Thursday, March 22, 2012

In My Mailbox

I've seen several of you other bloggers do an "In My Mailbox" so I figured I'd go that route as well.

Today I got the following three.  One more is on the way so I'll add it as well.

The one I'm looking most forward to...

And this little gem which I hope is as good as it looks.  Also, I hope it's one my husband will enjoy too.

That's all for book news.  In other news, I (my family) got a new dog last weekend.  

Meet Toto, the newest family member.  Rescued from the Humane Society, he seems to be loving it at our house.  His first day home, he got treated to a 4 hour grooming session that I refer to as his spa day.  He's a Cairn Terrier and is practically the spitting image of 'The Toto' we all know and love.  We chose to keep his name that was given to him at the HS because he answers well to it.  If it ain't broke, don't fix it as they say.  He likes to go for long walks and pees in every yard we pass.  Apparently he likes to pee on toads too as he did that twice last night.  He plays about half of his day away and sleeps in the rest of it.  He's partly the reason I've let a few days slide by without posting but he was well worth it.  

What are you guys currently reading?  Are you gearing up to go see The Hunger Games?

Happy reading to you and happy weekend as well! 


Review for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

From Goodreads:

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here - one of whom was his own grandfather - were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive.

What I thought about it:

I loved it in it's entirety.  Who would have guessed it was his first real novel?  The characters are creepy, the story starts off creepy and the pictures only lend to the creepy quotient.  I managed to read it in 4 days and would have been sooner if I didn't have to stop and sleep, cook dinner, entertain children.  If you're up for a story centered around creepy kids reminiscent of the side show freaks of the past, with some horrendous killer creatures tossed in, and a good helping of time travel, then you'll rightly love this book.  I was sort of sad when I finished it earlier today because I already wanted book 2 to be written, published, and sat in front of me.  Accordingly, number 2 is in the works.  I'll look forward to it.  

Rating:  5/5  

Friday, March 16, 2012

11/22/63 Review

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Genre: Science Fiction / Historical Fiction

From Goodreads:

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed forever. 

If you had the chance to change the course of history, would you? 
Would the consequences be worth it? 

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. 

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

My Thoughts::

First of all, OMG!  This book was amazing...AMAZING I tell you!  I know it looks daunting with it's 849 pages but don't let that deter you.  It reads quickly and draws you in.  You'll jump into it and before you know it, you've read 100 pages.  It took me a little over 8 days to finish it, just reading maybe 2 hours a day.    

If you have even the slightest interest in the idea of changing the past, time traveling, living a multi-dimensional life with some murder and romance throw in, then you'll love this book too.  I was trying to think of a part of the book that I loved the most but I can't settle on just one.  I genuinely enjoyed the book from page 1 to 849.  There's a lovely afterword that I recommend you read if you pick this up.  If I had to choose a favorite part, it might be that actually.  

It's 4 a.m. and my mind has gone blank.  If you're a King fan, definitely read this.  It's one of his best for sure.  

Happy reading!


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

In the Home Stretch

Sorry folks, no time for a proper blog post today.  I'm 8 days into King's 11/22/63 and on page 720, in the home stretch baby!  If no one's told you yet, it's a killer book and I wouldn't be shocked if it's already being scripted for a film adaptation.  So without taking up anymore of my precious reading time, I'll leave you with the following.  

I have to admit this little video that a friend shared with me, educated me on the whole Keep Calm thing.  Yes, sometimes I am completely clueless and forget to use Google to fill me in.  =)  

Enjoy please...

Worthwhile watch wasn't it?  

Happy reading!

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Secret Life of Bees Review

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

From Goodreads:   

Sue Monk Kidd's ravishing debut novel has stolen the hearts of reviewers and readers alike with its strong, assured voice. Set in South Carolina in 1964, The Secret Life of Bees tells the story of Lily Owens, whose life has been shaped around the blurred memory of the afternoon her mother was killed. When Lily's fierce-hearted "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's fiercest racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina--a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love--a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.

My thoughts:

I read this a few weeks back and enjoyed it.  I'm aware that it's been made into a film and naturally I haven't seen it yet.  Put another book inspired movie on my TBW list.  The book was well written and I thought all of the characters were familiar but I grew up in the South, in Georgia just across the state line from South Carolina, so they were familiar to me at least.  Familiar meaning that I felt a connection to all of them.  Some have said this book is overflowing with stereotyping but I would have to disagree.  I think it's authentic to the time and location.  

It is a coming of age tale but I didn't really get that feel throughout the book to be honest.  There's a bit of beekeeping thrown in, some obvious aspects of the racial tension of the times, teenage rebellion, a genuine love story, and plenty of mothering in this book.  I think at the heart of the story is the importance of mothers, be it natural or otherwise.  If you read it, I think you'll see what I mean.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't read this.  It's a good, quick read.

