Saturday, October 31, 2009

Library Book Sale

This week I went to the library. I only got out one book. It was for my sister, so have no fear I'm still only reading books from my home library. (: So even though I didn't get anything out, I did manage to buy some of my favorite books at the books sales my libraries have. It's almost impossible for me to go somewhere with books for sale and not at least buy one. Here are my new arrivals:

Title: Emily of New Moon
Author: L.M. Montgomery
Genre: Historical fiction
Reading Level: 9 and up

Emily Starr, newly orphaned, goes to live with her mothers snobbish family at New Moon Farm, where she has to endure her stern Aunt Elizabeth and malicious classmates. With the help of her new friends, artistic Teddy, tomboyish Ilsa, and Perry who's traveled all around the world with his father, Emily sets out to make her own happiness with her friends and her love of writing.

Why I bought it: Well number one: It's a classic and it was only 25 cents! Number two: I haven't read it and I have the sequel "Emily Climbs" so I couldn't resist it and I can't wait to read it.

Title: Around the World in 80 Days
Author: Jules Verne
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adventure
Reading Level: 12 and up

Summary: Travel around the world in 80 days-impossible! It is in 1872-long before the airplane and the supersonic train, But Phileas Fogg bets half his fortune that it can be done. With his servant, Passepartout, Phileas sets off on a race against time to do what no one has done before.

Why I bough it: This is a great adventure story. I read it last year. It was the 2nd book I read after what I call the horrible dry spell. It was a time where I barely read at all. (I know, GASP!) Thankfully I was cured, and this book helped a lot. It's funny and inventive. The characters and plot are great. I love the detective who stalks Phileas and Passepartout around the world, he adds a lot to the comedy aspect of the book. It's one of my favorite classics. Oh and as a side note: most people think his name is Phineas, well, IT'S NOT! It's PHILEAS, the L was not a typo. I mean come on, even amazon's made this mistake...*sigh* okay, I'm done now. (:

Title: The Invisible Man
Author: H.G. Wells
Genre: Science Fiction
Reading Level: 13 and up

Summary: Deranged scientist Griffin, makes a serum that give's him the ability of invisibility. What follows is a chilling story of his slow descent into madness.

Why I bough it: I've wanted to read this book for a while. I've gotten it out twice from the library, but was never able to finish it. I started reading "War of the Worlds" also by H.G. Wells and really liked it so I thought I'd try out this one as well. It was only 25 cents and I feel I'll come around to reading it sooner now that I have it. Psychotic scientist, suspicious murders, they are just some of the things that I think make a great book. (;

Title: The Chronicles of Narnia
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Fantasy adventure
Reading Level: 9 and up
The story of a magical land ruled by a mysterious lion, and the many children that find adventure there.

Why I bought it: It was the whole series in one book, for 50 Cents! That's a bargain. Plus I've loved these books since I was a little girl. My favorite book is "The Silver Chair". I want to keep this collection in good condition for my children to some day read.

Title: What Could Go Wrong?
Author: Willo Davis Roberts
Genre: Mystery
Reading Level: 10 and up
Gracie and her two cousins Eddie and Charlie are flying from Seattle to San Fransisco. It's their chance to prove that Charlie, who has a reputation for attracting trouble, is not bad. There plans begin to unravel though when Gracie finds a crossword puzzle that's filled in, with all the wrong answers! Soon they find themselves involved in a dangerous mystery involving sinister men, bomb threats, and the strange disappearance of their elderly friend Mrs. Basker. Will they be able to solve the mystery and prove that Charlie isn't a bad luck magnet?

Why I bough this book: Even on regular standards I think this is a very clever mystery. I know when I was 12 years old I was completely entranced. The characters are great and the writing is amazing, entertaining, and humorous. The plot also almost entirely take place inside a plane terminal, and I always admire a book that is amazingly interesting without changing the settings. I definitely recommend this book to any 12 year old and up!

