Maggie Guest Reviews Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr

Maggie Guest postsMaggie and I just finished reading Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr last night, which was a re-read for me, but a first read for her since she fell asleep on it last year and never picked it back up.  I enjoyed it more this time around, and wonder if it was because I haven’t recently seen the movie, or that I saw things this time I didn’t before, or that it was the wide-eyed (most of the time), often giggling girl cuddling beside me.  Maybe it was all three, but I’m thinking it was the last that increased my enjoyment the most ;-)

Since I reviewed it in 2008, I thought it’d be a perfect chance for Mags to do her first official review.  She has given a paragraph here and there on different books that we’ve read together about what she thought of a book, but never the whole review.  So, take it away Maggie!

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Nim's Island with MaggieMy mom is making do this, I want to play and this is boring and stupid, but she’s making me sit here and write this with her. 

So why did I read Nim’s Island?  “Because I wanted to” isn’t enough, mom says, so I guess I have to say more.  At school we do Accelerated Reader.  You get points for reading books and you get prizes and it goes on your report card.  Also, if I don’t meet my point goals, I can’t play computer games.  With Nim’s Island‘s 3 points, I’ll have 46 points.  I want to get 100 points by the end of the year, I’m trying to get mom to read Twilight with me, it’s worth like 20 points or something :-D

Nim’s Island is about a girl named Nim who lives on an island with her dad, Jack.  Her dad leaves her alone while he goes to study plankton.  He only means to be gone for 3 days, but then a storm hit and his boat got broke, and he couldn’t get back to her.  He let Nim know what happened by hooking up a note on Nim’s bird named Galileo.  While he was gone, they got an email from Alex Rover, who is the author of the adventure books Nim loves.  Having someone to talk to makes Nim feel less alone and happy to have a friend.  When Alex finds out that Nim is alone, she comes to the island immediately, even though it was hard for Alex to even leave her apartment because she’s afraid of everything, even just going outside.

Five things I liked about the book:

  1. I liked Fred, the iguana, best.  He’s so funny.  He always forgets he doesn’t like banana and takes a bite of Nim’s then spits it out and then Nim’s too grossed out to eat the banana. 
  2. The book was funny.  When Fred got mad, he swam down to the bottom of the pool and hid under a rock.
  3. It was cool that they lived on an island.  I’d love to live on an island and swim in the ocean whenever I wanted.  And she didn’t have to sit in a boring classroom for school, but got to sit outside and learn about nature and stars and how to talk to the seals.
  4. It was a short book.
  5. I liked the pictures in the book.

Things I didn’t like:

  • I didn’t like that Nim was left alone.  It’s bad to leave kids alone.  It made me feel sad that she didn’t have anybody to share the coconut pearl with or to comfort her when her knee got hurt. 
  • I didn’t like it when my mom teased me and said she was going to stop in the middle of the storm, in the middle of a sentence.  This is what she did:

“The water was up to Alex’s waist, then her chest, and up to her neck; she was spluttering and ducking, and… “

Okay, time for bed.

I threatened to bite her if she didn’t finish.  She finished.

  • Did I mention I didn’t like writing a review?

I give Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr 4 out of 5 stars.  Okay, that’s all I can think of, so I guess I’m done. 

YAY! I’m FREE!!!!

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I’m counting Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr as part of my We Didn’t Start the Fire Challenge 2010 under “South Pacific”.

Books, Buds, and Blueberry-Lemon Crunch Cake

It’s been an interesting and fun day here.  The weather is gorgeous!  Warm, sunny, and a good breeze to blow all the winter stench away.  The girls and I all headed to the library to take back a few things and Sam wanted to get some more movies and Twilight.  As it turns out, by the way, all I had to do was tell her what was in Marked (oral sex), and she decided it wasn’t a book for her.  She’s a good kid :-)

On our way, we met up with a friend who reminded me that the library sale was today, a fact I had NOT forgotten, but alas, did not have any money for it.  I made the comment that I didn’t have any money so I’d have to catch the next one, and she pressed a five dollar bill in my hand and told me to get everyone some books. :-D Friends are great ;-)

So, at our library sale books cost fifty cents a piece, or $5 per bag.  I perused the books, looking at all the books offered. Most of the children’s books were a bit baby-ish, but Maggie picked up a book on Texas (that’s where my mom lives).  Sam snatched up a Where’s Waldo? book, and Gwen got a beautifully illustrated fairy tale book.