Rating:  4/5

Check out for her other books and more.  

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Mini Haul

Picked up these three books at the library sale today.  

An Orwell I haven't read or I think I haven't read --- A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell

Some funny, sexy, lighthearted novel I've never heard of --- The Balance Thing by Margaret Dumas
(Funny, sexy, lighthearted novel is what the back of the book claims, we'll see about that.)

And finally, a Crichton hardcover that I'm sure I haven't read before ---  Prey by Michael Crichton

No new checkouts for me but the kids got about 30 books, various ones, Star Wars, Legos, Dragonbreath, and Dr. Seuss are the ones I can remember.    

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Books I'm Excited About

   The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice

Just released last month and many say it's her return to form.  She's done vampires and witches and angels even.  Now she's tackling werewolves.  Some reviews that I've read say it's one of her best and it's suggested that this may be the start of another series.  I can't wait to read it.

Check out everything Anne Rice at her site.  

Extremely Loud & Incredibly
Jonathan Safran Foer

I know, I know, it's film adaptation is currently showing and no I haven't seen it yet but I want to.  Knowing what I know though, the book will most likely be superior to the book so I wish to read it as well.  It's getting rave reviews everywhere too.

Everything is Illuminated
Jonathan Safran Foer

I feel like I'm the last person on Earth that hasn't read this yet but I promise I'm going to, soon.  I like a good story about searching for things lost in the past.  Also this has been adapted to film, of which I haven't seen either.  Book first, movie second.  

The Hunger Games
Suzanne Collins

Another series that the entire world seems to have already read, leaving me feeling like a complete noob.  I'm aiming to read the first one before the movie comes out.  I know this series is suited for young adult audiences but adults all over seem to LOVE it.  

Some say this is the "Harry Potter" of now.  We'll see, won't we.

Uglies, Pretties, Specials, & Extras
Scott Westerfeld

My daughter told me about these first because they are reading the series in their lit class currently.  She loves them and told me I just had to read them too.  

Since her telling me about them, I've seen them popping up everywhere on the web so I've put them on my TBR pile.  The synopsis of the series do sound very interesting.

The Mortal Instruments Trilogy
Cassandra Clare

I have no idea what these are about but it seems everyone is reading them and recommending them so I'm jumping on the book wagon.  I did see the covers at the library this past weekend and they do draw you in.  Hopefully the story lines are far more intriguing than the cover art.  

Got any other recommendations for me?  What books are you really, really excited about or looking forward to reading right now?  Comment below.  


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Book Tag and I'm apparently 'It'!

Seems I've been tagged today (earlier today that is) and I'm just getting around to answering the posed questions.  Forgive me Theta if you will.  The tagger is my good friend Theta, who has a wonderful blog which I urge to pay a visit to.  Theta's blog is  On with the questions and answers it is then...  

.....and seeing as I don't have 11 followers yet (..kicks rock and a single tear falls...), I'm going to completely break the rules and let the tagging end with me this round.  

For formality, here's the rules in the off chance any of you out there in the blogoverse would like to continue the Book Tag fun on your very own blog.

The Rules: 
1. You must post the rules. 
2. Answer the questions the tagger set for you in their post and then create 10 new questions to ask the people that you have tagged. 
3. Tag 11 people and link to them on your post. 
4. Let them know you've tagged them!

Now for the questions.  Cheers and joy abound!

1. What's your idea of Book Heaven (genre or book that you love) and what's your idea of Book Hell (genre or book that you'd happily chuck out of your bedroom window without a second thought)?

Book Heaven for me would reside somewhere cozily between historical fiction and horror, two genres I can never seem to get enough of.  Book Hell would most assuredly be Harlequin Romance novels.  The mere thought (and sight) of those little dingy paperbacks would surely make me want to chuck them out the bedroom window.  

2. If you could have a one-to-one dinner date with a literary character, who would you have dinner with and why?  (Okay, I'm a bit of a romantic... sue me!!!)

Oh no, decisions decisions!  You know as dorky as it is, as far as literary characters go I would choose Professor Snape.  Not only do I love Alan Rickman but I really enjoyed Snape.  Otherwise, I can't think of anyone else at the moment and I would surely default and choose a dinner with an author.  Author would have to be Stephen King, no doubts.  Picking his twisted mind over a dinner would be interesting.

3. Controversy time - Do you think the romantic partnerings for Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood in Book 7 are right, or are you like me and prefer the alternate reality version of the film where Neville falls for Luna?

To this question, I'm going to kindly sit atop the fence and refuse to jump on either side.  I'm indifferent as they say.

4. Which book is in your bag at present?

Several books are in my bag at the moment.  Let's make a list shall we?

