Book Review: Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Avonlea by LMM#4 – Anne of Avonlea by L.M. Montgomery

Genre: Historical Fiction, Children’s Classic

Page Numbers: 276 pages

Dates Read: 1/22/15 – 1/25/15

Plot in three lines or less: The story of Anne continues, and it’s filled with all kinds of adventures, both of the happy and exciting, and sad and hard kind. Anne makes new friends, but cherishes the old. She becomes a teacher, and learns a lot of life lessons along the way.

Recommended age for reading: Amazon suggests 8-12 years old, which fits, though I personally think anyone over the age of 8 could read it.

New read or re-read? Re-read.

Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes. Need I say more?

Why did I pick it up? To continue reading it, along with my best friend, of course. 🙂

Rating: 5/5

Other Notes: There are quite a few things about this book I remembered from this most current read.

— If I thought the first book’s cover was bad, I had forgotten this book’s cover. It was completely off. Again, I refuse to purchase a newer edition to this book because of sentimental reasons.

— This story doesn’t follow one continuous plot line. It tells different stories throughout her life, and weaves them all together to form the complete story. Almost like “A Day in the Life” of Anne. You ought to bear that in mind when reading this series.

— I felt the same way about this second book as I did the first. Rereading it this time felt like I was becoming reacquainted with a best friend. Excitement at each achievement of the Avonlea Village Improvement Society, anxiety over the antics of Davy, her confusion over her changing relationships with Diana and Gilbert – I FELT EVERYTHING.

My friend’s blog said it better, but I have to agree with it whole-heartedly – the way the book is set up makes it feel as though she is a treasured friend. We see glimpses into her life, almost as if we get to peak in through the window. It gives a real-life feel to a book, one that I’ve not been able to find in almost any other story I think I’ve ever read.

— I didn’t want this one to end either. How will I go back to my normal way of life when this series is finished?

Grand Total: 114

Book Review: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by LMM#3 – Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Genre: Historical Fiction, Children’s Classic

Page Numbers: 308 pages

Dates Read: 1/15/15 – 1/22/15

Plot in three lines or less: Talkative, imaginative, red-headed orphan Anne (with an ‘e’) is brought home to Green Gables on Prince Edward Island, and as soon as she arrives, she knows she wants to stay forever. The trouble is, elderly siblings Matthew & Marilla didn’t intend to keep a girl orphan at home, and she is the complete opposite in every way imaginable. They decide to raise her, and find that life is never the same again.

Recommended age for reading: Amazon suggest 9-12 years old. I would guess I read this all during those ages, and into high school.

New read or re-read? Re-read.

Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will definitely read this again, and would definitely recommend it to anyone.

Why did I pick it up? My best friend (that should be “bosom friend” 🙂 ) and I have had a mutual agreement for a little while now to reread this series, seeing as how we both were in love with that Anne girl, and devoured the first four books of the series. We both struggled with everything after “Anne’s House of Dreams” and had wanted to try and remedy that now, as adults. And because it really has been too long since I read them.anne of green gables

Favorite Line: There are too many to name. I uploaded a picture of one of my all time favorites.

Rating: 5/5

Other Notes: There are quite a few things about this book I remembered from this most current read.

— This book gave me an unquenchable desire to visit Canada, and specifically, Prince Edward Island, as a little girl.

— My book has been so used that the cover is almost completely off. There is a small part of me that thinks it should be replaced, and then the larger part of me that rears her head and screams “HELL, NO YOU’RE NEVER REPLACING THIS BOOK!” because of all the memories I have associated with it.

— I always wanted to be Anne when I was younger. I wished and wished I had red hair. The day my mother told me that I did in fact have red highlights in my hair, I about swooned from the sheer happiness of the thought (even though Miss Anne has a low opinion of said red hair).

— I always wanted to have an imagination just like Anne’s. Like Anne’s time before she arrived at the Cuthbert’s home, I didn’t have the best of childhoods. I didn’t realize that I could IMAGINE so much of what happened away by seeing the wonder in everything around me, and by the time I realized I could, I was so jaded from things that imagining them better just didn’t work. And that thought makes me incredibly sad.

— That thought leads me to believe that I try and act more like her now than I ever did as a child. I laugh at things that most others might now, and love to use long, flowery words, and am more active in my imagination now than I ever was as a child. I guess part of that credit NEEDS to go to these books, now that I’ve reread them as an adult, and can remember as clear as day just how much of an impact they had on me.

