Pick-a-Shelf discussion

YOU CHOOSE - ended Dec. 31, 2010 > Tara's YOU CHOOSE Challenge

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message 1: by Tara (last edited Dec 31, 2010 07:35AM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments *Read 5 books from your stacks/shelves at home that you haven't read yet.
1. The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge: A Novel 8/10/10
2. Truly, Madly 7/27/10
3. Who Fears Death 8/29/10
4. Pretty Little Liars 9/4/10
5. Mary Modern 9/28/10

* Read 5 books you have borrowed (from friends, family, the library) so you can return them and make room.
1. The Map of True Places-Library 8/2/10
2. The Lost Hours-library 8/5/10
3. Split- library 8/11/10
4. The Kitchen House- library 9/9/10
5. The Graveyard Book-library 9/24/10

* Read 5 books recommended to you by a friend.
1. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister-Jenny 7/25/10
2. Bloody Jack-Tara 7/12/10
3. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac-Cherylann 7/14/10
4.The Dust of 100 Dogs-Tara8/18/10
5. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake-MIL 8/25/10

* Read 5 books that you have been dreading to tackle either due to reviews you have heard, content or the sheer length of them.
1. Daughter of Fortune 9/20/10
2. City of Thieves 9/18/10
3. More Than It Hurts You 10/11/10
4. Chains 10/27/10
5. Those Who Save Us

* Read the 5 books that have been on your TBR the longest.
1. The Shadow of the Wind 7/23/10
2. City of Bones 7/19/10
3. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming 8/3/10
4. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker 9/27/10
5. The Body Finder 10/18/10

* Read the 5 shortest books from your TBR that aren't picture books.
1. The School of Essential Ingredients Pg.256
2. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, Pg. 168 9/4/10
3. I Heart You, You Haunt Me, pg.128 on ipad 10/15/10
4. American Born Chinese pg. 240 10/30/10
5. The Tale of Desperaux Pg. 272

* Spell something (your name, child's name, anything you choose) with 5 picture books using the first letter of their titles.
1. O- Once Upon-- 1001 Stories 7/15/10
2. W- Waiting for Wings 9/5/10
3. E- Even More Parts 8/15/10
4. N- Nine O'Clock Lullaby 8/15/10
5. L- The Lion King
6. A- The Adventures of Polo 8/16/10
7.-N- Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed 10/21/10
8.-E Emeline at the Circus 10/21/10
9.-Y You See a Circus. I See... 8/16/10

* Read 5 non-fiction books.
1. The Zookeeper's Wife 10/22/10
2. Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith 11/1/10
3. The Lost Dogs: Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption 11/15/10
4. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 12/6/10
5. The Glass Castle 12/25/10

* Read 5 books from series, in order to complete some.
1.Something Rotten, Thursday Next #4 8/30/10
2. Bled Dry, Vegas Vampires #3 8/11/10
3. Mockingjay, The Hunger Games #3 8/28/10
4. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, millennium #3 9/5/10
5. Torment, Fallen #2 10/19/10

* Read 5 books started but never finished. (The winning task from our poll!)
1. Watership Down 12/31/10
2. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal 12/30/10
3. Dreaming Anastasia 9/14/10
4. Jumped 12/16/10
5. The Book of Lost Things 11/11/10

message 2: by Tara (last edited Jul 12, 2010 08:00PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Bloody Jack (Bloody Jack, #1) by L.A. Meyer was halfway through and plowed through it the last two days to get it to the library in time.
Great book that left me pleasantly surprised how much I liked it! I will definitely pick up the next book in the series (which just happens to be another "You choose" task!


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message 3: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
This is the 2nd book I have read by Zevin. I loved it. I instantly fell in love with Naomi and her quirky friend, William. This is a love story that is different, but yet so normal. I think Zevin was able to capture the confusion that someone would feel if the last 4 years of memories is erased. How the people around you would want you to be the person you were and not the person that you are now. How the experience would make you see who you had become and question how it happened.