1. 11/22/63 by Stephen King
2. The Peaceable Kingdom by Francine Prose
3. Tinkers by Paul Harding
4. Scary Stories by Peter Glassman
5. Chocolat by Joanne Harris
6. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
7. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, Book 1 by Maryrose Wood

5. Hollywood time - Which book would you like to turn into a film and why?

I have to stay current because my memory fails me in these moments.  I'll say 11/22/63 would make for a terrific movie if done well.  It's probably already in the works as I type but while I read the chapters, I've found it very easy to picture the events unfolding on the big screen.  

6. One of my favourite theatre shows is "Wicked" because you find out that the supposedly villainous Wicked Witch Of The West in Elphaba is a person who's misunderstood.  Which literary villain do you feel is misunderstood and why?  (PS - You can't pick Elphaba).

......Brain fart.....can I revisit this when my mind isn't asleep?  Perhaps tomorrow.  

7. Do you listen to music when you read to concentrate?  If so, what type of music do you listen to?

I can already feel the weird stares...    Yes, I listen to music sometimes while I read.  If it's a music listening kind of night or day, I'll listen to classical or piano and sometimes just ambient.  

8.  Cheesy question - If you could meet one book/film blogger or vlogger (no expense spared on the travel), who would you like to meet and why?

One blogger that I would enjoy meeting would be Theta for various reasons.  Firstly, it would probably require me taking a trip across the pond which I would do happily and secondly, you seem like one of the nicest people around.  

9. What was the first book that you remember reading for leisure in your childhood?

I remember fondly loving the Anne of Green Gables series as well as the Bunnicula books.  

10. Okay, a bit of an "Apprentice" or "Dragon's Den" type of question.  Which book should I seek out to read? - PITCH IT TO ME!!! :)

Okie dokie, a book you should seek out and read just for the point of it is Tuesdays with Morrie.  Talk about a tear know if you like that sort of thing.  No I kid, somewhat.  It's a great story about life, death, and what we choose to do in between.  It also makes apparent how life is a series of lessons and death is our last class or was in this book.  Read it!  You'll love it too!  

Thanks so much for the tag, questions were fun!  If I had enough people to tag I would now list my very own creative questions but alas I do not.  Thanks for reading!  Hope you enjoyed my answers!


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Water for Elephants Review

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Genre:  Historical Novel

Pages:  335

Published:  2007

I think somewhere recently online I saw someone likened this book to a combination of The Notebook with a 1920's-30's Circus backdrop.  Needless to say I didn't think that at all.  The story at it's core has what all good stories aim to have, love triangles, murder, a questioning of morals, historical accuracy, flashbacks, a memoir in parts, and as a bonus it's rooted in a traveling Depression era Circus.

Without spoiling it for those of you that haven't read this yet, I'll give you a sampling of what the book's about.

Essentially, Jacob, a student learns of his parents sudden death and where that leaves him.  He's struck with grief and seeks an escape from his present life.  That escape just happens to be inadvertently jumping a circus train.  He goes through trials and tribulations but discovers love in more than one way in his years traveling with the circus.

I actually enjoyed this book and it was relatively a quick read.  I thought the characters were strong.  It's evident that the author did quite a bit of research for the book, which is something I can always appreciate.  This book does have the flashback aspect to it, flashing from the present to the past and back again throughout.  I think Sara Gruen did an excellent job with it though.  This book actually made me want to see the film adaptation now as well as read her other books.

Rating:    4/5


Little Free Libraries

I was reading this article yesterday which I got linked to from a post on Facebook.  If you wish, you can read the full article here.  

Imagine if you will, a miniature library situated on a poll standing outside of your house.  Inside lies various books that you've left there free for the taking.  "Take one, leave one" are the simple rules.  This was the idea that sparked Todd Bol and now these little libraries can be found in more than 24 states and a few countries around the world. 

There's a website can visit and learn more about the project.    This is so cool, I'm seriously considering doing one for my neighborhood. 


Just saw this on Owl Read It's blog and loved it!  Be sure to check out that blog, it's awesome!  
Thought I'd share my teaser and maybe it'll become a weekly thing. 

If you would like to do a 'Teaser' all you have to do is ...

Grab a current read.
Flip to a random page or one of your favorite pages thus far.
Share two juicy sentences that will have us hooked from that page.
No Spoilers please!!
Please add the author and title in case we wish to add the book to our TBR piles!

Thanks and enjoy!  

This week's teaser is from:  

11/22/63 by Steven King

"Below the waist, I could still feel the night.  I stood there for maybe three seconds, half in the present and half in the past."

I'm a little over a third into the book and I've enjoyed every page I've read so far.  With 849 pages, it might appear a daunting task but it reads quickly.  If you're a Stephen King fan, you simply must add this to your TBR pile.  


