakespeare play I ever read, still my favorite)

There were many other books I enjoyed reading, but didn't really love.  Here we go, if you're interested:
  • Lord Of The Flies, William Golding (it was good, but it kinda scared me)
  • Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens (I woulda loved it, but I kept dozing off in the beginning)
  • 1984, by George Orwell (The best classic distopian I ever read, but there wasn't enough emotional attachment for me)
  • Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare (It's a beautiful story, but I could never like the characters....don't hate me)
  • Macbeth, by William Shakespeare (Once again, beautiful...but I don't do tragedies)
  • Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley (I think I read this because of Wishbone first, but then read it again for school.  Good story)
  • Grapes Of Wrath, by John Steinbeck (the reason I couldn't love this was because it didn't end very happily)
  • A Child Called IT, by Dave J. Pelzer (first book I ever read about child abuse)
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell (my first allegory. Really enjoyed it actually)
  • The Crucible, by Arthur Miller (I visited Salem with my dad because of this play)
  • Night, by Elie Wiesel (the best nonfiction about the Holocaust that I ever read)
  • Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton (I liked the twist ending of this one)
  • Beowolf (This story was weird, but kinda cool)
  • A Separate Peace, by John Knowles (I was really proud of myself for spotting the metaphors in this read)
  • The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brian (good Vietnam story)

Of course there were some that didn't impress me:
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley (couldn't finish it in high school, finally did last year and couldn't like it)
  • The Red Pony, by John Steinbeck (the pony dies! In the first part!)
  • The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne (good story, just couldn't get into the writing)
  • The Catcher In The Rye, by J.D. Salinger (did not get this all)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Hello Monday! Time For A (Long Overdue) Weekly Update

Hey folks!
It's Monday and as I'm officially out of a reading slump, I feel like I can actually say something about my reading plans!  Yay!

I've mentioned it before, but the last couple of months were tough, in more ways than one.  Work has been crazy busy (ack!), I re-read the entire Harry Potter series with my hubby (yay!), and I'm currently undergoing a huge cleaning/re-organizing/just-chucking-things-out project in my apartment (yeesh!).  So reading took a backseat as I had to prioritize.  But now I'm back on track, thanks to the Bibliophile Reading Group's Summer Reading Challenge!
I love the reading challenges in this book group!  They're always loads of fun, and they never fail to take me out a slump if I'm in one.  This summer's theme is called "Childhood Games".  The idea is to read 5 books that each fulfill certain category requirements (including one book that has to be the groups BOTM).  If you complete all five categories, you get entered into a raffle for a prize.  There are additional mini challenges that will crop up throughout the summer that we can complete if we want, and therefore receive an additional raffle entry.

Here are the categories:
1. Simon Says: Read a BOTM for the months of June-August
2. Hide 'N Seek: read a book with something partially hidden on the cover
3. Tag, You're It: read a book tagged "Childhood Favorite"
4. Old Maid: Read a book with one woman on the cover-- no other people
5. Double Dutch Jump Rope: read a book with consecutive double letters in the title (eg. LiTTle Women)

...Aaaannd the Mini Games (only 2 so far, 4 more to come):
1. Jacks!  How Many Can You Get? Read a book with a character or author named "Jack". (already closed)
2. 1, 2, 3: Hopscotch...  Read a book that is part of the series (due by July 3rd)

So far, I managed to complete all but 3 (working on completing one right now).  Here's what I've read so far (click on the cover for the review):

Book: A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle
Category: Tag, You're It! a book tagged "childhood favorite"
My Rating: ★★★
Date Finished: June 18

Book: Dreamer's Pool, by Juliet Marillier
Category: Old Maid...a book with just one woman on the cover
My Rating: ★★★ 1/2
Date Finished: June 14

Book: Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale
Category: Double Dutch Jump Rope... a book with consecutive double letters in the title
My Rating: ★★★
Date Finished: June 21

Book: Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Category: (mini game) Jacks! How Many Can You Get? a book with a character named "Jack"
My Rating: ★★★★★
Date Finished: June 16

Sooo, I've got some plans now.  I won't say yet what I'm gonna read because I haven't fully figured it out, but I am now on a quest to find a book with something partially hidden on the cover, and for anything else I'm in the mood for! (I am mildly curious about Of Poseidon, by Anna Banks, although I have a hunch that it really won't be my cup of tea)
Anyway, happy Monday!
-Lisa The Dancing Bookworm

