Saturday, December 29, 2007

A lot of new challenges!

I'm joining a ton of new challenges this year! I only have two books left for the Four-legged Friends and two for the Book Awards Challenge, so I should have plenty of time for these new challenges! I'm not posting my list for the What's In A Name Challenge here because I already have a separate post for that.

First, there's the Sci-Fi Experience, hosted by Carl. This isn't really a challenge, but I'm looking forward to reading lots of good sci-fi books!

Second, there is the Mythopoeic Award Challenge, hosted by Lenneth. Here is my list:

Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett

A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett

Tithe by Holly Black

Island of the Aunts by Eva Ibbotson

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Third, there is the Young Adult Challenge, hosted by Joy. Here is my list:

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

Swan Sister edited by Terri Windling and Ellen Datlow

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Finishing Becca by Ann Rinaldi

Maximum Ride: School's Out--Forever by James Patterson

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Underworld by Catherine Macphail

Faerie Wars by Herbie Brennan

Homecoming by Cynthia Voigt

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

Fourth, there's the Back To History Challenge, hosted by Shannon. This is my list:

Finishing Becca by Ann Rinaldi

Number The Stars by Lois Lowry

The Coffin Quilt by Ann Rinaldi

On The Edge of Revolution by Deborah Kent

Air Raid Pearl Harbor by Theodore Taylor

Amelia's War by Ann Rinaldi

Seeds of Hope by Kristiana Gregory

The Plague by Philip Wooderson

Burning Issy by Melvin Burgess

I Am Regina by Sally M. Kehn

West To A Land Of Plenty by Jim Murphy

What Was Watergate? by Pamela Kilian


A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

Red Scarf Girl: A Memoir of the Cultural Revolution by Ji-Li Jiang

11,000 Years Lost by Peni R. Griffin

Two Girls Of Gettysburg by Lisa Klein

Robert E. Lee by James I. Robertson Jr.

Ulysses S. Grant by Steven O'Brien

The Seer of Shadows by Avi

The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

Lucy and Her Times by Paseal Pieg and Nicole Verrechia

Fifth and finally, there is the First In A Series Challenge, also hosted by Joy. Here's my list:

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane

Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce

Sandry's Book by Tamora Pierce

Larklight by Philip Reeve

The Fire Within by Chris D'Lacey

Northlander by Meg Burden

Triskellion by Will Peterson

Terrier: The Legend of Beka Cooper by Tamora Pierce

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

The Divide by Elizabeth Kay

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

That's all!

Friday, December 28, 2007

All I got for Christmas was books (not really!)

I can not believe how many books I got for Christmas!

These are the ones I got from Santa (aka Mom and Dad):

These are the ones I got from Mom and/or Dad:

This is the really cool book I got from Jean (thanks Jean!):

I received these books from my Uncle John and Aunt Susan (and cousins Sean and Cole):

These are the books I received from our friends Aaron, Kara, and Bryn:

And last but not least, I got gift cards from both my uncle Butch and Carl (thanks Carl!). This is what I got with them:

It looks like I've got a ton of good reading ahead of me!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (book review)

I read this book for both the Newbery and Four-legged Friends challenges.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
, by Roberta C. O'Brien, is the story of Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse, and her four young children. Mrs. Frisby is faced with a terrible dilemma. If she does not move from her winter home to her summer home, the farmer's plow will destroy both the house and her family. However, her young son Timothy is ill with pneumonia and if they move, he will surely die on the journey. One day, after saving a crow from the jaws of a hungry cat named Dragon, Mrs. Frisby learns about an intelligent breed of rats who call themselves the "Rats of NIMH". The rats may be the only ones who can help her... but will they?

This was a great story about a mouse who risked her own life to save her child. I liked the way the author compared Mrs. Frisby to a human mother in some ways. There was a lot of adventure in this story, and it was hard to put down at times!

I give this book 8 out of 10 stars.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Julie of the Wolves (book review)

I read this book for the Newbery Challenge.

Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George, is the story of 13-year-old Miyax (Julie, as her pen-pal in San Francisco calls her), whose father disappeared years ago. Miyax is running away from her Inuit village and a marriage gone wrong. However, finding her way on the tundra is not as easy as she had thought. Soon Miyax is lost in the wilderness with only a pack of wild wolves to help her survive. Slowly, she is accepted into their small pack as she learns what it truly means to love and to be a family.

This was an incredible story of adventure, coming-of-age, and family. Miyax is a very realistic character, as are her wolves. I liked how the author gave each pack member its own unique personality. I can't wait to read the sequels!

I give this book 9 out of 10 stars.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Cat Who Went Bananas (book review)

(I read this book for the Four-Legged Friends Reading Challenge.)

The Cat Who Went Bananas, by Lillian Jackson Braun, is the story of Qwilleran and his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum. In the story, Qwilleran investigates the theft of a rare and valuable book and the suspicious death of an out-of-town actor. He also tries to figure out the mystery behind Koko's strange behavior. Has the cat gone bananas, or is he trying to give Qwilleran an important clue? Read the book to find out!

