Monday, March 1, 2010

February Monthly Summary

Books read in February

Never Blame the Umpire
Out with the In Crowd
Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood
Anything but Normal: A Novel
The Naughty List
Hear No Evil: Marching in the Lord's Army, Fleeing the Devil, and Finding a Righteous Groove
The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams
Dreams That Won't Let Go: A Novel
Princess for Hire
Dear Big V
Portrait in Death
Katy's New World
Spring Breakdown
The Oracle of Dating
The Cougar Club
The Mark

Crystal's favorite books »

  1. Spring Breakdown by Melody Carlson
  2. Katy's New World by Kim Vogel Sawyer
  3. Dear Big V by Ellen W. Leroe
  4. Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
  5. Dreams that Won't Let Go by Stacy Hawkins Adams
  6. Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb
  7. Oracle of Dating by Allison van Diepen
  8. The Mark by Jen Nadol
  9. Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens
  10. Hear No Evil by Matthew Paul Turner
  11. The Naughty List by Suzanne Young
  12. Anything But Normal by Melody Carlson
  13. The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams
  14. The Cougar Club by Susan McBride
  15. Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood by Eileen Cook
  16. Out with the In Crowd by Stephanie Morrill
  17. Never Blame the Umpire by Gene Fehler
Another good reading month - 17 this month, 44 total for the year so far.  I still haven't touched anything from my shelves, mainly reading review books, library books and now a few ebooks on my new Kindle.  I am going to start working on a few of my books this month.  I also need to play catch up with my reviews.  For some reason February was busy - I'm back at work full-time and getting use to it.  It's also taking a lot of my reading time.  But I'm starting to get the hang of it again and plan to get a lot of reading done this month.

One thing I notice - I read a lot of YA this month - 13 out of 17 books!  Wow - I still wish I had had all of these great YA authors when I was younger!

Join in with your end of the month post with Alaine, The Queen of Happy Endings - see others February reading lists and link up to have a chance at a $10 Amazon GC.  Thanks Alaine for hosting this!

Blogsplash - Thaw by Fiona Robyn

Ruth's diary is the new novel by Fiona Robyn, called Thaw. She has decided to blog the novel in its entirety over the next few months, so you can read it for free.

Ruth's first entry is below, and you can continue reading tomorrow here.

These hands are ninety-three years old. They belong to Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. She was so frail that her grand-daughter had to carry her onto the set to take this photo. It's a close-up. Her emaciated arms emerge from the top corners of the photo and the background is black, maybe velvet, as if we're being protected from seeing the strings. One wrist rests on the other, and her fingers hang loose, close together, a pair of folded wings. And you can see her insides.
The bones of her knuckles bulge out of the skin, which sags like plastic that has melted in the sun and is dripping off her, wrinkling and folding. Her veins look as though they're stuck to the outside of her hands. They're a colour that's difficult to describe: blue, but also silver, green; her blood runs through them, close to the surface. The book says she died shortly after they took this picture. Did she even get to see it? Maybe it was the last beautiful thing she left in the world.
I'm trying to decide whether or not I want to carry on living. I'm giving myself three months of this journal to decide. You might think that sounds melodramatic, but I don't think I'm alone in wondering whether it's all worth it. I've seen the look in people's eyes. Stiff suits travelling to work, morning after morning, on the cramped and humid tube. Tarted-up girls and gangs of boys reeking of aftershave, reeling on the pavements on a Friday night, trying to mop up the dreariness of their week with one desperate, fake-happy night. I've heard the weary grief in my dad's voice.
So where do I start with all this? What do you want to know about me? I'm Ruth White, thirty-two years old, going on a hundred. I live alone with no boyfriend and no cat in a tiny flat in central London. In fact, I had a non-relationship with a man at work, Dan, for seven years. I'm sitting in my bedroom-cum-living room right now, looking up every so often at the thin rain slanting across a flat grey sky. I work in a city hospital lab as a microbiologist. My dad is an accountant and lives with his sensible second wife Julie, in a sensible second home. Mother finished dying when I was fourteen, three years after her first diagnosis. What else? What else is there?
Charlotte Marie Bradley Miller. I looked at her hands for twelve minutes. It was odd describing what I was seeing in words. Usually the picture just sits inside my head and I swish it around like tasting wine. I have huge books all over my flat; books you have to take in both hands to lift. I've had the photo habit for years. Mother bought me my first book, black and white landscapes by Ansel Adams. When she got really ill, I used to take it to bed with me and look at it for hours, concentrating on the huge trees, the still water, the never-ending skies. I suppose it helped me think about something other than what was happening. I learned to focus on one photo at a time rather than flicking from scene to scene in search of something to hold me. If I concentrate, then everything stands still. Although I use them to escape the world, I also think they bring me closer to it. I've still got that book. When I take it out, I handle the pages as though they might flake into dust.
Mother used to write a journal. When I was small, I sat by her bed in the early mornings on a hard chair and looked at her face as her pen spat out sentences in short bursts. I imagined what she might have been writing about; princesses dressed in star-patterned silk, talking horses, adventures with pirates. More likely she was writing about what she was going to cook for dinner and how irritating Dad's snoring was.
I've always wanted to write my own journal, and this is my chance. Maybe my last chance. The idea is that every night for three months, I'll take one of these heavy sheets of pure white paper, rough under my fingertips, and fill it up on both sides. If my suicide note is nearly a hundred pages long, then no-one can accuse me of not thinking it through. No-one can say; 'It makes no sense; she was a polite, cheerful girl, had everything to live for', before adding that I did keep myself to myself. It'll all be here. I'm using a silver fountain pen with purple ink. A bit flamboyant for me, I know. I need these idiosyncratic rituals; they hold things in place. Like the way I make tea, squeezing the tea-bag three times, the exact amount of milk, seven stirs. My writing is small and neat; I'm striping the paper. I'm near the bottom of the page now. Only ninety-one more days to go before I'm allowed to make my decision. That's it for today. It's begun.

