Saturday, May 30, 2009

Things to Know Before I Go

A couple months ago, I sent in an application to volunteer at a summer camp for a two weeks. About a month ago, I got notified that I'd be able to do so! I'm super excited to do that, but it does mean that I'll be gone for a couple of weeks. From May 31 till June 13 I won't be able to post anything. I won't have any internet access. However, on June 14 you can be sure that I'll be back, alive and kickin'! =D

While I'm gone, I do have something that I'd like you to check out, The YA Book Club. There's one book choice a month, and we discuss it in an online chatroom near the end of the month. June's pick is Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. The Page Flipper has set up a really cool forum where everyone can chat through the entire month! You should join! I've only been apart of this for a month or so, and I'm already enjoying it! When you join, be sure to say that I, Melanie, recruited you. Here is the link to the forum.

Below are some random contests that you can check out. Hope you enjoy!

Reviewer X is giving away one of each Lisa Schoeder's books to two lucky people. (ends June 3)

Steph is also giving away a copy of every single book Elizabeth Scott has ever written! (ends June 3)

Presenting Lenore is giving away a Penguin Reality Prize Pack containing 9 books. (ends June 3)

The Story Siren is giving away an ARC of Crazy, Beautiful by Lauren Baratz-Logsted. (ends June 26)

Abby (the) Librarian is giving away an ARC of Love You Hate You Miss You by Elizabeth Scott (ends June 3rd)

GreenBean TeenQueen is giving away 3 books. (ends July 1)

Last but definitely not least Cindy Pon is hosting a giveaway in which the winner can recieve either one of Cindy's Chinese Brush Paintings or a $100 gift card to a book store of the winner's choice. Either way, the winner will also recieve a signed copy of The Silver Phoenix. All info on this contest can be found here.
(ends June 8)
Well, I guess I'll be talking to everyone again on the 14th! Can't wait! :)

In My Mailbox (4)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

This week in my mailbox I recieved Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills. I love the cover of this book, and I think it fits it very well! Here's the summary from the author's website-

Alexandra Landon once loved running the Grayton River through the Colorado canyons near her home and couldn’t imagine doing anything else with her life but continuing the family’s river rafting business. But that was before her father died in a rafting accident and she developed a full-fledged fear of drowning. It’s been nearly a year since her father’s death, and the arrival of another summer means Alex has to face the river, the question of whether she can ever recapture her love of rafting, and the return of co-worker and former boyfriend Sean Kenley. One way or the other, this summer is going to change Alex’s life forever.

When I was on the author's website, looking around, I found out that she uses the name "Tricia Mills" for her YA books and the name "Trish Millburn" for her adult romances. How cool is that? She's also got another YA book coming out in the summer of 2010 called Ice and Desire. It looks good too!

So, that's what I got this week in my mailbox. What did you get in yours?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Silver Phoenix Trailer/Contest

I've heard about Silver Phoenix by Cindy Pon, and I've been wanting to pick up a copy! After seeing this trailer, I can't wait! It sounds like such a good book! Have any of you read this yet?

The author is having an awesome giveaway on her blog! Winner gets the choice between an original framed brush painting or an $100 gift card to the book store of their choice. Either way, the winner wil also receive a signed copy of the novel! How awesome is that? You can find more information about the giveaway here.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Heartbreak River by Tricia Mills

From Goodreads: Alex thought she'd be spending the summer focused on her family's rafting business, burying the memories of her father's death last year, and leaving behind all the messes she made in its wake.

But when Sean returns to town, she is forced to reckon with her mixed-up crushy feelings for him - more powerful than ever before. It takes another tragedy to make Alex realize Sean has loved her, and forgiven her, all along.

The characters in this book where by far my favorite part. I occasionally wanted to throttle them, but I enjoyed the way everyone interacted with each other. At first, I thought most of the teen characters were a bit over reactive. However, once I started thinking about it that was probably very realistic!

The plot was interesting and moved quickly. The ending was somewhat surprising. I definitely wasn't expecting another tragedy at the end. I was more surprised at my feelings at the ending than the ending itself. Alex was really happy in the end, although the future still loomed unsteadily before her. She had her first time, with Sean, a couple nights before, and I got the feeling that she thought they would be together forever. I felt kind of sad because of that. More than likely, Sean and Alex would break up in a couple of years, and even a bigger piece of her heart would belong to him.

