Sunday, June 29, 2008

Final Read-a-thon Update!

Final Update...

Minutes: 45

Pages: 49

Pages Total: 2056

Currently Reading: Life As We Knew It

Books Read: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast, Among the Hidden, Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator, Harriet The Spy, The Case of the Missing Marquess

This was SO MUCH FUN and I can't wait until the next one! Thanks, Dewey!

Another Read-a-thon Update

Another Update

Minutes: 48

Pages: 62

Pages Altogether: 2,007

Currently Reading: Life As We Knew It

Books Already Read: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast, Among The Hidden, Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator, Harriet The Spy, The Case of the missing Marquess

Read-a-thon update

Pages: 416

Total Pages: 1945

Currently Reading: Life As We Knew It

Books Read: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast, Among The Hidden, Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator, Harriet The Spy, The Case of the Missing Marquess

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Hours Thirteen and Fourteen

Hours Thirteen and Fourteen

Minutes: 110

Pages: 293

Pages Total: 1,529

Currently Reading: Harriet The Spy

Books Read: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast, Among The Hidden, Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator

Hour Twelve

Hour Twelve

Minutes: 60

Pages: 128

Pages Altogether: 1,236

Currently Reading: Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator

Books Finished: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast, Among The Hidden

Hour Eleven

Hour Eleven

Minutes: 60

Pages: 108

Pages Total So Far: 1,108

Currently Reading: Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator

Books Read So Far: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast, Among The Hidden

Hour Ten

Hour Ten

Minutes: 50

Pages: 102

Pages So Far: 1,000

Currently Reading: Among The Hidden

Books Already Finished: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast

Hour Nine

Hour Nine

Minutes: 49

Pages: 76

Pages Total: 898

Currently Reading: Among The Hidden

Books Read: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils, Warriors: Outcast

Hour Eight

Hour Eight

Minutes: 60

Pages: 98

Pages Altogether: 822

Currently Reading: Warriors: Outcast

Books Already Read: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils

Hour Seven

Hour Seven

Minutes: 60

Pages: 100

Pages So Far: 724

Current Book: Warriors: Outcast

Books Read: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils

Hour Six

Hour Six

Minutes: 50

Pages: 68

Pages Altogether: 624

Currently Reading: Warriors: Outcast

Books Read So Far: Pretties, In The Serpent's Coils

Hour Five

Hour Five

Minutes: Fifty

Pages: 110

Pages Altogether: 556

Currently Reading: In The Serpent's Coils

Books Finished So Far: Pretties

Hour Four

Hours Three and Four

Minutes: 120

Pages: 156

Pages Total so far: 446

Currently Reading: In The Serpent's Coils

Books Finished: Pretties

Second Hour of the Read-a-thon

Hour Two

Pages: 290

Minutes: 119

books finished: Pretties

current book: In The Serpent's Coils

It's Almost Time

I'm so excited that it's almost time to start reading! I've made an enormous pile of books to choose from.

My first book will be Pretties by Scott Westerfeld. I started it at 11:00 last night, but didn't get far before I fell asleep. I read Uglies yesterday, and loved it! (I'll be writing my review in a few days.)

Good luck to everyone else reading!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

challenged again

I can't believe it's taken me so long to sign up for Trish's Classics Challenge. I've had by books chosen for a long time, but I just couldn't seem to remember to post about it. Here's my list:

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Sunday, June 22, 2008

challenge wrap-up

I'm disappointed that I didn't finish these two challenges. It's the first I've failed to finish. I'm afraid I made my lists too long. Here's my lists with the ones I finished on time crossed off.

