December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates the holiday! I find myself very blessed this year for having a family that is able to support me when I need them. My car just died (transmission troubles) and my family is helping me get a replacement until I am a situation where I can afford the payments myself. My goal today is just to relax and take it easy with my family. I am expecting to get a lot of books *crosses fingers* that I'll be able to review soon, but I'll just have to wait and see! I hope everyone has a fantastic day.

December 19, 2009

100+ Reading Challenge

Yup, I am going to do my best to read 100 books in 2010!

Rules of the challenge:
1) Try to read 100 or more books
2) They can be books of any format (graphic novels, novellas, Manga, eBooks...)
3) You don't need to make a list, but you can write one if you would like and can change it at any time.
4) You can count books that you are reading for other challenges.
5) You have to read the books between January 1st and December 31st of 2010.
6) Sign up by going to J. Kaye's Book Blog and signing Mr. Linky. There is more information on the rules at the blog itself, so check it out.

I am really excited to try to complete this challenge! It sounds kind of scary, but there are so many fantastic books that I need to read that I'm sure I'll enjoy it even if I don't read 100 books! I think I'll take some time to come up with my list of books I want to read.

December 18, 2009

Review of "China: Land of Dragons and Emperors"

"China: Land of Dragons and Emperors"
Adeline Yen Mah


ynopsis: The history of China spans thousands of years. Journey through China in this fascinating and absorbing book: discover the land of dragons and emperors, and learn about the significance of its ancient dynasties. Countless tools and materials that people have used every day for centuries—paper, gunpowder, cast iron, matches, and silk, to name just a few—were first made in China. Chinese society has progressed through major changes, but lucky numbers, festivals, beliefs about colors, the practice of footbinding, the building of the Great Wall, and the larger-than-life people of China are all integral parts of this ancient civilization and still have an impact on life today. Bestselling author Adeline Yen Mah explores an extraordinary view of the great story of China over the last two millennia in this nonfiction work, which also includes black-and-white photographs.

I first heard about this book reviewed on Kristy's (The Story Siren) blog and I had to read it. I am not a huge fan of reading non-fiction, but I took a class on Asian American literature in college and LOVED it. I have been interested in learning more about Asian cultures since. I was hoping that I would love the book as much as I loved the class, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed. Overall the book was informative and interesting, but it did get a little tedious. It basically went through each emperor of China describing the highlights of the different dynasty and some of the most important inventions of the time period. I had no idea so many things were invented in China and I learned a lot about the culture, but it just got a little dull about halfway through. Maybe it is just that I get bored with lots of date and I am don't usually read non-fiction. I really liked how Mah broke up the dynasty chapters by giving tidbits about different topics and photography for a visual of some of the different landmarks discussed. The book also has images, maps, a timeline, and a list of further reading suggestions.

I would recommend this book for anyone who enjoys history or wants to learn about China. This book does give a lot of insight into both the culture and politics of the country, making it a valuable source even if it is a bit slow at times.

December 17, 2009

"Pirates!" Rekindles My Addiction to Everything Pirates

"Pirates! "
Celia Rees


Synopsis: Nancy Kington, daughter of a rich merchant, suddenly orphaned when her father dies, is sent to live on her family's plantation in Jamaica. Disgusted by the treatment of the slaves and her brother's willingness to marry her off, she and one of the slaves, Minerva, run away and join a band of pirates. For both girls the pirate life is their only chance for freedom in a society where both are treated like property, rather than individuals. Together they go in search of adventure, love, and a new life that breaks all restrictions of gender, race, and position. Told through Nancy's writings, their adventures will appeal to readers across the spectrum and around the world.

Before I write my review for this book, I must say that I am bias because I LOVE pirates. With that said, I loved this book! I was really excited when I found this book at the library on audio and it made my commuting fly by. The story was great and Nancy was a fantastic character to follow. Her life takes all these twists and turns that throw her into terrifying situations, but Nancy takes them each in stride with help from the people closest to her. I also loved Minerva and how brave she was no matter what the situation. I also liked how Rees was able to show the role that women played in society at that time. I find women's history very interesting and Rees was able to intertwine these issues into the story without bogging down the plot.

I loved the book so much I ended up buying Louis .A. Meyer's "Bloody Jack" because I wanted more books about pirates. If you like books with strong female characters, adventure, or pirates then this the book for you. I haven't read any other of Rees's books, but I would like to read more of her work.

December 14, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

I am so excited to have received my second award for my blog! Thank you Sherry (Flipping Pages for All Ages) for finding my blog worthy of such an award.