I enjoyed the writing in this book a lot. The author did a really good job of getting into Alex's head and letting us see the thoughts behind her actions as well.

Overall, this was an okay read that I think romantics would enjoy. I'm looking forward to the next YA book by Tricia Mills and reading more of her writing.

My rating- 2/5 stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Speak tells the story of Melinda Sordino. From her first day of high school she' s labeled as an outcast, not fitting anywhere. All because of that one night. That one night when she called the cops, and they busted the party. No one knows what happened. All she wants to do is forget, but she can't. Not by herself. For someone else to know, she must speak.

This was a really great read. Melinda's voice compelled me to listen. Listen to her story. Learn how she lives.

This book covered a year in Melinda's life in under 200 pages. You don't get a day by day description of her life. This sparse writing worked well because you know that, for the most part, her life is monotonous, one day being the exact same as the last.

I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book. Thankfully, I was suprised in a good way. It's a lot deeper than I had imagined. While she battles her demons, Melinda walks anonymous among her schoolmates and family. I wanted to scream at them. Couldn't they see what she was going through? The pain she endures?

I really don't know what else to say about this book. It was a great read. One that many should pick up.

My rating- 4/5

Did you know this book was made into a movie? I think I'm definitely going to check this out.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Mr. Darcy Takes A Wife by Linda Berdoll

Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife is a continuation of Pride and Prejudice. Readers join Darcy and Elizabeth after their wedding and learn whether they are really right for each other. Along the way we are joined by many other beloved characters, like Georgianna and Mr. Bennet, while also joined by new characters as well.

The plot line of this story was very busy. Every person in the story is involved in some type of charade. Although interesting, it was also very confusing. In the beginning of the book, everything revolved around Darcy and Elizabeth. However, as the book continued, we began to see what was going on with everyone else as well. It was hard to keep everybody straight. I think that if a couple less characters were present then it would have been much easier to follow. Written in third person, we'd see what this person was doing then be taken to see how another was faring. Like I said, a little confusing.

The romance in this book is very high. Darcy and Elizabeth can't keep their hands off each other, so I wouldn't recommend this to readers who don't enjoy reading all about that.

While reading this book, I felt as if Berdoll was trying to re-create Austen's style of writing. Although it was okay, she wasn't able to hit it right on. I think I would have preferred just a different style of writing altogether rather than an imitation.

I did enjoy the plot. Their lives were a lot more complicated than what I would have imagined. Also, I also enjoyed the historical aspect of it. Learning about the Darcys while also picking up a couple facts about the French Revolution was very interesting.

Overall, this was an okay book. It didn't amaze me, but it was worth the time I spent reading it. This is a sequel in which you would definitely need to read the initial book before picking this one up.

My ratin- 2/5 stars

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Hi everyone. I just wanted to wish you a good Memorial Day. I am so thankful for my freedom. May all the men and women who have died in order for all Americans to maintain that freedom be forever remembered.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

In My Mailbox (3)

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

This week I didn't get anything in my mailbox, mainly because I have this giftcard to an online bookstore, and I can't decide what to buy! However, I think I've gotten it figured out, so I think I'll be ordering them soon. Indecisiveness is definitely a trait of mine. I also spent some time reviewing the two books that I've got the last two weeks- Tales of the Madman Underground and Something, Maybe.

I did stop by the library to pick up a book for the required "read a novel" portion of my English 2 class. Their Eyes Were Watching God y Zora Neale Hurston is the book I chose. I've always ended up liking books that I've had to read. I'm not sure exactly why. I remember a couple years ago I read The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, and I absolutely loved it! From what I've surmised from the first two chapters, it's a fictional story telling one African American woman's story about her life. It's definitely an interesting one!

I hope you guys are having a great weekend! Happy reading and blogging! :)

Wanna See A Picture?

Ah, the joy of the 3 day weekend. They never fail to make me smile. As far as I know, my family and I will spend it just lounging around the house. I'm currently caught up in the middle of two books, and I was wondering what to share. Then I had one of those "Aha!" moments.