Water: Tales of Elemental Spirits by Robin McKinley and Peter Dickinson

A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

What-the-dickens: The Story Of A Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire

Horns & Wrinkles by Joseph Helgerson

100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson

Beauty by Robin McKinley

The Animals of Farthing Wood by Colin Dann

The Map That Breathed by Melanie Gideon

Bright Shadow by Avi

The Arkadians by Lloyd Alexander

The Titan's Curse by Rick Riordan

The Pirate and the Princess Book 1: The Timelight Stone by Mio Chizhuru

Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan

Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code by Eoin Colfer

Dogsbody by Diana Wynne Jones

The Dark Is Rising: Greenwitch by Susan Cooper

The Dark Is Rising: The Grey King by Susan Cooper

The Dark Is Rising: Silver On The Tree by Susan Cooper

Ratha's Creature: The First Book of the Named by Clare Bell

Tales of the Borderlands: Northlander by Meg Burden

Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

Warriors, Gods, and Spirits from South and Central American Mythology by Douglas Gifford

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Diary of a Fairy Godmother by Esme Raji Codell

Mimus by Lilli Thal

Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins

Physik by Angie Sage

Back to the Divide by Elizabeth Kay

Icefire by Chris D'Lacey

The Valley of Secrets by Charmian Hussey

Un Lun Dun by China Mieville

Dragons: The Greatest Stories by varied authors

Nobody's Princess by Esther Friesner

Rebel Angels by Libba Bray

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman

Dragonsdale by Salamandra Drake

The Rivers of Zadaa by DJ MacHale

Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins

Enna Burning by Shannon Hale

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Against the Storm by Gaye Hicyilmaz

It's Not the End of the World by Judy Blume

The Only Way Out by Deborah Kent

The Wright 3 by Blue Balliet

Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech

The Clue Of The Tapping Heels by Carolyn Keene

The Haunted Bridge by Carolyn Keene

The Secret of the Golden Pavilion by Carolyn Keene

The Prophet of Yonwood by Jeanne DuPrau

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle

Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle

The Mystery of Biltmore House by Carole Marsh

Rules by Cynthia Lord

Pieces of Georgia by Jen Bryant

Starcross by Philip Reeve

The Real Benedict Arnold by Jim Murphy

Best Dog Stories by varied authors

I'll Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally Carter

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Chasing Redbird by Sharon Creech

Leonardo's Shadow by Christopher Grey

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Even though I didn't finish either of my lists, I really enjoyed participating in both of these challenges!

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Arkadians (book review)

In The Arkadians, by Lloyd Alexander, a young clerk named Lucian finds himself on the run from a pair of evil soothsayers. Fronto, a poet-turned-donkey, and a pythoness named Joy-in-the-Dance join him along the way. With their help, young Lucian manages to elude his enemies for long enough to escape from the kingdom in safety. He meets Joy-in-the-Dance's mysterious mother, the Lady of Wild Things, and helps Fronto return to his former shape. During his journey, Lucian finds himself accomplishing things he never imagined. He leads a pack of wolves, becomes an expert horseman, finds his sea legs, and fights a furious bull. But in the end, will Lucian discover his destiny as well?

I enjoyed this book much more than The Book of Three, which was also written by Lloyd Alexander. I also liked his book Time Cat. The characters in The Arkadians were unique and engaging, and the plot was enriched with the fantastic stories told by characters throughout the book.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Enna Burning (book review)

Enna Burning, by Shannon Hale, is the sequel to The Goose Girl. Instead of focusing on the princess, Isi, however, this book focuses on her close friend Enna. Leifer, Enna's brother, found a mysterious piece of vellum, which teaches him how to start fires without anything but the heat around him. He says that it is a great power, but Enna is not so sure. Ever since he began to use the fire power, Enna has sensed a change in her brother. He has unpredictable mood swings and cannot control his temper. But when Enna's country of Bayern go to war, Enna and Leifer must follow. When Leifer dies after losing control of his fire, Enna takes the piece of vellum from him and learns to control the fire as well. She becomes an essential weapon of war, burning enemy camps and weapons. It is good to help, but Enna must constantly keep the fire in check. When one day she loses control like Leifer, she is forced to take on the consequences of her new-found power.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I'm not sure if it was better than its prequel, because they were both so well-written and engaging. I did notice that Enna Burning was much darker than The Goose Girl. I like the character of Isi more, because she isn't as rash as Enna, and I sometimes thought that Isi would have made wiser choices were she in her friend's place.

