Musing Mondays - Mid year reading

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about mid-year reading…

Now that we’ve come to the middle of the year, what do you think of your 2009 reading so far? Read anything interesting that you’d like to share? Any outstanding favourites?

My goal this year is to read 100 books for the 100+ Challenge. I'm fifteen books away from meeting that goal and it's just the middle of the year. I've been expanding my reading horizons a bit this year and stumbled on a theme - first time author reads. I've read some really interesting books and discovered some really good and also some I considered not so good authors. But some of those not so good are really, really popular which makes me scratch my head and wonder what I'm missing. So, I'm taking a tip from Shanra who recently posted Shanra's Tips for giving new to you authors a second chance and giving some of those not so good authors a 2nd chance. Such as James Patterson....any recommendations?

Out of all the books I've read so far there are some that really stand out. For instance War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. I actually enjoyed reading the story which surprised the heck out of me. Which makes me look forward to reading Anna Karenina at some point this year. Others that stand out and made an impression were The book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Shape of Mercy by Susan Meisner, A World I Never Made by James LePore, The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe and The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruis Zafon

Authors that stood out and I will definitely be looking for and reading more of including the ones above are Aimee Thurlo, Robyn Carr, Patricia Briggs, Harlan Coben, J.T. Ellison, Brandilyn Collins and Iain Pears to name a few. Of course I have my old favorites such as Nora Roberts, and Cindy Gerard.

Through my Modern Lit class, I read Virginia Woolf and James Joyce for the very first time, which will also be the last time. Stream of conciousness narratives give me a headache.

I discovered I really enjoy historical fiction and art mysteries, rediscovered science fiction / fantasy and that there are really many different types of romance stories out there. I'm looking forward to reading the books that are currently on the shelves and whatever may come my way during the year.

What are your favorites this year?

Saturday Doings, Links and Book Meme's

It is a beautiful day outside and I'm headed outside to read "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' by James Joyce for my Modern Lit class. I've never read anything by James Joyce before - surprise, surprise - so should prove to be interesting. While I'm off reading, thought I'd leave with some posts to ponder.

B.J. has some great links to share this weekend as always at Enriched by Words

A Dad First offers some perspective on Michael Jackson's death.

We lost three well known figures this week. Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. I grew up with all three - whether it was watching the Tonight Show, Charlies Angels or listening to the music of the Jackson Five. Of the three, I think Farrah Fawcett showed us how to live life and face death with grace.

Graema Franks reminds us of finding the beauty in the small things. I think the photo would make a great writing prompt.

And sweet, sweet Shanra shares a book meme that she got from someone, who got it from someone and no body knows where the list came from. However, it's a fun meme.

Look at the list of books below. Bold the ones you’ve read, italicize the ones you want to read, cross out the ones you won’t touch with a 10 foot pole, underline the ones on your book shelf, and asterisk* the ones you’ve never heard of.

1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)*
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire(Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)*
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)*
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)

36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)*
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)*
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)*
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)*
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game(Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)*
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)*
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)*
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)*
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)*
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)*
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)*
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)

87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)*
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)*
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)*
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)*
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)*
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Enjoy your weekend, appreciate and celebrate those around you and remember -

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years

--- Abraham Lincoln

Mini Book Reviews # 81 through 86

Mini book reviews of books read over the past couple weeks

Hero Under Cover by Suzanne Brockmann: Romantic suspense novel in which CIA agent goes undercover as woman's bodyguard thinking she is guilty of stealing some major artworks. He falls for her and suffers major angst over the fact he is deceiving her about who he is.

B is for Burglar by Sue Grafton - a Kinsey Milhone Alphabet Mystery. Kinsey is a detective back in the 80's before cell phones. She is hired to find a woman's missing sister and she must sort through lots of people giving her misleading information.

Night Fall by Cherry Adair is a paranormal romance series involving the Men of TFLAC. Simon tries to hide his powers from Kess who is the publicist for his friend, the president, and fight his attraction to her while trying to solve who is causing a plague killing millions of people in africa.

Shelter Mountain by Robyn Carr. 2nd book in the Virgin River about John "Preacher" Middleton and Paige, a mystery woman who is running away from her abusive husband. Also continues to follow Melinda and Jack, and the teenagers Rick and Lizza.

Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr. Book 3 in the Virgin River Series. Introduces Mike Valenzuela who was also in the military with Jack and Preacher. Follows his relationship with Brie, Jack's sister after she is brutally attacked and comes to Virgin River to recover. Also continue's Jack and Mel's story.

Right Next Door by Debbie Macomber is a reissue of two oldies: Father's Day and The Courtship of Carol Sommars. These two stories are old fashioned romances (no sex) about single mothers whose kids work hard to get their mothers together with the guys they want to be their dad. The women have issues and the men are quite patient.

Weekly Report # 32 and 33 June 15 through 26th

We're coming down to the wire with 3 weeks left to go. We changed books for a couple things during the year, because they just weren't working out, so we are in the middle of Writing with Ease, the math workbooks, and cursive. We finished Voyages in English and the only thing to finish with 3 lessons left is Spelling Workout. When we are done with SWO, James will be officially done with 3rd grade. We are going to work on getting him caught up with math, then we'll have him take the CAT - California Achievement Test to see how he is doing. Time to revisit the different math programs.

What we accomplished the past couple weeks:

Bible study: We put aside Explorer Bible Study to concentrate on attitude and character. 9 year old boys - what can I say. I won't say what issues we've been having, but it resulted in the Wii going into the garage, no internet and all the Godzilla movies relegated to the closet. We started "Write Upon My Heart - Obedience" from Keepers of the Faith. Seems to be working well. There was one particular part in it that hit home which was "How do you affect the world around you? Do you offer cheer and trust to those around you by being obedient? Or are you one of those people who has you own way while those around you patiently endure the discomfort of it?" We learned some new words for obedience and looked up their definitions in the dictionary. Such as Accordance, acquiescence, compliance, deference, dutifulness and submission. We have had some very good discussions about what they mean and how to use them.

We also instituted a no argument, no talking back policy and he gets sent to his room immediately for a certain period of time with no discussion, no explanations. We've tried the talking about it routine til we're blue in the face. He's heard it all and knows what is wrong and right. Life has calmed down quite a bit since we instituted all these changes and it seems to be getting through. The cause and effect stage seems to be kicking in (yeah - finally!) and the questions have been flying lately about who, what, where, when and why, why, why.

Voyages in English: We finished the grammar section so went back to the oral and written communication section and started discussing What makes a good personal narrative. The task was to write a personal narrative, telling events in order and using time words such as when, then, finally, etc.

James wrote:

"When I went to the campout Dad and I set up the tent and when everybody did skits and songs, I stood up and did a Godzilla Joke, which made everyone laugh and applaud. The next morning I ate cheerios for breakfast and heard Dennis shout Pack 380. Which meant get over here. After finishing outdoorsman stuff, I went home and watched you tube videos."

We are going to go on to cover other areas like descriptions and book reports for the next three weeks. When I'm discovering he gets it the first time, we are moving on and up.

He also wrote a great report on Neil Armstrong for the citizenship achievement badge for Webelos. I handed him the encyclopedia and a handout I got off Enchanted Learning and told him to read the information. After reading the information, he started writing a report on Armstrong and refused any assistance from me whatsoever. He didn't want me telling him how to write it or what to include. This is what he wrote.

"In 1930, Neil Armstrong was born on his grandparent's farm in Auglaize, Ohio. In 1955 when Godzilla raid again was being made in Japan, Armstrong went to Purdue. And got a Bachelor's award for engineering. In 1966 he and David R. Scott performed the first successful docking of 2 vehicles in space on the Gemini 8 mission. In 1969 when Godzilla's Revenge was made in Tokyo, Armstrong landed on the moon in Apollo 11 lunar module while Mr. Collins orbited the moon in the c.m. aka command module. Upon his step on the moon, Mr. Neil said "That's one step for man. One giant leap for mankind!!"

He keeps surprising me and sometimes I think I'm underestimating him and need to step things up a couple notches. We in the midst of deciding what will be adding for 4th grade. Father wants him to start learning an instrument so we considering getting a Yamaha digital piano with midi. I've fallen in like with Artistic Pursuits so most likely will add it since James loves to draw. I'm also working at getting him to work more independently, but still stay focused so he isn't taking all day to finish something that should only take 15 minutes. I would love to have an hour glass. Off to do some research and enjoy our sunshiney day.

Work In Progress Wednesday

Work in Progress Wednesday is brought to you by the lovely Kate of The Lovers, The Dreamers and Me.

