Sunday, August 31, 2014

Men of Athens by Olivia Coolidge

This was my third and final Newbery book for the second mini-challenge part of the Newbery Reading Challenge. This was also a historical fiction pick for me.

When I first looked at Men of Athens, I thought it was going to be a nonfiction book about Ancient Greece, but as I read, I realized in some cases she used real people and in others there were made up characters. She also created dialogue for the actual real-life characters based on what we know of them. She did great research, but this belongs more in the realm of historical fiction. As far as content goes, some of the sections were fascinating and quickly read and a few were a bit slower. I also think this would not be a book given to children under 12 in today's society. It is not about children and it talks a little about orgies and the young marriages of Ancient Greek society, although not in any graphic way. More than content though the writing style is a bit more mature and dry at times.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, especially the Pericles/Aspasia section and the trial of Socrates section. Those sections make you feel like you are in the Greek discussion perhaps as they were during that time period. I don't think it is one I would recommend to kids or teens, but maybe older teens and adults interested in Ancient Greece. This is definitely not a quick read. 3.5 cups of cocoa.

Since I read this, Wrinkle in Time, and Thistle and Thyme, I have thought a lot about how books hold up over time. Wrinkle in Time is enjoyed by teens today as much as it was in the 1960s. A new movie is being made and the book itself is timeless. The other two are no longer in print and it is not really hard to see why. Thistle and Thyme would appeal to those who enjoy old style fairy tales and folktales, like me, but Men of Athens is not really going to appeal to very many people. I liked parts of it, but even for me, a history person, it was just not that interesting. The Newbery award has always been a bit controversial, since quite a few of the award books just don't appeal to children. I think it is slowly getting a little more kid friendly and I like that they chose based on literary merit, but we do need to think about how this will appeal to a child. We want children to read and love it, not feel like reading is torture. Thankfully there are Lois Lowry books and Kate Dicamillo books to recommend and add to that A Wrinkle in Time.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Beat the Heat Readathon Week 3 Updates

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Week 3 Updates:


Day 15
Currently Reading: Iron Trial
Pages read:20 pages-Iron Trial
Mini-challenge: Book Blending challenge @ Rosie Reads

Day 16
Currently Reading: Iron Trial, Midnight Frost
Pages read:29 pages-Iron Trial, 39 pages- Midnight Frost

Day 17 No reading :(

Day 18
Currently Reading: Midnight Frost
Pages read: 9 pages-Midnight Frost

Day 19 No reading :(

Day 20
Currently Reading: Iron Trial
Pages read: 93 pages- Iron Trial (loving this book!)

Day 21
Currently Reading: Iron Trial, Midnight Frost
Pages read: 120 pages and finished!- Iron Trial, 31 pages-Midnight Frost


Monday, August 25, 2014

End of the Summer Read-a-thon

End of Summer
Limabean Designs


This is the last read-a-thon of COYER summer vacation and you can sign up at this link. This will run August 29-August 31. For this read-a-thon you read books with a Fall theme and this can include books with a school/college setting.
I will probably try to finish Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare if I haven't finished it before Friday. I may also add The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson and Midnight Frost by Jennifer Estep.

213 pages in Iron Trial and finished!
40 pages in Midnight Frost

Bout of Books 11 Wrapup

Bout of Books

I did better than I thought I would. I was able to fit in quite a bit of reading, despite a very busy and stressful week. I finished two books, The Son of Neptune and Men of Athens, and read a total of 445 pages. I completed 3 mini-challenges and one Twitter chat. I commented on several blogs and found 5 new blogs to follow. Overall not bad! I always love Bout of Books and can't wait until the next one. Thanks to the great hosts and all the great bloggers!
Hope everyone had a good week!


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Bout of Books Day 7 Update


Bout of Books

Currently Reading:Men of Athens, Iron Trial
Pages read:66 pages and finished!-Men of Athens, 32 pages-Iron Trial
Mini-challenge: 5 Books -- Falling Down the Book Hole
Ashley at Falling Down the Book Hole's challenge is to pick 5 books that you would carry with you if aliens invaded and were destroying the planet.
1.The first one is easy. I would pick the Bible. I read it pretty much everyday and it would remind me there is always hope.
2. I would have to take a Harry Potter and would probably pick Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It is my favorite of the series and ends on a sort of happy note.
3. I would also want to take a classic, so that I would have something timeless, so I would pick Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
4. The Peterson's Field Guide to Edible Plants may come in handy if I can escape to the wilderness and since I am not in a big city, that would be a possibility.
5. I would pick something off of my TBR stack, so that I would have something new to look forward to. This would be hard to do right now, since I have several books I want to read. I think I will go with Landline by Rainbow Rowell, since I really enjoyed Fangirl and Attachments.

What did you all choose?