— Rereading it this time felt like I was becoming reacquainted with a best friend. I thrilled when she made new discoveries, saw new beauties, gasped when she smacked Gilbert on the head, cried when she went through her hardships. I FELT EVERYTHING. There was not one page where I did not have a Shower of All The Feelings, and it was both SO hard to go through, and SO good to go through all at the same time.

— Every single time Anne spoke about having to grow up, I was a sobbing, blubbery mess. Seriously. I think it is because the last couple of months have been filled with a lot of myself, and there is a part of me that is excited for my own “great change” and yet another part of me that wishes the old ways never had to end.

— And don’t even get me started on Matthew’s chapter at the end. I had to put off when I was reading it because I was about to drive to work, and I knew if I read it when I did, I would be sobbing all the way to work. (As it is, I read it during my lunch break that day, and sobbed through my lunch break instead. What can I say?)

— I did NOT want it to end. I would never want it to end. If there was a way for me to LIVE in any book, it would be hard not to want to choose this one. (Though, seriously, can’t I just live in them all?)

— I own the soundtrack to the movies these inspired. I absolutely LOVED those as well, when I was in high school and college. It’s been several years since I saw them, and I think it high time I add them to my movie collection. I pulled out the soundtrack, and listened to it again, and I had to get out an umbrella, because the Shower of All The Feels just wouldn’t stop!

In all truth and honesty, if you ever have any inkling to pick up this book, you should.

Grand Total: 113

Book Review: Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

#2 – Firefight by Brandon SandersonFirefight by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superheroes

Page Numbers: 427 pages

Dates Read: 1/9/15 – 1/14/15

Plot in three lines or less: In the aftermath of the last book, David finds himself wondering what he should do with the rest of his life. New Epics with mind-boggling powers are popping up, destroying people and cities left and right, and it’s up to David and The Reckoners to stop them.

New read or re-read? New read.

Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will definitely read this again, and would definitely recommend it to anyone. Because it’s Brandon Sanderson, of course. 🙂

Why did I pick it up? Anything new by Brandon Sanderson is read by me as soon as humanly possible. Considering this book came out two days prior to when I started reading, I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

Favorite Line: It’s not full of spiritual insight or great wisdom, or anything, but it was one of my favorite lines nonetheless: “My name is David Charleston. I kill people with super powers.”

Rating: 5/5

Other Notes: David has a tendency to try and explain things by using metaphors (that are actually similes, but that is neither here nor there). They are HYSTERICAL. So get ready to laugh out loud. A lot.

Grand Total: 112

Book Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

I really shouldn’t let myself get so far behind in the book reviews, should I? It would be so much easier on myself if I just did them as I finish reading books, but I don’t seem to learn. After working on reviews for going on three years now, you would think I’d learn, right? 🙂

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson#1 – Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

Genre: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Superheroes

Page Numbers: 418 pages

Dates Read: 12/15/14 – 1/8/15

Plot in three lines or less: Imagine a world that was inhabited by people who were given what could only be termed superpowers. But then make them the bad guys. That is what this book is about. David, who watched his father be murdered by one such “superhero,” has devoted his entire life to seeking revenge on Steelheart. He seeks out a band of rebels called “The Reckoners” in the hopes that he can join, and ultimate get his revenge.

New read or re-read? New read.

Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I will definitely read this again. From everything I can find, this series (The Reckoners series) is supposed to be a trilogy, so I will most likely reread this when the third book comes out.

Favorite Line: “The truth is not a downer. The lies that you pretend to accept are the true downer.”

Why did I pick it up? The second book in the series, Firefight was released on January 6, 2015, and I’ve made it an unspoken policy that I get all new Brandon Sanderson every single time it comes out, and read it as soon as humanly possible. Since Firefight is the second in the series, I obviously had to read the first one. I’d hoped to finish it in the middle of December, but I already gave a pretty good description of how my December-into-January went, so there you have it.

Rating: 5/5

Other Notes: When I went to a Sanderson signing last March, this was the one book I bought from the bookstore he was at. They usually encourage you to purchase books from the stores they hold signings at, and of course I love supporting local bookstores as much as humanly possible. So my copy is a nice and shiny signed one. 🙂 What I had forgot when I bought it though, was that I had also purchased it for my Kindle once when it was on sale for a ridiculously cheap price. In the end, that wasn’t a bad thing, however, as it meant I could still read after dark if I was in the car while someone else was driving (which tends to happen more often than not during the wintry months). Oh well. I am obviously not too heartbroken over it.

