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finished challenges > Luann's 2009 Challenge - Author and Title A-Z - COMPLETED!

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message 1: by Luann (last edited Dec 21, 2009 01:01AM) (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments COMPLETED!

I've never tried something like the author or title A-Z challenge, so thought it would be fun to try this year. I'll add titles and authors with the date as I complete them. I'll start with authors A-Z and then go for titles A-Z.


Anderson, Laurie Halse - Speak - read 1/14/09
Balliett, Blue - The Calder Game - read 1/27/09
Collins, Suzanne - Gregor the Overlander - read 2/14/09
Dirda, Michael - Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life - read 4/25/09
Ellis, Deborah - The Breadwinner - read 4/30/09
Flanagan, John - The Sorcerer in the North (Ranger's Apprentice, Book 5) - read 1/5/09
Green, John - Looking for Alaska - read 1/17/09
Heinlein, Robert A. - Stranger In a Strange Land - read 2/21/09
Ibbotson, Eva - The Dragonfly Pool - read 3/27/09
Jones, Diana Wynne - House of Many Ways - read 2/16/09
Klages, Ellen - The Green Glass Sea - read 2/3/09
Lewis, C.S. - Mere Christianity - read 3/20/09
Marr, Melissa - Wicked Lovely - read 3/13/09
Nimmo, Jenny - Charlie Bone and the Shadow - read 1/4/09
Orwell, George - Animal Farm - read 3/3/09
Pfeffer, Susan Beth - Life As We Knew It - read 3/12/09
Quindlen, Anna - How Reading Changed My Life - read 3/8/09
Reichs, Kathy - Grave Secrets - read 4/4/09
Salinger, J.D. - The Catcher in the Rye - read 1/13/09
Truman, Margaret - Murder Inside the Beltway: A Capital Crimes Novel - read 1/25/09
Uchida, Yoshiko - Journey Home - read 10/22/09
Voigt, Cynthia - The Runner - read 6/2/09
Whedon, Joss - Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home - read 2/8/09
Xingjian, Gao - Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather: Stories - read 3/4/09
Yates, Alma J.- Finding Dad - read 2/10/09
Zusak, Markus - The Book Thief - read 1/7/09

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Charlie Bone and the Shadow by Jenny Nimmo - 3 stars.
A must-read for those who have read all of the previous Charlie Bone books, but nothing much of substance happens here. I was hoping for much more.

The Sorcerer in the North by John Flanagan - 4 stars.
My review contains spoilers, so I'll just include a link here:

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - 5 stars!
This is one of the most beautifully written books I've ever read - and I almost didn't read it at all. The first time I checked it out from the library, I felt like I had too many books to read and it was very long. It didn't immediately catch my attention, so I returned it. This time I didn't stop after the first few pages, which gave Zusak's amazing words and characters a chance to pull me in. They wouldn't let go until I had finished the book. I literally read it in one sitting. At the end, I felt like I had experienced a lifetime's worth of emotions.

Maybe it was good that I waited, though. I recently read a biography of Hitler that attempted to answer three questions: What sort of man could plan and carry out such horrendous schemes? How was he able to win support for his deadly ventures? And why did no one try to stop him until it was almost too late? The Book Thief also answers these questions, but in an entirely different way. Yet even more important themes in the book are the power of words, the love of family, and the bonds of friendship.

I can't believe I almost missed reading The Book Thief. Everyone should read this book.

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I couldn't agree more with your last statement.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Thanks, Jeremy! I was really blown away by the book and couldn't believe how close I came to not reading it at all. I wonder if you will agree with my next review? :) See below.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. 2 stars.

THIS is one of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century? Why? I guess I missed something. Holden Caulfield is just an unpleasant character, and nothing much ever happens in the book. I found it a chore to get through until right towards the end. I liked Holden's little sister and how much he cared for her.

I did find one quote I liked: "What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it. That doesn't happen much, though."

I'm surprised I could find a quote of that length without a profanity, though. The book is littered with them, and I just don't see the point. Definitely not a favorite.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. 4 stars.