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message 4: by Susan (last edited Jul 15, 2010 01:52PM) (new)

Susan | 3455 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
This is the 2nd book I have read by Zevin. I loved it. I instantly fell in love with Naomi and her quirky friend, William. This is a love story that..."

I like how you put the tasks & books finished total at the end of each post. I'm going to copy you in doing that.

(And I'm adding this book to my TBR mountain. Sounds great!. What's the first book you've read by Zevin? Do you recommend it as highly? I think I also have Elsewhere by her on my TBR list.)

message 5: by Tina (new)

Tina | 232 comments Me three--great idea :)

message 6: by Tara (last edited Jul 17, 2010 07:39AM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Susan wrote: "Tara wrote: "Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
This is the 2nd book I have read by Zevin. I loved it. I instantly fell in love with Naomi and her quirky friend, William. This is a lo..."

I loved Elsewhere. It is a wonderful take on afterlife. Definitely would recommend both.

I figure keeping the total at the end would keep me from getting confused and would make it easy to post the progress every 10 days or so.

message 7: by Tara (last edited Jul 19, 2010 01:01PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Once Upon-- 1001 Stories by Lila Prap
I am kind of bummed that Goodreads does not have the cover for this one. My kids like the illustrations on this one. This book is like a "choose your own adventure" for the picture book set. It combines classic fairy tales, but puts a spin on it by letting the reader choose what they want to hear about next. So in one story you may hit Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding hood, and Snow White. My 6 year old enjoyed the story, but my 4 year old had a hard time following what was going on. Definitely a nice twist to reading fairy tales.

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message 8: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Go look now, Tara. Is that the correct cover? That's the cover they have for that book at WorldCat.

message 9: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments That is the cover Luann! Thanks! It is great to know some Goodreads Librarians!

message 10: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments Happy to help! I like to have covers for my books, too.

message 11: by Tara (last edited Jul 19, 2010 01:03PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare
What a phenomenal book! I just loved being transported to the New York City that Cassandra Clare creates.
The characters are all wonderfully created. Jace who is irriatingly charming, but even still one can't help but like him. The siblings, Alec and Isabella are both beautiful, but Alec has a secret that is his almost fetal flaw. Clary is enduring and a strong female heroine. Although I got a bit irriated by his banter, by the end of the book, Simon became a favorite character of mine...hope to see more of him in the next book.
The world is one of pure fantasy... there are werewolves, wizards, vampires, and of course, the shadowhunters. The world makes sense though, and even made me think a second about whether it could be possible. That is what makes a wonderful fantasy book... the question of whether it could just be real, maybe.
This world lives together in a delicate balance, but it is threatened. The adventures that Clary and Jace find themselves emersed in allow for non-stop action and intrigue.
I can't wait to read more in the series.

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message 12: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3455 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare
What a phenomenal book! I just loved being transported to the New York City that Cassandra Clare creates.
The characters are all wonderfully created. Jace who is i..."

I loved this, too, Tara, and am also really looking forward to reading the rest in the series. I was debating trying the second one in Spanish, but I don't know if I can stand to be slowed down as much as that would do. (Not to mention that my Spanish vocab doesn't currently include words like werewolves, wizards, vampires, etc.) :)

message 13: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Susan wrote: "Tara wrote: "City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1) by Cassandra Clare
What a phenomenal book! I just loved being transported to the New York City that Cassandra Clare creates.
The characters are all wonderfully created. ..."

I could not even attempt it in Spanish. The spanish I learned in High School is more like spanglish now.

message 14: by Slayermel (new)

Slayermel | 664 comments Haha...I know Shakira's song "She Wolf" is "Loba" in Spanish :0D

I was curious so I looked it up on Google Translate, Ya I have nothing better to do :0)

Werewolf - Hombre-lobo
Vampire - Vampiro
Wizard - Mago
Zombie - Zombi
Ghost - Fantasma
Ghoul - Demonio necrófago

end of Spanish Paranormal 101 *giggle*

message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3455 comments Mod
Omigosh, with that kind of support I feel like I have to try it. :) One thing I sometimes do is check out a book in both languages, read one chapter in Spanish first, and then read it in English right away afterwards, so I don't totally lose the drift of the story. Takes a lot longer, but it makes me feel my Spanish ability is moving forward rather than backward.

