Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday #3


Wishlist Wednesday is hosted by my friend (virtually only unfortunately) Dani over at Pen To Paper

Feel free to take part in the Blog hop!

This weeks offering is:



A man regains consciousness to find himself naked in a mass grave with no idea who he is. His first thought is survival - but in a religious war survival depends on knowing which side you are on. Donning another man's military uniform, he drives off and enters a nearby town to discover that the occupying soldiers have been waiting for someone very much like him. Suddenly he finds himself in power. His first act is to save a woman about to be murdered by soldiers - a woman he turns out to have a history with. She seems to know more about him than he does, but does she have the right man?

This ended up on my Wishlist thanks to RiSi and Anne Cater (I believe!)  Apparently not an easy read, but I feel that anything with this subject matter shouldn't be.
Moon Over ManifestMoon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved loved loved this.  Picked it up when I was helping in the school library as the cover attracted me - then when one of the 3rd Grade teachers saw it in my hand told me how much she loved it I was sold.

Young Abilene comes to the town of Manifest in 1936 - sent by her father (who lived there as a child) to stay while he was away working - and finds herself drawn to the towns past through a boxful of letters and mementos, and the town medium Miss Sadie.  Abilene is trying to understand her father and through tales of the past, founds out more than she could've imagined.

Just a great YA tale about life in a small American town at 2 of the worst points in history - World War One and the Depression of the 1930's.  Like any small town (apparently) it is full of quirky characters - some you love, some you hate.  Vanderpool did a great job of weaving the tale - it would have been easy to get confused with which time period you were in, but I never felt lost.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Top Ten Tuesdays - Books I Want To Re-read

Top Ten Tuesdays is hosted by The Broke & Bookish and past topics have included: Books Everyone Has Read but I Haven't, Jerks in Literature and Secondary Characters.

So in no particular order, here are mine:

1) The Borrible Trilogy by Michael de Larrabeiti  Simply the best kids books I read as a kid.  I devoured these tales of pointy eared children who lived underground in London and spent most of their time avoiding adults who will clip their eyes thus forcing them to grow up.  They are dark stories and the ending of the trilogy still makes me sad 25 years on.

2) The Harry Potter series It's been such a long time since I read the early books, and combing that with the end of the film series, I really want to go back and start again

3) Chaos Walking Trilogy - Patrick Ness I read this fairly recently, but I just know that at some point I will want to read them again.  Amazing series

4) The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini In my opinion, one of the defining books of our time - taken in context of the state of the world now it's even more relevant

5) Bitten - Kelley Armstrong I am a HUGE Armstrong fan, and knowing the Women of the Otherworld series will be ending soon, I can almost guarantee I'll start over at some point

6) Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane Amazing book

7) Room - Emma Donoghue What I said for No6.  And it's a read for my book group soon so I may reread it then.

8) The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas - John Boyle If a book can make me cry then it's definitely worth a re-read

9) The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien Just a brilliant brilliant book and my son will (hopefully) want to read it one day, at which point I will read it too.  Timeless

10) Lear - Edward Bond Technically a play, I read this for A-Level and remember ZILCH about it.  I wonder if I'd enjoy more now.................

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book Group

For those who you who like to nose at what others are reading, here is the list of books my Book Group will be reading between now and next summer:

Oct - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The San Antonio library has 48 copies - and I'm 145th on the list!)
Nov - Dreaming In Hindi by Katherine Russell Rich
Dec - Life Is So Good by George Dawson & Richard Glaubman
Jan - The Art Of Racing In The Rain by Garth Stein
Feb - The Man In The Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal
Mar - The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
Apr - Room by Emma Donoghue (One of my favourite reads of last year!)
May - The Immortal Life Of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Summer Read - Dreams Of Joy - Lisa See

We choose by "lucky dip".  There are some GREAT choice in there and I'm really looking forward to discovering the ones I know nothing about.  The Hunger Games is a book I've been hearing alot about recently as it's been made into a film so I'm glad that was put forward.

I love my book group friends.  We are all military spouses and they were some of the first people I met when we moved to the USA.  I always have a good time with them and I'm determined to make this year the best one as it's my last one with them.