Go here and scroll down to the second post. It's entitled "picture contest winners! and dough." Take a look at the first picture. That would be me, with rocky road ice cream and a book. :D


Friday, May 22, 2009

Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes

Set in 1973, Tales of the Madman Underground tells the story of Karl Shoemaker. A senior in high school, he's spent every Monday morning with a therapy group with around six other kids. Together they form Madman Underground. This year a new girl joins the group, Martinella, or Marti, as she likes to be called. But this year, he decides he's not going to get another ticket into therapy. He's going to be normal, but after being friends for so long he can't just walk away. Can he?

The plot in this book is incredibly compex and intriguing. Karl's home life is an absolute wreck. His father is dead, and his mother has turned into a drunk and a drug abuser. He holds four jobs, almost constantly working. This was truly one of those books where I wasn't sure what was going to happen once I turned the page.

The setting in this book was very accurately portrayed. From Karl's mom who is the total hippie-type, to everyone's reaction concerning controversial topics like racism and someone being a homosexual, it all definitely reminded me of the 1970s. Okay, I can't exactly "remember" the '70s, but you get my point.

I also really liked the cover of this book. I love the simplicity of it.

I did have a problem with this book, and that was there was a lot of cussing and sexual references. Even Karl's thoughts were proliferated with cussing. I feel like I could have enjoyed the book much more without those things being resurrected nearly every page.

Overall, I think this book had a strong story line with really interesting characters.

My rating- 3/5 stars

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Where do you read?

So, I'm prety sure everyone who reads has at least a few spots where, if they have the choice, they especially like to read.

For me, I like reading on my bed, mostly in the evenings. I'll push my pillows against the wall, sit up, and just relax for a while, book in hand.

Other times, I like to go out to the pasture where my horse stays and take a book with me. No, I don't sit on him while I read. However, it's such a calming atmosphere. Ranger might walk up to me every once in a while, pushing his nose so I'll pet him, or he might perpetually eat grass. It depends on his mood. Sometimes, when he's in a mischievious mood, he might try to snatch the book out of my hand. Thankfully, he hasn't succeeded, thus far. I can only imagine chasing him around the pasture, arms waving, yelling, "GIMME MY BOOK!"

Anyway, those are my top two places I like to read. What about you? What's your favorite reading spot?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott

Hannah's life is extremely complicated. She's got a dad who lives in a castle in New York with his "pretty girls" where he runs his own television show, and a mom who used to be a "pretty girl" but now hosts her own website. After being embarrassed by her parents for way too long, she's honed her ability to stay under the radar. That doesn't help her soul mate, Josh, realize that she's the one for him, or get Finn to quit harassing her all the time with his jokes and sarcastic comments. Suddenly, she starts thinking about Finn a little more than she's supposed to. What's a girl to do?

I started this book yesterday afternoon and finished it just a few hours later. It clips along, staying in one place long enough for you to enjoy it but fast enough so you won't get bored. This book had me hooked from the first page! I expected a light, funny read out of this book, and I certainly got that. It made laugh out loud (literally). However, it surprised me with its depth, making Hannah a girl everyone can relate to, in one way or another.

The characters were absolutely the best part of the book. Although Hannah doesn't have many friends there is Teagan, and I think everyone has a friend like her sometime in life. You know, the friend you talk to about (almost) everything. There's also Josh, the guy who is so perfect he's completely out of reach, or so Hannah thinks. Hannah herself does what everyone of us do on a day to day basis; the best she can. Although her problems are, in some ways, greater than my own, I completely "got" her and her actions.

Overall, this was a great read! I think I'll be reaching for more of Elizabeth Scott's work soon.

My rating- 4/5 stars

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

In the third installment of The Inheritance Cycle, Eragon and Saphira find themselves once again with their loyalties stretched in all directions. There is the promise Eragon made to Roran, his cousin. Beyond that they must also help to protect humans, elves, dwarves, and urgals. It is a heavy load for two so young to be carrying. Will they be able to protect everyone as well as continue on their way to defeating Galbatorix? Will they fail?

I was eager to start reading this book after finishing Eldest, and I am happy to say that I enjoyed this book even more than Eldest. The beginning is much smoother, and it wasn't at all hard for me to fall into the story. I was actually trying to read faster in order to see what was going to happen next!

My favorite part of this entire book were the few chapters in Saphira's point of view. It was incredibly interesting to finally learn more about her thought process. I've heard her that her attitude could be compared with that of a cat, and I'd have to agree. She's very sure of herself and quite proud of her abilities.