Wow. POWERFUL. It was interesting reading this directly after The Catcher in the Rye. They have a lot of similar points, yet are vastly different. I was much more sympathetic to Melinda's character and didn't find it tedious to be in her mind listening to her thoughts as I did with Holden Caulfield. Also, Melinda actually had a reason for her actions, whereas Holden was reacting to consequences brought about by his own actions.

I also loved Melinda's sense of humor. I would never have expected to laugh while reading a book dealing with such a serious subject matter. I wish I had had her sense of humor while going through high school!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Looking for Alaska by John Green. 3 stars.

I can't wholeheartedly recommend this book, but I wish I could. I loved the characters and the writing style. John Green beautifully captures the essence of "teen" with some smart, likeable, and realistic characters. They question the meaning of life and death (“How will I ever get out of this labyrinth?”), they explore the value of true friendship and life experiences (“I go to seek a Great Perhaps”), and in the end they actually learn something.

John Green has written a novel that The Catcher in the Rye only aspires to be. His characters actually learn and grow as a result of their experiences. Unfortunately, as with The Catcher in the Rye, this novel also has content that I wish it didn't. There is some profanity, but what bothers me more is the constant drinking and smoking and some sexual activity by the teenaged protagonists. I understand that this may be "reality" for many teens, but I still can't endorse it. Without that, I would have given this book a solid four stars.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Murder Inside the Beltway A Capital Crimes Novel by Margaret Truman. 3 stars.

This is the first mystery I've read by Margaret Truman, but sadly the last written before she passed away. I thought it started very slowly, but the pace picked up for the second half and finally caught my interest. Although fictional, this is an interesting look at murder and corruption in Washington D.C. politics by an insider. I wouldn't mind reading another of her mysteries sometime.

An interesting quote as one of the characters is contemplating why people contribute to political candidates: "Politicians, she decided, were like televangelists, promising miraculous improvements in the lives of those who sent their money, salvation and freedom from disease and pain--or in the case of politicians, better jobs, lower taxes, and a sunny future."

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Calder Game by Blue Balliett. 3 stars.

I enjoyed this more than The Wright 3, but still not quite as much as Chasing Vermeer. As always, Balliett does a great job in piquing my interest in her chosen artist. I also really enjoyed seeing the development of a friendship between Petra and Tommy.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. 4 stars.

For me, enjoying this one was all about the characters and the interesting setting. Who else but Neil Gaiman could write a Jungle Book-type story and set it in a graveyard? And he has created a wonderful cast of unique characters that I really cared about. This is also very well-written with great descriptions that set the mood and pull you right into the story. I had fun picking out all the graveyard puns such as characters with a "grave" face or walking "gravely." If I ever read this again, I'm going to keep a list.

I'm not sure how I feel about this book for my library, though. That first chapter is necessary for the rest of the book, but wow, murder of children? In a children's book? So I would say that it definitely isn't a book for younger children. The violence in that first chapter wasn't graphic, but it was definitely there.

Many of my students have read and loved Coraline and always ask for something similar. Although this isn't exactly similar, I think it would appeal to many of those same students. So I'm still deciding whether or not this is a book for my library.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton. 3 stars.

This is a great example of a cozy mystery. While Emma Porter certainly isn't Miss Marple, I liked her a lot. Although this was a touch slow in the beginning, I did enjoy the ending very much. My main complaint is that there wasn't enough Aunt Dimity. Also, I wasn't nearly as interested in knowing the names of all the plants as I felt like the author wanted me to be.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages. 5 stars.

When I was in high school, I did an extra credit report on Oppenheimer, "Little Boy," and "Fat Man." It was all new to me, and so interesting and horrifying that I have always been very interested in that area of history. This is a work of historical fiction about the scientists who worked on the atomic bomb and their families. It is told from the point of view of the children, who were not given many details of the highly classified project and thus not many details make it into the story. The bomb is a looming presence in the story, though, only because the reader has knowledge that the characters do not.

Ultimately, the book is about its characters - who are written so well that I would immediately recognize them if I met them. Especially Dewey! What a great character! Not only do I really like her, but I'm so happy to find a girl protagonist who is good at math and likes to build and invent things. There aren't enough of those in children's literature. Not that I'm good at math, necessarily, but I want girls who ARE good at math and science to be encouraged.

