Friday, August 29, 2008

The Land of Story-Books: A Poetry Friday Post

The Land of Story-Books
by Robert Louis Stevenson

At evening when the lamp is lit,
Around the fire my parents sit;
They sit at home and talk and sing,
And do not play at anything.

Now, with my little gun, I crawl
All in the dark along the wall,
And follow round the forest track
Away behind the sofa back.

There, in the night, where none can spy,
All in my hunter's camp I lie,
And play at books that I have read
Till it is time to go to bed.

These are the hills, these are the woods,
These are my starry solitudes;
And there the river by whose brink
The roaring lions come to drink.

I see the others far away
As if in firelit camp they lay,
And I, like to an Indian scout,
Around their party prowled about.

So, when my nurse comes in for me,
Home I return across the sea,
And go to bed with backward looks
At my dear land of Story-books.

My first Poetry Friday post! To learn more about Poetry Friday, visit Big A little a. And a big shout-out to Miss Erin for pointing me in the right direction and helping me get acquainted with Poetry Friday!

This week's Poetry Friday round-up is at Charlotte's Library.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer Book Review

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
(Hachette, Hardcover)


When last we left Bella, she was engaged to be married to everyone's favorite vampire, Edward. Jacob had ran off into the wilderness and the Volturi were minding their own business in Italy. Breaking Dawn begins with a wedding and ends with a supernatural throwdown. Basically, a little something for everyone.

Breaking Dawn started with a midnight party for me. I joined about 100 other Twilight fans and made tissue paper corsages, racked my brain to remember minute trivia, and dressed to the nines (okay, it wasn't exactly to the nines. It was a simple black dress, but I did have sparkly powder for my arms and face so I had a shiny, vampire glow). And then I didn't pick up Breaking Dawn again until two weeks later. When I did pick it up, I couldn't put it down.

The Good: Bella as a vampire. This was my favorite part about the book. It was so much fun watching Bella find her place in the world. I never really understood the perks and drawbacks of being a vampire until we witnessed it through Bella's eyes. Sometimes Bella's actions made her seem as if she'd been a vampire for centuries and sometimes she acted like a child with a new toy. That juxtaposition really drove home the fact that Bella was born to be a vampire. She has an amazing super power and becoming a vampire wasn't nearly as hard as she expected. Bella makes being a vampire seem fun, whereas Edward always made it sound undesirable. Jacob's section was another of my favorite parts. Without giving anything away, let's just say that the middle section of the book would have been boring if it had been from Bella's perspective. Jacob's voice gave it a sense of urgency and an element of fear.

The Bad: The plot was a little too crazy for me. If I hadn't already been invested in the outcome of the series, I probably wouldn't have gotten past the first section. There was a certain young character whose entrance in the story was weird, graphic, and not in keeping with the tone of the series. And who made Bella keep too many secrets from Edward, something that after reading the other books I'm not convinced that she could have done. The ending was also too neat. I'm not a fan of killing off key characters, but let's face it, books are better when there is loss involved. The sad parts make you appreciate the happy ending all the more. The loophole that Alice used to make the Volturi admit defeat just wasn't terribly exciting. Another silly thing that bothered me...I was hoping that Bella's dislike of blood as a human would be one of her super powers as a vampire. I thought it would be cool (and pretty smart) if she hated the smell of human blood and was never tempted to kill humans. And Renesmee's diet of "donated human blood" wasn't well thought out. If it was that easy, why wouldn't all the other vampires just do the same?

In Conclusion: Overall, this is a fun book if you've read and enjoyed the first three. Stephenie Meyer once again does what she's good at, leaves cliffhangers at the end of each chapter in order to keep you reading. Edward fans will rejoice and Jacob fans will find a new object for their fervor. Although Breaking Dawn feels like it completes the story arc, I wouldn't mind reading a book about Bella (and Jacob and Renesmee) that was set ten years in the future.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert Book Review

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone by Stephanie Kuehnert
(MTV Books, $13.00)


Emily Black has always loved music, especially punk music. She won't admit it but it's because of the legend of her mother, Louisa. Her mom abandoned her when she was a little girl because, as her dad tells it, Louisa just wanted to follow the music. Emily starts her own punk band and, as her band's success grows, she wonders if she'll ever find her mom.

I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is full of music references and teenage angst. Emily is frustrated by her life in a small town and is yearning to connect to the mother she never knew. I admired Emily's raw feelings and cheered her on at the beginning of the book. Kuehnert's writing was easy to get caught up in, like a catchy tune. The reason I'm only giving it two stars though is because it really fell apart for me near the end. The whole book is really about Emily's search for her mom, whether she's admitting it to herself or not. Without giving anything away, I didn't feel that the end of the book did justice to Emily's search. It was rushed and way too coincidental. There was also another incident involving initials painted in a dresser drawer that was also unbelievable (and slightly cheesy) for me. I could have forgiven the initials though if the ending had been more powerful.

Who would like this book: anyone who likes music or stories about single-parent families. Emily's dad is an interesting role model, in a good way.

Have any of you ever had a problem with too much coincidence in a book?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman Book Review

Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty by Jody Gehrman
(Hardcover, Dial Books)


Geena is ready for summer. She's got a great job serving up coffee and she'll be working with her two best friends. Geena has it all pictured - it'll be a summer filled with caffeine and girl bonding. But Geena's two gal pals don't hit it off. In fact, Hero and Amber kind of hate each other. Add in a couple of cute guys and things become really strained between Geena and her friends. Geena's simple soy latte summer is becoming a triple shot, no whip, no foam, sugar-free vanilla, with sprinkles on top latte.

Ok, I just couldn't resist adding in some coffee lingo there. But it does flow with the book. Geena has a nice, relaxing summer planned and then it suddenly becomes very complicated (hopefully I made that clear with my coffee talk). Confessions of a Triple Shot Betty was a light, fun summer read with a great girl power message. Some guys in the book got their girl and some, well, they got what they deserved and how can you not like that? Geena and her friends made me laugh, and wish for a cup of coffee.

And the coffee in the cup on the cover is a scratch-and-sniff. I've never seen this before on a book and I must admit I was pretty excited to scratch it and actually smell coffee! Hmm, maybe that's why I had a sudden desire for coffee...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott Book Review

Stealing Heaven by Elizabeth Scott
(HarperTeen, Hardcover)


Danielle (Dani) has been stealing all her life. She and her mom move from town to town, sneaking into people's houses and taking their expensive silver. Then Dani and her mom move to Heaven and Dani starts making friends. Real friends. The kind that she can laugh and joke with. Soon Dani finds herself caught between the life that she's always known and the life that she wants.

This book was definitely a fascinating read. I was rooting for Dani the whole time. I loved it because, unlike a lot of teen novels, there was never a moment where she made a decision that she shouldn't have. Don't get me wrong...she did make bad decisions. It was just that she was always caught between loyalty to her mom and the more nebulous notion of "doing the right thing." This is compounded by the fact that one of Dani's new friends is a cute, young cop who she just happens to be crushing on.

Why did I wait so long to read this book? I loved Elizabeth Scott's previous books and this on has been sitting on my bookshelf for months. Well, to be honest, it was the cover. The girl on the front looks like she's 13 and I just wasn't into reading a book about a girl that young. It wasn't until I read several other reviews that I realized that it was about an 18-year-old. So, don't judge this book by its cover.

Favorite part: the title. It's so perfect on so many levels. And there's a fun little surprise at the end that had me loving it even more.