Last week was unplugged week and I managed to write everyday, just not on my WIP. I worked the first three days on my story and the rest of the week working on my midterm. This week, I have been writing about 3 to 6 pages each day. I discovered the secret to my writing diligently every morning is to not allow any computers to be turned on until I'm done writing. Which mean, James can't get on the computer, nor play wii until I'm done writing. However, the wii has been relegated to the garage for an indefinite period of time, until certain behaviors improve, so that really isn't an issue right now. You know, I never got it before why people limited their kids video game play time to the weekends or only allowed them to play 30 minutes in the afternoon, when everything else was done. I do now.

I'm having him concentrate on writing a story or drawing during that period of time. He's a good writer and since he loves Godzilla so much (even though all the movies have been shelved as well...too much swearing which was rubbing off on him) he's been writing lots of stories about Godzilla. He has his own blog called James Godzilla Page and he would like to have some followers. Please check out his stories and leave a comment or too. He would be delighted.

I digress. I've been writing every day but haven't typed any of it up yet. That is going to take some time. The story is progressing - slowly but surely. I'm not quite sure if I want Ben to have the same background as before or change it up a bit. In the original story, he was considering becoming a priest, but changed his mind and decided to concentrate on his sculptures. Samantha and he feel easily in love and there wasn't any conflict. She liked him instantly.

Right now in the second draft, she doesn't like him so much because of his attitude about her and his brother. Ben thought she and his brother were living together as lovers, and that she kicked him out. But actually his brother was helping her after she was injured in an attack. His brother keeps this from him for some reason. The reason is still a slight mystery to me as well. That's something else brewing in the back of my head. Ben's background seems like it should be different to mesh with the story. For some reason I want him to have a background in law enforcement and he quit due to some heavy duty stuff happening. Maybe got shot himself or killed someone in the line of duty and it was all just a bit much for him. So now he pours his emotions into the sculptures he creates. And it's because of his background that his brother never told him anything about his relationship with Samantha. Plus it would play into the latter part of the story, when the bad guy comes back.

So Samantha isn't exactly liking Ben at this moment. That's where I stand right now and each day reveals a bit more. It's interesting what pops into my head while writing. I think I need to sit down and create an interview with Ben now that I'm thinking of changing his entire background.

It's my day to man the shop today, so I've got to get ready for work. If you'd like to participate in Work In Progress Wednesday, or see what everyone else has accomplished this past week, go see Kate.

Happy Writing!

Spring Reading Thing 2009 Wrap Up!!

Summer is upon us which mean the end of the Spring Reading Thing 2009 hosted by the lovely and talented Katrina of Callapidder Days. My theme this year was first time author reads and I enjoyed discovering many new to me authors.

The books I read were:
  1. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
  2. 1st to Die – James Patterson
  3. 14 - J.T. Ellison
  4. A World I Never Made - James LePore
  5. Enemies and Allies - Kevin J. Anderson
  6. Eon: Dragoneye Reborn - Alison Goodman
  7. French Bred - Frederic Guarino
  8. Homicide in Hard Cover - Kate Carlisle
  9. House of Dark Shadows – Robert Liparulo
  10. Inside Out - John Ramsey Miller
  11. Living the Charmed Life - Victoria Moran
  12. Long Lost - Harlan Coben
  13. Mysterious Benedict Society – Trenton Lee Stuart (didn't finish - meh!)
  14. Re-Deal: A Time Travel Thriller - Richard Turner
  15. Safe Haven - Hannah Alexander
  16. Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader- Joe Hilley
  17. Stone's Fall - Iain Pears
  18. The Ghost and Mrs. McClure - Alice Kimberely
  19. The Lightning Thief - Riordan
  20. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
  21. The Link - B. Sandy (shelved)
  22. The Physick Book Of Deliverance Dane -Katherine Howe
  23. The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel - Michael Scott
  24. The Soul Collectors - Charles Quince
  25. The Titian Committee - Iain Pears
  26. Too Hot To Handle - Robin Kaye
  27. Virgin River - Robyn Carr
All the links for the reviews may also be here which is above in the linkbar under Book Reviews.

Did you finish reading all the books on your spring reading list? If not, why not?