The ending was beautiful, intermingling feelings of sadness and hope. You know when you're reading a book and you get this sense of foreboding? That's what happened to me. I guessed that I knew what was going to happen, yet from that point on I hoped it wouldn't. It did happen, though, and it hurt. There are battles throughout the book with people dieing, but when these beings died and the book ended, I felt the sense of hopelessness, yet also that this would give Eragon and Saphira a push they needed to defeat Galbatorix and end his rule over the empire. I guess I'll have to wait on the fourth book in order to finally see!

Overall, this was a really great read! This series as a whole really captured me, which is pretty impressive considering that I am not much of a fantasy lover. So many things were left open in this book, and I'm really curious to see if the author will be able to wrap up this series satisfactorily in just one more book.

My rating- 4/5 stars

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Shady Glade's Contest Monday Banner Contest Semi-finals

Hi everyone! I just wanted to spread the word about some voting Alyssa from The Shady Glade is having in order to pick her Contest Monday Banner. She's got twelve really cute banners, and she needs YOUR help! The semi-finals voting goes from today through Wednesday, then on Thursday the finals will start with the top five banners. Like I said, these are really pretty! (Personally, I voted for Butterfly Tag by Liyana and Pink Flowers by Karen.) Here is the link to the semi-finals. So, head on over and pick the top two you like the best!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (2)

Welcome to my edition of this week's In My Mailbox. As always, this meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

This week, I got another book from a different contest hosted by The Story Siren! It is Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes. Here's a description from

For years, Karl has been part of the Madman Underground--kids forced to attend group therapy during school hours. Karl decides that for his senior year, he is going to get out of the group for good. He is going to act--and be--Normal. But Normal, of course, is relative.

This sounds like a very intriguing read, and I can't wait to get started! I really like the cover. It's very awesome!!!!

And that was my short and sweet IMM. Hope you enjoyed! Now, what did you get in yours?

What's Your Bookmark?

Almost everyone I know uses them, except one of my friends who has an incredible memory who seems to be able to always remember what page he's on. My problem is that I can never find them! I've bought a couple of really nice ones in the past, but I continually lose them. I currently don't know where they are. They're probably in the house, somewhere. Whenever I don't have one on hand, I'll use whatever I can find; strips of newspaper, a card, whatever's handy.

So what about you? What's your bookmark?

Friday, May 15, 2009

A List

The rest of the trip went really well. After leaving St. Augustine, we drove up to Brunswick, Georgia stopped in a motel, got up the next morning, went to visit St. Simon's Island, drove to Waycross, Georgia, went to the Okefenokee swamps, took a boat ride through the swamps, and now are on our way home! Oh, and of course we stopped along the way to eat. Whenever a trip ends, I like to think over it. Ready?

1. I can read in the car! Woot! I was so excited. In the past, I've only been able to read in a moving vehicle for a few minutes at a time, but I actually ended up reading the rest of Eldest, in just a couple hours time! This is an incredibly epic discovery! :D

2. Although I love the 19th century and have often wished I could visit, I wouldn't want to be anywhere near St. John's County Jail. Dark and bleak.

3. Life goes by way to fast. I mean, we went to visit a cemetery (people written in a book by Eugenia Price are buried there) and I hardly knew any names. The majority of people are born, live, die, and are forgotten once friends and family die. Kind of made me want to be one to be remembered.

4. When Ponce de Leon landed, he claimed all of North America for Spain. Who knew?

5. "La Florida" means land of the flowers. Very fitting.

6. Shoney's has some really good strawberry pie.

7. The beds at the motels we stayed at are much more comfortable than mine at home. Not fair!

8. I can do some seriously sleeping while on wheels. Like, four hours.

9. Do not wear sandals while riding on a boat through a swamp! The yellow flies and mosquitoes will EAT you!

And finally...

10. Life is good. Seriously. I'm blessed.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Eldest by Christopher Paolini

Eldest continues the story of Eragon and Saphira and as we are told in the end of Eragon, he and Saphira go to train in Ellesmera, land of the elves. Meanwhile, Eragon's cousin Roran leads Carvahall in a fight against the horrifying Ra'zac. (Sorry for the short summary, but that's all I could think of without giving away a bunch of stuff.)

