Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Cross Fire

It didn't take me long to read this book.  It has short chapters and moves right along, as most James Patterson novels do.  I don't know why I like them since they are mostly formulaic but I keep buying them. 

I love Alex Cross's family and am always anxious to read about how the kids and Nana Mama are doing.  Add to that an interesting plot and cool characters and it's a book I like to gulp.

In this one Kylie Craig, Alex's former friend and co-worker, has escaped from prison and finds a way to be a part of Alex's life, again.  Also, a couple of killers are targeting crooked political big wigs. And then there's the murder of homeless people who have equations written on their bodies.  As usual, Alex is able to solve the mysteries and make DC safe again all while planning his wedding to Bree.

Kylie is visiting for the week so I won't have much time to read but that's okay; I'd much rather play with her.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Lipstick in Afghanistan

When we go back to school after Christmas, my World Litrature students will be reading The Kite Runner.  Since most of the book is set in Afghanistan, I'm always interested in reading books about that country.  I saw this one in Walmart and when I got home, I downloaded it.

Elsa Murphy grew up in a poor section of Boston helping her mother take care of her drug-addict sister's special-needs child.  She didn't have much but she did have lipstick that would make her feel pretty and empowered.  One day at the library she reads a magazine article about the starving children in Rwanda and she vows that one day she'll find a way to help them or others in need.

Once she becomes a nurse and both her mom and niece are dead, she travels to Afghanistan to begin a year of working in a Bamiyan clinic.  There she sees first hand what conditions are like under the Taliban.  I found it horrifying but interesting that people really think that way and treat women so poorly.

I couldn't put this book down and will have plenty of extra info to share with my students next month.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I can't believe how long it took me to read this book.  It's not that I didn't like it because it was excellent but, for some reason, I just couldn't read it for long periods of time.  Plus, we've been babysitting Kylie almost every weekend and it's really hard to read when she's around.

This is the true story of Louis Zamperini, Olympic hopeful, and POW in WWII.  He went through horrors first by floating on a raft for months in the Pacific and then being captured by the Japanese and thrown into a prisoner-of-war camp where the conditions and treatment were the worst.  It's a wonder he even survived at all.  I found the book facinating.  The info is interesting and at no point was it boring.  I guess the terrible things he went through were just so bad that I could only read for a little bit before needing a break.  My mind just didn't want to accept it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The 9th Judgment & A Girl Named Mister

I read two quick books this week. 

 I started with James Patterson's The 9th Judgment.  This is the 9th book in the Women's Murder Club series.  It's a page-turner albeit a bit on the formulaic side...okay, a lot on the formulaic side!  But, still enjoyable.  Lindsey Boxer, with the help of her friends, must solve two crimes.  One is the theft of jewels and murder of a movie star's wife, and the other is the murder of mothers and children around San Francisco.  I did like the original way one of the crimes was "solved" since I really liked the criminal.

This morning I downloaded A Girl Named Mister.  And finished it a couple hours later!  Mary Rudine, nicknamed MR, then called Mister, decides to wait for marriage before having sex.  What she doesn't bargain for is Trey  with his long eyelashes.  Before she knows it, she has broken her vow.  Then Trey breaks up with her.  And she's pregnant.
Written in beautiful poetry, alternating with the story of the Virgin Mary, this story kept me turning the pages and even brought a tear to my eye.  Yes, it is a little heavy on religion, for my taste, but the poetry saves it. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter

Carl, Cecil, Cindy, Chabot, Cane Creek, Charles, Colin, Clyde.  I was so confused at first keeping all these C names straight!  But, I did and I'm glad!  It took me awhile to get into this book not only because of the names but because I had difficulty getting a feel for the characters.  I felt like I had sunglasses on in the house.  I could see but not well.

The writing is what kept me reading, though.  Spare and beautiful.  Every description creative and unique.  The dialogue spot-on Southern.

And then I got into the story and couldn't stop reading.  Larry Ott has been ostracized for 25 years because he was considered the main suspect in the disappearance of Cindy Walker.  No body or evidence was ever found so he was never formally charged.  However, in the eyes of his neighbors, he was guilty.