Well that is all for my trip to the library. I finally finished one of the books on my reading list. It's "Christy" and I will have that review up as soon as I can!
Until next time,

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

My Bookshelves New Arrivals

Last Saturday night, I went with my sister to that magical place known as the bookstore. I haven't been to a bookstore in ages since I've been buying my books online fore the most part. It's fun to receive packages in the mail, but I don't think anything quite beats buying books straight from the store.
So here are peeks at my purchases, that are now on my to read list.

Title: Bewitching Season
Author: Marissa Doyle
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Reading Level: Young Adult

Summary: Twins Persephone and Penelope are of two minds about their coming-out season. Pen is excited about the social whirl. Persephone would rather be home studying magic with their beloved governess, Ally. But when Ally disappears somewhere in Kensington Palace, the girls must harness their magical skills amidst the swirl of balls and presentations to find her.

Why I bought it: I started reading this a while back when I had gotten it out from the library. I never got to finish it though. I made it up to chapter two and I was enjoying it, but I had to take it back. So I saw a softcover version in Barnes and Nobles, and figured it had captured enough of my attention to warrant buying it. I liked the historical aspect as well as the magic. I can't wait to finish it.

After finding Bewitching Season I headed over to my favorite section, Mysteries.

Title: Aunt Dimity: Detective
Author: Nancy Atherton
Genre: Mystery/Fantasy
Reading Level: Adult

Summary: American-born Lori, her attorney husband, Bill, and their adorable twin sons live near Finch, in a Cotswold cottage left her by her mother's friend, Dimity, who offers Lori advice from beyond in the form of ghost writing in a blue leather journal. When Lori and her family return from a three-month visit to the States, she finds the town atwitter over the death of Prunella "Pruneface" Hooper. Prunella sowed the seeds of discord at every turn, and Lori is intrigued enough --and upset enough by the ugliness directed at several of her closest friends--to try to solve the murder.

Why I bought it: I read the first Aunt Dimity book (Aunt Dimity's Death) last year. It was a cute and cozy read. Nothing to shocking happened, but it was not without a lesson to learn. The characters where charming, and I love the covers. (: Who could resist that adorable pink bunny?! So I was going to buy the 2nd book in the series until I found out the main character was different from the 1st book. Lori eventually comes back in the 3rd book. Now I could've bought that one but, I wasn't digging the plot to much, so I opted for this the 7th book in the series. I know! I bought them out of order! Consider this though, if I like this one enough, I'll get the other books in the series. I might just get them for their adorable covers. (:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What I Meant...A Review

Title: What I Meant...
Author: Marie Lamba
Genre: Young Adult Realistic Fiction
Age Group: 13+
Pages: 320
I read this book about two months ago and I wanted to write a review, but I forgot so I thought, now's as good a time as ever.

After a series of misunderstanding 15 year old Sangeet Jumnal find herself in a mess of problems, of which include the sudden frosty behavior of her best friend, her sister thinking she's a thief, and her parents under the impression that she is bulimic. While she tries to juggle these difficulties, she's also dealing with her dad's witchy sister in law who's ruining her family life, and the prospect of asking her parents if she is allowed to date yet or not.

My Review:
I read this book in one day. I couldn't put it down. Marie Lamba's debut novel is very compelling, the story pulls you in within the first 3 chapters. Sangeet's problems are real, and they are very frustrating. You feel for her and the struggles she goes through as she tries to deal as best she can with the hectic changes that are happening in her life. Marie has such a great way of telling the story. She has made a great cast of characters, you love the ones you're suppose to and hate the villain as much as the main character. While I was reading it I must admit I was very frazzled over what was going on in Sangeet's life and wanted desperately to find out how it would all be resolved. It was only after I had finished reading it that I had time to really think about it, and decide that i had really enjoyed it. There are the usual story lines, like the cute boy, and the slightly geeky boy who both hold affections for our heroine, but if you already think you know how it will end, let's just say Marie has some nice twists to her story that are realistic and satisfying.
Content: Some Language and Thematic Elements
Rating: 3 and a half stars out of 5
Recommend: definitely try it out if it sounds like something you'd enjoy.