I just finished the book, and the ending was amazing! It left me somewhat satisfied, while also wanting to rush out and read the next book. It was great. Wow.

Although the ending was great, the beginning was a different story. There was nothing wrong with the plot, but it took a while to settle myself into the story, mainly because of the POV changes. In the previous book, all is told from Eragon's perspective. That's what I was expecting in this book as well, but that wasn't the case. Parts of the story were told from Roran's and Nasuada's POV as well. However, once I realized what was happening I began to enjoy seeing circumstances from everyone's perspective.

Many new characters are introduced in this book, and many characters that were minor in the first book took on more important roles. Although it took awhile to familiarize myself with everyone, they all played important parts to helping flesh out the story.

The main thing I enjoyed about this book was the plot. It was incredibly interesting with many turns. Things happened that I didn't expect to expect! The plot kept me mesmerized!

Overall, this book was very good. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first, but I did enjoy it. And I can't wait to get started on the third.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Singin' with the Windows Rolled Down

My review of Eldest shall be up tomorrow. Promise. It would have been up today, only I had almost no reading time yesterday. My in-training teen CERT (Community Emergency Respons Team) went to our county's EOC (Emergency Operation Center), so my day was filled up with schoolwork, taking a tour of the center, and hanging out with my friends afterwards. BUT, I'm almost done with Eldest! So far, so good.

If you look up on my header you'll see it says mostly books, so that means there could be times when it's not about books at all, right? Well, this is one of those times, simply because I wanted to share what I'm doing with you.

I went to bed at two and got up at six this morning. After eating breakfast my dad and I put our bags in the truck and headed out! Where were we headed, you might ask? To St. Augustine, Florida! Of course, with St. Augustine all the way across the state, we had to make a stop on the way to see the Stephen Foster Memorial. (Don't know who he is? Short story; amazing songwriter) And so, to the right, that's a picture of a gorgeous piano and painting at the Memorial. It was so cool! While I was there it felt like I stepped back in time.

As far as the title to this post, that was my dad. The ENTIRE way down. Thankfully, he has a pretty good voice, or else I don't know what I would have done! It's all good, though. We had fun, and I'll admit, I even joined in a couple times!

Now, we're safely deposited in a motel not too far from St. Augustine, and tomorrow will be spent perusing the historic part of the city. *sigh* I just love history! I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Current Contests: May '08

Hi guys! I was contemplating what to post today since I haven't finished reading Eldest yet. (There might be a review of it up tomorrow, it really just depends on how much reading time I get today.) Anyway, as I've been looking at different blogs, I've noticed that many host contests. This post will just cover a few contests going around the blogosphere. So... Here we go!

First off, Presenting Lenore is holding a contest for a signed paperback copy of No One You Know by Michelle Richmond (ends May 19th).

Books By Their Cover is holding a giveaway for a signed copy of How to Buy a Love of Reading by Tanya Egan Gibson (ends May 31st).

Books By Their Cover is holding a giveaway for a chance to win 21 books (ends July 4th)!

The Shady Glade hosts weekly contests.

The Novel Bookworm is holding A Book a Day in the Month of May contest. is holding a contest offering TMI by Sarah Quigley, Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman, or Sliding on the Edge by C. Lee McKenzie (Hurry! This one ends May 13th!).

Reviewer X is holding a contest to win one of two hardcover copies of Waiting for You by Susanne Colasanti (ends May 16th).

And lastly, Writing it Out is holding a Massive Book Giveaway with two winners (ends May 16th).

Well, that's all I've got! I figure I'll do a current contest post around once a month(ish). Go out and have some fun!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

Summary from Amazon: When Arthur Clennam returns to England after many years abroad, he takes a kindly interest in Amy Dorrit, his mother’s seamstress, and in the affairs of Amy’s father, William Dorrit, a man of shabby grandeur, long imprisoned for debt in the Marshalsea. As Arthur soon discovers, the dark shadow of the prison stretches far beyond its walls to affect the lives of many, from the kindly Mr. Pancks, the reluctant rent-collector of Bleeding Heart Yard, and the tipsily garrulous Flora Finching, to Merdle, an unscrupulous financier, and the bureaucratic Barnacles in the Circumlocution Office. A masterly evocation of the state and psychology of imprisonment, Little Dorrit is one of the supreme works of Dickens’s maturity .

