Something Wickedly Weird - The Icy Hand

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Something Wickedly Weird - The Icy Hand
Chris Mould
5/5 Stars

From the Publisher: It's winter on the isolated island of Crampton Rock and there's a chill in the air that has nothing to do with the temperature. Even the talking fish is warning of imminent danger.

Stanley Buggles has inherited Candlestick Hall from his uncle, Admiral Bartholomew Swift. He is beginning his second trip to Crampton Rock - and it will be just as exciting as his first (you can read about his first adventure in The Wooden Mile). When he arrives at the Hall, he is warned of a grave danger approaching from the north. Stanley must work with his friend Daisy, the headless ghost of Admiral Swift, and a talking pike to foil a duo of ghostly pirates and protect the magical Ibis. If he succeeds, there are many more adventures ahead of him. If he fails.....

This story has a little of everything - mystery, intrigue, ghosts, pirates, a talking fish, and a brave, young protagonist. This is the perfect series for those youngsters who are enthralled with Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, and The Chronicles of Narnia. Mould's writing is fast-paced and is he is able to hold the attention of kids and adults alike. In addition, the illustrations are captivating, adding another level to this already wonderful book. I highly recommend The Icy Hand - It makes me wish my son was younger, so we could read it together.

Saturday Silliness

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I have been invited to post over at Saturday Silliness. If you haven't had a chance to visit yet, click on over for some funny, book related stories!

You can find my first post here -- Kids Say the Darndest Things.

Mailbox Monday

Monday, August 25, 2008

I received an unbelievable number of books this week -- 25 to be exact! Now that I unpacked them, all I have to do is hide them from my husband. Love ya - Poo Man ;)

My ginormous stack includes:

A Collection of Beauties at the Height of Their Popularity

The Desert Pilgrim

Bright Angel Time

The Boy From the Basement

Black Earth City

Back Then

One Small Boat

The Circus in Winter

Beautiful Stranger

An Ordinary Woman

Lilya's Journey

The Hemingway Book Club of Kosovo

An Uncommon Enemy

The Book of Kehls

After Life

By Way of Water

A Stone Bridge North

Flying Over 96th Street

The Birth House

Wife in the North

Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat hair

Ghost in the Mirror

Autobiography of a Fat Bride

I ordered most of these books from Book Closeouts. Click here to check out their $1 sale! Happy Shopping!

Suicide Notes

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Suicide Notes
Michael Thomas Ford
4/5 Stars

From the Publisher: When fifteen-year-old Jeff wakes up on New Year’s Day to find himself in a hospital psychiatric ward, bandages on his wrists, he’s certain it’s all a huge mistake. Jeff knows he’s not like the other kids in there. They’ve got problems. But a funny thing happens as his forty-five-day sentence drags on – the crazies start to seem less crazy.

Compelling, witty, and refreshingly real, Suicide Notes is a darkly humorous novel that examines that fuzzy line between “normal” and the rest of us.

Sentenced to a psychiatric hospital for forty-five days, Jeff begins a journal of his experiences, encounters, and discoveries. Jeff is a typical teenager – sarcastic, disrespectful, and belligerent. He doesn’t believe he belongs in the ward, nevermind the scars on his wrists. When his doctor, whom Jeff has nicknamed Cat Poop, attempts to bring his problems to light, Jeff responds with typical off-color remarks.

But as the days pass, and Jeff interacts with the other patients, he begins to see that even troubled teens deserve kindness and respect.

Ultimately, Suicide Notes is a novel of self-discovery and tolerance. By the end of the book, Jeff is able to acknowledge and love himself – as well as move toward healing the relationship with his parents.

I found Suicide Notes to be a realistic look at the difficult questions all teenagers face –

Who am I?
What do I want?
What makes me happy?
How do I fit in?

Suicide Notes will be released on October 14, 2008.

Bobbie has also reviewed Suicide Notes - take a look at what she has to say.

Teaser Tuesdays

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The rules are:
1. Get the book you are currently reading.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.


Today's teaser is from Suicide Notes by Michael Thomas Ford page 18:

"There are five of us. In the fun house, I mean."

God Bless Rebel

Monday, August 18, 2008

This story just broke my heart -- of course that means it has to do with a dog. I believe that you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat children and animals. In my opinion, these car thieves are the lowest of the low. Catch them soon!