However, it's going to have to wait a bit -- my hold spot at the library for The Girl Who Kicked Hornet's Nest finally just made it to the top.

message 16: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Oh, I am jealous. I am still 51 on the list at the library for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I would have to read that one right away too!

message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 3455 comments Mod
Tara wrote: "Oh, I am jealous. I am still 51 on the list at the library for The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I would have to read that one right away too!"

It's worth waiting for. I enjoyed it even more than the first two, which is saying a lot!

message 18: by Tara (last edited Jul 28, 2010 06:47PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Here are the 3 books I finished while on vacation...
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón ****
This is a rich gothic read. I was drawn in from the beginning. The story has elements that I loved. The mystery of what happened to Julian Carax was intriguing. The world Zafon created was mesmerizing, although I did need a break from it in the middle. It was so dark and at times a bit to dark for light summer reading (for me at least).
The villian of the story was perfect. Fermín Romero de Torres was the perfect villian. On the surface he was a police officer upholding the law, but as a reader you just get the feeling that he is not what he seems. There is something dark and disturbing about him.
The story has a bit of love, a great mystery, and some very memorable scenes. The ending was absolutely perfect and tied up all the loose ends and even made me go back and reread some sections. It was one of those books that each detail was important.
This would make a great wintertime book to read in front of the fire.

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire ***
So this is the second book that I have read by Gregory Maguire (read Wicked awhile ago), I it is always an interesting experience for me. He always has a way of making the stories so much darker, and adds new life to characters that were one dimensional in the classic fairy tales. His writing is always lyrical and appropriate for what I would think a fairy tale should be, and so I do become engrossed with the writing, but I am always left feeling like I wish I had not messed with my memories of the tale.
Maguire's characters are much more complicated than the traditional story. Cinderella in this story is a scared little thing who believes she is a changling. She is gorgeous and a bit spoiled. Iris, is ugly but intelligent. People can see past her looks to see the beauty of her soul. Her sister, Ruth, is silent and easily upset. She is almost the opposite to her sister. Their mother is a strong woman who fights to keep her family fed, but there is also somewhat of a "loose cannon" feeling to her.
Overall, I enjoyed the story. It was well told, but I did feel that the middle of the story dragged a bit, and I found myself wanting to just skip to the end.

Truly, Madly (Lucy Valentine, #1) by Heather Webber ***
Such a cute little book! This was a fun summer read! Webber introduces us to Lucy Valentine, a psychic that can only find lost things. She is at a crossroads in her life, an accident took away her ability to read auras and now she can't find a job she likes. When her father finds himself in the middle of a scandal it is up to her to keep the company going while he is away. What ensues is a murder mystery, a new love affair (or two or three), and lots of run ins with detectives.
It is a wonderful chick lit selection for those who also like a bit of paranormal. Pick this one up if you want something light and romantic.

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message 19: by Tara (last edited Aug 03, 2010 04:48PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry ****
Brunonia Barry does a great job weaving Zee's story with that of Lily and her parents. I really enjoyed the little nuances that connected Zees story to the fairy tale of the house on Turner Street.
My favorite part was when she was with Hawk. Hawk was such an interesting character that I liked from the start. I liked him much more than Michael, who was to clean and almost came off as a bit self-centered. Zee's appeal grew for me as I read the story more.
I think that I enjoyed the way Barry took her time with letting the story unfold and they connections between characters reveal themselves gradually. A very satisfying read.