Bout of Books Day 6 Update

Bout of Books

Currently Reading: Men of Athens
Pages read: 26 pages-Men of Athens
I really did not read much today at all. I may need to switch up books for a bit.




Saturday, August 23, 2014

Bout of Books Day 5 Update

Bout of Books

Currently Reading: Men of Athens
 Pages read:49 pages-Men of Athens
New blogs: On the Wings of BooksMust Read Faster,
My regional children's/teen librarian meeting was fun and I came back with several great program ideas to steal from the other great librarians. I did accomplish a bit of reading. I will be visiting with a friend Saturday, so I may not have time to read very much.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Bout of Books Day 4 Update

Bout of Books

Currently Reading: The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
 Pages read:59 pages and finished!-The Son of Neptune, 10 pages-Men of Athens

New blogs: Natalie Hearts Books, and Du Livre 
I went to the KY state fair today, which was awesome as usual! I love fried food and sweets. I did read a little bit and found 2 new blogs. Okay really they found me and all the blogs I have followed this time are by people who commented here first, but they are awesome, so that is all that matters! I hope to comment on some more blogs soon.

Bout of Books 11 Day 3 Update

Bout of Books

Currently Reading: The Son of Neptune
 Pages read:56 pages-The Son of Neptune
Attended Twitter chat!
I spent most of the night working on my syllabus for class, but I did participate in the Twitter chat. I also have an interview next Thursday for a library director position. Thursday is my day to go to the state fair, so I will probably not read very much.



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Bout of Books 11 Day 2 Update

Bout of Books

Currently Reading: The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
Pages read:42 pages-The Son of Neptune, 14 pages-Men of Athens

Following new blog: padfoot's library

Mini-challenges: Book Spine Poetry -- My Little Pocketbooks

Book Poetry:

Rags & Bones Tumble & Fall
Just Another Hero Saving Juliet
Perception:
The Lost Hero now Legend

I used 7 books and just one extra word.
Thanks to Alysia for hosting!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Bout of Books 11 Day 1 Update

Bout of Books

Currently Reading: The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
Pages read:69 pages- The Son of Neptune, 22 pages- Men of Athens
Mini-challenges: Book Scavenger Hunt -- The Book Monsters

Another busy day at work! Our superhero party went well and the kids loved posing as superheroes with the back drop Jeana made. We got some really cute photos to give to the parents and grandparents. I need to work on commenting on blogs on Tuesday and reading!

Beat the Heat Readathon Week 2 Updates

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Week 2 Updates:

Day 8
Currently reading: The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
Pages read:69 pages- The Son of Neptune, 22 pages- Men of Athens

Day 9
Currently Reading: The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
Pages read:42 pages-The Son of Neptune, 14 pages-Men of Athens

Day 10
Currently Reading: The Son of Neptune
Pages read:56 pages-The Son of Neptune

Day 11
Currently Reading: The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
Pages read:59 pages and finished!-The Son of Neptune, 10 pages-Men of Athens

Day 12
Currently Reading: Men of Athens
Pages read:49 pages-Men of Athens

Day 13
Currently Reading: Men of Athens
Pages read: 26 pages-Men of Athens

Day 14
Currently Reading:Men of Athens, Iron Trial
Pages read:66 pages and finished!-Men of Athens, 32 pages-Iron Trial

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bout of Books 11 Goals post

Bout of Books

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, August 18th and runs through Sunday, August 24th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 11 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team


I would love to finish a book this week and read at least 250 pages, but I know it is going to be a long busy week! I am going to try to comment on at least 10 blogs and maybe find one or two new blogs to follow and hopefully do a few mini-challenges. I hope to participate in Wednesdays twitter chat, since that is the only one that fits into my schedule this week.
My reading list for this week:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Men of Athens by Olivia Coolidge
Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Good luck to everyone!

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (Time Series, #1)
Square Fish


This is the first book I finished for the mini-challenge #2 of the Newbery Challenge, but the second one I am reviewing for the challenge. I have read it before, but I reread it for the teen book club. I think it is one of those books you should read when you are a teen, when you are an adult, and possibly again when you are old. I looked at the book completely different when I was a teen. I identified with Meg's almost loathing of herself, her looks, her temper, even her doubt of being intelligent and didn't we all want a Calvin at that age. The deeper thoughts of the book escaped me for the most part at that age. Now I look at it and try to analyze the religion and science of the book.

Meg Murry feels she is an outcast. She believes she is stupid, ugly, and just can't fit in. Her only comforts, now that her father is missing, are her mother and young brother Charles Wallace. Charles seems in tune with her thoughts and feelings and is a great comfort although he is only five years old. The whole town seems to make fun of Meg and Charles and thinks her mother is pretty pitiful, since she will not admit her husband left her. Meg's twin brothers seem to be the only ones who fit in. Meg and her family know her father did not leave them of his own choice and they are proven right by the events of a dark and stormy night. Mrs. Whatsit appears and tells them that a tesseract is a real thing. Meg doesn't understand this until the next day, when she, Charles, and Calvin, a boy in her high school are drawn to the same place. The three meet Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which who transport them to different worlds by tesseract in order to save a world from evil and to rescue their father. In order to survive the three will have to face their fears and their faults and embrace the things that make them different.