A Three Dog Life

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Three Dog Life
Abigail Thomas
5/5 Stars

From the Publisher: When Abigail Thomas’s husband, Rich, was hit by a car, his skull was shattered, his brain severely damaged. Subject to rages, terrors, and hallucinations, he was sent to live in a nursing facility that specializes in treating traumatic brain injuries. He had no memory of what he did the hour, the day, the year before. This tragedy is the ground on which Abigail had to build a new life. How she built that life is a story of great courage and change, of moving to a small country town, of a new family composed of three dogs, knitting, and friendship, of facing down guilt and discovering gratitude.

Life is not perfect. Tragedy can strike at any minute. How do you handle it when it happens to you? Thomas faces her tragedy with grace and poise. After her husband is injured in a horrific accident, Thomas begins the seemingly unending cycle of hospitals, doctors, and emergency calls. Eventually, Thomas realizes that, while Rich’s life may remain in a state of limbo, her life must go on. She manages to find a balance between the wife she continues to be, and the woman who must now find meaning in her life -- on her own terms. She finds comfort with friends, family, and above all else her dogs. This is truly a story of love, loss, and ultimately – healing.

I applaud Thomas for her ability to stand by her husband under such devastating circumstances. Her memoir is honest and thought provoking -- sharing her feelings of fear, self-reproach, and even happiness. Her love for Rich is evident in her writing. A Three Dog Life is a true love story and a joy to read.

These bloggers have also reviewed A Three Dog Life:

What's Sarah Reading
Across Time and Space
Reading Notes

Books this Week

This has been another slow reading week. I go back to work on Monday, and don't have the energy to do much of anything. But, I did manage to do a little reading....

Just Finished

Currently Reading

Just Received

Have you read any of these books? If you have, leave a comment with a link to your review.

Stupid News

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ant Bite Turns Out to be Gunshot Wound

Teaser Tuesdays

The rules are:

1. Get the book you are currently reading.2. Open to a random page.3. Share two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.


Today's teaser is from Rises the Night by Colleen Gleason, page 218:

"Being familiar with vampires, as she was, she read an entirely different message in his eyes. And it wasn't pleasant at all."

New Books This Week

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Rest Falls Away

The Rest Falls Away
Colleen Gleason
4.5/5 Stars

Victoria Gardella Grantworth is about to make her debut when destiny intervenes. Like countless Gardellas before her, she is meant to become a Venator – a vampire hunter. Victoria must be on guard for the familiar ‘chill at the back of her neck’ that signals a nearby vampire. And the vampires seem to be everywhere. With the help of her Great-Aunt Eustacia and her fellow Venator, Max, Victoria fights to keep London safe from Lilith – a seductive and powerful vampire. But when Phillip de Lacy, Marquess of Rockely, asks for her hand in marriage, Victoria is torn between her duty and her heart. Which will win?

This book combined two of my favorite genres – Regency romance and vampire tales. What’s not to like? Gleason has taken the ordinary vampire story and added new twists – a vampire queen, a dynasty of vampire hunters, a love triangle, and a tragic ending.

The Rest Falls Away grabbed my attention and didn't let go – I read it in less than 24 hours. I found Gleason’s characters to be interesting, the dialogue easy to read, and the plot well thought out.

While I did thoroughly enjoy this novel, there was some information I missed. I wanted more background into the Gardella dynasty – how did they become Venators? What about Max’s background? And then there is Sebastian – how does he fit in? Hopefully these questions will be answered in the three remaining books in The Gardella Vampire Chronicles. I can't wait to find out!

These bloggers have also reviewed The Rest Falls Away:

Reading, etc.
Bookshelves of Doom
Musings of a Bookish Kitty
The Written Word

More '80s Trivia

Saturday, August 9, 2008

'80s Sitcom Potpourri

Score: 85% (17 out of 20)

Bliss to You

Bliss to You: Trixie's Guide to a Happy Life
Trixie Koontz, Dog
as told to Dean Koontz
5/5 Stars

I’ll admit it – I love dogs. What amazes me about my dogs is that they are content, not just happy, but completely at ease. I’ve always wanted to be more like my dogs.

Trixie Koontz agrees and calls this state ‘bliss’. Trixie was the faithful companion of author Dean Koontz until her death in 2007. Now on the other side, Trixie has written this book to show humans how to achieve bliss.