Grand Total: 111

Where did the rest of the year go?

So much for me trying to keep up with the regular posting, right? 🙂 November and December tend to be my busiest months at work. Throw in a SUCCESSFUL attempt at NaNo, and moving from one home to another, and you get my last three months.

I basically didn’t read for much of the rest of the year. I did start one book in the middle of December which I finished at the beginning of January, so I’m counting it towards this year’s totals. I’ll be reviewing it and the others I’ve read soon. 🙂

I thought I would put up a quick summary of the last year’s reading, kind of like I did last year, and get on to The Books!

How many books did you read? 53 total, which is down 3 books from 2013. At least I was able to break 50, which is what I’d hoped for.

Re-Reads versus New Reads? Let’s see… 24 Re-Reads and 29 New Reads. New Reads wins again! I’d like to keep this trend up, because as fun as older rereads are, finding new books to read typically leads to finding new friends. 🙂

Did you find any new favorite author(s)? I guess maybe Veronica Roth and James Dashner? I still need to finish both the Divergent and The Maze Runner series, so we’ll see if they live up to my enjoyment from the first books. Almost all the authors I read from the rest of the year I’d either heard about or read before, or else were one-shot sorts that I don’t imagine would write other things. (Like Bernie Su – love you man, but unless you decide to write up an Emma or Sanditon adaptation, I’m not sure you’ll be doing more writing. Though I did absolutely LOVE your book. 🙂 )

Favorite New Read(s)? All of Brandon Sanderson’s stuff of course, and after looking at the complete list, that’s just over two months’ worth of the reading I did last year. The other big favorite was Jim Butcher’s Skin Games. Because anything Harry Dresden is just awesome and needs to be inhaled as soon as it becomes available. OSC’s book Speaker for the Dead was also very poignant and I really did enjoy it a lot more than I thought I would. (So much so that I kind of want to look into what it means to have a Speaker at a funeral.) Favorite children’s book goes to The Little Prince. I think I need to start reading that one on a yearly basis.

Favorite Re-Read(s)? I guess if I had to pick, it’d be Tuesdays with Morrie. That book would be one of my top ten I’d take with me if I were ever stranded somewhere. Seriously – I wish there was a way for me to remember the lessons I learn every single time I read it.

Did anything surprise you? Um, I guess the most truthful answer would be that I actually managed to read the entire Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers. I don’t normally subscribe to that type of fiction, but it had come highly recommended by a number of people in my life, both family and friends, and since it had been given to me as a gift for a birthday, I felt obligated to at least give it a shot. I am glad I did, though I still hold firmly to the belief that I should have left more time between book 2 and book 3, so as to have at least some space in between there. I normally read maybe ONE of those a year, and so three back to back became a little much. I think that’s why book 3 wasn’t a favorite. I was also surprised to realize that I had never read Frankenstein before. I didn’t have to read all the books they make kids read now in junior and senior high, unfortunately, so I never had the opportunity to read it. Thanks to Pemberley Digital’s “Frankenstein, M.D.” web adaptation, however, I remedied that.

Book-to-Movie Adaptations: Were there any this year and did they live up to your standards? There were some, but because I’m a new home-owner and have had to be concerned about things like replacing hot water tanks, painting, and purchasing furniture, going to the movies wasn’t high on the priority list this year. I know there was Divergent, The Maze Runner and the third Hobbit movie, but I didn’t go see any of them. I did however read the first two Divergent books, and started The Maze Runner series, so at least if nothing else, these movies prompted me to read books I otherwise wouldn’t have known about. I’d call that a win too.

Best book moments of 2014

There were several. One of the best moments was when I got to meet Brandon Sanderson for a second time, this time bringing my two best friends along in tow. One of my others was meeting Jim Butcher at Dragon*Con back in August and having him sign several of my Dresden books. (I also got to meet the actor who portrayed Harry Dresden in the TV show, which is part of what should be a completely different blog entry!) I also took part in NaNoWriMo and won again, and this time using a completely original idea! Well, two completely original ideas. I had too many ideas bouncing back and forth in my head and couldn’t pick one, so I stuck with both. I didn’t come anywhere near finishing either of them, but I am proud that I at least started writing things other than real life.

What are you most looking forward to in 2015?

I’m looking forward to a lot of things when it come to books for the next year. I think this might be the year I designate the Year of the Reread Books, for I’m in the middle of a great reread of a childhood favorite (like I said, reviews to come!), and I’m actually in the mood to reread several other childhood favorites. There’s also the fact that I reread Harry Potter on an every-other-year basis, and it’s my year to contemplate reading it once more! And believe me, if I can somehow manage to reread Harry Potter, I will be SERIOUSLY looking forward to it.