The easy peasy rules:
1) List 10 honest things about yourself
2) Pass it on to 10 other honest bloggers

Here is the list of my 10 honest things. I hope they are not too shocking!

  1. During the winter I will go weeks without shaving my legs... yes it is gross but I am lazy. Although now that I wear dresses at work at least once a week I won't be able to get away with that.
  2. Sometimes I will get halfway through a book and then just never finish it.
  3. I don't do textbook reading for a huge majority of my courses.
  4. Whenever people give me smelly soaps or lotion as a gift, I have to give it to my mom because I am allergic. She has saved hundreds of dollars on soap.
  5. I love Hello Kitty so much that my bathroom is decorated in Hello Kitty everything.
  6. My biggest weaknesses are fried food and frosting.
  7. I have very large hands that tend to be the same size as my guy friends. Even those who are 6 to 7 inches taller than me.
  8. I like to listen to music that I call "ridiculously bad" because the corny lyrics and beat make me laugh.
  9. When I was little I pretended to have my own radio show when I was in the shower. I don't know why, but I have always found showering to be a boring part of everyday life.
  10. I have a growing pirate addiction. I worry that one day I will wake up and think I am one.
Here are the honest bloggers I would like to bring to the spotlight:
Carrie (Carrie's YA Bookshelf)
Lili (ChicaReader)
Katie (My Life In Books)

Yan (Books By Their Covers)
Taschima (Bloody Bookaholic)
Tina (Fantastic Book Review)
Hope (Hope's Bookshelf)
Liyana (LiyanaLand!)
Kristy (The Story Siren)
Lizzie (The Book Obsession)

December 13, 2009

Rave Review for "Rooftops of Tehran"

"Rooftops of Tehran"
by Mahbod Seraji


Synopsis: In a middle-class neighborhood of Iran's sprawling capital city, 17-year-old Pasha Shahed spends the summer of 1973 on his rooftop with his best friend Ahmed, joking around one minute and asking burning questions about life the next. He also hides a secret love for his beautiful neighbor Zari, who has been betrothed since birth to another man. But the bliss of Pasha and Zari's stolen time together is shattered when Pasha unwittingly acts as a beacon for the Shah's secret police. The violent consequences awaken him to the reality of living under a powerful despot, and lead Zari to make a shocking choice...

This was my favorite book out of everything I read this year! I felt like this book was written for me, it was just that perfect. I tend to get really impatient with books, but I didn't have that problem with "Rooftops of Tehran". I know this book technically isn't a teen book; however, the characters are teenagers and they go through problems that many teens can relate to. The characters have problems from the everyday disagreements with teachers to more intense issues such as political disobedience and death of loved ones. Something I really liked about the book was the vivid description of the alley that the characters lived in. Seraji made the community come to life in a way that took the book to a whole new level for me. Even though there was a lot of tragedy in the book, I still felt that the alley was a vibrant atmosphere that had hope through the darkest of times.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction, love stories, coming of age stories, and for anyone who enjoyed "Kite Runner". I think this is a great book for book clubs and even has discussion questions at the end of the book. I am going to be recommending this book to everyone I work with because it was just that fantastic.
I wish I had a special rating for books that are this wonderful, it is something that I will be thinking about.

December 4, 2009

Release date for the Final Book in The Hunger Games Trilogy!

In case you haven't heard, the third book in "The Hunger Games" trilogy is coming out August 24th of next year! I am so excited, the last book just left me at the edge of my seat! The paperback version of the first book will be available July 6th, so I am glad to see a release date for that finally as well.
I would love to post more, but I am trying to figure out this 10-20 page final that was assigned yesterday that is due in a week... so I am sorry to say that I am out of time. At least this is my last assignment and I will be back posting more frequently before you know it!

December 1, 2009

Christmas List

Dear Santa,

This year I have been extra nice and have worked very hard, so I hope you will be generous enough to put some of these amazing books under my Christmas Tree:

"Ballads of Suburbia"- by Stephanie Kuehnert
"Rampant"- by Diana Peterfreund

"The Looking Glass Wars"- by Frank Beddor

"Tricks"- Ellen Hopkins
"The Mysterious Benedict Society"- by Trenton Lee Stewart

"The Fairy Tale Detectives (Sisters Grimm Series #1)-by Michael Buckley

"Leviathan"- Scott Westerfield

"Fallen"-Lauren Kate
"Ice"- Sarah Beth Durst

I tried to for as little as possible, but it was hard because of all the great books that came out this year. I hope you and Mrs. Claus are doing well. Happy Holidays!