I loved this book because it was a mixture of humor, suspense, and bonding between people and animals. The funny and clever cats provide a twist to the typical mystery scene.

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 stars.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wolf (book review)

Wolf, by Gillian Cross, is the story of Cassie, a young girl who has always lived with her Nan. That is, until she hears mysterious footsteps one night. The next day she is sent to live with her mother in a slum. Cassie helps her mother and her mother's friends with their traveling show about wolves, but she never really feels like it's something she enjoys doing. Then, a threatening note appears on the side of their van. It's signed, The Big Bad Wolf. Cassie leaves on a journey to save her Nan, who is in danger from the note's author. In the process, she learns more about wolves and her long-lost father than she ever wished to.

This isn't the typical coming-of-age story. It is the story of a young girl maturing over time, but also packed into the plot are wolves, traveling shows, plastic explosives, and terrorists. It's a story of suspense that will have you wanting to stay up all night to finish!

I give this book 9 out of 10 stars.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Moorchild (book review)

The Moorchild, by Eloise McGraw, is the story of Saaski. She is half Moorfolk and half human, and she threatens the safety of her Moorfolk companions because she cannot shape-shift or disappear at will. She is swapped with a human child as a changeling. Saaski is treated unfairly by all the village children because of her strange looks. The only place she feels at home is on the moor with her bagpipes at hand. But when memories of her life with the Moorfolk resurface, Saaski feels that it is her duty to bring back her mother and father's real child.

This book is different from the other stories I've read about changelings. They are usually portrayed as ugly or dumb children whom the Fairies have swapped for a real human child. I never thought about how a changeling would feel. Saaski didn't understand emotions such as love or hate, but she did feel sadness and happiness, as well as anger and jealousy.

I give this book 8.5 out of 10 stars.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Up for a challenge? ***Sticky Post***

(Scroll down for more recent posts.)

UPDATE: I decided to set up a separate blog for the challenge. Head over to What's in a name?" for future info. You can sign up either here or there--I'll try to check both sites. Thanks!

I hope you answered "yes!" and that you'll join me in my reading challenge! I've been wanting to host a reading challenge for a while now, and finally decided to just take the plunge. Be patient with me though, since I've never done this before, o.k.?

This is a challenge that anyone can join, no matter what types of books they like to read. You should be able to find books from any genre that will work.

I'm sorry I don't have a banner for the challenge. I just don't know how to make one.
Update: Thanks to Court, we now have a couple of buttons to choose from. They're wonderful! Thank you, Court!

Update: Angela has also created some great buttons you might like. Find them at her icon journal. Thanks, Angela!

"What's In A Name?" Reading Challenge

Dates: January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008

The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories.

1. A book with a color in its title. Examples might include: The Amber Spyglass, The Red Pony, Blue Blood

2. A book with an animal in its title. Examples might include: The Hound of the Baskervilles, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julie of the Wolves

3. A book with a first name in its title. Examples might include: Jane Eyre, the Harry Potter books, Anne of Green Gables

4. A book with a place in its title. Examples might include: From Russia with Love, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Out of Africa

5. A book with a weather event in its title. Examples might include: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Red Storm Rising, Tornado Alley

6. A book with a plant in its title. Examples might include: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Name of the Rose, Flowers for Algernon

--You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category. (For example, you can use The Red Pony for either a "color" book or an "animal" book, but not for both.)

Prizes: Yes. There will be some small prizes (unless someone can convince my parents to raise my allowance!) awarded throughout the challenge, and a larger grand prize at the end. More details about this later.

To join in, simply leave a comment on this post with a link your list. I will post a list of participants here as they sign up.

Once the challenge has begun, I'll make a new post where I will link up everyone's reviews.

See, isn't this easy? Just six books in one year!

Have I left anything out? If so, please feel free to ask!
Answers to questions:
1. You don't need a blog to participate. Just put your list in the comments, and I'll post it here.
2. Feel free to change your list throughout the year, if something new pops up that fits the category.

***A big thank you to Chris for teaching us how to make this a sticky post!

--Jean (her list: COLOR--The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, ANIMAL--The Cheese Monkeys, FIRST NAME--Maisie Dobbs, PLACE--The Road, WEATHER EVENT--Isaac's Storm, PLANT--The Bean Trees)
--Gautami Tripathy
--The delinquent debutante
--The Biblio Brat
--Lake Oz Fic Chick
--Grammy (her list: NAME--The Redemption of Sarah Cain by Beverly Lewis, ANIMAL--The Wolf and the Dove by Katherine Woodiwiss, COLOR--The Silver Touch by Rosalind Laker, PLACE--Texas by James Michener, WEATHER EVENT--Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, PLANT--A Dinner of Herbs by Catherine Cookson)
-- The Book Fiend
--Mos Stef (Stephanie)
--Stephanie (Happy Medium)