No, there were two that I started and just couldn't finish: Mysterious Benedict Society and The Link. The Link was just too disjointed for me and I just couldn't get in MBS. Also on the list were Magyk which once again got dropped for lack of interest and didn't even start. I don't know why. I'm sure the book is good, but I just haven't been in the mood to try. Also Duma Key by Stephen King simply was forgotten. I just overlooked it and it is back on the TBR shelf in a prominent position and will be read sometime this summer.

Did you stick to your original goals or did you change your list as you went along?

My original goal was to read new to me author books and I stuck to that goal. I did add several books including advanced reader copy books to the list that I received and were being released during the Spring. There were a few science fiction / fantasy books that I was also reading for Once Upon a Time III that were also new to me authors, so they got added to the list as well.

What was your favorite book that you read this spring?

Believe or not, I liked the majority of the books I read. There were a few - not so much. If I had to choose, it would be a toss up between War and Peace and The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane. I discovered I liked Tolstoy - who knew! The Physick Book was interesting, well done and really captured my attention.

Least favorite? Why?

I would have to say the ones I mentioned before that I couldn't finish.

Did you discover a new author or genre this spring?

Since my theme was new author reads I discovered many new authors, most I loved, some not so much. I really liked Leo Tolstoy, J.T. Ellison, Robert Liparulo, John Ramsey Miller, Harlan Coben, Alice Kimberley, Iain Pears and Robyn Carr. There were some new authors with debut books on the list such as James LePore, Kate Carlisle, and Katherine Howe and I look forward to their next offerings. I definitely will be seeking out more books written by all these authors. I also rediscovered Fantasy and Science Fiction which I loved reading back when I was a teenager.

Did you learn something new because of Spring Reading Thing 2009 — something about reading, or yourself, or a topic you read about?

I was exposed to many different writing styles and read some really engaging stories. I discovered I enjoy historical fiction, especially Tolstoy, which really surprised me. I also found that I really don't care all that much for non fiction.

What was your favorite thing about the challenge?

I liked the idea of having a theme which worked exceptionally well for expanding my horizons a bit and exploring different authors and genre's. I enjoyed reading all the other participants reviews and discovering more books to add to my ever growing wish list.

I have to say Thank you to Katrina for being the Hostest with the Mostest. She always does an excellent job. To see how other participants did with the challenge, head on over to Katrina's and check out the reading wrap round up.

Book Review # 80 - The Soul Collectors

The Soul Collectors


Charles Quince

Book Description: " In a small town of Maysville, students from Williams College have been experiencing the strangest phenomena. Some are drawn to the strange old couple who live in the creepy house. Others are coaxed. But some rush there, believing that it's the chance of a lifetime.

"Now, what is it that you want to know?" Winston asked, settling into the chair opposite her.

"Well," Hope responded, "I will be graduating from college at the end of this semester, and I want to know what lies ahead for me."

"Then let's find out." Winston said. He peered intently into the glass ball set in the center of the table. The glass was murky, as if filled with smoke. He slowly rubbed it with his hands. In a low soft voice, he said "I can see that you want to be successful, more successful than everyone around you."

Hope frowned. "What's wrong with that? Look, I want to know exactly what lies ahead of me." Hope said. "I want to know what I need to do."

Why let fate decide your future, when you can shape your own destiny?"

The Soul Collectors is a novella of 84 pages by Charles Quince that I wish had been a lot longer. It was a story of good and evil, shaping your own future and how it affects you and those around you. It was a chilling story but written almost in a stream of consciousness style with abrupt changes of view which made it a little difficult to follow at first.

Find out what happens when you can rewrite the events of the day to suit your needs or have the money you need magically appear in your wallet or slow the aging process. The repercussions are deadly.

Thank you to Bostick communications and Charles Quince for sending me the book.

Pages: 84
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Released: January 16, 2009

Book Review # 79 Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader

Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader


Joe Hilley

Book Description: " Explore the leadership principles that made Sarah Palin successful. Our present era demands a new style of leadership that transcends political affiliation and party lines. In an age that values relationship over authority and instant information over accuracy, breadth of knowledge and depth of conviction are prized commodities. Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) brings both of those qualities to her new role as candidate for the vice presidency of the United States. Her familiarity with a broad range of issues and her strong moral center are just two of the leadership traits that have allowed Palin to organize and focus her efforts in elected office. Exploring themes from her career in polities, her life as a hockey mom, and her strongly held Christian faith, author Joe HIlley's biographical leadership study of Sarah Palin explores the leadership principles that have catapulted her into the national spotlight and explains how she models a fresh paradigm of leadership that will guide our nation through the twenty-first century."