Checking Out Books From My Home Library

*LE GASP* It is Thursday and I have not yet this week stepped foot into a library. I'm beginning to get a twitch from my absence. (; Alas my friend (who usually takes me to the library) called at 6:30 two nights ago to see if I wanted to go with her but, I was so unprepared I said no. I see this as a good time though to practice restraint as I cannot go into a library without checking out books, and I have so many books at home I should be reading. I bought a bunch of books last year that I haven't even begun to dip into. Although I must say I get a great deal of pleasure anticipating reading a new book so I don't mind all that much. They look so glossy and new, sitting on my shelf untouched. That won't last for much longer. So I have decided that for the time being the only library I'll be checking out of is my own, no matter how much I suffer from withdrawal. (;

Monday, October 12, 2009

Genres Through the Ages Spotlight: Mysteries

Out of all the different genres around today there are a few that can cover such a wide reading audience like mysteries can. From the time that you start to read, and on into adult books you can always be assured of a mystery book for your age group. In this post I will cover the best picks for any mystery or book lover.

Ages: 4-8

Spotlight Series: Nate The Great
Author:Marjorie Sharmat

Pint-sized Sherlock Holmes Nate, and his faithful dog Sludge never say no to a mystery. Following clues, using the third person, and running into such quirky characters like Rosemund, and her black cats, Nate's adventures are great fun for children just starting out. There are 25 titles in the series.
Other Mystery series for ages 4-8 to enjoy: A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy and John Steven Gurney, Jigsaw Jones by James Preller and Young Cam Jansen by David A. Adler

Ages: 9-12

Spotlight Series: The Boxcar Children and Encyclopedia Brown
Author: Gertrude Chandler Warner and Donald J. Sobol

The Boxcar Children I must confess, is where my love of mysteries started. My older sister would read them to me, and I would wait in excited anticipation for the four Alden children to solve another case. Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden, are orphans running away from a grandfather they don't even know. They seek shelter in an abandoned boxcar. If that doesn't spell adventure for children, nothing will. (; What follows is a great collection of books full of the Alden children stumbling upon a mystery and never giving up until the end, going up against a slew of scheming adults. I always loved that about this series. There are 19 original titles by Gertrude Chandler Warner and 121(and counting) titles all together by ghostwriters, and 21 special mysteries in the series.

Like his nickname suggest Leroy "Encyclopedia" Brown is nothing short of a child prodigy. He even solves crimes his police father can't figure out. These are great books because they have clues for the reader to pick up, that will (hopefully) allow them to figure out the solution before flipping to the end of the book and reading the answer. I was never that good at picking up on the clues, I mean, I wasn't a genius like the main character. -_-; It didn't really matter though, I still loved reading them as a little girl. There are 25 titles in the series, 26 if you count book 15 1/2 "Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Cake"
Other Mystery series for ages 9-12 to enjoy: The Trixie Belden Series by Julie Campbell, The Westing Game and The Mysterious Disappearance of Leon (I Mean Noel) stand alone novels by Ellen Raskin, and The American Girl Mystery Series.

Age 13 and Up
Spotlight Book: And Then There Were None
Author: Agatha Christie

Okay, now you have officially hit the big times where mystery writing is concerned. This book is amazing. It's astounding. It's considered one of the best mysteries ever written, and rightly so, 'cause I get shivers just hearing the title. This is a must read for any mystery fan. It's undeniable clever, and creepy. It keeps you continually guessing (unless like the author you a mystery genius)and leaves you breathless at it's shocking conclusion. Yup, I really like this book. (; You also can pretty much be assured of a great mystery if you pick up any Agatha Christie titles. As well as get acquainted with some of the most famous detectives and amateur sleuths in fiction, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, and Mr. Quin.