Silas Jones is a black police officer (the only officer, in fact) in the small Mississippi town where this story takes place.  As a child, he was friends with Larry for a brief time.  Now, another girl has disappeared and, of course, Larry is the first person everyone thinks of. 

In poignant flashbacks Larry's and Silas's stories are revealed and the intertwining of their lives becomes obvious.  I didn't much care for either of them at the beginning but, by the time the story ended, I was a fan.

And those C names?  They all became clear.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Confession

I always look forward to a John Grisham novel.  He has a way of writing that keeps me turning the pages.  This one was a bit different, though.  Yes, it has to do with the law like most of his others but this one is more like a documentary.  I felt like I was watching a 48 Hours segment.

Travis Boyette is dying from a brain tumor.  He just got out of prison and decides to take responsibility for a rape and murder he'd committed ten years earlier.  He approaches Keith Schnieder, a minister, to help him.

In Texas Donte Drumm is on death row awaiting lethal injection in a few days for the crime that Travis committed.  Will Travis get there in time to save Donte?

The novel looks at the death penalty from all the different angles from the governor, to the lawyers, to the families, to the convicted.  It's very thought-provoking but the ending was a bit of a let down.

My granddaughter is visiting this weekend so I haven't been able to read much except her books and that's fine with me!  Here's a picture of her drawing in my journal.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Play Dead

I have a confession to make.  Amazon now has games for the Kindle and I dowloaded a couple of them.  BAD idea!  Instead of reading, now I find myself sitting there playing games.

That's why it took me so long to read Play Dead by Harlan Coben.  This is vintage Coben, a novel he wrote before he became famous.  Even though it shows his immaturity as a writer, I still enjoyed it.

Ex-model Laura Ayars and Celtic's basketball player David Baskin are on their honeymoon in Australia when David drowns while out swimming.  Laura is devastated but returns home to try to put her life back together.

The past, however, and David's death will not leave her alone.  She discovers that David transferred a large sum of money to a Swiss bank just hours before his death.  And why was her mother so against her marriage to David that they had to elope?

I saw the end coming but the journey to it was entertaining.

I finished this novel during Silent Reading in block two this morning.  What did I do during block three?  Yup, played a game!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Postcard Killers

It seemed to take me forever to get through this book.  We were so busy closing up camp and dealing with my husband's parents' issues.  But, now, things are settling down and I've got more time to read.

Jacob Kanon is a NYC police detective hunting for the killers of his daughter and her husband.  He is tracking them all across Europe.  Before each killing they send postcards to a newspaper reporter in the city of the killing-to-be.  In Stockholm Dessie Larsson receives a postcard from the killers.  She and Jacob join forces to find them.

This is a typical James Patterson novel with short chapters, unique antagonists, and likeable protagonists. 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Room: A Novel

I don't give up on a book very often, but this one just didn't hold my interest.  I really thought it would because it has references to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.  But, even that wasn't enough.  The main character (I can't even remember her name!) is on a quest to find out what happened to her parents when they lived in Italy.  The novel flips from the present to the 1300s when the original story of Romeo and Juliet is said to have begun.

I don't know...I guess I just didn't like the characters that much and the plot just lagged!

I didn't go to the end to see what happens (although, I have a pretty good idea) so I might go back to it sometime.

Then I downloaded this novel.  And fell in love!  Room is narrated by Jack, a five-year-old boy who has been raised in a locked room.  Seven years earlier his mom had been abducted and kept by her rapist captor in a soundproofed room in his back yard. 

That sounds pretty gruesome but Jack's naivete and wonder keep it from being depressing.  His voice is unique.  The story begins on Jack's fifth birthday.  He remarks to his mother, "You were all sad till I happened in your tummy." 

Jack's mother schedules each day into learning segments and Jack is way ahead of kids his age in reading and math.  Room and Ma are Jack's whole world.  He sleeps in Wardrobe so Old Nick won't see him when he visits his mom at night.

Then Old Nick loses his job and turns the electricity off.  What Jack and his mom do makes for a nail-biting story.

