24 January 2011

The Demon King

Hanson "Cuffs" Alistor is someone you meet and never forget, he wishes everyone could forget.  While out hunting with his friend, Dancer, they encounter a Wizardling that does not belong in the Spirits.  He takes the amulet from that Wizardling in order to protect himself and Dancer; an amulet that becomes both a curse and a destiny.  Chima is so talented at weaving a story you really don't want to stop reading.  After I finished this book a few years ago, I couldn't wait to get to the next book, but like my curse of finding a series I love that is not complete, I had to wait.  However, due to an overwhelming 'read list' I had already compiled, when the second book finally arrived, the details from the first book had muddied.  So, obviously, I had to reread it! Just as good the second time, as it was the first round. 

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level: 5-10
Pages: 506

**My reading and hence my posting is going to get seriously few and far between due to a heavy school schedule.  I apologize but such is life and I do love my chosen major.  There are a ton of textbooks I will be reading, but due to the nature of textbook reading, I will not be counting them or reviewing them.

15 January 2011

Entice

Book 3 in the Need Series

SPOILER ALERT!!!

Zara has turned.  Bad Pixies plague the town.  Kids are disappearing.  The whole town is sieged by loss, snow, media, and police.  All Zara wants is to rescue Nick from Valhalla.  As clues and leads come to light, Astley and Zara fly the world over to follow those leads, and all they lead to is more loss, more death.  In Iceland, her Father (the Pixie King) sacrifices himself to save her.  In finding Astley's mother, more deceit, more heartache.  Mrs. Nix also sacrifices her life in the pursuit of rescuing Nick.  With all this loss and death at every turn, is Zara being selfish in pursuing Nick in Valhalla?  Will she even be successful in reaching the home of the Gods?  And once there, can she make Nick see that she is still Zara and not hate her for being a Pixie? 

This is a very compelling read, and I found myself propelled from page to page.  I literally didn't want to go to sleep at night with wanting to read it.  And I don't care how true Zara and Nick's love is, I so want her to be with Astley.  I guess in reading this book, I finally sort of understand the whole Edward vs. Jacob crap that swirls around Twilight.  Now, let's see how long before another book comes out.  I sure hope it's faster than this last time, and that book better go over 300 pages!!!

Genre:  Fantasy
Grade Level: 9-12
Pages:  266

14 January 2011

Captivate

Book 2 in Need Series

I keep forgetting to warn people!!!  These are not just reviews, in fact they are mostly summaries of the book, because I don't believe in telling someone else they should read something.  So in warning--SPOILER ALERT!!

Bedford, Maine is in a state of siege. The snow won't stop and neither will the pixies.  More are coming, trying to claim the territory once held by Zara's father--now encased in a wall of iron around his house with his pixies.  However, Zara starts to question her viewpoint on pixies when she saves Astley's life.  He is nothing that she has experienced before, but can she trust him?  Especially when every time he's near her she turns blue!?  However, Astley is not the only King to show up in Bedford.  The evil Pixie King, Frank, is just about as evil as you can get, and he also wants Zara's Father's territory.  Frank manages to find the house, take down the wall, and kill most of the pixies there, and wound, seriously, Zara's Father.  When Zara and Nick find the house, Frank is waiting.  Nick is mortally wounded, the Valkarie comes for him.  Zara turns to Astley, against everyone else's advice.  She allows Astley to make her his Queen, to become a Pixie, in order to save Nick from Valhalla.  Can Zara retain her humanity?  Can she find and save Nick?  Can she keep everyone else safe?

I love these stories, and although Nick is a great guy and Zara loves him, I just want her and Astley to stay together.  I don't know why, I just do.  I guess we'll see where the story continues to go.  I love Zara's character.  She is every person.  She wants so badly to be good, especially when horrible things keep happening to her.  She just wants to be allowed to be a good person, but how do you do that when people/pixies won't stop trying to kill you and you have to defend yourself?  Zara struggles with her very nature, and always keeps putting one foot in front of the other, even when everything and everyone around her keeps knocking her on her ass.  My only real criticism is that I wish the books were longer, especially since there is such a gap between books in their release.  I need more of the story to hold on to until the next one comes out!!

Genre:  Fantasy
Grade Level: 9-12
Pages: 273

12 January 2011

Need

Now, I've read the first two in this series before, but with the new one out, I like to refresh my memory if the reading of the previous books was more than a year ago.  So starting from the beginning.