One of the main criteria for the books I chose were size.  The smaller the book, the more I could cram in the bag ;-) so no coffee table books today (there wasn’t many available anyway, oddly enough).  But a very interesting thing has happened since joining LibraryThing, the blogging realm and reading emails from publishers, Shelf Awarenes, and everything else.  I’m beginning to recocgnize titles I’ve heard and wanted.  For instance, one book that jumped out at me is called People of the Valley, though I’m not even sure why it popped out at me.

Then, just a little bit ago, the mailman dropped off a few of my mooches, and one of them caught my eye. Last week, Abe Publishing sent an email about the 10 overlooked Pulitzer Prize winning books, and I immediately mooched them or put the titles on my wishlists. One of them, Lamb in His Bosom, was among my haul today.  What caught my attention about the book is that, looking at the cover or reading the title, I would have passed over this book without a thought.

Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller

My first thought on it is, “It’s just some religious book.”  Which reminds me of the proverb “Never judge a book by its cover.”  And I wonder how many exceptional books have I missed, how many life-changing narratives have I blown off, and it makes me a little sad.

Add to that, all those books in the library itself were all dreams and babies of writers, and I will never be able to read even 1% of all of them.  So many colorful spines that call out to me from those lightly dusted faux-wood shelves, and I am forced to turn my back on them and walk out… ignoring all those voices of all those people who had something to say and managed to do what most don’t:  Bind their words in an available and solid, tangible way.

So have you ever had a book call to you?  Have you read a book that you loved, but would have never picked up on your own?  What sources do you turn to for the next title to read?  How do you stretch your reading taste?

Off to eat my Blueberry-Lemon Crunch Bundt cake :-D

Read-a-Thon ~ Takin’ a Break :-)

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As I was reading Marked, I came across the perfect passage to include in the review, so I had to log in and start the review, saving the quote. Sometimes that happens when I’m reading, most of the time, actually. I’ll be reading along and something will just hit me, and I’ll be, like… “Wow, that’s the perfect quote for this book!” When that happens, I always try to get it in here, lest I forget it when I’m actually sitting down and writing the review.

I know what quote I’ll use for How to Be a Villian, but I haven’t got a clue for Empire Falls. That happens sometimes, too, and every once in a while I even think about cheating and putting what’s on the back cover or front flap for the quote.

BTW, the House of Night series has been optioned for a movie. No work has really been done on it, just the plan to make it into film. I can see the spoof-movie now, “Not another Teen Vampire Movie!” Though, this book is NOTHING like Twilight.

If you’d like to check out the series, click House of Night Series. There you can click on the yearbook and learn about the characters, watch vid clips for each of the books, and even get your own vampyre Mark tattoo :-D

Reading Update:

Empire Falls by Richard Russo ~ finished.
The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis, Chapter Four “The Bell and the Hammer” ~ finished
How to Be a Villian: Evil Laughs, Secret Lairs, Master Plans and More!!! by Neil Zawacki ~ finished :-D
Marked: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast & Kristin Cast ~ starting Chapter Six, page 43

TSS ~ I’d Sell My Soul for a House Elf!

The Sunday Salon.com

Yay!!! Spring Break is here and two of my three lovelies have flown away to daddy’s for the week.  I still have Gwen, but without Maggie to fight with she’s rather tame.  She’s made plans to have sleep-over parties with her friends this week, too, so it’s going to quiet this week.