School is still crazy.  Our juniors have to take the state test this coming week and another teacher and I have been preparing a presentation on writing for them.  So, I've been really busy during the week but am enjoying a nice, relaxing weekend here at camp.  I pedaled my bike to the beach yesterday and sat in the sun for a couple hours.  I needed that!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Expressive Photography

I haven't actually finished this book yet but I love it.  I'm taking my time and savoring it.

It's written by a group of women photographers who also contribute to the Shutter Sisters blog.

The pictures are exquisite and the suggestions for improving and being more creative are excellent.

Things have been crazy since school started two days after my mom's funeral.  My father-in-law suffered a mild stroke during the summer and it messed up his short-term memory.  His wife was unable to care for him so my husband flew to Florida and picked him up and he lived at camp with Gary (and me on the weekends) for almost 3 weeks before a room opened in an assisted-living facility. 

On top of that, there are lots of things at school going on.  I have to prepare a presentation on writing for our juniors by Monday Oct. 4th.  Also, our school is due for its ten-year evaluation at the end of October and there is so much to do to get ready for that. 

As if all that wasn't enough, I caught a horrible cold.  Fun, you bet!

So, my reading has really taken a hit.  I'm working on Juliet: A Novel but am having a hard time getting into it.  I don't know if it's me or the book but I'll continue trudging through it.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Think Twice

I had the hardest time reading this book but I also couldn't put it down.  In the beginning the main character, Bennie Rosato, is buried alive by her twin sister.  I'm claustrophobic and almost couldn't breathe when reading those sections.  It gives me goose bumps just remembering it!

But I really enjoyed the book!  Crazy, huh?  Bennie's sister, Alice, has always been the bad seed.  She's jealous of Bennie and impersonates her in an attempt to embezzle all her money.  It made for an intriguing read.

Things have been different around the camp because my husband's father has been staying here.  He had a slight stroke earlier in the summer and his short-term memory was affected.  I'm at home during the week because I have to go to work.  My husband has been staying at camp with him and I join them on the weekends.  Have you seen 50 First Dates ?  Remember ten-second Tom?  Well, it's almost like that!  He's easy-going and takes care of himself pretty much with a few reminders but it's the same conversation all day.  I'm telling you, it's exhausting. 

Other than that, though, this, my last school year, has been going really well, knock on wood!  I'd like more reading time, but...there'll be plenty time for that next year when I'm retired.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Eat, Pray, Love

It took me awhile to get through this book.  Part of it was because I had my mom's funeral to organize (It was absolutely beautiful!) and part of it was because school started last week.  We had two days of teacher workshops and preparation then the kids came in on Wednesday for three days.  And it was so hot!  It was in the mid 90s and humid.  Our school doesn't have air conditioning so it was sweltering.

This book is divided into three parts.  It covers one year in the life of the author.  She spends four months in Italy seeking pleasure, four months in India at an ashram seeking god, and four months in Bali looking for balance.  I enjoyed the Italian part the most but found the Bali section the most informative.  It was a very interesting look at that Muslim island in Indonesia.  The middle section was a bit boring since nothing ever happens but her witty and beautiful writing kept me turning the pages. 

Now, I'm curious to see the movie even though it's getting likewarm reviews.  I'll wait until I can rent it.  Happy reading!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Breaking Dawn

Well, I finally finished this saga.  My niece, Michelle, will be happy about that.  Now, she won't have to worry about letting any spoilers slip out.

Surprisingly, I loved three quarters of this book.  At the beginning, I just couldn't put it down.  Unfortunately, the ending was a big snooze and I couldn't wait to be done with it.

I can understand why teenagers like this series.  It takes them into the unknown and mysterious and forbidden.  But once they're there, the excitement seems to stall, at least it did for me.  I guess I've finally grown up!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Fly Away Home

The title of this book is kind of ironic because my mom died a few days ago and it gives me solace to think of her flying away home to my dad, who died 13 years ago.  Six years ago my mom had cancer and since that time she has suffered from multiple health issues.  Finally, she's at peace and pain free.

The book itself was good!  It's told from three different points of view: a mom and her two daughters.  Sylvie is the wife of a US senator.  When she hears of his extra-marital affair, she must come to terms with her own life. 