I liked this book a lot, and highly recommend it!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Good Brother, Bad Brother The Story of Edwin Booth and John Wilkes Booth by James Cross Giblin. 4 stars.

This is a "joint biography of the Booth brothers, played out against the backdrop of the Civil War." Pair this with Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman for two perspectives on an interesting and tragic time in American history.

This was very well written and thoroughly researched. I really liked the contrast shown between the two brothers. I felt a lot of sympathy for John Wilkes Booth's family, who were as shocked and horrified as everyone else at the assassination. Their lives were forever affected by the choices of their brother and son. I also learned a lot about the theater during this time in American history. Many photographs of the brothers and the Booth family are included.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Long Way Home by Joss Whedon. 3 stars.

I would MUCH rather watch Buffy Season 8 on TV! But since that isn't ever going to happen, I finally broke down and bought the first two volumes of the graphic novel. I really haven't read many comic books or graphic novels - except for Firefly, now Buffy, and probably Angel at some point in the near future. It took me quite a few pages to get into this one. I had to keep reminding myself that it IS canon. There are a lot of characters to keep track of, flashbacks, dream sequences, and all sorts of things that I expect in Buffy, but I have a harder time keeping track of it all in this format. I did enjoy it, especially some of the references to the TV show, such as the Buffy decoy who is in Italy dating The Immortal. Very funny! But I say again, I would MUCH rather watch this on TV - or as a movie!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Finding Dad by Alma J. Yates. 4 stars.

Alma Yates has written a great story of a father and son getting to know each other again. The dialogues between the father and son were realistic, often funny, and really captured the personalities of the characters. I especially liked Alma, the son. He felt like a real teenager, yet still very likeable. I listened to the audio version of this and thought the narrator did a really nice job with most of the voices.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. 5 stars.

My review is mostly my reactions about the ending of the book, so click here only if you have already read it or don't mind being spoiled.

message 19: by Luann (last edited Feb 14, 2009 12:21AM) (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. 4 stars.

This is Highlander meets Buffy, and a lot of fun! A centuries old Game is played out involving warriors, wizards, sorcerers, enchanters and soothsayers. I enjoyed this very much and look forward to reading the next two: The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir. I guessed several of the surprise twists long before they happened, but that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the story.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. 4 stars.

My review has some slight spoilers, so I will only include a link and a favorite quote from the book:

A favorite quote: "Gregor, I know the gift I would wish to give you, but you can only find it yourself," said Vikus. "What is it?" said Gregor. "Hope," said Vikus. "There are times it will be very hard to find. Times when it will be much easier to choose hate instead. But if you want to find peace, you must first be able to hope it is possible."

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones. 3 stars.

This is a nice enough magical story about Charmain, a girl who is asked to house sit for her Great-Uncle William, who is a wizard. Charmain has been sheltered by her parents and is excited to have some freedom. She also loves to read and writes a letter to the king, asking if he could use her help in his library. The adventures begin as Charmain arrives at her great-uncle's house just minutes before the elves take him away to heal him, and Charmain receives only minimal instructions about his magical house.

I thought that the magic throughout the story was a little too easy, but still fun. The mystery of the lost treasure added a little intrigue, but only a little. I wouldn't recommend this as the first book to read for someone who hasn't read any Diana Wynne Jones. There's nothing wrong with this really, but nothing spectacular either. If we had half stars, I would give it 3.5.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. 4 stars.

I watched Randy Pausch's last lecture online around the time that he passed away. Such a great guy with a lot of character! I love his positive attitude and fun approach to life even though he knew he didn't have much time left. We all have tough situations to deal with, and he is a wonderful example of how to make the best with what you've been given. He sets forth some great common-sense advice for living your life to its fullest and fulfilling your childhood dreams. This book is like the lecture, but with additional details and stories. Watch the lecture first and then read the book. I need to reread this book at least once a year!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Bunker 10 by J.A. Henderson. 3 stars.