What-the-dickens (book review)

What-the-Dickens, by Gregory Maguire, is the tale of an orphaned tooth fairy. With no knowledge of what he is or what he is supposed to do, What-the-dickens sets out to find his purpose in life. He stumbles upon another tooth fairy, also known as a skibberee. Her name is Pepper, and she takes him to her home. What-the-dickens is awestruck by the strange ways of the skibbereen colony, and they in turn are awestruck by his strange ways. They all agree that What-the-dickens is more of a hindrance than a help. But he gets a chance to prove his worth when Pepper is captured by a curious human child. In the end, however, it is up to the young boy to decide Pepper's fate.

This book was humorous and interesting. It explored a topic that many fantasy authors have ignored. I enjoyed it overall, although it wasn't one of the best books I read. The characters of What-the-dickens were funny, yet each had his or her own personality.

100 Cupboards (book review)

100 Cupboards, by ND Wilson, is the story of 100 magical cupboards that are, in fact, portals to other worlds. Henry and his cousin Henrietta discovered these magical cupboards. Immediately, they begin to investigate. At first, they were really just fooling around, peeking through doors and poking around. Then, Henrietta starts to talk of going through the cupboards. One day she disappears. Henry sets out on a quest to find her. But, unknown to him, a hideous witch is spreading evil in his home. Will Henry find Henrietta and get back in time to save themselves and their family?

This was a funny, dark adventure, and I enjoyed every minute of it. Well, except for the witch. She was, of course, essential to the story, but the witch was so grisly that it made me shudder. Of course, that's good for a spooky part of the story, isn't it?

The Map That Breathed (book review)

The Map That Breathed, by Melanie Gideon, is the story of two children, Billy and Nora. Billy is a Gatemaker; he makes windows and doors into other worlds. Nora, in turn, is his Traveler. She's the one who goes through the doors.

When one day Nora vanishes through a door into a world called Sanasarea and doesn't return, Billy knows something is wrong. When an ancient evil from Sanasarea escapes into Billy's world, he is left to confront it on his own. And Nora has to face the shocking truth about her family's past.

This was a good fantasy adventure. It had the right balance of magic and good/evil to weave a fascinating tale. The story was unique, unlike any other fantasy I've read. And it was a fast read. I highly recommend this book!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Once Upon A Time In The North (book review)

Once Upon A Time In The North, by Philip Pullman, is a prequel to the bestselling His Dark Materials trilogy. It is the tale of Texan aeronaut Lee Scoresby and the great armored bear Iorek Byrnison. Lee Scoresby has crashed in an unfamiliar town called Novy Odense and has gotten caught up a mission to free a Dutch sailor's cargo ship. Along the way, he meets a man with murder on his mind, a bear prince, and a rather charming but brainless lady.
When the time has come for Lee to confront the famed killer Pierre McConville one-on-one, he knows that only one of them will live. Can Lee, after all he has been through, get the best of a famous murderer?

I enjoyed this book a lot, but not as much as His Dark Materials (I think it would be to beat that series). It was interesting to see how Lee and Iorek met. I liked both the familiar characters and the new ones, although I missed Lyra.

Swan Sister (book review)

Swan Sister, edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, is a companion to A Wolf At The Door. This book features re-tellings of Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, stories from Arabian Nights, and much more. Some stories were creepy or dark, others were light. Overall, the book was very good. My least favorite stories were "Greenkid" by Jane Yolen and "A Life In the Miniature" by Bruce Coville. Among my favorites are "Chambers of the Heart" by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, "Lupe" by Kathe Koja, "The Fish's Story" by Pat York, and "The Harp that Sang" by Gregory Frost. Overall, I enjoyed this book more than A Wolf At The Door.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Dragons: The Greatest Stories (book review)

Dragons: The Greatest Stories was a collection of dragon stories by notable science fiction and fantasy authors such as Ursula K. Le Guin, Ray Bradbury, Orson Scott Card, Anne McCaffrey, and many other people who I have never heard of. Some of the stories were light and funny, others were dark and despairing. There was a wide variety of dragons--good dragons, bad dragons, western dragons, Oriental dragons, and just plain weird dragons!

