Hi, I'm Mrs. F-B!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Secrets of the Savanna - Mark & Delia Owens

This is the third book written by scientists Mark and Delia Owens that I have read. I read the first when I went to Zambia, which is where they did a lot of their research and work with elephants to try and end the horrific poaching that was such a problem in Zambia. I really enjoyed this series, although I think those two did some incredibly crazy stuff that I could never have done because I am just not enough of a risk taker. The great thing is that their work really made a tremendous difference, both for animals and people in Zambia, and I was really impressed by the great lengths they went to to make such an important difference.

I am reminded of a quote from Margaret Mead that these two definitely practice:
"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

How I Created My Perfect Prom Date - Todd Strasser

So what do you think about dating your stepbrother? But what if you didn't know he WAS going to be your stepbrother when you started dating him? And besides, you only did it to get back at another boy and prove you could make him into someone everyone would be after. Kind of. Right?

This was another quick read, teen romance which I picked up over break. Beach books, I call them, although there was definitely no sign of the beach during this Arctic Blast winter vacation, was there?

I thought this book was funny and fun, and I liked how it had alternating chapters between the two main characters, a boy and a girl. If you're just looking for a light read, give this one a try.

P.S. this book is by the author of Give a Boy a Gun, and The Wave but it is WAY different than those books. I think it's pretty amazing how an author can write such divergent works, don't you?

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Geography of Girlhood - Kristen Smith

This book is a nice addition to the genre of books written for teens in verse instead of in prose. Verse writing is tricky because the writer has to tell the story completely, but they have so few words to flesh it out. Kristen Smith does a lovely job of that here.

It seems like the books I've read in verse (Stop Pretending, One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, Shakespeare Bats Clean Up, Love that Dog) tend to focus on the feelings of the characters and leave lot of the action out. And it works beautifully, although it wouldn't work, I don't think, in prose. It's interesting.

Penny, whose mother abandoned her when she was six years old, is now trying to navigate the world of high school, which is hard enough WITH your mom there to help you. The voice is very strong, and I found myself really feeling for Penny as she struggles through her emotional pain.

A nicely written novel which I am happy to be able to recommend to mature readers looking for another novel in verse. I hope to read more from this author in the future.

Available at Multnomah County Library.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Gamma Glamma - Kim Flores

I really liked this funny book about a girl who undertakes a science project involving makeovers of real people to see if she could change their status in the world that is high school. Clearly, she hadn't read Frankenstein yet!

If you've read a lot of the entries on my blog, you'll know that character development is the main thing I enjoy in a book, and Luz is a wonderfully developed young woman. She is an admitted science geek, that's why she's at Gamma High, but when she realizes that the science fair competition is on the same nigh t as the Homecoming dance, she really doesn't want to do it. Unfortunately, the fish in the tank are dead and Luz is basically forced to do it. She comes up with a plan that she's SURE the science teacher could not possibly approve, but the fish are still dead and her plan is approved. Thus begins the circus that is Luz's science experiment. And the results are quite dramatic...although not necessarily good news for those involved, except maybe for Luz and Swen??

Luz's sense of humor, her smarts, and her inventiveness make her a really fun character to get to know in this creative novel which really captures the high school experience.

Sciencey types, those who like a laugh, and fans of a little romance will enjoy this great book by Kim Flores.

Available at the WOMS library.

How to Hook a Hottie - Tina Ferraro

This was a cute teen romance that was also pretty funny. Kate's parents have promised her that if she can make $5000 before the end of the school year she doesn't have to go to college and she can start on her plan to become a millionaire by age twenty right away. She has no idea that she will catapult to popularity and that her plan to earn money will get completely out of control when she starts up a matchmaking service. But of course, everything does go berserk, and Kate, who never thought she'd be in such a position, is not quite sure how to handle everything. A quick, fun read for fans of teen romance with some good lessons in it as well.

Available at Multnomah County Library.

Mr. Darcy Presents His Bride - Helen Halstead

This is one of those books in the "Pride and Prejudice Continued" genre (not actually a real genre, but you know what I mean) that I love to read because I so love P&P. I thought this one was pretty good, but a little slow for me. It was quite true to the original, so that was fun. I wonder how many times the authors of these types of books have read P&P. And how many other books of Austen's and the period have they also read. It would be interesting to know. Clearly, this woman was very familiar with the style because she did a good job of imitating it.

If you liked P&P and haven't read any of these sequels, this might be a nice choice to try. Available at Multnomah County Library.

In Her Shoes - Jennifer Weiner

This is a companion book to some of Jennifer Weiner's other fluff books that I've read, and I can't figure out exactly why I keep reading them. I mean, they're OK, but I have a zillion books on my shelf - have you SEEN my Shelfari list??? I think since I've read the other ones I sort of feel some sort of obligation to keep reading. Perhaps I should put this on my New Year's Resolutions list to stop doing that...

If you're just looking for an easy read about relationships, this one would be a good way to pass the time, but there are better books out there for doing that.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Book Blog Swap - WOW!

Somewhere in my blog trollings in November I saw a post about a Secret Santa Swap between book bloggers, so I thought I'd participate, and what fun it turned out to be. Dawn from Concord, queen of She Is Too Fond of Books, was my Secret Santa, and it was like she KNEW me. She sent me a whole bunch of goodies that were all prefect choices for me. I got YUMMY chocolate truffles - hand-made in Concord, a calendar of great books which I'm afraid is going to be running my library hold list up quite high, a great mix CD for yoga (which I just recently stated doing) and some of my favorite Burt's Bees lip balm. I also got a great new blog to read through this swap, and that just might be the best gift of all - it's certainly a gift that keeps on giving! Thanks, Dawn!

And then, as if the cosmos were linking us together or something, my mother-in-law sent me this fun hanging ornament which I am planning to put in my own library! How cool (and random!) is that?

I'm super glad someone decided to organize this, and I hope that Christine, who has a very cool blog (Between Concrete and Sky) about books and photography, two things I love, received her gift from me - it was scheduled to arrive on Christmas Eve - nothing like waiting until the last minute to mail a Chrismtas gift...

Hope you are all enjoying a fun and relaxing holiday season like I am :)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult

I fell in love with Jodi Picoult's writing when I read My Sister's Keeper, and I am afraid that book was SO amazing, that the other books of hers I've read just haven't been as good. this one in particular, I kept wanting to quit reading, but I needed to know what was going to happen. I guess that means something...

I think the main problem with this story was that I did not feel empathy for the main character who is a prisoner on death row. I want to say more, but I can't without giving things away. Jodi Picoult certainly gets readers thinking about things, and this is another of her books where I wonder what I'd think if I were a mom and I read this book. If you like Jodi Picoult's other books, you'll probably want to read this one.

Available at Multnomah County Library.