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message 20: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Lost Hours by Karen White ****
Although someone may mistake this one as chick-Lit, it has a lot more drama than most books in that genre. It is part mystery, part family saga, and part historical fiction.
Karen White introduces us to Piper Mills, a equestrian that has long lost her want to ride, after a brutal fall during a competition. As she loses the family closest to her, she is confronted with a mystery, one that will help her understand her grandmother better, and one that will help her find that she is similar to her as well.
A key to the mystery is Lillian, who wants this mystery to stay buried. The last time the past was delved into, she lost her granddaughter in law, and the family was still trying to pick up the pieces.
Piper needs to know about her grandmother's past and in doing so finds that Lillian also has a granddaughter than is curious. Together they will face the truth and form new relationships.
IT is a wonderful novel set in Savannah and outlying areas. Whites descriptions of flowers and gardens, made me want to go outside with a trowel.
Overall, the story reminded me of the books I read by Joshilyn Jackson, so I think if you like to mix your southern charm with a little mystery, this one may be something to pick up.

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message 21: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Strange Case of the Composer and His Judge A Novel by Patricia Duncker ****
What an intriguing mystery. The little mystery is a cult or sect called "The Faith." It kind of reminded me of the cult that committed suicide in San Diego a while ago, but the cult in the book, took their kids with them. There is mystery around the text that they use and what it is all about. It was not face paced, but it had a nice rhythm and kept me engaged. Not light reading though.

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message 22: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Bled Dry (Vegas Vampires, #3) by Erin McCarthy ****
I am giving this one 4 stars considering that is it a fun romance novel. I don't read many romance novels, but I like the Vegas Vampire Series. It is a fun series for reading by the pool. Even though some of the characters were a bit flat, the two main characters Brittany and Corbin were well done. I liked the way their characters changed throughout the book and have to admit they were my favorite characters from the first book in the series.

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message 23: by Tara (last edited Aug 15, 2010 08:45AM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Split by Swati Avasthi ****
This was a really good look at the repercussions of domestic violence. Jace and Christian are brothers raised in a household where the father abuses their mother...then abuses them as they try to protect her. They are very different and get out of the situation in different ways, but they are both affected by their upbringing. I think that Avasthi does a nice job with constructing these emotionally flawed characters, and with the characterization of the friends and loved ones that ultimate help them.
It is not a book with a happily ever after, but the end is satisfying. Overall, it is well-written and has a good plot.

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message 24: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister *****
This was a quick and wonderfully delicious book! The characters were all very likable for me. In a strange way, the book reminded me of Olive Kitteridge. Lillian's back story was presented in the first chapter, but then her character took the back seat to each of the other characters' stories. She was a part of their story as they interacted with her through the class, but Bauermeister focuses on the the character of the chapter. Each of the characters were well-developed and had a wonderfully constructed and ultimately complex, but not overly complicated life.
This was a wonderful book that warms the heart. A good book to pick up if you are looking for a book that highlights how people can come into your life and change it for the better.

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message 25: by Tara (last edited Aug 15, 2010 10:04PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Nine O'Clock Lullaby by Marilyn Singer ***
A great book for the elementary set, but my 4 year old did not have the attention for it. I think it is a great book for those of us that have friends or families in other time zones though. It really illustrated that concept well.

Even More Parts by Tedd Arnold *****
I love Tedd Arnold. His "Parts" books are my favorites. I love the way he illustrates idioms in such a humorous ways. It went a bit over the head of my preschooler, but my daughter loved it!

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message 26: by Tara (last edited Aug 16, 2010 02:36PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Two more kids books.
You See a Circus. I See... by Mike Downs ***
Cute book about a child who grows up in the circus. I think it would be a nice read when I do a circus unit, or community helpers.

The Adventures of Polo by Regis Faller ****
It is a wordless book (so I feel a bit guilty), but it has wonderful pictures and would be a great book for working on story telling or sequencing with young kids. Loved the illustrations.

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message 27: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 1006 comments I have a "wordless" shelf, Tara. So I'll have to add that one to my TBR and wordless shelves. Thanks!

message 28: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Luann wrote: "I have a "wordless" shelf, Tara. So I'll have to add that one to my TBR and wordless shelves. Thanks!"