Her older daughter, Diana, is a doctor, married to a man she doesn't love.  They have a little boy and she's having an affair with a medical student.  The news of her father's affair forces her to examine her own.

Sylvie's younger daughter, Lizzie, has just been released from a drug rehabilitation facility...and not for the first time.  When she hears of her father's infidelity, she realizes that she's not the only screw-up in the family and that helps her as she tries to live an unaddicted life.

Jennifer Weiner knows how to tell a story that grabs the reader right from the first page and never lets go.

As I read about these three women negotiating the avenues of their lives and finding their way to truthfulness, my mom was on her own journey.  Fly away home, Mom! 

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I Am Nujood, Private, Sizzling Sixteen, Ballistics

Holy Cow, I've been lax in updating this blog!  Yes, I've been busy with traveling and other things but...really, I think I just got summer lazy.

I pretty much read this book in one day.  It's told through Nujood's innocent eyes and that makes it even more horrible.  The young Yemeni girl is married off by her father to a 30-year-old man who promises not to touch her until she reaches puberty.  Of course, he was lying and poor Nujood has to suffer his rape every night with her mother-in-law listening to her screams.

She finally escapes to the court and a kind judge and a woman lawyer help her get a divorce.  Really, so chilling to know this is going on in the world and it's perfectly legal!

I downloaded this novel for my plane ride and almost read the whole thing on my flight.  Love that uninterrupted reading time! 

Jack Morgan, an Afghanistan veteran, inherits a couple million dollars from his father and revives his private detective agency known as Private.  He only takes high-profile cases for the rich and famous.  The novel moves quickly through several of his cases and at the same time unravels the mystery behind Jack's nightmares of the war.

This was the perfect read to make a plane ride fly by!

The reason I went to Florida was to visit with my mom who is in an assisted-living facility.  My sister, who lives nearby, had warned me about my mom's mental deterioration and she wasn't exaggerating.  My mom is now in her own world but is not in pain and is kept clean and she seems happy.  Sad for me to see, though.  So, I needed something light-hearted to read next.  Stephanie Plum and her crew to the rescue!
In this edition of the series Vinnie has been kidnapped because he owes over a million dollars to his bookie.  Stephanie, Lula, and Connie must find him and find some money to keep the bail bonds office open so they'll have jobs. 

As usual the characters cracked me up and gave me the chuckles I needed.

I bought this book over a year ago and read it once, then, but needed some poetry last week so I downloaded this collection and read the whole thing, again.  I love Billy Collins!  His writing is simple and ordinary and speaks to me.  He has an eye for the everyday little moments that make up the big emotions of our lives.
Phew!  Caught up, finally!  My husband is in Florida, himself, this week visiting his dad so I've got some nice, quiet time to read.  I sat in bed last night reading as long as I wanted with no one bugging me to turn the light off.  Such a treat! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Rules of Deception

Hallelujah!  I finally finished this book.  It was pretty good but contained just too much complicated political intrigue for my taste. 

Jonathan Ransom is a doctor working for Doctors Without Borders.  His wife Emma is the director of that program.  On a hiking vacation in the Alps, she falls into a crevasse and dies.  Shortly thereafter Jonathan receives a package addressed to his wife and he realizes she wasn't who she appeared to be.

His quest to unravel her past involves him in an international plot involving Israel, Iran, Switzerland, the U.S., and nuclear bombs.

I liked the parts with Jonathan but got bogged down in the technical parts.

This is the first book of a trilogy.  Will I read the others?  Doubtful, but you never know.

I'm of to Florida tomorrow to visit my mom who is in assisted living down there.  The airplance ride will give me some uninterrupted reading time.  I'm almost glad they don't serve meals anymore because that was so annoyingly disruptive to my concentration. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Eclipse and Ice Cold

It's been crazy around here!  First I had company for three days.  My MIL, son, his girlfriend, my daughter and granddaughter, Kylie, all descended on us at the campground.  We had a blast eating, swimming, boating, and enjoying each other's company.  There was no time to read, that's for sure!