Zara is empty.  Her stepfather's death has destroyed her spunk, so her mother sends her to Maine to live with her grandmother.   Zara is able to find friends and her spunk just in time to deal with the supernatural crazy that is to become her life.  Pixie's--not Tinker Bell, but blood-sucking, need-driven creatures.  Their king needs a Queen in order to stave off the need for blood and to control the pixie's under them.  Zara is great bait--afterall, she's the King's daughter.  Zara's mother must find the strength to save her daughter, and Zara must find the courage to save everyone, even if they don't want her to. 

This story sneaks up and bites you.  No one would believe in Pixie's as fast as Zara in "normal" life, but as we all know, fantasy is generally speaking, not "normal" life.  You really feel the cold, the fear, the need throughout the book.  I'm looking forward to reading them again, and most definitely looking forward to the third installment.  This is one of those, "if you like Twilight" books, so just keep that in mind. 

Genre:  Fantasy
Grade Level: 9-12
Pages:  306

11 January 2011

House of Night: Awakened

The 8th Installment in The House of Night Series.

Zoey has returned from the Otherworld, and in Sgaich's kingdom she finds love and peace.  However, in Zoey's world, nothing can stay that peaceful for long.  With Evil getting the upper hand, she must take her battered spirit and body back to Tulsa and stand up against Neferet; Zoey must stand up for Nyx and all that is right in the world.  In the end there is only Love afterall, and that must be worth fighting for.

This is a Vampyre book, so the whole series has generally hooked me in.  Other than some cheesy dialogue, the books are well written.  The story is compelling, and definitely leaves you wondering "oh God, what is going to happen next, and is Zoey FINALLY going to kill that stupid Bitch Neferet, because honestly, after 8 books, I'm really ready for that psycho to die--painfully!!"

Genre: Fantasy
Grade Level:  9-12
Pages: 290

09 January 2011

The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason

My choice for Non Fiction this month.

Harris's main premise throughout the entire book is that we do NOT  need organized religion or "faith" in order to live ethical lives.  The destruction, hate, death that swarms around organized faith causes more problems than it helps.  His argument is very well thought and thoroughly backed up.  In fact, his case notes and sources take up 1/3 of the book.  The fact is that we look at things in this world and we see horrible things, but if someone dares to suggest that what was done was because the person had absolute "faith" in something, we aren't allowed to criticize this.  That is not only unreasonable, it's extremely dangerous.

I grew up in an LDS family.  My parents were converts to the church actually.  However, I have finally moved away from that particular faith.  No organized religion is appealing to me.  I have absolutely no need whatsoever to believe in some God in order to be a kind, loving, charitable person.  I am that way because it makes me happy to be that way.  And I hate to tell you, but if you need God's glory or his condemnation as a personal motivator, it's you that need to take a deep look at yourselves.  Whether we like to admit it, we are currently at war with the tenets of Islam.  We think, oh this is just a minority of fundamentalists.  Read the Koran, literally, and tell me that again.  Read the Bible literally, and tell me that.  Let's face it, if we read the Bible literally, the next time your kid mouths off to you, you are suppose to take them outside and stone them to death. 

One of the things that gets me is this "love the sinner, hate the sin."  This is total crap.  Sorry if that offends you, but it is.  To love someone is to not judge them at all.  To love them is to allow them to love as well.  Homosexual marriage is problem one of the greatest current examples.  How on earth does allowing two people to be married, hurt your marriage?  It doesn't.  It's really that simple.  The fight against this is a fight against what some see as sin, nothing else.  Large amounts of money and time are wasted on this.  If your prophet, God, church leader, Pope, whatever walked into your house tomorrow, declared your spouse a sinner, and told you that your marriage is over, your children are bastards, and if you choose to stay with him/her you will be condemned to Hell for all eternity. How do you think that would make you feel?  Is it reasonable?  They told you that this is the will of God.  We need to stop wasting our time on the "sins" of others, those truly victimless crimes, and pay attention to those things that are truly ruining our world.

Genre: Non Fiction
Grade Level:  Adult
Pages: 227 (348 including references)

To Be a Librarian

Part 3

A TEACHER

No matter where your career takes you--into a school, public, academic, archives. . . You will teach someone at some point.  In all actuality, you will be teaching every minute of every day.  Whether it is simply by example or actively engaged in interactions with others, you will teach.  You will teach how to use and navigate the library.  You will teach a love of books or reading.  You will teach people of all ages.  Embrace this opportunity.  Understand that it is something you cannot avoid.  Teach!