It took me about a week to read this book. Which is a fairly long time, for me. The reason for this is that I couldn’t simply sit down and read this book for hours on end. I’d read a few chapters, then I’d have to put it down. Little Dorrit was written during the nineteenth century, so Charles Dickens’ language was quite different then what we use today. Because of this, I had to stop every once in a while and let the current circumstances of the book soak in before I continued.

Although it took me awhile to read this book, I’d have to say it was fairly amazing! One of the things that really stood out to me was the uniqueness of all the character’s speech. For example, Mr. Dorrit had his “ha” and “hum”, Barnacle Junior seemed to end most of his sentences with “you know”, Pancks had his snorts (for lack of a better word), Mr. Sparkler’s women always had “no begaud nonsense about them“, and Fanny was always wishing herself dead. I thought that was really cool because, for the most part, I could tell who was talking even before reading who said what!

Even cooler than the character’s speech were the characters’ themselves. Particularly the main character, Amy Dorrit. The way Dickens’ wrote her makes her a rare jewel. I know of no person who is truly selfless. Amy really does care for others than she does for herself. That is something you don’t come across very often, in both books and life. Amy’s love life is something I very much enjoyed as well. I really didn’t know if she would be able to find love, in the end.

The plot itself is absolutely mesmerizing. And I have to say, I had no idea how it was going to end! The book is very detailed, so the plot moves along a bit slow. It contains so many different aspects. There’s romance, lots of mystery, family life, and so much more!

This book truly is a great classic that I think many people should read. Overall, this book absolutely amazed me!

My rating- 5/5 stars

P.S. If you'd like to watch a great film adaptation of Little Dorrit, I recently watched one that completely enthralled me. Just click here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

In My Mailbox (1)

Well, this is my first In My Mailbox post, and I'm pretty excited!

This meme is hosted by The Story Siren.

The only book that I actually got in my mailbox is Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott. And I got it from a contest hosted by The Story Siren! It looks like a really cool and interesting read.
It should be fun!

Although that was the only book that I got in my mailbox, that's definitely not the only book that I've been able to get. This Saturday was the Friends of the Library bi-annual book sale! It was the first one I've ever been able to attend, and it was packed! Everyone was moving around like a swarm of bees. I bought ten books, for a dollar apiece. It was really sweet. Now for the books-

I got Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier because a friend was talking about how amazing the movie was. I figure that if I'm going to watch a movie, I should probably read the book first. The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee because I guess I need help on knowing why I'm on this earth in the first place. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom is another book I picked up because of a different friend's ravings about the movie. The story line on this one looks really interesting! I bought The Man who Listens to Horses by Monty Roberts because I'm a horse lover, and I've heard that he really does have a gift of being a modern day horse whisperer. Don't Shoot, It's Only Me by Bob Hope; Oh my goodness, do you remember this guy? He was an absolutely hilarious comedian! I've watched a few episodes of his show on DVD, and I absolutely loved them. I think this should be an interesting read. God's Gift by Dee Henderson I bought because I read The O'Malley Series by the same author, and I really enjoyed them. Hopefully I'll enjoy this book just as much! The God's of Newport by John Jakes looks absolutely wonderful! Every book I've read by this author has been captivating, so I hope I'm not disappointed by this one! I picked up Mr. Darcy Take a Wife by Linda Berdoll because I've heard that this is one of the best Pride and Prejudice continuations out there. I've never read a continuation of P&P before, so I thought I should start off right. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson looks like quite an important book to read. I've heard much about Anderson's newest release, Wintergirls, and I've heard good things about this book as well. Last, but certainly not least, is Texas by James Michener. My dad has been a Michener fan since he read Hawaii around 30 years ago, so I figured I should get started on a Michener book as well.

Well, that's all I recieved in my mailbox and from a book sale. What did you get this week?

Edmund Bertram’s Diary by Amanda Grange

Fanny Price is ten years old when she comes to live at Mansfield Park. Edmund, drawn to her gentleness and kind ways, is soon one of her closest friends. Much time passes, and everyone grows up. When the Crawford siblings come to town Edmund is drawn Mary’s charming personality. But then he sees that maybe Mary is not the person he had thought she was. With his heart hurt and his mind confused, he turns to the person he has always trusted, Fanny.