Book Review: Princess Academy (Princess Academy #1), by Shannon Hale

Genre: Children's fantasy
Date Published: January 1st, 2005
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Length: 250 pages, or 7 hours and 24 minutes on audiobook
Source: Audible

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible

Synopsis: Miri lives on a mountain where, for generations, her ancestors have quarried stone and lived a simple life. Then word comes that the king's priests have divined her small village the home of the future princess. In a year's time, the prince himself will come and choose his bride from among the girls of the village. The king's ministers set up an academy on the mountain, and every teenage girl must attend and learn how to become a princess.
Miri soon finds herself confronted with a harsh academy mistress, bitter competition among the girls, and her own conflicting desires to be chosen and win the heart of her childhood best friend. But when bandits seek out the academy to kidnap the future princess, Miri must rally the girls together and use a power unique to the mountain dwellers to save herself and her classmates.

My Rating:
....for being creative and interesting, but not as amazing as The Goose Girl.

Friday, June 19, 2015

It's Friday!!! Time For A Blog Hop!

Mornin' folks!  Happy Friday!  I've been sleeping in later and later lately, so we're approaching lunchtime by this point, but it's still technically morning (my hubby's still in bed in a comatose state).

Anyway it's time for the Feature & Follow Friday Blog Hop, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The goal is to gain more followers and like-minded friends (ie, other fellow bookaholics)

Here are the rules:
1) Enter your name on the Linky thing on the host's blog post.
2) Create a blog post that links back to the host's post and that answers the weekly question
3) Follow! Follow! Follow! Follow the hosts, the weekly featured blogger, and as many other participants as you would like.

This week's question:
If you could get a tattoo, what would it say or what would the graphic be?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Book Review: A Wrinkle In Time, by Madeleine L'Engle (Time Quintet #1)

Genre: Children's science fantasy
Date Published: 1962
Publisher: Farrer, Straus & Giroux
Length: 233 pages, or 6 hours and 4 minutes on audiobook
Source: Audible

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible

Synopsis: It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and their mother had come down to the kitchen for a  midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.
"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them.  "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course.  Let me sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way.  Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."
A tesseract (in case you don't know) is a wrinkle in time.  To tell more would spoil your enjoyment of Madeleine L'Engle's unusual book.

My Rating:
.....for being a pleasant, if somewhat unusual, read

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Book Review: Wonder, by R.J. Palacio (2nd Time Around)

Genre: Children's fiction
Date Published: February 2012
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Length: 313 pages or 8 hours and 6 minutes on audiobook
Source: Audible

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible

Synopsis: August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school--until now.  He's about to enter fifth grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid, then you know how hard that can be.  The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face.  But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

My Rating
★★★★★ and a ♥!
...because it made me laugh, cry, and want to hug Auggie Pullman (even though he's completely fictional).

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Book Review: Dreamer's Pool, by Juliet Marillier (Blackthorn and Grim Book 1)

Okay, I'm a bit out of practice, so here goes....

Genre: Historical fantasy
Date Published: November 2014
Publisher: Roc
Length: 434 pages, or 17 hours and 45 minutes on audiobook
Source: Audible

Goodreads | Shelfari | Audible

Synopsis: In exchange for help escaping her long and wrongful imprisonment, embittered magical healer Blackthorn has vowed to set aside her bid for vengeance against the man who destroyed all that she once held dear. Followed by a former prison mate, a silent hulk of a man named Grim, she travels north to Dalriada. There she'll live on the fringe of a mysterious forest, duty bound for seven years to assist anyone who asks for her help.
Oran, crown prince of Dalriada, has waited anxiously for the arrival of his future bride, Lady Flidais. He knows her only from a portrait and sweetly poetic correspondence that have convinced him Flidais is his destined true love. But Oran discovers letters can lie. For although his intended exactly resembles her portrait, her brutality upon arrival proves she is nothing like the sensitive woman of the letters.
With the strategic marriage imminent, Oran sees no way out of his dilemma. Word has spread that Blackthorn possesses a remarkable gift for solving knotty problems, so the prince asks her for help. To save Oran from his treacherous nuptials, Blackthorn and Grim will need all their resources: courage, ingenuity, leaps of deduction, and more than a little magic.
My Rating
★★★ 1/2
... for being an entertaining tale of magic, mystery, and strong intelligent women