There are other good book moments to look forward to – namely, there is new Brandon Sanderson coming our way this year. And one can hope for excellent authors at Dragon*Con, since I’m hoping/planning on attending again this year, and last year’s author lineup was a smashing success for me.

Happy Reading!

 

Once more unto the breach, dear friends

It was either that or, “Here at the end of all things,” but that one has a finality to it that I don’t really think applies to me and this blog. I certainly don’t intend to end this blog just because I’ve finally made it to the end of my first October #write31days project. 🙂 So King Henry it is.

I started my project with posting pictures of my bookshelves, and commented about the fact that it would be interesting to see it with all my books on there, for at that time, they were scattered, some in boxes, others on the shelves in my other bedroom.

That’s what this post is going to be about. How poetic for me, that I should end where I began?

New bookshelfOne day a couple of weeks ago, I took the time to pull all the rest of my books out and put them up on the shelves in my library. And here you can see the result.

I didn’t have the time when I did this to try and put them in alphabetical order. I don’t think I actually plan on doing that at all, at least not until the end of this year, when I shall plan to clean up the shelves entirely, and get everything in its place.

You can see that with all the rest of my books on the shelves now, I’m down to just a portion of one little shelf left. Some room to grow, but alas – not much! Unless I want to double-park them. Which I’m not inclined to do. 🙂 Putting all of the rest of my books on these shelves took up two entire shelves. This shouldn’t surprise me that I have this many.

One of the things I was hoping to be able to do, but ran out of time for, was to take an inventory of my books, to see how many of them I’ve actually read versus how many I haven’t read. Heck, having a good idea of just how many I actually have isn’t probably a bad idea either. I know I’ve read a lot of them. I also know that I have a lot of books I haven’t read.

Speaking of other things I was hoping to be able to potentially blog about, some of those ideas include: Why I Read YA (as Opposed to Pretty Much Everything Else), and To Kindle or Not To Kindle. Now that I’ve gotten used to the idea and practice of coming up with posts that aren’t just about book reviews, I’ll have to keep them in my mind for future writing purposes. 🙂

New bookshelf 2And here is the second bookshelf in that bedroom. At the first of this month, when writing up that entry, I’d already deleted the first picture I’d had of these particular bookshelves, so it wasn’t able to be a part of that entry. This is the other reason I thought it would be a good idea to end on this – so you can truly have a good idea on just how many books I have. The top ones are Bibles and spiritual books, and the middle are craft/biography/informational related book. The  third one from the bottom is half-filled with all the children’s books I have (there was NO WAY I was planning to alphabetize my Little Golden Books in with the books on the main shelf!); I did this intentionally, because it is just about right for nephew-height. I want him to feel free to pull those books any time off the shelves if he’s over and wants to read a book. There were too many times when I was growing up that I wasn’t allowed to do that (pull books off shelves) when I was visiting family or family friends. I would have loved that opportunity, and really wanted to give my nephew that chance. The last two shelves are filled mostly with children’s books. Some of those could have gone onto the other shelves. But obviously, as you saw, it’s pretty tight on there already. I think I made a good call putting these over in this corner.

And that’s it, folks!

Don’t be too alarmed if I’m quieter during the next 30 days. I’ve signed up for NaNoWriMo, so any and all time that I’d previously spent blogging and reading will hopefully be spent writing. If I can, I’ll certainly be posting.

Until later!

For When I Don’t Feel Like Reading

Dear Self,

It’s okay to sometimes not feel like reading. I think you like to put too much pressure on yourself. You think you always have to be reading something. Have to find the next book, write the next review.

It doesn’t always have to be that way.

Cut yourself some slack. Take some time to explore other avenues of expression. Listen to music. Write stories of your own. Meet people. Do things. The books will still be there when you feel like reading again. In fact, there’s probably a very good chance that even more books will be there, because you’ll have given them some time to bring out more.

And when you stop and think about it, cut yourself some slack from the other things in life. The important things will get done. I know it can get stressful and crazy and you can feel run down and tired by all that life tries to throw at you, but take it one step at a time. The important things will get done. You’ll see. Don’t try to kill yourself in the process. The important things will get done.

You’ll be reading again before you know it.