Wordless books are great for teaching kids. I really love them. This one has lots of opportunities for language building.

message 29: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Dust of 100 Dogs by A.S. King ****
This one was a fun read. I love the concept of a love that transcends time and a love that endures all the obstacles that try to keep them apart.
Emer/Saffron is a very strong protagonist and endures many hardships both in the present story and in the past. Definitely pick it up if you like pirate stories and a little bit of the supernatural.
It was a bit disjointed at first when Fred Livingstone was introduced, but it does come together nicely.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender ****
Hmm- This is a hard one to review. I had to digest it a bit before writing a review. One of the reasons it is so hard for me to review is that it was wonderfully readable. It was a page turner and once I was hooked I had to keep reading. She has a wonderful cadence to her writing.
What is difficult was that the book took a direction that was surprising to me. It was not what I expected. Although Rose's tasting feelings ability does play a role in the story, but the story turns and twists into more about secrets and family dynamics. It was at times hard to read because many of the characters don't make the best decisions and in some cases do not grow or better themselves. In this sense, it may rub some readers the wrong way, especially if they are looking for a light uplifting read.

Mockingjay (Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins ****
The last book was a departure from the usual formulas of the other two books, but it worked for me.
Collins brings another adventure that I could not put down. It is filled with action and the last hunger games ends up not to be a game but rather a war. A war in which anything goes and psychological warfare has all the characters questioning how much they trust each other. I loved the new complicated relationships that the characters had with each other. Katniss does a lot of reflecting in this book that she does not do in the other two. She also shows more compassion and vulnerability.
I struggled with rating this one. I wish that I could give half stars. I loved this one, but it was not like the other two and I would have to say I liked the other two a tiny bit more. I am a little sad that the journey is over for Katniss, Peeta, and Gale, but the end was satisfying. I would love to thank the author for the epilogue as well, it was what I needed to be able to say good-bye to a wonderful trilogy.

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message 30: by Tara (last edited Aug 29, 2010 12:00PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor ****
This book is very different and kind of similar to what I normally read.
Where it was different because I don't usually read books based in what I think is African folklore or mythology. I tried to find out more, but did not have any luck researching.
The story is similar because Onye is on a journey, she is an Ewu. A child of rape and violence that is treated differently by both of the main tribes in the book. She is special and has powers that also set her apart from others.
I love books with a bit of fantasy and magic, and this book has that. It is different though from other fantasy books I have read. The magic is powerful and mystical, which leads me to think that it is based off of mythology. I also love dystopian lit so this book fit right into books I do read a lot of.
It is a story of acceptance and love...of sacrifice and power. It is a story that will stay with me.
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message 31: by onarock (new)

onarock | 107 comments tara, how do u do the cross out on your challenge p0ost??


message 32: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments click on (some html is ok) on the top right of the comment box. It shows you the codes to type into your post.
Basically it is <> with an "s" at the beginning of what you want to strike out and a <> with a "/s" at the end of what you want to strike out.

message 33: by onarock (new)

onarock | 107 comments thank u tara.

message 34: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson ****
This book was really interesting. I love the way Jackson weaves a story and employs so many twists and turns. In this book, she introduces us to Laurel. She can see ghosts and one has just woke her up. Molly who just died in Laurel's pool has just opened up a can of worms for Laurel and her family. Through her investigation of Molly's death, she faces ghosts from her past and finds out that her wonderful life may not be that wonderful.
One of the most memorable characters was Thalia. She had spunk and was extremely outspoken about her distaste for Laurel's life and especially her husband (the feeling is mutual). Although she can be blantantly honest and sometimes mean, Thalia won me over and I just thought she was such a refreshing character.
A wonderful mystery that verges on chick lit.

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message 35: by Tara (last edited Sep 04, 2010 04:18PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1) by Sara Shepard ****

I am a big fan of the TV show, so I was excited to check out the novels. The first book did not disappoint. Although the character descriptions were different than the girls that are in the TV show, I quickly adjusted.
In the book the 4 characters all deal with their own little secrets... Hanna insecurity with how her father feels about her and how she feels about herself. Emily is not sure about what or who she wants to spend time with. Aria is trying to figure out where she fits in now that she is back in Rosewood and dealing with an affair that is definitely taboo. Spencer is trying to stand out to her parents since she has always been in the shadow of her big sister.
Overall, the story was fun and easy to read. My biggest complaint was the references to brand names, especially when it felt a bit forced. I don't know why but it bugs me when things are described by using brand names... for example, "buzzing LG" or "She kicked herself for not changing into the yellow Eres bikini."
So I would definitely recommend if you are interested in a light YA mystery.