I had mixed feelings about this one after reading some of the reviews, but I ended up quite liking it. It is an interesting take on time travel and virtual reality. I liked the twists and turns of the plot. The author says he doesn't like the term "children's books" and describes Bunker 10 as a "dark, adult novel in which the heroes (and some of the villains) just happen to be kids." I would say this is a good book for older teens who like video games. It was a quick read and very action-packed. There is quite a bit of violence and killing, so I definitely wouldn't suggest this for younger children.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Animal Farm by George Orwell. 4 stars.

The preface called Animal Farm, in addition to Orwell's subtitle of "fairy story," a "political tract, a satire on human folly, a loud hee-haw at all who yearn for Utopia, an allegorical lesson, and a pretty good fable in the Aesop tradition." With a book that is all those things, I didn't expect it to be such a fascinating and readable story! I enjoyed it very much.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Buying a Fishing Rod for My Grandfather Stories by Gao Xingjian. 2 stars.

My review discusses each short story and can be read here:

message 26: by Luann (last edited Mar 08, 2009 12:12AM) (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. 4 stars.

Excellent! I enjoyed this a lot. Mma Ramotswe is a fun, common-sense character and a great detective. She reminds me of Miss Marple or Mrs. Pollifax. I'll definitely read another in the series sometime.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen. 4 stars.

I'm glad I purchased my own copy of this because I will definitely want to revisit it again and mark favorite quotes as I go. It almost felt like she was writing about my own life - especially the first chapter where she talks about her love of reading as a young child. I recommend this to every avid reader! You aren't alone!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon. 3 stars.

What a unique book! Kudos to Mark Haddon! I found it very interesting to be "inside" Christopher's head and see life and the world around as he sees it. If you haven't read this yet, Christopher is a 15-year-old boy with autism who is very good at math and science. He finds his neighbor's dog who has been killed and decides to write a book to help him solve the murder. "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time" is the book he writes.

I listened to this on audio, so it was almost as if I were listening to Christopher tell me the story himself. The narrator did a very nice job of making the story come to life. In fact, there were times when I felt overloaded with Christopher's voice and his perspectives and I would have to take a break and read something else. From reading other reviews, I see that I need to find a regular copy of the book to see the illustrations and diagrams that I missed.

Note: There is quite a lot of swearing throughout and some adult themes.

message 29: by Luann (last edited Mar 12, 2009 11:28PM) (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. 4 stars.

Wow, wow, wow! This felt SO real! Several times while I read, I stopped and looked outside just to reassure myself that the outside world was still the same. And last night the moon was full and very bright. I just looked at it for several minutes and contemplated the events of this book. It's all very scary, yet something like this happening is entirely possible.

One reason that this feels so real is that it is expertly written in journal format. Miranda is a teenager living a perfectly normal life in Pennsylania, thinking about boys, homework, and little tiffs with her friends. When an asteroid hits the moon and knocks it slightly closer to the earth, all sorts of natural disasters begin to happen. For those who survive, including Miranda and her family, life as they knew it will never be the same.

The one complaint I have with this book - and the reason I gave it four stars instead of five - is the author's treatment of religious characters. I don't feel that most religious people would react the way Pfeffer has hers react. I especially didn't like her portrayal of the religious leader who was eating while his congregation starved to death. I guess it's possible, but I personally don't know any religious leaders who would do that.

Other than that one complaint, I was completely sucked into this story. It made me want to run to the store and buy food, oil and a lantern, blankets, and chocolate! In fact, I think I'll go eat some chocolate right now.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. 4 stars.

I feel like I just gulped this one down and it ended much, much too soon. I haven't read very many books in the urban fantasy genre, but this makes me feel like I might like to read more of them. I really liked the characters and the faery world that Melissa Marr has created. I'm not sure that I will like the second book as much as this one, but I do look forward to spending more time in this world and with these characters.

Note: This is a book for OLDER YA, bordering on adult.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Thank You, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. 4 stars.

What fun! This was my first P.G. Wodehouse, but it definitely won't be my last.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Zia by Scott O'Dell. 3 stars.