Monday, March 5, 2012

The Obligatory First Post

Hello fellow book lovers, addicts, aficionados!  

Welcome to On The Shelf.  I'm obviously still in the 'working things out' stage here and hope to pull it all together within a week or two at least so your patience is appreciated.  My goal is to review the books I read (and hopefully some that my children read from time to time) and share book related things that I come across and find interesting.  Once I have things under control, my aim is to feature guest bloggers, vlogs and some other goodies that I'm rolling over in my brain.  If you'd like to be featured or have me mention your blog or vlog, please feel free to contact me via email and I will happily oblige.  

I don't want to bore you with anymore of 'blah, blah, blah', so I'll just dive right in.  I thought I'd start out with one of my favorite things, a book haul.  I have enjoyed watching the book haul vlogs on YouTube and reading the book hauls on various blogs so it seemed an appropriate starting point.  

I always am curious as to where others get there books so I'll share where I get mine from.  Tell me where your favorite place to find books are in the comment section below if you like.  I'm curious to know!  

First on my list is usually Goodwill.  Books are cheap, usually in good to great condition there, and they usually have a good variety to choose from.  I always feel like I've gotten the deal of the century after each trip there.  Second would be the library.  Yes, that's right, I utilize the public library.  I've always been a fan of the library, spending afternoons after school at our local one reading and perusing books for an hour or so waiting for my mom to get off of work. (She worked across the street from the library at that time.)  The library now is really great for any avid reader and even greater when you are low on book buying funds.  I enjoy that I can log onto my laptop and reserve as many books as I'd like at my local library and go pick them up in a few days.  I even have an app on my phone now.  Life in 2012 is a far cry from thumbing through the card catalog locating the book you desired.  The other place I usually can find a good deal on books is online.  I've been using a site called Paperbackswap for awhile now and love it.  Check out the site if you haven't heard of it.  We have a good used bookstore here that I go to every now and again also.  

Alright, without further hesitation, here's my very first Book Haul.  I'll start off with my recent Saturday library haul. 

11/22/63 by Stephen King

Approximately 849 pages in length.  Published in 2011.  Genre - Historical Fiction / Science Fiction

This was one of two books I was picking up on this past weekend's trip.  I've been wanting to read this for awhile now and been on the hold list at the library for months but finally it's in my hands.  I've been a King fan since my early teen years so I didn't expect anything but the greatness I knew.  I'm about a third into the book (283 pages down) and I've loved every chapter.  It's looking like this might be one of his best (in my opinion of course).  If you're a die-hard King fan, I'd definitely recommend adding this to you TBR soon.

Tinkers by Paul Harding

Approximately 192 pages in length.   Published in 2009.  Genre - Novel

This was completely an impulse selection.  The cover grabbed my attention and I read the little blurbs on the back, so I added it to my pile.  I know nothing about it and will leave it at that so it can be a surprise.  Hopefully it'll turn out good at the very least.  

Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Approximately 306 pages in length.  Published in 2000.  Genre - Novel.

This was also an unintentional pick up. I remember enjoying the film adaptation of this and frankly never knew it was adapted from a novel.  I felt slightly ignorant in that moment and also compelled to pick it up.  How could I not read it?  

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Approximately 352 pages in length.  Published in 2011.  Genre - Children's Literature

This has been on my TBR list for a little while.  I saw it being promoted everywhere online and people were giving it great reviews and more adults were reading it then children.  I know this is his debut book so I'm looking forward to reading it.  I've flipped through the book and looked at the photos inside which are slightly creepy.  Hopefully the story works well with the photos.  

Scary Stories by Peter Glassman

Approximately 184 pages in length.  Published in 2006.  Genre - Young Adult Horror

While I was helping my oldest daughter try and find the Beastly books, I saw this one on the shelf above and  noticed some names I was familiar with so I had to get it.  It has various classic stories from Poe, King, Shirley Jackson, as well as some odd stories from H.G. Wells, Washington Irving and several others.  I've already read the first two stories which were great.  My daughter finished this book the instant we got home from the library and she loved it.  

The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place Series - The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood

Approximately 288 pages in length.  Published in 2010.  Genre - Children's Literature

Another last minute pick up.  This is book 1 in the series, followed by 3 more I think.  I've heard that this is very Lemony Snicket-esque so we'll see how it turns out.  

There's my most recent book haul, all on loan from the library but I have a feeling I'll be picking up the Stephen King for my personal library somewhere down the road.  

That's all for now, hope you enjoyed my haul.  Please feel free to leave a comment below.  Also, question of the day....Where do you find the best deal on books?  Where's your go to place for book buying (online, bookstore, garage sales)?   

Signing off,