Our library will be having several movie events this week, including Twilight, which never did show at our theater.  I’ll have to take Gwen to it and do some other special things with her since she so rarely has me to herself.  She’s the middle child, so she’s often waiting on the side for her turn.  She always enjoys vacation times when the other two are gone.

I finished reading The Book Thief on Tuesday, but my brain has yet to put it down.  My mind wanders back to it often, even while reading one of the five books I’m currently working on. It’s now my favorite book, and I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t read it yet to do so.  It’s a beautifully written and haunting tale. :-)

I’ve finally gotten around to picking up the sixth Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and am almost halfway through it.  It’s fun and okay, but somewhere along the way I’ve lost the wonder for the series I once had.  It’s the same book over and over again.  Harry knows some deep dark truth and no one believes him.   Even his best friends think he’s off his nuttter.  Then a horrible thing happens that proves Harry was right all along.  Sorries are said, forgiveness given, and everyone leaves Hogwarts with smiles and looking forward to next year…. when they’ll repeat the cycle all over again.  Add to all that pimples and crushes and love potions, and you get the gist of HP and the HBP.   Meh.   The Goblet of Fire has been my favorite so far.

I stopped into the Catholic thrift store here in town to check out their books and left with Christopher Marlowe’s play Doctor Faustus.  It’s okay, and the thought occurred to me while reading it, “Would Marlowe have been more widely known if Shakespeare’s plays were never wrote down?”  It’s an interesting thought, and makes me wonder about authors today.

What modern authors would be read more but for the mega-star writers like Patterson, Clancy, Grisham, King, and more?

Viral Video Wednesday – It’s Spoof-a-licious!

Okay, so last week’s VVW seemed to be terribly depressing and invoked pity, so I thought I’d spoof it up this week. Who needs to be depressed this close to Christmas? Isn’t it hard enough already?

So I went a-huntin’ for some spoofs and parodies of popular movies…

First off, in honor of my finishing the Twilight series, I found a funny… stupid, yes… corny and goofy, definately… spoof using scenes from Twilight. As it is a parody, it has it’s own story line… include WHAT exactly the Cullens eat and why James was really after Bella. Hair ya go!

Now, if you’ve seen the movie “Bolt,” I’m sure you picked up on the fact that the Pigeons were reminiscent of television gangsters… particularly Goodfellas. The following parody brings the two movies EVEN closer.

One of my all-time favorite movies as a teenager, and one of the defining movies of the 80s, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” was an inspiration and an example to all slackers and ditchers everywhere. And now it’s been taken and folded into the 21st century concious. The following is a spoofed trailer for Dawn of the Bueller.

Star Wars meets organic foods in: The Grocery Store Wars!

We’ve just watched the newest Batman movie, “The Dark Knight,” my favorite parts were the Joker parts. The following is a mash-up of The Night Before Christmas and Batman… unfortunately, no Joker parts…

And I think that video is a perfect one to end on. Merry Christmas!

So, what’s your favorite spoofs and parodies? Post them in your comment, or… EVEN BETTER… blog yours and link back in the comments :-D

and don’t forget to enter for your chance to win a $25, $15. $10, and $5 gift card to your choice of Borders, Amazon, or Barnes & Nobles. Click the link in the “Wanna Be a Winner?” widget in the sidebar for details!

Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

Title: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephanie Meyer
Hardcover: 756 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publish Date: August 2008
ISBN: 9780316067928

In the end, we had pulled together seventeen witnesses -the Irish, Siobhan, Liam, and Maggie; the Egyptians, Amun, Kebi, Benjamin, and Tia; the Amazons, Zafrina and Senna; the Romanians, Vladamire and Stefan; and the nomads, Charlotte and Peter, Garrett, Alistair, Mary, and Randall- to supplement our family of eleven. Tanya, Kate, Eleazar, and Carmen insisted on being counted as part of our family.

Aside from the Volturi, it was probably the largest friendly gathering of mature vampires in immortal history.