Everyone left after 3 days except for Kylie and she stayed another 6 days.  She's a great kid and never fusses or misbehaves but Grammy is just getting too old! She wants to go, go, go all the time and I don't blame her!  Wish I had more energy!

A few times I let her play games on the computer so I could sit next to her and read.  That was nice, quiet time for us.  I managed to finish Eclipse.

It was okay.  I guess this is another area where I'm just too old.  I got kind of bored with it.  I've downloaded the fourth book in this series but need a break before I read it.  I'll tell you, I really got bogged down in this one and didn't think I'd ever get through it.  I'm glad I persevered but I'm definitely not gaga over it like my niece, Michelle.  It's nice to be able to discuss it with her, though.  And I'm certainly going to see the movie.

I've read all of Tess Gerritsen's novels and loved them all.  This one was no exception.  It was a pleasant break from all that teenage angst!   
This one involves Maura Isles who goes to Wyoming for a forensic pathologist convention and meets up with a former classmate.  Unhappy with her present relationship, she agrees to go on a skiing adventure with him and several other people.  On their way they slip off the road during a raging snowstorm and end up fighting for their lives against the elements and a group of religious fanatics. 

Maura's friend Jane Rizzoli and her FBI husband search for her and try to figure out what is going on in this isolated valley.

I definitely give this one a thumbs up!

I took Kylie home yesterday, my husband has gone fishing, and, now, it's time for me to relax and recuperate!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

New Moon

This was a nice, quick read.  I read Twilight, the first novel in this series about a year and a half ago and wasn't sure I'd read the others.  But, my thirteen-year-old niece, Michelle, loves the series and convinced me that I should download the others.  So, I did.

Quite a few of my students didn't care too much for this second book and even Michelle said it was her least favorite so it took me a while to start it.  But, you know what?  I like it!  I guess I'm more of a Jacob fan than an Edward groupie so this one appealed to me. 

And, I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I enjoyed Bella's suffering!  There is something wrong with me, I know. 

Now, I'm 35% of the way through Eclipse and am bored with it.  I'll keep plugging away through it, though, so Michelle and I can discuss it.
Here's where I read most of this book!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Good morning, fellow readers.  My husband just left to go fishing for the day so I have hours of uninterrupted reading ahead of me.  It's starting to get busy around this seaside area so I've been biking to the beach in the morning and staying until it gets too crowded around noon.  I'm not a normal beachgoer.  I usually just wear my clothes and sit and write a letter and read.  There is something about the waves that is like a magnet to me.  I find it so peaceful and relaxing to be there.

I finished this book a couple days ago and enjoyed my couple of weeks with these characters.  I know there won't be any more in the series because the author died before publication so my reading was bittersweet. 

Of the three I think my favorite is the middle book because it focuses more on Lizbeth Salander than on Mikael Bloomqvist but I still really like all three.  This last one has just a tiny bit more politics than I care for but the trial scene is excellent.

The only thing that might put people off about this series is the hard-to-pronounce Sweedish names.  I think he mentions every street in Stockholm!  And many of the characters have similar names and that gets a little confusing.  For example, there is a Holm and a Malm and lots of Bs: Berger, Blomqvist, Bjork, Bjurman, etc.  Then there is Neimenen and Neiderman.

But those quibbles are minor.  Overall, a great series with believable characters and a sophisticated plot.

Now, time for me to get dressed and head to the beach!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Red Sox Game

This is part of the reason why I'm still reading the same book!  Our son treated us to a game at Fenway for our 39th anniversary.  We took Amtrak out of Saco into Boston.  It was my husband's first time on a train.  And it was his first live major league baseball game, too.  We had great seats and loads of junk food and fun.

I actually took my Kindle with me and mananged to read a bit on the train but that was it.

This week I plan on making it to the beach a couple times and I always read there so, hopefully, will finish The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.  I'm over half way, now.

Have a great reading week!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Plugging Away

Another rainy Sunday here in New England.  We're at camp but will be heading home this afternoon for three more days of school before summer vacation begins.  Can't wait!

I'm still reading The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest and enjoying it.  It's a long book and I'm only 29% of the way through.  Seems like it's taking me forever.