My favorite stories were "The Dragon" by Ray Bradbury and "The George Business" by Roger Zelazny. These were both very humorous stories! My least favorite stories were "The Storm King" by Joan D. Vinge, because it discussed inappropriate matters for a kid like me, and "A Hiss of Dragon" by Gregory Benford and Mark Laidlaw because of its bad language and the fact that I found it boring. Overall, though, I would say that I enjoyed this book a great deal, and would recommend it to anyone who loves dragons.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bright Shadow (book review)

Bright Shadow, by Avi, is the tale of Morwenna. She's the lowliest servant in the castle of ruthless King Ruthvin, until she finds an old man who gives her five wishes. They are the last wishes in the land, and now Morwenna is their keeper, called the Wizard. Her best friend Swen mistakenly believes that it is he who has the last wishes, as does Ruthvin. The king is chasing after Sven, sure that the Wizard is a threat to his throne. Morwenna, running with him, has to keep her secret, and keep him safe at the same time...with only five wishes. Will she be able to juggle all of these challenges?

This book was enjoyable, but not as much as some other of Avi's other books have been. It was an incredibly quick read, with a fast-paced plot and interesting characters.

The Titan's Curse (book review)

The Titan's Curse, by Rick Riordan, is a sequel to The Lightning Thief and Sea of Monsters. In it, Perseus Jackson and his friends Annabeth and Thalia, all three of whom are demigods, receive an urgent distress call from their satyr friend, Grover. He has found two new powerful demigods whose origins are unknown! Percy, Annabeth, and Thalia race to the rescue, only to find not only Grover, but also a deadly manticore! The four friends fight to protect themselves and the other young demigods, but in the battle that ensues, Annabeth is carried off by the manticore.

Percy, Thalia, Grover, and the others return to the only place where demigod children are safe, Camp Half-blood, and tell the camp director (who just happens to be the wine god, Dionysus) about their problem. He and his helper, Chiron, send them on a quest to find Annabeth, along with two other girls, Zoe Nightshade and Bianca DiAngelo.
The journey that follows will test each member individually, and two of their number will die. Can they stick together during the hard journey which faces them?

This is definitely one of my favorite series!

Physik (book review)

Physik, by Angie Sage, is the third book in the Septimus Heap series. In this story, Septimus Heap and Princess Jenna find themselves confronted with the same problem: a snobby and vicious ghost queen whom Septimus's father had accidentally released from her prison. Queen Etheldredda's vicious pet aie-aie has been spreading a horrible sickness through their homeland. And if that isn't bad enough, Queen Etheldredda lures Septimus and Jenna into a trap, and manages to push Septimus through a "Glass", a mysterious artifact which distorts time.
Now, Septimus finds himself hundreds of years away from the current time. He is taken in by an Alchemist, Marcellus Pye, and becomes his apprentice, all the while trying to think of ways to return to his own time.

Soon Jenna, along with her new Northern friends, Snorri and Ullr, and her brother Nicko, head into the Glass. She is determined to find Septimus. But unbeknownst to them, they had traveled back to the time when Queen Etheldredda was alive and ruling! Jenna is mistaken for Etheldredda's sorely mistreated daughter Esmerelda, and is locked in the castle for (according to Etheldredda) running away. How can she save Septimus if she's locked up for something she didn't do? It's up to Snorri, Ullr, and Nicko to save the day!

I loved this book! I thought it was probably the best yet. It was hilarious, fast-paced, and light. I want the next book, Queste, to come out in paperback now!


I'm excited to join the Read-a-thon hosted by Dewey! I didn't do it last year, but I wanted to! And since the time is finally here again, I've decided to join! I can't wait for it to start!