-pages 575-576, Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer

So I have been dragging my feet to read and to finish this book. First off, Breaking Dawn is the final book in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series, a series I have absolutely fallen in love with, and I didn’t want it to come to an end. Secondly, I have heard mixed reviews of this book from it’s an absolute let down to it’s a great book to end with. In answer to the first reason, after getting him into this series, my boyfriend has caught up to me and started Breaking Dawn as I got to chapter 7… and I could NOT let him beat me in it ;-) . And in answer to the second, which did have more to do with why it took longer to finish, while my boyfriend thinks this is a fantastic book, possibly his favorite of the four, I’ve found it a bit…
meh .

One of the problems I had with Breaking Dawnis that it reads like Meyer was tired of writing the Twilights and so she just hurried through the writing… kind of an “aw, screw it! There ya go… be happy I even finished it,” feel to it. There were several parts in the book where I was rolling my eyes and groaning in pain from the boredom and effort to slog through these blah spots. A couple times, I even wondered if I skipped a chapter or two would I miss anything.

A second problem I had with it was that the format of Breaking Dawn is completely different than the other three. While they are written in a straight story format with Bella narrating, Breaking Dawn is written in a three-books-in-one format with Jacob narrating the middle book. And while I enjoyed seeing things from Jacob’s perspective (and key parts of the story’s development could have only been told from his perspective: the mental link and interactions within the pack, as well as the experience of imprinting are two things that are essential and best experienced through his eyes), the jump from Bella to Jacob and back to Bella again was a bit disjointed.

A third issue I had with Breaking Dawn is that Meyer waits so very long to develop the story and get to the crisis of the book. But then again upon reflection, as it was three books in one, you could make the argument that it had three seperate crises, with the final one being the major and final conflict for the series. Meh, whatever… it took forever to get there.

A fourth issue I have with this book is the relationship between Edward and Bella seems a bit forced and artificial. Whereas in the first three books their relationship was an organic and growing, tangible thing, in Breaking Dawn it feels stilted, artificial… dead, ironically enough, as the series is mainly about the undead… even surreal at times. In my honest opinion, the best relationships (and best character) in Breaking Dawn are that of Jacob’s.

Good things to say about Breaking Dawn: The book reveals the Volturi for what they are, bullies and cowards, which is rather satisfying. The deep and impenetrable bond of family and love is illustrated beautifully throughout the book. Though it is a book about the undead and immortal race of vampires, it is very much a book about the value of life and of living your life with purpose, meaning and really experiencing it to the fullest.

If I were to sum up the message of Breaking Dawn in a single sentence, I would say: Violence, threats, bullying, and fear will always bow when it’s met by love, encouragement, confidence, and hope.

Of the three books, New Moon is my favorite. I think New Mooncould even stand alone, separate from the other three, if you were only going to read one of the books (honestly, though, why would you?). As to Breaking Dawn, I’m giving it 3 out of 5 stars.

 hated itdidn't like itliked itreally liked itloved it

TSS – Habits, Addictions, and I’m Back!!

The Sunday Salon.com

Alright, alright… So I’ve been away for a couple weeks months, and the few posts in between seem to get the same comments, “I was wondering where you’ve been! I thought you died!” lol… Not quite, but I found a virtual world called Second Life and found it rather addictive. Think: Everything the real world has to offer, and then add flying, teleporting… being a werewolf or vampire… or a middle-age princess or knight in King Arthur’s court… and you can see why it’s so addictive.

I’m very much a creature of habit, BUT… my habits are so-SO-SO easily disrupted. My grandma’s death and funeral brought my mom up from Texas for a week long visit, which knocked me out of my reading habit. I decided to try Second Life because my best friend and her fiance (now husband…Yay!) were ALWAYS talking about it. So, on a whim, I created an avatar, signed on and was instantly caught up… so much so that I’ve been planning to buy a second computer and giving this one to the kids because I wouldn’t get off even for them to take their hour computer time (3 hours… I couldn’t even take 3 hours away!).

