Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Broke and the Bookish Secret Santa

I just signed up for this! This will be my third year participating and it is so much fun. The link to sign up is here. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee

This will count for the Reading Road Trip Challenge as my book for Alabama. This was also a book club book.

So I debated back and forth on reading this, decided not to read it, and then our book club chose it as a book. I had also been tempted by an older woman who told me, you need to read it and listen to Atticus' defense of his actions. I struggled with the idea that Harper Lee never wanted this to be seen again, but after reading it, I can see its importance and hope that she will be at peace with the decision that the publisher made.
Go Set a Watchman

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all-time favorites and is one of most people's all-time favorites, mainly because of Atticus Finch. In Go Set a Watchman, 26 year old Jean Louise Finch is returning home from New York to visit Macomb County, Alabama, her home. Called Scout when she was younger, she is now Jean Louise and is expected to act like a southern lady, virginal and demure. Jean Louise tries to behave to please her Aunt Alexandra, but as usually she gets into a bit of trouble. Jean Louise has one issue that she feels most people in her world do not have, she is color blind. Being raised by Calpurnia, a black woman, and Atticus, a white man who represented a black man in a rape trial, Jean Louise never developed the idea that races are different. Now it is the time of segregation and the fight against integrating the schools and Jean Louise is trapped with knowing integration is right and hating that the Federal Government has forced it on her beloved South. Along with this, she witnesses Atticus and her boyfriend/ best friend Henry Clinton attending a Citizen's Council meeting and she feels everything she has ever known was a lie. What do you do when your idol falls and how do you rebuild when your hero becomes human? What is the truth and how do you live with views that differ from those you love?

I was sad about Jem being gone by the beginning of the story and that some of the beloved characters from the first story were absent or only had minor roles. Harper Lee examines the South after WWII and Jean Louise returns home to fear between the races and the struggle of reconciling the past with the present. The South was still entrench with state's rights and fear of a strong government and where the poor whites and blacks fight to survive. Lee does not sugarcoat all of the racism in the South or in the North at the time, but brings it to light in a way that does affect our view of the characters of To Kill a Mockingbird. This is a powerful book and Lee has not destroyed Atticus in this, but rebuilt Scout. We all face the moments when our parents become fully human to us and when we have to build our own consciences that may not fit in with our pasts or with the ones our loved ones hold. Growing up is hard and fighting for what we believe is hard, but it is something we must do. Sometimes we must be the Watchman, the one who embraces the role of being the only voice dissenting a majority opinion, the only voice that is willing to stand up for what you believe. A Watchman does not abandon its community, but stands strong in it. As is To Kill a Mockingbird, this is a beautifully written book and one that needed to be told. It is not as polished as To Kill a Mockingbird, but it is powerful. This ranks right up there with To Kill a Mockingbird to me. 5 cups of cocoa!

Hero by Mike Lupica

So I read this for my September TBR and am just now writing the review, which is why I did not participate in the challenge this month. I hope to do so again in November. This will also count for Reading Road Trip, since most of the story takes place in New York.
Philomel Books

Zach knows his dad Tom Harriman is a hero who is always fighting the "bads," but he has no idea how much of one he is, until his dad dies. When Tom dies, his powers pass to his son Zach. Zach had no clue his dad could run like the wind or defeat men twice his size, or take on an entire gang and destroy it. Zach goes through all the emotions of being a "hero," anger at his dad, fear of himself, and finally the same sense of duty his dad had. As Zach's powers grow, he realizes that his dad did not die accidentally in a plane crash, but was murdered. With the help of a mysterious old man and his best friend, Kate, he will have to unwrap the mystery, find out who the "bads" really are, and save the possible future President of the United States. It is all in a day's work when you are the Hero.

Great quick read that is full of action and twists. It is also an easy read, which will be perfect for our freshman reading challenge! Lupica throws in Knicks basketball, a school bully, a best friend/future potential girlfriend, and a family legacy and wraps the story up nicely in barely over 300 pages. He also leaves it open for a sequel. I think for our challenge it is perfect, since it would interest a young teenage boy, particularly one who may struggle with reading. 3.5 cups of cocoa!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Sign of the Book by John Dunning

This was a book club read, a Reading Road Trip read, and a read for RIP X. This is part of a series, but the only one in the series I have read. I hope there will not be any spoilers, but since I have not read the first three in the series, there may inadvertently be spoilers.
The Sign Of The Book (Cliff Janeway, #4)
Pocket Books

Cliff Janeway is a no nonsense kind of guy who enjoys books and running his bookshop and who still remembers the rough and tumble life of being a cop. His bookshop is in the rough side of town, but his former career prepared him well for it. Cliff has another love, his girlfriend Erin, who has a past he does not know about completely. When Erin asks him to investigate the murder of her first love, Robert, Cliff goes to Paradise, Colorado to meet Robert's wife and Erin's childhood friend, Laura. Laura just so happens to be the prime suspect in the murder. Laura seems to be innocent, but claims to have shot her husband, which leads Cliff to believe she is hiding something. Along with Laura's confusing admission of guilt is the fact that in the Marshall's home there are rare signed books, which would be worth thousands. Was this a crime of passion, a crime by a hurting child, a crime of greed, or something even more sinister? Cliff must get to the bottom of the crime, before he loses the one person who means everything to him, Erin.

