Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Author: Cornelia Funke
Originally Published: 2005
Length: 635 pages
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4.75/5
Amazon.com Rating: 4.5/5 (231 Customer Reviews)

At the closing of Inkheart, many of the characters receive their happy endings, except for Dustfinger, who is still trapped in a world to which he doesn't belong. Inkspell begins with his successful reentry into Inkworld, by the mouth of Orpheus, who is secretly working for Basta and Mortola. When Farid begs Meggie to read him into the story to go after Dustfinger, Meggie insists that she go too. In revenge for Capricorn's death, Mortola has Orpheus read Mo into the story to be killed, but Resa clings to him and goes as well. However, for all of these characters who find themselves in Inkworld, nothing is as anyone expects, and things can change instantly with the touch of a pen to paper.

One of the things I like about Funke's stories is that they always go in directions I would not expect. It's not that there are any big "twists" in the end, I'm just always pleasantly surprised at what adventure comes next or how a conflict is resolved. Of course I also love the tributes to reading and writing. Fenoglio's part in creating Inkheart makes me think of the godlike power an author plays in forming a world and its characters, how he/she may get attached to certain characters, and gleefully revel in the creation of a truly horrible villain. Fenoglio really seems to care about his friends, but is constantly blindsided due to his arrogance. He's such an interesting character. And if I was a little in love with Dustfinger in the first book, my love has deepened (be still my heart!) with reading Inkspell. I wonder, since this is a young adult book, if younger readers fall for Farid, while the ones like me (with a few frizzy gray hairs sprouting out of my head) prefer Dustfinger?

My notes on Inkspell (mostly just a summary of chapters which will be helpful when the library finally has Inkdeath available for me!)

Prude-ometer (subjective content assessment): Super mild language here and there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TLC Book Tour Review: The Memorist

Author: M.J. Rose
Originally Published: November 2008
Length: 464 pages
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4/5
Amazon.com Rating:4/5 (14 Customer Reviews)

This review is a stop on a TLC Book Tour. For other reviews on The Memorist this week, check out these sites:

Monday, January 19th: The Bluestocking Society

Tuesday, January 20th: She is Too Fond of Books

Thursday, January 22nd: A Striped Armchair

Reincarnation. Meer Logan doesn't believe in it. She has convinced herself that the disturbing memories and music that disrupt her life are created by her imagination, despite the insistence of her father, whose experiences and study of Kaballah have shaped his belief in past lives.

When a gaming-box that once belonged to Beethoven, a feature of Meer's memories, is put up for auction in Vienna, a series of events unfolds that leads Meer to question her skepticism. The box contains clues that lead to a simple bone flute that allegedly has the power to reveal the past lives of its listeners. As Meer travels in Vienna, memories from an 18th-century life surface which help her come closer to finding the flute's hiding place.

Whether you're a believer in reincarnation or not, the concept is an excellent tool in this book to merge together events from ancient India, 18th-century Europe, the Holocaust and the present day--not an easy task! I also appreciated the reverent nod to the power of music throughout the story, both negative and positive. Time to break out the Beethoven CD!
If you're like me, and you get excited about things like exploring Roman catacombs , getting up close and personal with historic artifacts, and figuring out the clues to a treasure hunt, you should enjoy this one. I'm no expert on this genre, but this story did keep the pages turning, my heart pumping, and my mind pondering.

Related links:
M.J. Rose's Site
Reading Guide

PRUDE-OMETER (subjective content assessment): excessive language by one of the minor characters, attempted war-related rape scene near end of book, non-graphic violence.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

Author: Jeanne Birdsall
Originally Published: 2005
Length: 262 pages
Award: National Book Award
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4.5/5
Amazon.com Rating:4 .5/5 (97 Customer Reviews)

The Penderwicks is a modern book with an old-fashioned feel to it, which I love. My 9-year-old daughter and I read this together, taking turns reading each page. It's hard to pinpoint what's so great about it--it's just a heartwarming story told with entertaining humor. I asked my daughter some questions about the book:

Q. When you saw the cover of this book did you think you would like it? Why?
A. Yes, because it has lots of details on it like everyone running in the grass and the grass flying up.

Q. Can you tell me what the story is about?

A. This story is about four sisters and their dad that go to Arundel to stay in a cottage for a little bit. At Arundel the girls meet an interesting boy who is forced to do things by his snobby mother.

Q. Who was your favorite character and why?
A. I liked Batty because she is funny and cute. She always wears her wings and likes Hound, the Penderwick's dog, a lot. Batty really likes Cagney's bunnies Yaz and Carla.

Q. Were there any characters you didn't like?

A. I didn't like Dexter because he was rude and selfish. I also didn't like Mrs. Tifton because she was rude too.

Q. What was your favorite part of the story?

A. I liked it when Harry the tomato man gave Mr. Penderwick the tomatoes.

Q. Who do you think would like this book?

A. Girls, because there weren't very many boy characters in it.

Q. Did this book make you want a pet?

A. Yes, because there were lots of animals in it.

Maybe we'll get a hamster???