The beginning of this book was a rough, and I think it moved way too fast. In the first 66 pages seven years are covered. I felt as if I just got dropped in to visit one scene that’s pretty vital to the storyline, then got whisked away to another before being able to relax. When it did finally slow down, I’d say it was okay, but considering that it was a diary, I would have liked to see more of Edmund’s thoughts rather than just conversation.

Also, I’m afraid I didn’t like the cover very much from this edition. I know that the man is Edmund, but I’m not entirely sure whether the girl is supposed to be Mary or Fanny. To me, she looks like Mary, but it would make more sense if she was Fanny. If she is Fanny, she doesn't seem to be as delicate as I've always pictured her. However, it could be that it's just me.

Despite the books flaws, there were some good points as well. Tom was most definitely my favorite character in the book. He’s so full of life and excitement. You never know what’s going to happen to him next. Also, Aunt Norris’ behavior makes her the kind of character that I love to hate; so (hopefully) unknowingly selfish and arrogant.

Overall, this book wasn’t what I was looking for, but who knows? You might enjoy it!

My rating- 2/5 stars

Friday, May 8, 2009

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Eragon happens to find a beautiful blue stone in the forest and hopes he will be able to trade it in order to buy food for his family to last through the winter. Little does he know he’s on his way to the journey of his life. The young dragon and Eragon are thrust into a world that Eragon had only heard stories about, and finding out things he never could of even imagined. Eragon’s future is a mystery, and no one knows if he will be able to be a legendary dragon rider.

It took me awhile to get around to reading this book, but I'm happy to say that I really enjoyed it! I’d put off reading it because I haven’t read much fantasy in the past and didn’t know whether it would fit me. After one of my friends recommended it to me, I finally picked it up.

The plot in this story is very intriguing. The book just sucks you in! In most of the book, it looks like the circumstances could go either way, good or bad. They didn’t always go good, which was somewhat refreshing from all of the happily ever after stories I’ve been reading lately. I liked the way things were explained. Many things that exist in the book do not exist in this world, and things were explained, I didn’t feel like the pace of the story slowed down too much. Although many of the characters were intriguing, I’d have to say that Solenbaum, the werecat who makes relatively brief appearances throughout the book, would have to be my favorite character. His dry sarcasm is quite refreshing!

Overall, a great read!
My rating- 4/5 stars

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Captain Wentworth’s Diary by Amanda Grange

Captain Wentworth’s Diary is a re-telling of Persuasion from the man’s perspective. Captain Wentworth is a young man who is rising in the Navy during the Napoleonic wars when he takes shore leave and visits his brother who is a parson in a small community. There, he quickly falls in love with Anne Elliot, daughter of one of the most prestigious men in the community, Sir Elliot. Soon, he proposes marriage, and Anne, in love with him as well, accepts. But she is persuaded by her godmother to end the engagement. So, Captain Wentworth, bitter and disappointed, returns to sea. Eight years later peace has been declared, and he returns, a rich man. He knows he doesn’t love Anne anymore, so why can’t he stop thinking about her?

First off, I always find it slightly amusing when a woman writes a book from a man’s perspective and vice versa. Nevertheless, the moment I saw this book I, quite literally, ran for it. You see, Captain Wentworth is my favorite Austen man. Yes, I like him even more than Mr. Darcy. (That’s another story for another time.) So, I was looking forward to reading this book, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This book really is a diary. I truly got a feel for what Captain Wentworth was thinking. I liked how I was able to see what actually took place when Captain Wentworth proposed to Anne. There were several scenes that I could picture in my head exactly. I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see him portrayed as quite the ladies’ man before Anne captivated him.

The only thing I would have liked to see in this book that wasn’t there was how he coped during the eight long years, instead of immediately springing forward eight years.

My rating- 4/5 stars

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs

30 Days to Finding and Keeping Sassy Sidekicks and BFFs (Wow, that’s a really long title!)is a guide to getting the right kind of friends and keeping ‘em once you’ve snagged them.

Would it be wrong of me to say that I didn’t take thirty days to read this book? Or that I didn’t do all of the activities and listen to all of the songs that were suggested? Well, the truth is, I didn’t. However, I did find this book to be a really cool read, and definitely found some things I’ll have to try in the future!