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message 36: by Tara (last edited Sep 05, 2010 07:03AM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim, #1) by Bryan Lee O'Malley ****

What a fun little book! I can't help but love Scott Pilgrim and his friends. It mixes up a bit of teen angst with gaming nuances to create a fantastic journey to win a girl's heart.

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message 37: by Tara (last edited Sep 09, 2010 07:01PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (Millennium, #3) by Stieg Larsson ***

It took me a long time to get into this book. It was a really slow start but once the trial began I got into the story... but that was a bit too late for me.
The story was not as action packed for the main characters and there really was very little interaction between Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist. The chemistry sorta fizzled for me.
Overall it was nice to see how the story ended, but definitely the least favorite book of the series for me.

Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert ****
I love Ehlert's books and Waiting for Wings is another wonderful story. What a fun way to learn about flowers and butterflies.

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message 38: by Tara (last edited Sep 09, 2010 06:58PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom ****
The first 3/4th of the book was awesome. I loved the early story of Lavinia at the plantation and in Williamsburg. Later in the book the story has more downs than ups and can be somewhat depressing.
Of course, I think the author does a great job with portraying the time period, although since Historical Fiction is not one of my favorite genres, I had a hard time with some of the character's choices (although I would think looking at the time period were realistic responses).

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message 39: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments Dreaming Anastasia (Dreaming Anastasia, #1) by Joy Preble ***

The interesting thing about this novel is that it blends the mystery that surrounds Anastasia Romanov with the fairy tale of Baba Yaga. It proved to be an interesting blend of history and fantasy (more fantasy than history).
I really began to like the characters and appreciated the complexity of Baba Yaga's role. I also really enjoyed the modern story and especially the outspoken Tess. Anne and Ethan were a little flat for me, especially being the main characters.
Overall, I liked the book. I heard there is a follow up book to this one, and I am definitely curious to see where the story will go.

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message 40: by Tara (last edited Sep 20, 2010 06:33PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments City of Thieves by David Benioff ****

I am a sucker for WWII books, but for some reason I kept putting off reading this one. If it was not for another group making it a pick to read for the summer I think I would have kept putting it off.
It was a wonderfully different tale than I expected though. It had some dry humor to it that lightened the heaviness of the wartime hardships.
In the end it was a wonderful story about an unlikely friendship that warmed my heart.

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende ***1/2

This was one of those books that I found sometimes sucked me in and at other times seemed to drag on an on.
Overall, I liked the story of Eliza and her eccentric family. Her journey to find her love during the Gold Rush in California was the most interesting part of the book for me. I loved learning more about this period in time as well as the interesting people she met along the way.
The ending left me unfulfilled though. I just wish the ending was a bit stronger. It was very abrupt, almost making me feel as if Allende just woke up one morning and said "That's it. I'm done."

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message 41: by Tara (last edited Sep 26, 2010 06:28PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman ****

I really enjoyed this "ghost" story. It was a perfect read for the fall and Halloween. I loved all the eclectic characters, especially Silas and Liza the witch. The adventures he had were all so different and I loved trying to piece together the mystery surrounding the deaths of his family members and who was trying to kill him. Gaiman brings us another dark, yet sweet story.

The Lion King (Disney Classics) by Parragon ***
My daughter picked this one out from the school library and I finally got to sit down and read it to her. I am not sure why, but I have a hard time with the Disney books. They take forever to read out loud and my kids always lose interest (which makes it all the more fun). It is a nice recap of the movie, but I would rather watch the movie.