I was very interested to find out what happened to Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins. Unfortunately, this book wasn't nearly as engaging or interesting as Island of the Blue Dolphins. I would have enjoyed it more if it had been told from Karana's point of view.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. 4 stars.

Powerful. A must-read for those interested in reading about the holocaust. I felt guilty reading while eating my lunch.

This is also a wonderful book for putting your own life experiences and suffering into perspective. I especially liked his theories about responsibility - that we are all responsible for our own choices and for finding meaning in our life.

I wouldn't have been nearly as interested in the second half, "Logotherapy in a Nutshell" and "The Case for a Tragic Optimism," but he made it very readable and interesting by sharing many practical examples and stories. (Although it was this half of the book that brought my rating down to four stars.)

This is the type of book that you could read many times throughout your life and always learn something new, based on whatever you are experiencing in life at the time.

Some favorite quotes: "Love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire. . . The salvation of man is through love and in love."

"Man is ultimately self-determining. What he becomes - within the limits of endowment and environment - he has made out of himself. In the concentration camps, for example, . . . we watched and witnessed some of our comrades behave like swine while others behaved like saints. Man has both potentialities within himself; which one is actualized depends on decisions but not on conditions."

"If one cannot change a situation that causes his suffering, he can still choose his attitude."

"The world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best."

There were many other quotes I liked as well, and if I end up reading this again someday I will add to my list.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. 4 stars.

Some sections of this were really interesting to me while other parts were not quite as interesting. I really liked his comments about pride. A great book to read all the way through at least once. If I were ever to revisit this book it would be just to read parts about a certain topic - maybe to find quotes for a talk or lesson.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson. 4 stars.

When I added this to my list, I thought it was another fantasy book by Ibbotson - and even the title and the cover didn't clue me in that it wasn't. Turns out, though, that this is a very nice work of historical fiction set mostly in England during the time right before and then during WWII. The book does have a touch of magical fairy tale flavor to it, though, as a group of children go to Bergania for a dance festival and end up helping the crown prince of that country escape when the Nazis take over his country. The main characters are quite likeable. I enjoyed this a lot.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham. 4 stars.

John Grisham's nonfiction book of "murder and injustice in a small town" is well written, well researched, and completely engrossing. It's hard to believe that so many could be wrongly convicted of such heinous crimes, yet the evidence is there that it has happened. Scary. The hope is that we will learn from past mistakes and not allow things like this to happen so easily to innocent people.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs. 3 stars.

This is my second Kathy Reichs mystery. I did like this more than my first one, although not enough to rush out and read them all right now. I really liked the Guatemalan setting and Sergeant-Detective Galiano. I was immediately drawn into the story, although many of the details were very gruesome. Don't read this while you're eating! Also, the solution was a bit complicated.

And you should really try to NOT compare these books to the TV show "Bones." I still have a hard time reconciling the differences between the Temperance Brennan from the books and the Temperance Brennan from the TV show. They are pretty much opposite from each other except that they share the same name and are both forensic anthropologists. The Tempe Brennan from the book is very emotional and guilt-ridden. She's also tired of so many dead bodies and says, "It seemed I would never get away from death." The Tempe Brennan from the TV show doesn't feel that way at all.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Keeping Score by Linda Sue Park. 4 stars.

I absolutely loved Maggie in this story, and I learned a lot I didn't know I would find interesting about baseball and keeping score. It doesn't matter what the subject is, I want to read every book by Linda Sue Park!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale. 4 stars.

This was fun! Such a unique and spunky version of the Rapunzel story - with a little Jack and the Beanstalk thrown in for good measure - and I'm sure I also saw some dwarves and a jackalope! (My second book with a jackalope.) A great collaboration by Shannon and Dean Hale with illustrations by Nathan Hale (no relation). I look forward to the sequel.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie. 4 stars.

Excellent! I love it that Agatha Christie can still surprise me, even with a book I've already read. Although in my defense it has been years and years since I first read it. It seemed the details I remembered to be suspicious of only led me in the wrong direction! :) Dame Christie truly is a master of misdirection!