Mystery Classics

Spotlight Series: Nancy Drew
By: "Carolyn Keene"

Oh come on you knew she had to be in this post somewhere. You cannot read Mysteries without knowing Nancy Drew, one of the first teen girl detective in fiction. Running around her hometown River Heights, and other locations, in hot pursuit of evildoers she was quite the pioneer when she first appeared in 1930. Since then she has continued on in popularity, an ageless teenager switching from one decade to the next. There are six series, and 56 original Nancy Drew Mystery titles. There are 175 titles in the Nancy Drew Mystery series.

Spotlight Series: Sherlock Holmes
Author: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Ah Sherlock Holmes, another name that is as synonymous with mysteries as Nancy Drew. First bursting out onto the public in 1887 Sherlock Holmes was amazingly successful. Using keen logic and all his resources Sherlock Holmes and his partner Dr. Watson can solve any baffling case that's thrown at them. Sherlock Holmes even has his own personal arch nemesis Prof. Moriarty, and a bunch of kids on Baker Street that help him out in tough spots. Some think Sherlock is the father of detective fiction, and although he's very good, he was based on the real first hero of detective fiction, C. Auguste Dupin...

Spotlight Story: The Murders in the Rue Morgue
Author: Edgar Allen Poe

I am forever grateful to Edgar Allen Poe for creating the detective fiction. Without his first short stories about C. Auguste Dupin there might not be any Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew, or even this post. ^_^ Edgar Allen Poe was a brilliant writer, and he definitely proves it with his three mystery stories. It's definitely a treat to read this particular bit of history. Other classic mysteries to enjoy: Nero Wolfe by Rex Stout, Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers, and Albert Campion Mysteries by Margery Allingham.

Mystery Manga's (comics)

Spotlight Series: Detective Conan (Case Closed in America)
Author: Gosho Aoyama

Aspiring detective Shinichi Kudo has a serious problem. He's a 17 year old trapped in a 7 year old body. But that doesn't stop him from solving mysteries in secret and letting Detective Mouri; father of his high school crush Ran Mouri, get all the credit. This series has a continuing mystery, and lot's of stand alone mysteries that any good detective series has. It also has an animated series, and live action series. It's definitely worth looking into, and is one of my personal favorites. This series is great for ages 14 and up. There are currently 65 volumes in the series. Other manga mysteries to enjoy: Kindaichi Case Files Yozaburo Kanari or Seimaru Amagi, and if you're particularly desperate for anything remotely resembling a manga mystery you could always try Death Note a howcatchem, by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata, with a cast of some seriously deranged characters.

Movies based off of Novels

Spotlight Movie: The Thin Man
Starring: William Powell and Myrna Loy
You can find tons of movie adaptations of Agatha Christie, and Dorothy L. Sayers novels, but in the Thin Mans case, this would be the only time when you will hear me say skip the novel and just watch the movies. Nick Charles a retired detective is married to Nora Charles, a high class girl with lots of money, and lots of curiousity to see her husband back in crime solving action. played brilliantly by William Powell and Myrna Loy; who have such amazing on screen chemistry together, Nick and Nora are one of the best husband and wife teams out there. Sipping martini's and exchanging witty banter, Nick and Nora Charles make marraige, and solving crime great fun. Some will say that the book is better, some may say that it's equal. But for my money I enjoyed the movie (and it's 5 sequels) much more than the book by Dashiell Hammett. Other movies that were books to enjoy: The Big Sleep starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall original story by Raymond Chandler and Murder on the Orient Express based off of Agatha Christie's novel.

Well, That pretty much does it for this particular Genre Spotlight. I hope you enjoyed it. There are several other mystery series out there in the world to enjoy, I'm only scratching the surface for you. I hope if you are new to mysteries this was helpful for you to find some good ones. If you are a rabid Mystery fan already I hope this has helped you find some new series to enjoy.

Until next time,