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message 42: by Lahni (new)

Lahni | 638 comments The Lion King (Disney Classics) by Parragon

The Broadway show is great too. We saw it last month.

message 43: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments I have heard it is really awesome. You know I have never seen a broadway show. Definitely something for the "things to do before I die" list.

message 44: by Tara (last edited Sep 28, 2010 07:38PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Mary Modern by Camille Deangelis ***

This was an interesting look at cloning, but it also had themes that delved into family and loss.
I loved the way the author portrayed Mary and her acclimation to the modern world. There were twists to the plot that I found really interesting.
I really liked that it explored the humanity of the characters. Each character was flawed and a variety of relationships were explored. Lucy and Gray had to deal with their problems and the baby that was not meant to be. Mary had to come to terms with her granddaughter and her feelings of being cloned.
As Mary explores the new world, new relationships form and a new set of complications occur for all the characters.
In the end, I did enjoy the story and it left me with more to think about.

The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker (Strangely Beautiful, #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber ****

It involves a prophecy where a group called the guard must save the world by keeping the dead and the living in balance. When the goddess is reborn and finds the group as a student, the prophecy begins and new and terrible things begin happening. The group has to determine who is the real 7th member... Lucille, A beautiful stranger, or the ghostly and strange Percy Parker. The wrong decision has deadly consequences.

This story mixes a bit of mythology into the story, which reminded me a bit of other historical fiction paranormal books. Just a tad of romance and mystery made it a fun read.

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message 45: by Tara (last edited Oct 21, 2010 06:09PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder ****

This was my first book written in verse. It took me a bit to get used to it, but I really liked the way it was written.
It was a sweet story about overcoming grief and letting go of guilt. The characters were all really nice people which made it easy to like them.

More Than It Hurts You by Darin Strauss **1/2

I had not heard very good things about the book, but unchausen by Proxy has always interested me and so I wanted to give the book a try. It took me a while to get to and to my disappointment, the book was hard to for me to stay interested in.
I ended up having many of the same problems with the book as others did.
I did not connect to the characters and found most of the dislikable. I thought the book could have been edited so that the pace did not slow due to backstories that were not relevent and added little to the story.
In the end, I think if the author spent more time developing a stronger emphasis on the story of Josh, Dori, and Zack, as he did on the back story of Darlene. The whole novel would have interested me more.

The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting *****

What an amazing book. I was mesmerized by Violet and Jay's relationship and her strange gift. Violet can sense the dead, she sees or hears echoes from the dead that call to her. Only her family and her best friend, Jay, know about this gift. She is about to need all the support she can get from the people that know about her as her gift leads her to a body of a dead girl and ultimately it will land her into danger.
Her relationship with Jay is changing... They are now teenagers and she is now getting nervous and feeling things when she is around him that can endanger their friendship. Other girls are noticing the changes in Jay as well.
Many questions are to be answered.... I am thankful that the book delivers! Solid story with a satisfying ending.

Torment (Fallen, #2) by Lauren Kate ****

This is the second book in the "Fallen" series. Luce is now in more danger. Even though Daniel and Cam have come to a truce, there are still forces that want to get to Luce. Luce finds herself at a new boarding school and lying to everyone she loves. She is a bit rebellious to the rules she now has to live by, mainly because Daniel and others around her are not telling her the whole story.
Luce does meet new friends at her new school that will make her question her relationship with Daniel.
I really enjoyed this part of the "Fallen" story and would say I enjoyed this one more than I liked Fallen, which makes me even more excited for the next book to come out.

Emeline at the Circus by Marjorie Priceman ****

Emeline is on a class trip to the circus. As her teacher shares tidbits and really some interesting information about the animals and acts in the Circus, she fails to notice that Emeline has other ideas of what she is going to do on this class trip. I loved the bright pictures and I also loved how informative the book was. A definite future addition to my classroom library.

Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by Mo Willems *****

I love Mo Willems' books. This one was just as clever and as entertaining as ever. We meet the Naked Mole Rats. They are part rat and part mole and always naked...except for Wilbur. Wilbur liked clothes and the other mole rats did not like it. It was too different. When they take him to Grand-pah, Grand-pah decides he needs to make a proclamation. Will this be the last time Wilbur gets to wear clothes?