I'm liking it, though.  Lisbeth Salander is in the hospital recovering from bullet wounds and Michael Blomqvist is doing everything he can to keep her out of jail and prove her innocence.

This is the third novel in the trilogy and I'm glad it's taking so long to read because I'll miss these characters when I'm done.  So, I'll continue poking along savoring every minute.

I won't have much time for pleasure reading today, though, because I have to read and correct 30 journal writing projects.  Each one contains 12 poems written by my kids.  So, I guess I'd better get my you-know-what in gear and begin.

Happy reading! 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Horse Boy

My friend Regina recommended this book and I'm so glad she did. It was amazing what this dad was determined to do to heal his son. Rowan suffers from severe autism. The only times he seemed to come out of it were when he was near horses and one time when he met with a shaman. With this in mind, his father decides to take him to Mongolia where they will ride horses deep into Siberia to meet with shamens.

Their tale is filled with humor, trials, mytical events, and lots of poop. It had me cheering.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bronx Masquerade & Eat Right for your Type

This book was recommended as a book that our whole school could read next year.  So, I figured I'd better check it out.  And I'm so glad I did.  This book tells the story of an English class that is studying the Harlem Renaissance and they decide to write their own poems and present them to the rest of the class on Open Mike Fridays.

I like the way the book is arranged.  Each student speaks in prose, first, and that is followed by a poem reflecting his or her emotions.  The poems are approachable but still contain lots of nice poetic devices.  

And the stoies these kids have to tell are heartbreaking and joyous at the same time.  I'm not sure it would work in our school setting just because many of our teachers and kids are not fans of poetry and might not buy into this idea.  As far as I'm concerned, though, it's right up my alley.

I've seen Eat Right 4 Your Type around for years and even glanced through it a couple times but just recently heard good things about it from several different sources so decided to download it. 

The author describes the four different blood types in a very easy-to-understand way and even I understood it, science being not my best subject!  I actually found it fascinating.  I've been plagued with excess phlegm in my throat and heard that dairy might be causing it so several months ago I cut out milk but continued with other dairy products like cheese and sour cream.  My phlegm issues did get a bit better so I am convinced that diet can solve it.

I have type O blood and sure enough, dairy is not recommended nor is wheat.  Now, I wasn't very happy reading that since I love homemade whole wheat bread.  Can I live wheat-free?

The author explains how all men and women were type O originally.  They were hunter/gatherers so their digestive system was designed to efficiently process meats and vegetables and fruits.  O's have very acidic stomachs for this purpose.  There was no bread.

Over time, as men moved and started living in communities, they began farming and wheat was one of the products.  Eventually, a new blood type started to show up in these people and that was type A.  Over thousands of years and the industrial revolution, etc. two more blood types emerged: B and AB. 

Each blood type has its own unique digestive system and it's important to eat foods that agree with it.  Since I'm part of the Cro Magnon clan, I've got to eat like a wild hunter/gatherer.   Maybe!  I'm going to try for a couple weeks to see if I can see a difference.  One thing I've noticed so far, and I've only been doing this for a few days, is that I don't feel bloated and my scale says I've lost a couple pounds.  Anyway, we'll see.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Going Bovine

It's very foggy here along the southern Maine coast this morning.  I managed to ride my bike to the beach yesterday for about an hour and a half.  There was quite a cool breeze, though, coming off the water.  It was beautiful, anyway.  When I got back to the campground, my friend, Regina, came for a visit and brought me two books of poetry by Annie Finch.  Later our son and his girlfriend arrived and we enjoyed a pleasant evening by the fire.

This book is a riot!  It centers around a sixteen-year-old weed-smoking underachiever.  Cameron is just floating through his days like a helium balloon doing poorly in school, acting like an outcast, and generally being miserable.  Then he begins to experience tingling in his arms and legs and ends up at the doctor's being diagnosed with Mad Cow Disease.  He has only a short time to live and embarks on a journey with his reluctant friend, Gonzo.

Now you are probably wondering how a book with such a serious topic could be funny but it really is.  They get themselves into such ridiclous situations and seeing everything through Cameron's jaded eyes puts a unique spin on the world.