I had initially wanted to read this book when it came out during the presidential campaign and father bought it for me for christmas. I didn't get around to reading it until now. It is well written, covering Sarah Palin's life and involvement in politics. Surprisingly I already knew much of the information having watched several televised shows about her. The book is a accurate depiction of a down to earth, hard working, intelligent woman, who gained experience, like most people do, through hard work and diligence. What you see is what you get.

Pages: 208
Publisher: Zondervan
Released: October 13, 2008
Genre: Christian political biography

Book Review # 78 - The Angel's Game

The Angel's Game


Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Front Flap: "The Angel's Game is a dazzling novel that brings us back to the unique and mysterious world of The Shadow of the Wind--and is certain to be one of the most talked about and widely read books of the year. In the turbulent and surreal Barcelona of the 1920's, David Martin, a young novelist obsessed with forbidden love, receives an offer from an enigmatic publisher to write a book like no other before--a book for which "people will live and die." In return, he is promised a fortune and, perhaps, much more. Soon, David begins to see frightening parallels between the book he's been commissioned to write and an old religious manuscript retrieved from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. Meanwhile, David's ethereal publisher's sinister scope of influence begins to encroach more and more upon his own life."

Since I hadn't read The Shadow on the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, I really didn't know what to expect. It is an interesting story, but dark, full of mysterious and supernatural happenings, obsession and murder. 17 year old David Martin's desire was to be a writer. The editor of the newspaper gave him his first break by having him write a fictional crime story for the newspaper. When he is 20, he is hired to write penny dreadfuls (lurid serial stories) under a pseudonym. From the money he makes from writing the dreadfuls, he rents a huge, abandoned house called the Tower House. When he first enters the home, it looks like someone had simply walked out, abandoning it in the middle of drinking coffee and reading. No one had ever bother to clean out the house and it seems frozen in time.

He falls in love with the bookstore owner's daughter. But she falls for and married his mentor Pedro Vidal. She talks David into rewriting Pedro's current book because it is a disaster and she wants him to be happy. David nearly kills himself from exhaustion working on both his book and Pedro's book and ends up with a brain tumor. When his book and Pedro's are published at the same time, Pedro's is a best selling hit and his book, panned and left to rot in the warehouse.

Through the years, he had been getting mysterious notes from a publisher, Andreas Corelli, editor of Editions de la Lumiere. When he finally breaks down and visits with Corelli, the man promises him all he could possibly want if he will write a book that people with live and die for. David finds himself inexplicably healed from the brain tumor, but while writing the book, life takes a dark turn. The body count starts rising, people start acting nuts, mysterious things happen, there is something evil about the house and David life and soul is in danger. It is a very, very, very interesting story, so chilling at times it gave me goose bumps. I will definitely be reading Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind at some point.Highly recommended.

Just to give you a sense of the story, an excerpt from chapter one, the first two paragraphs.

"A writer never forgets the first time he accepted a few coins or a word of praise in exchange for a story. He will never forget the sweet poison of vanity in his blood, and the belief that, if he succeeds in not letting anyone discover his lack of talent, the dream of literature will provide him with a roof over his head, a hot meal at the end of the day, and what he covets the most: his name printed on a miserable piece of paper that surely will outlive him. A writer is condemned to remember that moment, because from then on he is doomed and his soul has a price.

My first time came one faraway day in December 1917. I was seventeen and worked at The Voice of Industry, a newspaper which had seen better days and now languished in a barn of a building that had once housed a sulphuric acid factory. The walls still oozed the corrosive varpour that ate away at furniture and clothes, sapping the spirits, consuming even the soles of shoes. The newspaper's headquarters rose behind the forest of angels and crosses of the Pueblo Nuevo cemetery; from afar, its outline merged with the mausoleums silhouetted against the horizon--a skyline twilight of scarlet and black above Barcelona."

"The Angel's Game" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon was just released in the United States as of June 16, 2009. Thank you for Shelf Awareness, Doubleday and Carlos Ruiz Zafon for providing me with an Advanced Reader Copy. I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it. For more about the book and the author, go to The Angels Game.