This is Lost related because it is one of the novels that Sawyer reads on the Island. He is seen reading it when he is approached by Nikki in "Exposé." The edition I've added to my list is the one you can see him reading. The one I actually read was VERY old from the library and didn't have any picture on the cover at all.

I also think the great misdirection and false clues included in this story can be related to the Exposé episode - and much of what happens on Lost as well. I think we won't know until we get to the very end of Lost how much we've been misdirected by certain events. Just one example - are all of the flashbacks from earlier seasons actually flashbacks? I think some of them will prove to be flash-fowards and we just didn't know it!

Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Under Orders by Dick Francis. 5 stars.

I loved this. I'm sure a lot of my five-star rating comes from the sheer joy of reading a new Dick Francis. And I had been saving this one for a long time. I hated the feeling during the time he stopped writing and it looked like there might never be a new Dick Francis mystery to read. So when this came out, I couldn't read it right away. I bought a signed copy and savored the thought that I now had a new Dick Francis to look forward to - and I savored it for a long time. Until now. It finally felt like time.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Visual Chronicles by Linda Woods. 2 stars.

The ideas presented here are so different from the way I scrapbook, that at first I couldn't really connect. Also, it had much more text than I expected from this type of book. There are some nice ideas here, but none that made me want to rush out and try them. Maybe someday I'll try one.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. 4 stars.

A moving story that is even more powerful when you know that the author based it on actual events that had happened to young girls she met in Afghan refugee camps.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Book by Book: Notes on Reading and Life by Michael Dirda. 3 stars.

There were some sections of this that I loved, and other sections that I wasn't interested in at all. I particularly enjoyed the section called "The Children's Hour" in his chapter on reading in the home. In that section he gives thirteen common sense suggestions to parents on encouraging their kids to read more. He suggests things like reading aloud to your children, letting them see you read, filling your house with print, and encouraging any reading interest - no matter how frivolous or unacademic you find it. He also had some great things to say about reading only from the bestseller list (don't!) and rereading great books (do!).

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Quidditch Through the Ages by J.K. Rowling. 4 stars.

I didn't expect to enjoy this quite as much as I did! It's everything you ever wanted to know about Quidditch and more - the origin and history, best teams over the years, etc. I was especially interested to learn that Quidditch is gaining in popularity in the United States despite the competing American broom game called Quodpot. Very fun!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan. 4 stars.

This is the second in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series, which I enjoyed just as much as the first. This is unique from other fantasy series out there now due to its use of Greek mythology. Yet it is very modern and a lot of fun!

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Parvana's Journey by Deborah Ellis. 3 stars.

Poor Parvana! Will good things ever happen for her? Good things are few and far between in this book, but I like to think that things would be better for her in the future - if there were another book telling her story after this one. She certainly deserves some good things after all she goes through while maintaining her hope in a better future.

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Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. 4 stars.

Another book that everyone in the world read in high school, but I never did. I enjoyed it a lot! It was tough and gritty with some violence, but it wasn't littered with strong language for the "realism." S.E. Hinton did a great job of creating characters you really care about - and who learned and progressed throughout the story. Now I want to see the movie!

message 49: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Dragon Heir by Cinda Williams Chima. 4 stars.

This is the third and final(?) book in Cinda Williams Chima's Heir Chronicles. For some reason this was really slow for me in the beginning. I just couldn't get into the story. I think I would have enjoyed all three books more if I could have read them one right after the other, and most particularly this third one. About half way through the book the story caught my interest, though, and carried me through to the end. I LOVED the ending, even though some parts were sad and not everything was resolved. I enjoyed this series a lot and will definitely read more books by Cinda Williams Chima in the future!

message 50: by Luann (new)

Luann (azbookgal) | 67 comments Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. 5 stars.

Why did I wait so long to read this? I think this should be required reading in library schools. I think this should be required reading for everyone who loves books - and everyone who doesn't! This is well-written with a powerful message, yet at the same time a wonderful science fiction story with cool technology!

The edition I read has an author's afterword where Ray Bradbury gives examples of people (or butchers/censors to use his words) who have changed or altered his works in some way. He says, "There is more than one way to burn a book. And people are running around with lit matches."

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