And I like the message: sometimes it takes dying to learn how to live.

Well, the fog is starting to lift a bit and the company will be stirring soon so I guess I'd better read for a bit now.  Have a productive week!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Robin and Ruby

We're at camp and the sun is shining through the oak and pine trees.  I rode my bike to the beach yesterday afternoon and read for an hour or so and it was wonderfully peaceful.  I hope to do the same today.

This was a free download from Amazon and I was a bit apprehensive about what kind of book it'd be but it turned out okay.  Different, though!  Robin and Ruby are siblings.  Robin is gay and Ruby is defiant.  It follows them during a weekend at the Jersey shore.  Ruby has disappeared and Robin and his friend George are trying to find her. 
This book contains quite explicit sex scenes.  In fact I was reading it at school during Silent Reading and was embarrassed even though the kids didn't know what I was reading.

The plot was a little slow but the writing was surprisingly good with lots of nice similes and metaphors, etc.

We're going to have breakfast outside on the picnic table in the sun.  Have a good week!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

Happy Mother's Day!

It's 36 degrees (F) here on this cloudy morning.  A good day to stay in my PJs and read!

This book was something else!  It's told through the eyes of a naive 9-year-old boy who is the son of a Nazi concentration camp commandant.  Bruno has no idea who the people are behind the barbed wire but he's lonely and likes to explore so, one day, while he's out walking, he meets a Jewish boy.  They talk to each other with the barbed wire fence between them almost every day and a friendship is formed.

Bruno's innocence makes the story that much more horrible.  He calls Hitler The Fury and the concentration camp he's at Out With.  It took me a page or two to figure that one out and then I was like, Oh, Oh!

I could feel the terror and horror building page by page, one simple step at a time.

I needed something totally different after that and found it in Robin and Ruby.  This was a free download for my Kindle.  I'm never quite sure what kind of a book I'm going to get.  The last free one turned out to be very religious but this one is the opposite! 

We're meeting my MIL, daughter and granddaughter later this afternoon for supper and I can't wait to see my Kylie girl!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire

Well, here it is the first of May already and we're back at camp in Maine for the weekend.  It's a lot of work to open up but worth it.  I rode my bike to the beach yeaterday and read for about an hour.  It was chilly, though!  I'm glad I had a jacket with me.

This is the second book in a trilogy.  The third one will be available at the end of the month.  I've already pre-ordered it for my Kindle.  Sadly, there won't be any more "Girl" novels because the author, Stieg Larsson, died.

This one follows Lisbeth Salander as she hunts for the elusive Zala.  She's accused of murdering three people and the whole of Sweden is looking for her.  How she manages to elude the police and find Zala makes for non-stop action. 

I'm really enjoying these books.  The only problem I have is trying to figure out how to pronounce all the names!  For example, one of the other main characters is Mikael Blomkvist.  In my mind I pronounced it Michael Bloomquist.  I don't know if that's right or not but I had to do this with most of the characters and places and sometimes found that distracting.  Other than that, though, they are great and I'm looking forward to the last one, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest.

I've got to head back home later this afternoon but I think I'll take a ride to the beach, first, for a little reading.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Promise to Remember & Scenic Sunday

Another vacation comes to an end.  It was a mostly lazy one and I loved it.  No spring cleaning got done, no porch painting, no baking.  But I did manage to keep up with NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month). I have to write 30 poems in 30 days.  And I'm enjoying the online photography workshop I'm participating in called Picture Spring.  Reading?  Some but not as much as I'd hoped.

We visited our son about 3 hours south of us for two nights and that was a nice getaway.  Here's the gorgeous view I had while sitting on his deck reading:
You can see more scenic photos at Scenic Sunday.

I have to confess that I skimmed through the second half of this book.  It was just too....gag-me sweet!  It sounded good.  Two mothers struggle to accept the deaths of their teenage sons who  are killed in a head-on collision when one boy drinks and drives.  The struggling, single mom of the innocent boy sues the rich parents of the responsible boy.  Sounds like good fireworks, right?

Nope!  Everyone gets all mushy and finds religion and, oh...I'm so glad to be done with it!