Anyway - share your thoughts on our choices.............I'd love to know what you think!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday #2

Again, I'm taking part in Pen To Paper Wishlist we go:

From The New Yorker editorial review on Amazon:

Fallada wrote this novel in twenty-four days in 1947, the last year of his life; he was addicted to drugs and alcohol, and had just been released from a Nazi insane asylum. The story is based on that of an actual working-class Berlin couple who conducted a three-year resistance campaign against the Nazis, by leaving anonymous postcards at random locations around the city. The book has the suspense of a John le Carré novel, and offers a visceral, chilling portrait of the distrust that permeated everyday German life during the war. Especially interesting are the details that show how Nazi-run charities and labor organizations monitored and made public the degree to which individuals supported or eschewed their cause. The novel shows how acts that at the time might have seemed “ridiculously small,” “discreet,” and “out of the way” could have profound and lasting meaning. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wishlist Wednesday

Blatantly stolen from Dani (via Jenny!) at Pen To Paper . Every Wednesday I will feature a book that is on my, today I give you:

I fell in love with Michelle Moran last year when I read Cleopatras Daughter and Nefertiti.  I'd been reading alot of Tudor historical fiction (thank you Phillipa Gregory) and was keen to try a different period of time.  Madame Tussaud is Morans latest and I'm really really looking forward to it.

Here is the Goodreads description:

Madame Tussaud (1761-1850) escapes the pages of trivia quizzes to become a real person far more arresting than even her waxwork sculptures. Who among us knew, for instance, that she moved freely through the royal court of Louis XVI, only to become a prisoner of the Reign of Terror? Her head was shaven for guillotining, but she escaped execution, though she was forced to make death masks for prominent victims. Novelist Michelle Moran covers this breathtaking period without losing the thread of its subject's singular story.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A new school year....

We are well underway in the new school year.  The boy is now in 1st Grade and seems pretty happy.  His new teacher is nice and he likes her so there's no complaints from me!  We've changed our hometime routine - he now walks with the "walkers" and one of the teachers sees them out of the school and across the first 2 roads - then he's on his own, but I can see him from the top of our street.  So far so good - the first day he was so pleased at having crossed the last road alone that he came charging towards me screeching "I did it, I did it".  I do love him!

Along with school, all the other activities have kicked in - swimming, Little Gym, and now, Cubs................oh to be 6 and have such a great social life..........he and Dad spent last Saturday morning at a Cub event where he got to shoot BB guns and bow & arrows.............lord help us.

Lastly - he became the first 1st Grader to achieve 5 Accelerated Reader points this school year.  The AR programme works by assigning library books a reading level and points - once the child has read the book he can take a test on it and receive points.  Once they reach 5, they get given a paper cowboy boot (well it is Texas!), put their name on it and stick it on the 5pt marker outside the library.  Each grade is colour coded so you can see at a glance who is from which grade.  He is VERY happy to be the first white one!
The Reluctant FundamentalistThe Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I suggested this for my book groups summer read (perfect for summer as it's short!) and I'm really glad I did.  It's going to provoke lots of discussion amongst us, and it will be interesting to see if I have a different reaction to it than my American friends.

I enjoyed the way it was written - I wasn't expecting that at all and it was a refreshing change to read that style of narration.  I felt totally engaged with the character and could even understand how he came to feel the way he does.

That ending though..............argh!  I think for a long time I will be wondering which way it went!

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The Vanishing The Vanishing by Tim Krabbé
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A couple on vacation stop at a petrol station - she heads in to buy drinks and disappears........

8 years later, Rex is still haunted by Saskia's disappearance........

I've had this on my wishlist for a while now but can't for the life of me remember why I out it there - not that I'm disappointed!  This book was originally written in Dutch and titled Het Gouden Ei (The Golden Egg) and I think in translation it loses something.  It's short - 115 pages - but I really really enjoyed it, but I never quite felt that it was as chilling as I thought it should've been.

The beginning - leading up to Saskias disappearance - were really well written and set the scene beautifully, but I then felt abit let down by the jump to 8 years later.  However, I loved the middle of the tale and without spoilers, really engaged with the idea that things (good and bad) happen to us by chance....

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Monday, September 12, 2011

Full Dark House (Bryant & May, # 1)Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I picked this up in a bookstore purely based on the cover (not the one pictured above I hasten to add), then when I read the blurb it sounded right up mine and my husbands street.

Well, I'm glad I did.  Young detectives Bryant & May (hehe) are part of the Mets Peculiar Crime Unit and as such investigate the crimes noone else wants or is interested in.  The book begins in the present day when an explosion destroys their offices and kills the now elderly Bryant.  In the process of investigating, May finds himself drawn back to the first case they worked together - a series of unexplained deaths in the Palace Theatre.

The book is told in a dual narrative style which I normally love, but this is where the book lost it's fifth star.  It was sometimes hard to tell at the beginning of each chapter which decade we were in - unless the first sentence mentioned either the Blitz or some modern day tech I found it sometimes took a paragraph or two to work out where I was - which was so frustrating!

In all, a lovely quirky book and I look forward to reading the next in the series.

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