It's been awhile since I have read a guide, but if I find more like this one, I'd happily read it! It's a very fun, light, and fast read. And it made me think, a lot.

Clea Hantman’s voice is so clear and fun. It feels like she’s just sitting next to you having a conversation. She gives great advice, and I especially liked the section that deals with the infamous frenemies. We’ve all had at least a couple!

Overall, this book is a great read that really does offer valid tips on getting and keeping friends. Plus, the songs and activities that I did do were pretty awesome!

My rating- 4/5 stars

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Impulse and Initiative by Abigail Reynolds

Impulse and Initiative takes the question “What if?” and applies it to Pride and Prejudice. What if Mr. Darcy had returned to Netherfield and sought to capture Elizabeth with his words, deeds, and touch?

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I’ve never read a variation of any book before. I did have some moments where I was thinking, “He/she would NEVER do that!” But for most part, it was interesting to see what the characters might have done if thrown into certain situations. The love story was well written, especially if you like to see the more openly expressive side of Darcy. It was also a lot more intense. Elizabeth was full of as much wit as always! I really enjoyed the author’s voice in this book. The pace was fast enough to keep my attention, but slow enough so that I could catch all of the details.

Overall, it was a really good read. Oh, and it probably wouldn’t be absolutely necessary to pick up P&P before reading this. It stands pretty good on its own.

My rating is- 3.5/5 stars

Monday, May 4, 2009

Ana's Story by Jenna Bush

My summary: Ana’s Story tells of one girls’ journey through life. Infected with HIV from birth, she goes through childhood keeping secrets about the disease she carries and the abuse she suffers. Moving from home to home, she never finds the love she so desperately needs. Then she meets Berto. She trusts him, and this trust leads her to new pain, sorrow, hope, and joy.

My review: This book was painful, enlightening, and ultimately hopeful. Painful because you could feel Ana’s. Every time she was hit or abused you could see her pain. It was enlightening because you could see how Ana’s actions radically changed her life. Just one time, doing what made her happy, changed her life forever. And hopeful, because at the end of the book, you know that Ana’s story will continue, unfolding day by day. You hope that her life will get better, and she will overcome, breaking the vicious cycle of abuse. The author really pulled me into the story, making me wonder how one person could endure so much.

A cool thing I enjoyed about this book were the photos that appeared throughout. They livened up the book a lot, helping to bring the story to life, and provided visuals that you don't often receive in books.

Overall, this is a good book that many should read. The discussion questions in the back would make it ideal for a book club.

My rating is- 3/5 stars

Friday, May 1, 2009

Me & My Blog

First off: Thanks for stopping by!

A bit about me: Hey! My name’s Melanie, and I live in the wonderful state of Florida. I’m a teen and right now, I’m enjoying life, as well as figuring out where I fit in this crazy world. I’m an only child. I live with my parents. While we certainly have our not-so-nice moments, for the most part we got along pretty well. I’ve got a dog, Fritz, who’s a schnauzer mix, and he’s always full of it. I also, after years of begging, have a horse. His name’s Ranger. I’d have to say he’s pretty awesome but then, I’m biased. I really enjoy doing stuff like writing, playing the piano, photography, knitting, anything outdoors, and of course, reading.

A bit about the blog: Melanie’s Musings is a way for me to talk mostly about the books I’ve been reading, although you’ll probably get the occasional blurb of randomness. I definitely have friends who enjoy reading, but I’m pretty sure none of them enjoy it as much as I do. Book discussions are pretty rare among us, so I started this blog to be able to share my opinion. I’m an opinionated person, so it shouldn’t be too hard!

Why I read: I guess everyone reads for different reasons. I personally read mainly for the fun of it! With fiction, I love getting immersed into a world that only exists in the mind. I like reading non-fiction as well because I usually am amazed that this actually happened and someone actually experienced this. To be truthful, reading’s probably a form of escapism for me as well. Sometimes it’s nice to get away, you know?

How long I’ve been around: I started this blog on May 1st because, well it was the perfect day! Spring was in full swing, and summer was just around the bend. The idea had been rolling around in my head for a while, and after asking a few questions, I decided that I’d like to blog. So here I am!

Anything else? If you’d like to know about something I didn’t mention, email me! My address is:

Newer Posts Home