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message 46: by Tara (last edited Oct 31, 2010 09:05AM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Chains (Seeds of America, #1) by Laurie Halse Anderson ****

What a great way to read about the revolutionary war... through the eyes of a precocious and brave slave girl. I loved how Anderson was able to depict the thoughts of freedom of the revolutionaries as well as the idea of freedom through the eyes of the slaves. I don't think I have ever read anything about this time period with this POV.
The book has a nice rhythm to it and was engaging throughout. I definitely could see why it was an award winner.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang *****

I loved this book! It consists of three tales; one about a boy who moves to a new school where there are not very many other asian kids and he is teased and bullied, one about a Monkey King who wants into heaven, and another about a boy who is tormented by his cousin who is the ultimate ugly asian stereotypes. I loved how the tales mingled together to produce one wonderful theme!

The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman ****

I thought this was a pretty interesting look at WWII. I guess I never thought about the how the war affected animals in the region and zoos in Europe. It was heart breaking at times, but overall I found it to be a very inspirational story.

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message 47: by Tara (last edited Nov 01, 2010 04:18PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Charles and Emma The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman ** 1/2

Really, I would give this 2 1/2 stars. 3 stars for information, but 2 stars for entertainment value.
This is a dull story... Yes, it portrays a love story, but it is a dull love story. Some of the background information on Charles Darwin's life was interesting, but for the most part I was bored.
Furthermore, I cannot think of any teenagers that would be interested in reading it, unless assigned it for school.
Overall, if you have a burning desire to learn more about Charles Darwin's home life or the Creationism vs. evolution argument.... skip this one.

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message 48: by Tara (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Tale of Desperaux by Charlotte S. Jaffe ****

This was a sweet little tale. I enjoyed it for myself, but it was also a fun one for the kids.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum ****

This book was essentially about a mother and a daughter and the events that made them who they are. Anna was a teen when she met Max and fell in love. Unfortunately she was a daughter of an SS sympathizer and he was a jewish doctor. Although she tries to run away with him, it was not meant to be. She got pregnant and save herself and her daughter she ends up with a high ranking SS officer as his mistress.
Trudy, her daughter, does not know any of this. She grows up thinking the officer in the photo is her real dad. She grows up to be a German history professor. Closed off and distant, she is divorced and finds herself having to deal with her mother after her father dies. Needless to say, she does not have the closest relationship with her mom.
I think this book is a wonderful example of how our choices shape us and how we deal with the bad things that happen to us can effect those around us.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly ***

I thought it was a really interesting take on grief and how to overcome jealousy and heartbreak.
It was good and I wavered between 3 and 4 stars before setting on 3 stars. I really loved the different retellings of fairy tales mixed in... Snow white and the oppressed elves, Sleeping beauty who was not a beauty, and the beast was truly a bit terrifying.
Overall, a wonderful book for those who like your fairy tales to be more grim vs. happily ever after.

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message 49: by Tara (last edited Nov 18, 2010 06:08PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments The Lost Dogs Michael Vick's Dogs and Their Tale of Rescue and Redemption by Jim Gorant *****

Part true crime and part inspiration story, I was moved by the efforts of so many people featured in the story. The story highlighted the notorious bust of the Vick estate and the subsequent efforts to rehabilitate the dogs. The dogs themselves are inspirations and each of the dogs has a story of their own. It was truly amazing how resilient the dogs were.
I had to keep the tissues close, but it is a book I will not soon forget.

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message 50: by Tara (last edited Dec 17, 2010 06:33PM) (new)

Tara | 742 comments Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia ***

For a little book, it took me a lot of effort to finish this one. I think I had a hard time with the premise. I know that people get "jumped" for less in this world... but the reason Trina gets jumped seemed silly to me. All the characters were very stereotypical in my book, thus they could have used a bit more depth.
Overall, glad I am finished with it, and I liked it.

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