Sincerely,

Cassie

Book Review: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Surprise! It’s another book! I started it yesterday, which was the official start date for The Classics Club, and finished it today. It’s no surprise – I’d been aching to read, and chose something that would easily be finished in a short amount of time.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery#53 – The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Genre: Children’s, Family, Fable

Page Numbers: 84 pages

Dates Read: 10/28/14 – 10/29/14

Plot in three lines or less: A timeless tale, that anyone at any age can read. The Little Prince tells us the story of how he crossed planets, and of the people he meets, and of his love for his little flower.

New read or re-read? New read.

Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, one thousand times yes. It was an exquisite piece of literature, and should be read by any and everyone, most especially by those who think they’ve become adults and don’t need books like this.

Favorite Line: There are too many to name. I’ve put just a few up in pictures in this entry.

The Little Prince 1 The Little Prince 3

Why did I pick it up? I was at the bookstore the day before my birthday with my best friend. We were wondering the aisles in B&N, and I was determined to find several books as a “birthday” present to myself. I’d set my limits, and was prepared to follow them. We were wandering through the YA and children’s sections (because those are the ones I tend to gravitate towards), and I happened to see this one. I’ve heard many good things about it over the last couple of months, and so I bought it as a birthday present for myself, and promised that it would be the first book I would read after I finally finished all the book reviews here on my blog. I kept that promise.

Rating: 5/5

Other Notes: This book made me choke up when I finished reading it. I will not say what happened, for there will be no spoilers on my blog, but it was sad and beautiful and tragic and wonderful all at the same time, and I couldn’t help but tear up. I know I’ve already said this, but it bears repeating – I’m going to be re-reading this book for a very long time.

The Little Prince 2I wish there was a way for me to keep the spirit of The Little Prince with me all the time. His childlike attitude, faith and heart are something I’ve striven to keep as I’ve been forced to become an “adult.” I don’t think it was any coincidence I bought this as a birthday gift to myself, and wanted it to be the first book I read right after my birthday.

One other thing – It is also to be noted that there is some disagreement with regards to the actual translation of the book. The original 1943 translation by Katherine Woods seems to be the more favorable, as opposed to the one I have, which is the newer one translated by Richard Howard. I cannot actually speak to that, since I’ve now reached the age of 34, and I’m only just finding this book now. The version I have read has taken my breath away, and will be one I will read for many years to come. Though, if I should ever come across a translation by Katherine Woods, I would love to read that as well, to mark the differences. So no judging allowed!

Grand Total: 110

 

#write31days starts here.

Book Review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

And I’m FINALLY caught up on my book reviews! Though, the book I managed to start reading over my lunch break today will be finished in the next couple of days, so another one will be forthcoming. Hopefully, I can be better at getting reviews up as I finish reading books. I don’t like it when I get as far behind as I did. Here’s to trying to be better! 🙂

#52 – The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Genre: Children’s/Family/Picture book

Page Numbers: 533 pages

Dates Read: 10/14/14 – 10/16/14

Plot in three lines or less: Hugo, the orphan boy-turned thief runs the clocks and timepieces for the train station in Paris, where he lives in the walls. His very existence depends on keeping himself hidden from the outside world, until his world collides with that of a cranky old man who runs a tooth booth at the station. A mysterious girl, cryptic drawings, a stolen key, a mechanical man and more turn Hugo’s world completely upside down.

New read or re-read? Re-read.

Would you read it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes, I would definitely read this again, and I would recommend it and any of Brian Selznick’s other works to anyone. Also – while this is not based on a true story, there are elements of history in here that ring with truth, namely with regards to the history of film. Anyone who is a lover of old films, or studies the history of film making would love this book.

Why did I pick it up? This was another book I borrowed from the library. Like I said, I was going for easy and quick reading the last time I was there and this definitely fit the bill. I am seriously going to have to pick it up for my own library.

Rating: 5/5

Other Notes: This is a very unique book. Half of the pages in this book are comprised of original artwork by Brian that compliment and help tell this story, and they are beautiful works of art. It’s not just a children’s story, yet it’s more than just a picture book. It has a timeless quality to it, and I think is one that truly can be enjoyed and appreciated by anyone of any age.

And had I had proper warning, I could have had the opportunity to meet the author recently. The artwork of Brian Selznick is currently being exhibited at the Delaware Art Museum and there was a signing event by Brian there a couple of weeks ago. As it is, I am think I might have to go visit the exhibition of his artwork that is there at some point soon. I am sure it will be an amazing thing to behold.

Grand Total: 109

 

#write31days starts here.