Thankfully, it was a freebie for my Kindle from Amazon.

I've moved on to The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson and it's so much better!

Back to school tomorrow for seven and a half weeks until summer!  Can't wait to sit on the beach and read!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

House Rules

I got back from Florida on Thursday evening and woke up to snow on Friday morning.  And it's been snow showering ever since.  That's New England weather for you!

I started this book before my Kindle mishap and didn't finish it until I got back from my trip.  It's not that I didn't enjoy it; it's just that I didn't have much time to read except on the airplane.  Plus, it's a long book.

Jacob Hunt has Asperger's Syndrome and is accused of murder.  The story is told through his eyes and the eyes of several characters: his mom, Emma; his brother, Theo; his lawyer, Oliver; and a detective, Rich.  They are all interesting and keep the novel moving forward.

I loved all the info about Asperger's and the fact that we experience it, somewhat, through Jacob. 

What I missed in this Jodi Picoult book is her exquisite style.  There are very few unusual metaphors or unique similes.  It reads almost like a James Patterson novel.  It feels like she just wanted to tell the damn story and get her paycheck.

That said, however, I did enjoy it although I felt a bit let down by the ending.  It just seemed abrupt and anticlimactic. 

And that picture on the cover?  Jacob is 18!  Sure, it talks about him as he is growing up but the major focus of the book is the present.  I found that kind of misleading.

Okay, I'll stop complaining now and move on to my next book!  Will I read another Picoult novel?  Absolutely!  If this one had been written by anyone else, I'd have loved it and not had any problem with it.  It's just that I know she can do so much better.

I'm on school vacation this week so, hopefully, will get lots of reading in.  Enjoy your week!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Technical Difficulties

Another cloudy Sunday.  Cool, too.  But the lilac leaves are about an inch long and the crocuses have popped open.  The daffodils and irises are about 6 inches tall.  Spring is happening even though it snowed yesterday morning.

Tragedy struck Wednesday afternoon as I was getting ready to leave school.  I was rearranging my podium and it tipped over a bit and my Kindle flew onto the floor with a loud slap.  I'd bought a cover for it and the cover was on and is slightly padded so I hoped it would be okay. 

It wasn't.  I turned it on and half the screen was fine but the other half had verticle lines all over it.

When I got home, I called Amazon and explained what happened.  I knew the 1-year warranty didn't cover accidents so had my credit card ready to buy a new one.  (That's how addicted I am to it!)  But I just wanted to double check with the support person to see if something like this had been reported before and if there was anything I could do.  He had me hold the on/off switch for 15 seconds to reset it but that didn't do anything.

"It's dead"  he said.  "We'll send you a new one." 


"Yes, that shouldn't have happened with the cover on it."

Since I knew I'd be traveling to Florida on Sunday, I asked if I could pay extra to get it shipped overnight.  "No," he said.  "That's the way we'll ship it anyway."

And there it was Thursday afternoon!  I went to my archived items and was able to download all my books.

Can you tell how much I love Amazon right now?

Anyway, I'm still reading House Rules.  It's really good so far about a young man with Asperger's.  I'm only 14% of the way through and am looking forward to some uninterrupted reading on my flight this afternoon!

Have a good week!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Caught and Underlife

A beautiful, warm Easter Sunday for a change.  Yesterday it got up to 80 degrees.  Amazing for early April in northern NH.  I spent some time sitting in the sun reading and trying to get a little color on my white legs.

Harlan Coben never disappoints.  I sped through this one because it's that kind of book.  Wendy is a TV journalist who exposes a pedophile on the air.  She quickly realizes that he was set up and she is determined to make things right. 

What is so cool about this book is that a couple characters from earlier Coben novels pop up in this one including Win from the Myron Bolitar series.

This is a book of poetry written by a woman I've "met" on different online poetry sites.  When I saw that she has a book published, I just had to buy it.  And I'm really enjoying the poems.  She talks about her childhood and the things that were going on underneath the outer layer of her life. 

I haven't finished it yet because I like to read a few then let them digest for awhile.  It's nice having it nearby to pick up whenver I want.