According to Trixie, there are eight steps to reaching bliss:

- Calm
- Beauty
- Fun
- Meaning
- Others
- Humility
- Loss
- Gratitude

In each section, Trixie explains how to focus on the important things in life and let go of the trivial.

Along the way, she also bestows important dog wisdom, such as:

“Optimism is like mental cookie.
Cookie nourishes tummy.
Optimism nourishes heart.”

I have to admit that I cried through the Foreword, written by Dean Koontz. Dog books always seem to bring tears with them. However, the rest of the book was incredibly uplifting and enjoyable.

Bliss to You will be released on September 16, 2008. All author proceeds will be donated to Canine Companions for Independence.

Maybe the path to bliss really is paved with dog wisdom. I hope so!

Bliss to you, Trixie.

July's Books

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Since I've started keeping track of my reading, I've noticed that there are times I read very little. When I am stressed, very busy, or not sleeping well - I don't have the energy to pick up a book.

July was a slow month for me. Between packing for vacation, unpacking, and getting my son ready for school, I only read five books. :(

- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
- Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
- Smoke, Mirrors, and Murder by Ann Rule

To Dance With the White Dog was my favorite. It was a reread - and I was not disappointed. I first read it in the early 1990s, and was just a captivated today as I was then.

Booking Through Thursday

- Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?
- Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?

I have always been a huge fan of Regency romance. I know, even my husband makes fun of me.

The lives of the women in those novels are very different from mine - maids to dress you, cook for you, clean up after you. (sigh) I suppose it wasn't always easy to live in Victorian England, with all the pressure to make 'a good match', but in the novels I read, everything works out in the end.

Add to that all the irresistible dukes and counts running around sweeping beautiful girls off their feet - I suppose I am a hopeless romantic!


I would definitely NOT want to live in the world of science fiction. I don't watch it, I don't read it, and I really don't enjoy it. My problem is that I lack the ability to 'get my mind around' such far-fetched concepts. I think I have a pretty good imagination - but, I have something familiar to base my imaginings on.

Stupid News

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Sliding Doberman -- What else can I say??

Teaser Tuesdays

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The rules are:

1. Get the book you are currently reading.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.


Today's teaser is from A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, page 302:

"Felicity is so anxious she doesn't come back with a snappy reply. Instead, she nods gratefully and, looking as if she might be unable to hold her breakfast a moment longer, dashes off toward the lawn."

Stupid News

Monday, August 4, 2008

As a high school teacher, I find it very difficult to grab my students' attention at the beginning of class. I started using the "Stupid News Story of the Day" to 'shock' them into silence. After a week, they began asking about the story before the bell had even rung.

Now that school is out, I find plenty of stories to use, but I no longer have an audience. So, I decided to post them here. Enjoy!

Man Calls 911 to Complain About Sandwich Sauce

Autobiography of a Face

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Autobiography of a Face
Lucy Grealy
4/5 Stars

From the Publisher: It took Lucy twenty years of living with a distorted self-image and more than thirty reconstructive procedures before she could come to terms with her appearance after childhood surgery left her jaw disfigured. As a young girl she absorbed the searing pain of peer rejection and the guilty pleasures of wanting to be special. Later she internalized the paralyzing fear of never being loved. Heroically and poignantly, she learned to define herself from the inside out.

Grealy was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma at the age of nine. From then on, her life was divided into two parts before and after cancer. After the surgery to remove half her jaw, Grealy spent over two years enduring weekly chemotherapy treatments. When she was finally declared 'healthy', Grealy returned to the sixth grade -- only to be met with scorn and cruelty from her classmates.

Her story is written clearly and concisely. She is unerringly honest about how her disease affected her family, her developing personality, and those around her. As the reader follows her through years of skin and bone grafts, she witnesses her need for acceptance from others and her gradual acceptance of herself.

I was particularly struck by Grealy's need to be 'strong.' She is constantly reminded not to cry and to never show fear. This begins Grealy's quest to be the model patient. I am amazed that this small child was able to internalize and minimize her emotions, suffering, and considerable pain. To me, she seemed like an adult soul in a child's body.

I recommend Autobiography of a Face -- it is a moving and meaningful read.

Name That Baby

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I love these little quizzes - especially when they have to do with music. Give this one a try. Just listen to the song and match it up to the singer. Sounds easy, right?

Name That Baby!

Score: 100% (10 out of 10)