05 January 2011

To Be a Librarian

In continuation. . .

A READER

This is more something a Librarian should be, and not only a Librarian I may say but an English Teacher as well.  I say that because I have noticed all too often that there are teachers of Literature and English in my own children's schools that don't like to read.  How do you pursue such a profession and not like to read?  How can you be a Librarian and not like to read??  I'm sorry but it is utterly impossible to be truly successful in either profession if you don't even like the objects you are trying to preserve or teach.  A Librarian is also a teacher of books.  In every Library on any given day, someone is going to ask, anything new?  Anything good?  There is no better way to teach than by example.  I love when a kid comes to check out a book and I can look at them and say, "now that's a good one!!"  I always have a book with me.  If you see me without one, then you know something is seriously wrong.  My husband has even told me I read too much, although, personally, I don't even think that is possible.  There is a book out there for everyone, and if someone claims they don't like to read, they've simply never found the right book.  In order to truly inspire the next generation in reading, we do not need to throw "good" books at them, we need to read ourselves.  Our example speaks more in this arena than in almost every other.  A Librarian has a responsibility to stand as an example.  How else is anyone to value what we stand guardian over?

04 January 2011

The Giver

My choice for "classic" this month--The Giver by Lois Lowry

Shockingly, this is my first time reading this book.  This book is ideal for a book club as it is extremely thought provoking.  However, I'm getting ahead of myself.  First, summary and then I'll deal with some of the questions that arise in the book.

In Jonas's world everything is provided--a comfortable home, food, transportation, crime is pretty much nonexistent (especially in our definition of crime), and everyone has their "place" or occupation determined by the counsel of Elders.  Running like clockwork, no poverty, no hunger, no pain.  Sounds great right?  Upon Jonas's twelfth year, he is designated as the Receiver of Memory, a honorable position.  He learns from the one that will become the former Receiver, and since he is now giving away his memories, he is dubbed The Giver.  Within one person, all the memories of the past are held.  He must suffer every emotion of the past and present, every memory that has ever  been, he must keep them all so that no one else in the community will have to bear those memories.  Jonas begins to realize that the life they are living is not Life, it is mere existence.  He will leave it all behind, escape his community, in order to leave his memories behind for them all, and hope that he makes to the Elsewhere, and hope that the memories left behind will bring real life to all he left behind.

Each time period throughout history has had it's times of turmoil.  There is always bad in the world.  How would it feel to live in a world where there was never bad?  Sounds great doesn't it.  No more starving children.  No more war.  No more neglect?  No more pain?  What person doesn't wish for that?  I can say that even I do sometimes, and then I remember. . .No bad without good.  No peace without war.  Everything must have it's opposite in order for anything to have real meaning at all.  One of the saddest points in the book is when Jonas's asks his "parents" if they love him.

'"Do you love me?"

There was an awkward silence for a moment.  Then Father gave a little chuckle. "Jonas. You, of all people. Precision of language, please!"

"What do you mean?" Jonas asked.  Amusement was not at all what he had anticipated.

"Your father means that you used a very generalized word, so meaningless that it's become almost obsolete," his mother explained.'

This goes on a bit more, but could you imagine?  You may be without pain, but you would also be without love, without choice!!!  Your spouse would be found for you based on compatibility, you would take little pills that killed sexual desire so even if you are married, sex would be out of the equation.  Sure there would never be a divorce, but there would never be love either.  No love, no hate.  I believe that we often get bogged down in the bad, that we all too often forget that without the bitter there would be no sweet.  To understand and fully appreciate the good, we must have an understanding that there is something that is bad or else it simply is.  We would exist.  We would never live.

Genre: Science Fiction/Dystopic
Grade Level:  4-9
Pages: 179

03 January 2011

To Be a Librarian

When most people hear I'm currently working on my Masters in Library Science, it usually evokes a blank stare.  "Is that like cataloging?"  Inside I think, "oh boy!!"  What is it to be a Librarian?  There is absolutely no way to answer this question in one post, so I figured I would start with one, and work my way down the list, periodically.  Now, there is absolutely no way I could cover everything that a Librarian does, let's face it--even I don't know yet, but I want to talk here about what being a Librarian means to ME!!