This is one of those award winners that is timeless and is embraced by every generation. Those who read it when it first came out recommend it to their children and grandchildren and despite a few outdated comments and items, the themes of waiting to belong and of feeling like an outcast, resonate with all readers. Each time I read it, I feel like I find more things to love about it and each time is like reading it for the first time. I am excited about the making of a new movie for this book! If I can ever get caught up with my reading, I plan to read more of the series. I have finished A Wind in the Door, but that is as far as I have read. Definitely a 5 cups of cocoa book!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Thistle and Thyme by Sorche Nic Leodhas

This is one of my three books for the second mini-challenge of the Newbery Challenge. This is a collection of tales and legends from Scotland that was a Newbery Honor book in 1963.

The stories are all relatively happy ending stories, which is a nice change from most myth collections. The stories in this collection revolve mainly around marriages although a couple are about tricking the fair folk or demons. In the introduction the author talks about how the stories started as word of mouth in Scotland and were passed down by different clans, by monks, and by traveling storytellers. She also mentions that some were written for special events like weddings and one was part of the author's own heritage, it was one her grandfather told her.

I loved all of the stories and raptly read each one. Most had a bit of humor to them. In one story, the one the author's grandfather told her, a man and his bride trick a water kelpie who had cursed the lady. At first the lady could not speak a word because of the kelpie, then when she tried to undo the curse, she could not stop talking. Since water kelpies have to repeat what people say, the lady sat for an entire day by the water kelpie's home, until finally the water kelpie was too tired to keep up and the lady returned to normal.
 I also liked another story that was kind of a twist on the Little Mermaid. In this one, the lady was a seal and a prince fell in love with her. The prince married her and she could stay with him as long as he wasn't cross with her. If the prince became angry with her, she had to leave everything in her new life behind. He became frustrated with her, because she was always busy with her son, and said some not very harsh words, but harsh enough, and she had to leave her family. Things sort of turn out okay for the couple in the end, but it had a bit of a bitter twist to the happy ending.
The first story was also good and was about a laird's lass who fell in love with the gobha's son. A laird is a lord and a gobha is a blacksmith and it involved some trickery on the part of both the lass and the lad to end with a happy ending.

Even though this is an older Newbery, it was very good, although it would appeal more to adults and teens who like a more classic tale than children. It is interesting to look at the older Newbery's and see that the audience in today's time would not necessarily be the same as when the books were published. The next book I will review for this challenge, A Wrinkle in Time, is one of the few exceptions.
Overall I enjoyed this greatly and it is a 5 cups of cocoa book for me!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Beat the Heat Week 1 Updates

BeatHeatRATbutton

Week 1 Updates
Day 1:
Currently reading: The Son of Neptune
Pages read: 43 pages

Day 2:
Currently reading: The Son of Neptune
Pages read: 44 pages

Day 3:
Currently reading: The Son of Neptune
Pages read: 21 pages

Day 4:
Currently reading: The Son of Neptune
Pages read: 72 pages

Day 5:
Currently reading: The Son of Neptune
Pages read: 49 pages

Day 6:
Currently reading: The Son of Neptune
Pages read: 26 pages

Day 7:
Currently reading: Finished The Staff of Serapis, The Son of Neptune, Men of Athens
Pages read:60 pages- The Staff of Serapis, 11 pages- The Son of Neptune, 22 pages- Men of Athens
Mini-challenge: Unscramble challenge @ Book Haven

Monday, August 11, 2014

Short and Sweet Read-a-thon

Short and Sweet
Logo by Limabean Designs


This is another COYER mini read-a-thon that runs from August 15 to August 17. The focus of this one is novellas. I plan on reading Shadows by Jennifer Armentrout and The Staff of Serapis by Rick Riordan.

Finished The Staff of Serapis by Rick Riordan. I hope this means he is going to write a combined Greek and Egyptian series!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Beat the Heat Readathon Goals and Reading List

BeatHeatRATbutton
Beat the Heat is hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat and Reanna at Phantasmic Reads you can signup at this link. The Beat the Heat Readathon runs from August 11th to September 1st. There will be mini-challenges throughout the Readathon for participants, along with a grand prize giveaway at the end. You pick how much you want to read and what you want to read and set your own goals. I would like to finish at least 2 books and around 500 pages.