Jeanne Birdsall's Website
Winning the Award

Subjective content assessment: Squeaky clean!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Blogkeeping Plans for 2009

There are a few new things I'm planning on adding to my blog this year:

Won't You Be My Neighbor?
I added the Followers Gadget on my left sidebar, which I think is pretty fun. Feel free to become a groupie of mine!

Chain Notes
I have started taking more notes on what I read, and plan on posting them on another blog for reference. I get frustrated when I take too much time between books in series and can't remember what happened in the previous one, or when someone blogs about a book that I have read and I can't remember anything specific about it or what my thoughts were. I have a couple of reviews to do that won't have notes, but my current reads will have notes that I will provide a link too.

The Prude-ometer
I'd like to start adding a little note at the end of my posts concerning content. Not everything I read is squeaky clean, but by most standards my feathers get ruffled pretty easily by certain things. For instance, I have a really hard time reading about rape or sexual abuse. I know they are important issues to be discussed, but I haven't personally learned yet how to read about these things and not feel nauseous for a week after. I also live in a world pretty free from profanity, so while I wouldn't necessarily dismiss a book with some in it, some language still has shock value for me and sometimes distracts me from the story. I just figure there are some other people out there like me who would like to know what to expect before delving into a novel, and can avoid the things that they don't enjoy reading. I know there are other great blogs that do a great job of rating books (for instance Good Clean Reads), but mine will just be a little note at the end.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Premio Dardos Award

For me it's an award anytime someone even visits my blog (I especially love the world map--I get so excited when a blogger from a new location pops up), but it's especially nice to receive an award. Beth from Beth Fish Reads honored me with the Premio Dardos Award, which "acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his or her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values every day." Wow! That makes me feel sort of important. Although I must confess, I don't know what Dardos means. Feel free to enlighten me, anyone.
And now for the part that I have never been very good at in the past--passing it on:

The rules to follow are

1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.

2) Pass the award to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

There are many blogs that I love, listed in the left sidebar, that I pop in and visit most every day, whether I comment or not. I used to actively search for other blogs to read, but lately I discover new ones in roundabout ways. My list is always getting longer as I discover others who share a love of a particular author or book or just have an all-around great blog.

I decided I would highlight some of the blogs that I have more recently discovered, rather than those that have long been a part of my daily routine. These may not be new blogs, but they are fairly new to me, maybe within the last six months. I've included the name of the blog and a couple of recent posts for each:

Be sure to check out Beth's blog, which has great reviews and beautiful photographs.

Rose City Reader
The Book Nest
Jo-Jo Loves to Read
Peeking Between the Pages
Rob Around Books
Madness Abides
Tuesday in Silhouette
Sophisticated Dorkiness
The Bluestocking Society
A Reader's Respite
The Indextrious Reader
Trish's Reading Nook
A Patchwork of Books
Gimme More Books!
Holy cow that took a long time! I noticed that a few of these already received this award--yay for you!!

Also, no one needs to feel obligated to pass this on--I've always been horrible at doing it myself. Just know that I love your blogs--thanks for putting so much time and thought into your posts and making each of my days a little brighter. (Oh, that does sound corny, doesn't it?)

***While writing this post , I also discovered that Tuesday in Silhouette gave me this award too. Thanks!***

Monday, January 12, 2009


Author: Terry Pratchett
Originally Published: 2008
Length: 367 pages
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4.5/5
Amazon.com Rating:4 .5/5 (78 Customer Reviews)

It seems the last few books I have reviewed have been right on par with the average amazon.com rating. How comfortably average I am! We'll see how long that lasts.

I have many things to do today, but this book is due at the library so I'm trying to squeeze in this review. To help me out, here's Pratchett's own summary and thoughts on his latest novel:

I really enjoyed this one. It was thought-provoking and philosophical. There was a satisfying balance between tragedy and comedy. I loved the characters. I know a good villain is always exciting to read about, but I was especially drawn to the goodness of Mau and Daphne as the question the things they have been taught in their separate societies and learn to sacrifice their own needs to help others. Two (of my own) thumbs up!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Main Street

Author: Sinclair Lewis
Originally Published: 1920
Length: 436 pages
Personal Enjoyment Factor: 4/5
Amazon.com Rating: 4/5 (4 Customer Reviews)

I delight in satire, and this was delightfully satirical through and through. Carol is a city girl who marries Dr. Kennicott from the small town of Gopher Prairie around 1910. She is determined to reform the town, filled with narrow-minded, gossipy citizens who are stubbornly resistant to change. Carol is equally intolerant of complacency. Her attempts to beautify the town or introduce culture through parties and intellectual groups are pitifully unsuccessful.
No one is safe from criticism in this novel. Darkly humorous and written with sharp description, Main Street kept my attention despite its lack of a strong plot. I reread and underlined many passages, but now I can't find the book to quote a few. I'm looking forward to reading Arrowsmith to experience more of Lewis' writing.