This seemed to be a cross between a hard-boiled detective novel and a suspenseful mystery. This is full of language, so it was interesting trying to listen to the audio and turning it down every time the f-bomb was dropped, which was about every 10 minutes. Despite a bit too much language, this was a surprising and suspenseful read. I did not completely see the end coming and the twist with the child who had autism were really well done. I can tell we have learned more about autism since 2005, but much of the materials was actually well-informed for the time. Cliff was a likable character, but a bit of a chauvinist in his responses to women and it almost cost him everything, so well done to Dunning on creating a character flaw that was not necessarily obvious, but played a big role in the end. Despite the language, I would read more in this series and I loved the discussion of books in the mystery. 4 cups of cocoa!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I read this book for the Classics Challenge as a Classic with a Person's Name in the Title. This was also a book club book.
Anne of Green Gables (Anne of Green Gables, #1)

Marissa and Matthew Cuthbert decide to adopt a young boy to help Matthew, who is getting older and is a little unwell, with the chores. Imagine Matthew's surprise when a red headed talkative girl is waiting for him at the train stop. Anne is everything Marissa and Matthew are not. Anne talks and imagines while the Cuthbert's are private and practical. Anne obsesses about her looks, while they are more interested in the farm. The whole community of Avonlea wonders about Anne, including her friend Diana and Gilbert Blythe who seems to have a crush on her. Anne worries that the Cuthberts will take her back, since she has been with two families already and worries about her red hair. Anne's temper and stubbornness earn her a few foes, but her charm and love of life make her more friends. As she grows from 11 to 16, she matures and decides teaching is the career for her. When tragedy strikes, Marissa realizes just how much she needs Anne and Anne learns that sometimes home is the best place to be.

This story is as charming and heartwarming now as when it was written a hundred years ago. I was surprised how easy a read this was and about how the humor translates so well in this day as it did way back when. I can see why elementary students all the way to adults love this book. I am only sorry I waited this long to read it and I would love to find time to read other books in the series. This is definitely a 5 cups of cocoa read! I highly recommend this classic and if you have not read it, you need to pick it up!

Monday, October 12, 2015

FrightFall Read-a-thon Wrapup

Seasons of Reading

FrightFall Read-a-thon was hosted Michelle at True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit. I did not managed to finish a book, but I made progress in several books. I read 100 pages of 5th Wave, 100 pages of Inhuman, listened to 2.5 CDs of Daja's Book, and read 296 pages of The Last Runaway, so overall not a bad reading time!

Thanks again to Michelle for hosting!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Frightfall Read-a-thon Midweek Checkin

Seasons of Reading

FrightFall Read-a-thon is hosted Michelle at True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit. This is my midweek check-in a few days late.:) I am about 100 pages into The 5th Wave and it is appropriately creepy! I have switched to reading Inhuman by Kat Falls, because the 5th Wave is not going to work for our freshmen challenge, just a few too many curse words. Since it is with the school, we have to watch our words. :) I have managed to read 100 pages of Inhuman in one day, so that tells you it is pretty good. It is creepy and fast-paced, so I think the freshmen will like it. I have also listened to 2 CDs of Daja's Book, which is a relisten. Poor Dracula has only been read for a couple of minutes. I pick it up before bedtime and then I fall asleep. I hope to find the time for it soon. I am going to have to focus on the Last Runaway soon, since I need to finish it by Thursday for the book club.

I hope you all are having a spooky time with your reads!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Frighfall Read-a-thon Reading List and Starting Line

Seasons of Reading

It is time for spooky reads and Michelle at True Book Addict, Castle Macabre and The Christmas Spirit blogs has a read-a-thon to get you in the Halloween spirit. You can sign up at this link.
For the read-a-thon, you only have to read one "scary" book. This can be a mystery, thriller, Gothic novel, or something similar for those of you like me who do not read horror. My scary book is going to be Dracula by Bram Stoker, since I also chose it for RIP X this year. I also hope to read some on The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, which is kind of spooky in itself and is another RIP X read. I need to finish Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker, which is not spooky at all, but I have to finish it for the high school reading challenge that I conduct with the high school librarian. If I have time I need to start The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier and read more on Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee for two of my book clubs. I will be lucky to finish any books this week, but hopefully I can get some reading accomplished! Thanks again to Michelle for hosting!