My reading list:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer (now that I am halfway through, surely I can finish it with this readathon!)
Men of Athens by Olivia Coolidge (last book I need for Mini-challenge #2 of the Newbery Challenge)
Escape from Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Dearest by Althea Kontis

Rereads:
The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan
The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Novellas (for COYER challenge)
Shadows by Jennifer Armentrout
The Staff of Serapis by Rick Riordan





Saturday, August 9, 2014

Sleeping Beauty by Jenni James

This is the second novella in the Faerie Tale collection by her. Each novella can be read individually and the order does not matter.
Sleeping Beauty (Faerie Tale Collection, #2)
StoneHouse Ink


Prince Darien wants to find a true love like his friend King Michael has found with his wife. Queen Aleyna lives in a sleep induced world in which she does not know about the horrors in her past and the horror that awaits her future. Ezralon the unicorn keeps her in this state until she can face Villeria, the witch who killed Aleyna's family and placed a curse on her. Darien and Aleyna are destined  to meet, when his friends challenge his honor by saying he is scared of the ghostly queen. When Darien learns the truth about Aleyna, he will stop at nothing to defend her and bring her back to the world.

This was a very dark novella. Villeria is a truly vicious villain who uses torture as one of her most effective tactics. The bloody violence she inflicted on Aleyna's family and people is very macabre and gives this a darker feel than Beauty and the Beast by her. I think this makes Sleeping Beauty a unique retelling and gives it a sort of horror story type feel. I have mixed feelings on Aleyna as a character. In the end she is pretty strong, but she is treated throughout the book as fragile and incapable of anything. She was a bit too much damsel in distress.

Favorite Character: Ezralon, because I love unicorns. He was also very brave, although he, like all the male characters, underestimated Aleyna.

Favorite Quote: "Perfection may be good on the outside, but if there are no trials-if we do not face our destroyers and challenge our right to truly live-then what is the point of living if we do not gain anything, if everything is frozen, if we do not find out what we are capable of achieving?"

I like James' retellings and will probably read more of them at a later date. These were the only two available on Overdrive, but I liked them enough to purchase the rest. 3 cups of cocoa.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Snow Bride by Debbie Macomber

I read this book for the Christmas in July readathon as part of the COYER Summer Vacation challenge. I read and liked both of Macomber's Mrs. Miracle books, so I decided to try another of her Christmas books.
The Snow Bride
Mira

Jenna Campbell is a practical sort of person, so when she decides she is going to meet the man of her dreams in Alaska, a man she met on the Internet, her mother, friends, and boss are all concerned. Jenna has been in love with her boss for years, but he only sees her as a good assistant. Her mother has just divorced her 5th husband and Jenna is a little tired of taking care of her. Dalton Gray seems like the perfect escape and also potential husband material, since he quotes poetry and thought she was pretty based on an actual picture of her. At this point, Jenna is thirty and desperate and boards a plane to Fairbanks. On the plane, she meets Reid, who seems like a total jerk. He doesn't realize who Jenna is meeting in Alaska, until the guy doesn't show up. Jenna needs a ride to a smaller town in Alaska and Reid has his own plane, so he ends up flying Jenna toward her destination, until she tells him who she is meeting. He knows Dalton is no good and basically kidnaps Jenna and takes her to his town of Snowbound. He wants her to stay with his sister who knows just how bad Dalton is. However, his sister is out of town and there is no where else for Jenna to stay in this one woman town. With the charming locals and melting Reid's cold exterior, Jenna may find what she is really looking for.

My first thoughts were this reads exactly like a Hallmark movie. I looked it up and couldn't find a movie link for it, but it would make for a perfectly cheesy Hallmark movie. I actually secretly like those movies, but don't tell anyone. ;) Parts of the story were a little out there, like Jenna was a little too comfortable with Reid kidnapping her and the storyline with her mom was a bit out there. I did like that Jenna refuses to just dismiss Dalton based on other peoples opinions of him. She realizes they are probably right, but she wants to make up her own mind.

This was a perfect quick fluff read and perfect for Christmas in July. I am really excited about Mr. Miracle, both book and movie, coming out in October. 3.5 cups of cocoa!

Beat the Heat Readathon Signup

BeatHeatRATbutton
Beat the Heat is hosted by Jessi at Novel Heartbeat and Reanna at Phantasmic Reads you can signup at this link. The Beat the Heat Readathon runs from August 11th to September 1st. There will be mini-challenges throughout the Readathon for participants, along with a grand prize giveaway at the end. You pick how much you want to read and what you want to read and set your own goals. I will chose a reading list and goals soon!




Friday, August 1, 2014

New to Me! Read-a-thon

Newtome

This is another COYER read-a-thon for August 1- August 3. I forgot to post this earlier! I am reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio and A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. These are both books I need to read before the class I am teaching starts. I have heard so many good things about Wonder, so I am excited to finally start reading it!

Day 1: Wonder- 180 pages
Day 2: Wonder- 133 pages and finished!
Day 3:A Tangle of Knots-