And in the process of living in Second Life (a common expression on it is “My first life is getting in the way of my Second Life!), I met a guy. Now, if you knew me, you’d know what a LAUGH this is. I’ve always been adamant AGAINST online relationships… and here I am, in a relationship began online. Yeah… be careful what you say because you may end up eating your words… lol. BUT, it’s mostly good. Both of us have had some really bad luck in past relationships, so there’s a lot of fear and insecurities to get past, and I vacillate several times a day between ending it NOW to avoid the heartache that MAY happen and going headlong into it, hoping for the best. HOPE.. *gack!*… never been a good friend of mine.

So, boyfriend lives about 2 1/2 hours from me and came to visit for the first time last weekend. Two and a half days of goo-goo eyes and my kids (who love him already, and likewise… a good chunk of my fears and insecurities eliminated right there) chanting “KISS! KISS! KISS!” then going, “EwwWWWwwwwWWww!” when we did, and my habit of Second Life was broke. I’ve been on for maybe, MAYBE, 8 hours in the last week.

And what filled the Second Life spot? Back to the books :-D and reviewing (-: and blogging the memes \o/ (yay!). I had the commitment of a November 25th blog stop for Two Brothers: One North, One South by David H. Jones, and I had only read a chapter or so before his visit, so I had to cook through it to make the deadline. And while it was an excellently written and researched book, it wasn’t exactly my cuppa. However, it really reminded me of my serious LOVE of reading, and how I’ve always said that as long as you have a book there’s no hell you can’t escape. Hey, if I lost the internet or if Second Life was shut down for some reason, where would I escape to? But books are always there, always accessible, and provide a second life in the world within.

And one of the fun things with my boyfriend is that he’s an avid reader. I’ve introduced him to The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson, my number one Best New Author book and definitely on my top 5 reads for this year, as well as getting him into the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer.

He had read the first two books, Twilight and New Moon, and had just started reading the third, Eclipse, when he came down Friday. One reason for coming Friday was so we could go together to see the movie Twilight (I should review the movie, but I’ll have to watch it again… lol.. I was a bit, erm.. distracted the first time ;-) ). So when I finished Two Brothers, I picked up Breaking Dawn so I could keep ahead of him. Problem is, he’s reading them by audio book, which is faster than I can read. I HAVE to beat him, lol, so I picked up the audio book to read along. Hehehehe…. So I’m in chapter 16 and he’s in chapter 7, and if I read while he sleeps I should be able to beat him ;-) .

And now I’m so excited to be back into the books… of course, now I’m getting the “Where are you? Are you dead?” messages from my SL friends, but Boyfriend can let them know ;-)

So what’s next on my TBR right away pile? Well, after Breaking Dawn’s 700+ pages, I think I’ll read Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr. It’s a nice thin book, and I saw the movie when it came out… hadn’t realized it was a book until a few days later. Then maybe Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling… the movie will be out soon, so I want to get it read before then. Then… maybe Yiddish Policemen’s Unionby Michael Chabon (never read anything by him) and Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman, or vice versa. Also, I’ve been slowly working through Emma by Jane Austen, so I’ll get back to my Jane-a-thon, too.  AND… I’m ashamed to say, but somewhere in the last couple months I missed a blog tour stop.  I was suppose to be on Elizabeth McCracken’s An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination.  I couldn’t find the date I was suppose to post… if I would have looked at the letter in the book I would’ve seen it was for September 30th.  I think I didn’t start looking for the date until after my House and Home review was posted, so I owe that review quickly.  As well as owing a review of Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland for LibraryThing’s ER group.  AND all the other ARC books I compulively requested… which is a LOT :-\ .

My reading goal was 75 books by December 31st, and I’m at 54 books… which means I’ve got less than five weeks to read 21 books. Hmm… don’t know if I can do that now, that’ll be more than 5 books a week, but I’ll do my best to get as close as possible.

So check back often, because the reviews are going to be flying up here quickly.

Oh…

and I’M BACK!!! :-D

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