Pages: 544
Publisher: Doubleday
Released: First U.S. edition - June 16, 2009
Genre: historical fiction

Other thoughts about the book:

Chris at Book-o-rama:
"The Angel's Game is dripping in atmosphere. It's Super Gothic, an old-fashioned creepy tale. I felt like I was in the 1920s. I could feel the buildings hovering over me, see the dark streets and alleyways as I read."

Seth of The Book Catapult:
"therein lies the brilliance to this novel - the questions abound, yet Ruiz Zafon never insults the reader by stooping so low as to fully, categorically explain the answers. You are left to find your own way out of the labyrinth - a pleasant fate for a reader to have to face."

Kristen at We Be Reading:
"Just as I thought would happen, once I started reading Carlos Ruiz Zafón's new novel, The Angel's Game, I couldn't put it down."

We interrupt this program!!!

I got an A!!!!!

Yep. I slaved and racked my brain for three days straight on my midterm writing up several essays. I was sure...sure...sure it would only rate around a C or if I was lucky a B. It just seemed unfinished -that I was missing something. I had Father read over most of it and of course, he had suggestions and said "probably a B".

96 of 100 points equals

a big fat


We know return to our regular programming

Sunday Salon - Welcome to Summer

The Sunday

Good afternoon and Welcome to my Sunday Salon. Happy Father's day and Happy Summer Solstice to all of you in the northern hemisphere and Happy Winter to those of you on the southern side of the world. My unplugged week went rather well, but I'm pretty brain dead at the moment. I managed to work on my novel the first three days, but then my midterm for Modern Literature was this week. I just spent the past four days working on it. I had to write 8 short essays answering questions about Modern Literature, themes and symbols in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad and To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. Oh, my brain!!!

I think it's great that one of the first blog articles I came across today was "How to stop Digital Fidgeting and Start Writing" on Write to Do by Mary Jaksch. She talks about exactly what I end up doing a lot of times: checking and reading emails several times, checking stats and following the links; tuning my blog; and surfing the net. Networking I don't do so much, but the rest are time wasters for me. Hence the reason for the unplug week. I didn't blog at all, except for having some auto posts and I was 97% successful in staying off the blogs for the week. I fell off the wagon for a short time while I was at work on Thursday. :)

Another article was "When paper works better than a word processor" By Samar on The Writing Base. I've discovered this to be very true and Samar is so right - there are no distractions - just me, some paper and a pen. And the benefit - I can write anywhere, including out in my lovely secluded, green leafy, allergy free, backyard. Yes, allergy free. When we planned the backyard, I found this wonderful book "Allergy Free Gardening" by Thomas Ogren and it saved my life. Our landscaper thought I was slightly nuts, but I am enjoying my garden without sniffles, water eyes and sneezing.

During the week I finished "The Angels Game" by Carlos Ruis Zafon and will posting a review of it tomorrow. I also got on a romance kick this week and read the next two books in the Virgin River Series by Robyn Carr, "Hero under Cover" by Suzanne Brockmann and Cherry Adair's "Night Fall" in the Men of Tflac series. I'll be doing mini reviews for those.

I just started a new book today that I have been promising Father it would be the first book I read for summmer - Walls of Phantoms by Courtney Thomas.

It is a huge book of 1320 pages - longer than War and Peace and supposedly the third longest book ever written. I can see why as I'm barely 35 pages in and the writer gets quite detailed, including everything that is in one of the character's refrigerators. According to the author

Walls of Phantoms retells Homer's Odyssey in a modern setting. At it's core though, it is a seductive story of two young people - a financial analyst and an aspiring filmmaker - who seek love from each other despite their many differences. Included in every chapter is the accurate day to day news events of 1989, Boston, which is presented in a way never seen before in a novel. Walls of Phantoms is symbolic on so many levels, it is one of the most ambitious novels ever penned.
Wish me luck!

Later in the week I'll also be posting a final wrap up on the Spring Reading thing 2009 hosted by Katrina of Callapidder Day's. My theme this year was First Time Author Reads and I enjoyed the majority of books and discovered some authors that are going on to my keeper list. I have one last review to do for it on "Sarah Palin: A New Kind of Leader" by Joe Hilley, so will try to post it first.

That's it for now. I'm off to make home made stuffing to go with the roast chicken baking in the oven. Father's request for Father's Day.

Happy Father's Day