THE GATEKEEPER

One of the greatest privileges afforded a Librarian is the opportunity to stand as a gatekeeper or a guardian of the past, the present, the future.  Each and every piece of information- written, spoken, tweeted, poked, or whatever the information vessel, is a piece of a puzzle.  This immense 3D puzzle is the picture of us.  Each book reflects not only an author, but also a society.  The "popular" books, speak of that society.  I personally believe that the burning of the Library of Alexandria is one of histories great tragedies.  All that knowledge, lost.  Not only in what was written and stored there, but also with the passing of that library, a cultural shift in how knowledge was pursued and thought of.  A Librarian gets to assume many roles, but it is our privilege to stand as guardians over knowledge in it's many forms, and to attempt to foster within our tiny realms a habitat of reflection, a pursuit of knowledge, a love of words, a passion for information, a desire to save them all--good or ill, for the future to look back upon.  We are to be objective; we do not care if what is written or thought now will be seen as frivolous or negative in the future or even if it will reflect well upon us, all that matters is that it exists.   We seek to preserve the Fact in Truth.  We stand as guardians of information, and pray everyone wishes to Come In!

Romeo and Juliet


My selection for a play this month was Romeo and Juliet.  I admit to being a total sucker for this particular tragedy even if there is no freaking way that Romeo and Juliet ever really loved one another.  Sorry, but Romeo loves Rosaline one minute, sees Juliet, and all of a sudden loves her.  Love doesn't work that way, but guess what, this is a drama-a tragedy; love works that way here, and there story is the epitome of love.  The hardest part of reading this play is reading Shakespearean English.  However, the real key to that is remembering that this isn't just a play, it's poetry.  That makes it even more fun!

Genre: Drama
Grade Level: 9-Adult
Pages: 281

02 January 2011

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein was  my choice of poetry this month.  Shockingly, the only book by Shel Silverstein that I have read is "The Giving Tree", which is by far one of my favoritest memories from childhood, but until recently, I didn't even know that was written by Shel Silverstein.  I enjoyed the book and the many different forms his poetry takes.  I don't think a summary really fits, but I think that his opening poem is very fitting for how I feel about reading:

INVITATION

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer. . .
If you're a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
Come in!
Come in!

I hope that everyone and anyone who has ever dreamed, pick up a book and enter in.  I had someone tell me that they really weren't a reader recently.  I told them they hadn't found the right book, to keep looking, to open and start and if they didn't like it not to worry about finishing it, just move on.  They had never thought that not finishing what they started was an option.  Oh please, if you don't like it, put it down, lest you spoil your pallet forever!!  Happy Reading!!

01 January 2011

The Dark Tower, Book 1: The Gunslinger

Roland is the last of his kind, a gunslinger, a wanderer.  His search for the man in black.  It is a search through the worst places imaginable.  It's a journey to the limit and a slow creeping out.  He seeks the Tower.

The first book is a wandering.  I've never read Stephen King before, and having the knowledge that this is Lord of the Rings meets The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, makes a lot of sense.  I definitely am left wanting to continue with Roland's story, to see where his feet may wander and if the tower will ever be what he needs it to be.

Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Grade Level: Adult
Pages: 322

2011 Goals

My reading goals for 2011:

1.  Read at least one nonfiction book a month.
2. Read at least one "classic" a month.
3. Read at least one play a month.
4. Read at least one poem a month.
5.  With the aforementioned goals, I will be reducing my page count goal simply because I know how long it can take for me to get through nonfiction materials.  My page goal is 30,000.
Happy Reading!!

December 2010 Books

The High King's Tomb: Book 3     643
Kristen Britain                           

The First Christmas     258
Marcus Borg
John Dominic Crossan 

The Lost Hero:  Book 1     557
Rick Riordan

Reckless     394
Cornelia Funke

The Ring of Solomon     398
Jonathan Stroud

The Looking Glass Wars     358
Seeing Redd     371
Arch Enemy     370
Frank Beddor

Total for December: 3349
Total for 2010:  47,788
Total for 2009-2010: 88,689

Disappointing December for me, but I have to admit to being in an emotional funk this month and that never helps my reading.  Also, my determination to read at least one nonfiction book a month has pulled back on the amount I am able to read.  As always if you have any questions about anything I read, just send me a note.  Happy Reading.