Here's a list of possible books I've been gathering up for the Read-a-thon:

The Carnivorous Carnival by Lemony Snicket

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

The Ghost Drum by Susan Price

Firegirl by Tony Abbot

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Gilda Joyce: Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison

In the Serpent's Coils by Tiffany Trent

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Warriors Power of Three: Outcast by Erin Hunter

Obviously I'm not going to read all these, but I want to have a lot of choices!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Thank You, Carl!

Carl may be the nicest person on Earth! In his latest act of generosity, he sent me a big box filled with goodies. For a belated birthday present he sent this:

His Dark Materials are among my very favorite books, so I really can't wait to read Once Upon a Time in the North! And Sea of Shadows looks good for the next RIP Challenge, but I doubt I'll be able to wait that long to read it! And did you notice the bookmark and postcards by Anne-Julie Aubry? I absolutely love her work! And I hope no one expects to receive one of these postcards, because I'm afraid I have to keep them for myself.

And if that wasn't generous enough, Carl sent me an extra surprise. Because he was proud of me for donating my hair. Can you believe that? I don't feel worthy. It was really not a big deal to donate my hair, especially when you think about all the things the girls who actually need these wigs must go through. But I have to admit, I'm still very happy he did send me this extra surprise, because I LOVE IT SO MUCH!!! Isn't this the beautiful necklace ever?

And in case you're still not convinced that Carl is the nicest person on Earth (though I think you'd have to be an idiot not to be), look at this box he made me to keep the necklace in. And it's even prettier in person than it looks in the photo!

Thank you, Carl! Thank you very, very, very much!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Beauty (book review)

Beauty, by Robin McKinley, is a retelling of the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast". In this book, Beauty isn't pretty at all, which is why her nickname is so unfortunate. Although she isn't beautiful, Beauty is clever, hardworking, and brave. When her father heads into the woods and returns with a terrible curse laid upon him, Beauty knows what she must do. She has to journey deep into the woods and tame the Beast.

Beauty finds, to her surprise, that the Beast's company is in fact rather enjoyable. But there is something mysterious about he and the castle, something that she cannot quite place...

I read the original fairy tale right before reading this book, and I actually think I enjoyed Beauty more. The heroine was spunky, clever, and brave--things I like in a main character. Soon I will be reading another retelling of this fairy tale, The Princess and the Hound. I hope it's as good as this book!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Charmed Life (book review)

Charmed Life, by Diana Wynne Jones, was the first book in the Chronicles of Chrestomanci series. The book centers around two orphans, Cat and his older sister Gwendolen. Gwendolen is the most promising witch on all of Coven Street, and Cat clings to her. But then, the children are summoned to live in the castle of the enchanter Chrestomanci. Gwendolen is at first excited, but when she realizes that Chrestomanci will not, and never will, acknowledge her magical talents, she thinks up a scheme that will spin the castle out of control!

I enejoyed this book, although not as much as Dogsbody. I really do want the next book in the series, though. I liked Cat because he was modest and shy, while Gwendolen was rash and pig-headed.

Dogsbody (book review)

Dogsbody, by Diana Wynne Jones, is the tale of the Dog Star, Sirius. Sirius has been framed for a murder, and as punishment he is sent to Earth in the form of a lowly Earth-creature, a dog. His mission is to look for the mysterious Zoi, a weapon hidden on Earth. The Zoi is, for some reason Sirius can't remember, of utmost importance.
Sirius lives out the life of a dog, with his faithful friend Kathleen, who calls him by the name of Leo. They both live in a home where they are sorely mistreated, and they cling together. But Sirius knows that, eventually, he will have to leave his home to look for the Zoi. And someone...he doesn't know who...will stop at anything to keep Sirius away.

This book was my first Diana Wynne-Jones, and I wasn't disappointed! It was funny and adventurous. I was sad at the end, however, when Kathleen and Leo were parted forever. This is a book I will read again and again!