Continue reading tomorrow here...

Review and Tour: Never Blame the Umpire by Gene Fehler

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Zonderkidz (March 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Bridgette Brooks and Pam Mettler of Zondervan Publishing for sending me a review copy.***

My Review:

Rating: 5.0/5.0

This is an amazing book.  From the first page, Kate took me right into the story and I could relate to so many things that were going on when I was a kid. 

Kate is at the start of one of the best summers of her life until her parents bring her the news that her mother has cancer and it is inoperable.  The rest of the book follows Kate and her family through the summer and how they deal with the coming death of a beloved family member.

I have never been a big fan of poetry but I thoroughly enjoyed the poetry that Kate wrote in this book.  I see poetry now as a wonderful expression of feelings.  Mr. Fehler does an amazing job writing a young teenage girl though don't let that shy boys away from reading this book either.  Kate is athletic and plays sports and her gender figures in less in this story than her place as a child in a family dealing with upcoming death.  I think this book can help either gender deal well with this topic as Kate is in that zone of being a young adult before boys and girls separate fully to chase each other for dating and liking.  So her problems and the way she deals with them can help both boys and girls.

This is a beautiful book and the full focus is not on the death - but on the life they live and the valuable lessons that can be taught on how to trust God even when tragedies happen.

It was funny but I could relate on both sides of Kate and her Mom.  My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was in college and I remember the day I came home to both parents at home (both worked at the time) and how I knew something was wrong.  I could also relate as a mom because I thought I was given a death sentence last spring when they didn't know what was wrong with me.  I immediately wanted to do everything with my kids that I could.  My story thankfully ends better than Kate's mom (they found out it was something entirely different and much more treatable than spinal cancer). 

There are beautiful lessons to be learned in this and a great way for children to understand and cope with death of a loved one.  I loved Kate's mom's ultimate lesson in this book and how true it really is if you think about it.

A beautiful book from start to finish - I think this can appeal to all ages but is focused on young adults.  I enjoyed reading it and will hang on to this one to share with others.

Mr. Fehler writes an amazing story and got me to like poetry, that says a lot.


Gene Fehler, an award-winning and widely published poet, is the author of ten published books and over eighteen hundred published poems, stories, and articles. He and his wife, Polly, live in Seneca, South Carolina, where he writes, teaches, and participates in sports.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (March 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310719410
ISBN-13: 978-0310719410
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER: Just Press the Button: