Tuesday, January 21, 2014


The holidays came and went, and then suddenly I found I had some free time! So I saw this book laying around our apartment and decided, "What the heck!" So yes, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull was my next book.

Not the best book I have ever read.....most likely because of my age.  Had I been a 12 year old or maybe even younger, I think I would have greatly enjoyed it.  But if you are looking for a great plot that twists and turn and is unpredictable.....this is not the book for you.

The story had potential, but the entire problem that arises in the book comes from people making really very idiotic choices.  And I don't use that word lightly.......their decisions were really quite dumb.  Something along the lines of ...

"Hey, don't jump in that fire!"
"Why not I am old enough to make my own decisions."
"Because it will hurt like crazy and maim you."
"Oh Ok.......Hey look I am jumping in a fire!"

Other than that, the writing was good.  The other was very to the point and did not include any extra/unneeded fluff (which I am grateful for).

Have any of you read the book?

Issue #1 - The younger brother.....oh man.  Could that kid never listen.  I mean I understand the first time when he thought he only had to be afraid of ticks.....but when they say "Hey there are creatures out there that will drown you for fun"..........Why is going into the woods still a good idea?  I feel like it is not a real representation of how a lot of kids would react.  Not to mention if he did not exist in this book, there would have been no plot.  I would have appreciated a more believable cause for the families troubles than a kid who refused to listen.
Issue #2 - For people who have lived on a magical creature preserve for so many years, you would think that the grandparents would come up with a better way of not letting their house get attacked......or at least had some sort of defense.
Maybe it gets better with the next few books.  Has anyone read them?  Are they better?  At this point I am not sure I want to venture into them even though they are a very short read.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Review - "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand

**** Since this is my first book review I just wanted to let you know what to expect. I will do a simple review first for those who have not read the book.  This part will not include any spoiler....none what so ever.  I will then switch over to a more in-depth discussion of topics within the book.  At that point if you haven't read the book and intend to.....well you should probably stop reading.  If you have read it, then feel free to let me know what you think.  Here we go!! ****

I am not one who typically seeks out war stories, but Laura Hillenbrand's novel "Unbroken" came well recommended by many I know, so I gave it a chance.  I am absolutely thrilled that I did.   Laura...I hope I can call her Laura.....is a fantastic writer.  She knows how to tell a story so the reader can be submerged in the sights, smells and feelings of a world with out throwing too many words around.  Each bit of information she gives you is pertinent to the story and it is laid out in such a way that has you hanging on to every word.  There were moments when I would tell my self that I was only going to read one chapter, yet the next thing I knew three hours had passed.

As for the story it self........wow, just wow.  I kept having to cope with feelings of ignorance as learned more and more about what the soldiers had to go through.  I guess I always knew that someone had to be the pilots for brand new, never tested planes before, but I never thought about how scary that could really be.  I mean I get nervous on sturdy commercial air liners when I am only flying a few states away, but these guys were taking new equipment out over oceans.

Also......why have I never heard of Louis Zamperini before!?!?  **Im going to rant about this a bit below in the more detailed version...I dont want to give anything away** I am so glad that Laura told his story.

The parts she described about the crash and the POW camps.......they just made my soul hurt.  But it was also inspiring to see how much a human will can endure.  Laura's book asked all the right questions as I thought of them in my own mind.  She really examines what made Louie tick and what pushed him to endure these horrific experiences. She made me question my own mental strength.....could I have kept as positive as Louie and his companions did?  Talk about a time for self reflection.

So if you haven't, go get this book!  It's not happy go lucky, so don't pick it up for light reading.  But if your ready for some deep self reflection and examples of human endurance, this is the book for you.


Ok so why have I never heard of Louis Zamperini before?! I wonder if things had turned out differently....had there not been a war, would he have broken the four minute mile first? If I am remembering correctly he was only 12 seconds away at one point and he maintained that through out his military training.  It's amazing how much the wars took away from people both physically and mentally.

Holy cow those planes sound so scary.  I know that they were fairly well built and all, but they sounded like flying tree-forts to me.  I am not sure that I could have handled flying over an ocean to a foreign land where you will have a 99% chance of being shot at while completing a mission and then flying back all on one tank of gas.  That takes a rare kind of brave I am grateful I have not had to find in my self yet.  I wonder how that out look changes people.

Lets talk about his his wife for a second.  I was so touched by the fact that she did not give up on him.  Now a days I believe a lot of people would have walked out at the first sign of alcoholism or violence, but she helped him through it. Granted Louis went through heck and back twenty times over and i'm sure that is not something that those who did not go through it will ever understand.  It must have been so hard for his wife to watch him go through those nightmares every day, and yet......In that way she is an example to me of hard work and dedication to someone/something you love.  It proves to me that the things that mean the most in your life are those that require the hardest work and maybe some blood, sweat and tears.  

To sum it up, I liked....LOVED this book!  Thank you to those who suggested it.  What did you guys think?

So the question is, what is next?  If you have any book suggestions for me, please put them in the comment suggestion below!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Time for a new read......A WWII Story

Alright folks, thank you for your suggestions on what books I should read!  Life is starting to settle down a bit and I have a little more free time.  I have decided that the next book I am going to tackle is .........

I started reading it a few months ago but was rudely interrupted by life.  I really enjoyed the first few chapters though, so it is time from try #2.  I have always greatly respected those who have served or are currently serving in the armed forces and I appreciate when they are willing to share their stories.  Sometimes those accounts can be hard to hear, but I feel that they should be told and retold. They are not something that should be easily forgotten. 

Again thank you for the inspiration.  Check back in a week or two for my thoughts on it. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

What is your favorite book?

My very first job that I had as a kid was at my local library.  I loved looking at all the different books that were out there and wondered what stories their pages held. I have always enjoyed reading and I hope that I always will.  Books have the power to, if the author is good enough, transport the reader to new worlds, introduce fantastic ideas and teach great and vastly important lessons.  In short, reading is a MUST in my life! 

I thought that I would start off this section of the blog with, of course, my favorite book.  Now I read all sorts of books, from the classics, to fantasy, mystery, non-fiction/biographies, cook books, young adult fiction, etc; but there is one book that has thus far, remained my absolute favorite book.  That book would be.........

...."The Count of Monte Cristo". 

Now I am not going to lie, it is not an easy book  If you are not a huge fan of reading just don't even approach this book. Just go watch the film and move on with your life.  But, if you are up for a very rewarding challenge, dive in my friend. 

My story with The Count started three years back.  I had watched the movie and really enjoyed it.  It was a very compelling story with sword fighting, a super cool abbe (priest), revenge, and even a hot air balloon.  Well it was at Christmas time my sister-in-law rented the abridged version of  The Count from her local library.  One night I saw that the book had been left out on the table.  I remembered that I enjoyed the film, so I picked it up and began to read.  

The first thing I read was the following translator's note (page 9, for those who are copyright sensitive, and yes I have copied this word for word.  This quote belongs to the original owners and is in no way my own wording.) : 

" The prevailing taste for brevity has made the spacious days of the stately three-volume novel seem very remote indeed. A distinct prejudice against length now exists: a feeling that there is a necessary antithesis between quantity and quality.  One of the results is that those delightfully interminable romances which beguiled the nights and days of our ancestors in so pleasant a fashion are now given no more than a passing nod of recognition.  Unfortunate as this is, one has to admit it with as much philosophy as may be available for the purpose. Life then had broader margins, and both opportunity and inclination are now lacking for such extensive indulgence in the printed page."

He continued his little rant with this "This, then, is felt to be sufficient apology for the present abridgment of one of the world's masterpieces.  It has been the object of the editor to provide the modern reader with a good translation and a moderately condensed version of Dumas' narrative.  This, while omitting, of necessity, some of the beauties of the original, has conserved the essentials of the story and condensed the incidents within what will be, from our point of view, more reasonable proportions.  So the reader will miss no material part of that entertainment which the author, after his more leisurely fashion, intended him to enjoy."

Well then!!!  Challenge accepted! 

Basically, what I understood from that lovely little letter was "I do apologize for what I have had to do to this book because you are not intelligent enough to handle the entire work."   Ooooooh that got under my skin.  I was not about to have some translator mocking my reading abilities.  No way.  

And that is how it all started.  

As I continued to read I discovered that the book was vastly different from the movie.  Heck one character in the movie was a representation of at least three in the book!  But I will be honest with you, the book is so much better.  Yes it is over 1,200 pages, but it is worth it.  Dumas is a fantastic writer.  He thinks about his story from every angle and doesn't overload your senses with non essential information.  Everything ties to the story in a pertinent way.  The best part about this book though, is the lessons learned by the main character in the end.  And no its not get rich, get revenge and be happy. Oh goodness I would explain it to you but..........well as Mrs. River Song says "Spoilers" :)

I would suggest you read up on your Napoleonic history if you want to have a better grasp of what is going on in the time period, but it is not necessary.  

So, do tell me, what is your favorite book?  Leave the title and author in the comment section and I may read it for my next book.  

As always, thanks for listening.