Saturday, April 30, 2011

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

It seems like so long ago that I read this! I do remember that I read it pretty much in one day, I didn't want to put it down...

This is the story of Taylor Markham who was abandoned when she was 11 and now, at 14, lives and studies at a boarding school where they woman who took her in works. It's the story of the conflict between Taylor's school's underground community, the Townies and the visiting Cadets. Taylor is drawn into the conflict and into relationships  she would normally avoid. She also finds a string of clues about a past tragedy that is somehow connected to the people around her.

I liked Jellicoe Road because it's different. Something about the author's tone makes the book unique, the atmosphere different from other YA books I've read. There is darkness there, and pain, but there is also this incredible feeling of realism, like I was watching real people in a world I didn't really understand. Nothing was simple and everything was a struggle. Isn't that what adolescence feels like?

Melina Marchetta is an Australian author, one of the very few I've ever read. Jellicoe Road won the Printz Award in 2009.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Catching up - Mini-reviews

Being in Poland is great. My parents are loving taking care of Shane and we're loving a bit of peace. Joe is getting more reading time than I am, but I'm getting to hang out with my Mom, which is great. I'm reading too, which is kind of why I'm not blogging... when I have a bit of time, I'd much rather read than sit at the computer!

But looking at my list of books read in 2011, it seems that I have given up reviewing altogether. That's certainly not true, I really enjoy exchanging ideas about books with all of you. It would be difficult to catch up properly though, so here are a few mini-reviews, of books that I have a bit less to say about.

The Princess Diaries, Take Two by Meg Cabot
I really like most of what Meg Cabot writes. The Princess Diaries series is a great light read, I love the charming story that every girl dreams about. This second book was just as good as the first, with Princess Mia holding her own against her Grandmother, who still has very specific ideas about who she wants Mia to be. If you like light YA literature, you'll like this. I just wonder if the rest of series continues to be entertaining, there are so many books in it!

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
This was an audiobook that I didn't finish... I listened to the first book in this trilogy, Wicked Lovely, last year and liked it enough to continue. But the narrator in this one was different and I couldn't get into it. It's very dark and to be honest I found the plot quite repetitive... even though the premise about fairy kings, queens and courts was very cool.

The Reading Group by Elizabeth Noble
Sometimes I need chick lit, I really do. I loved the idea behind this book - it was structured around the monthly meetings of a book club. While we listened to the discussions about  their current book club read, we found out more and more about the characters. Just like the women in the club became friends, little by little. I did think that too much about the books was revealed though and I was annoyed because of the ones I haven't read yet and want to... Also, a large part of the action centered around motherhood and the mothers were of the 'my kids come first and nothing else, including my own life and needs, matters' variety, which is something that really annoys me, especially since having Shane. I don't think the author portrayed mothers realistically and I found the characters two-dimensional... Not a book for me.

The Reptile Room (Book Two in A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket

Book two was just as enjoyable as the first, with the poor orphans trying hard to survive all the misfortune that is thrown their way. Charming and extremely entertaining.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The good and the bad about this week

Why is this week being so slow??? Here's what's happening:

This sucks:
  • Work is annoying me. I'm responsible for a project that nobody is happy with. I have to make a lot of compromises and in the end no one is satisfied. It's stressing me out.
  • I'm rehearsing for The Threepenny Opera by Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht - the show is really cool, but rehearsals are just too consuming at the moment, it's too much pressure!
  • I didn't even get a chance to do a wrap-up post for the read-a-thon, in which I participated rather casually, but still. It would have been nice to re-cap and link up.

This is making me happy:
  • We're going to Poland on Saturday and staying for a week - yay, no work, no rehearsals, and two grandparents eager to look after Baby S. I can't wait.
  • I just had the yummiest ever falafel wrap. I discovered a fabulous Lebanese around my workplace and I'm there all the time now.
  • We're about 600 people working in the same building and some colleagues organised a book swap table. You put books you want to swap and take whatever you want in return. Today, I found what I think is a real gem - Can Any Mother Help Me? by Jenna Bailey. It's based on a collection of letters/articles written by a group of women, housewives, in the 1930s and 1940s, basically about their lives. It seems to be a fascinating piece of social history.
  • I subscribe to and recently got The Journey Into Yourself by Eckhart Tolle, which is not a book but a retreat. Tolle is famous for preaching focussing on the now rather than dwelling on past event or wishing your life away waiting for the future. It really relaxes me. And it's both enlightening and funny. So far, of course, I only just started listening a few days ago.

How's your week going?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Read-a-thon Hour 19

I'm back! I didn't get much sleep, baby S was acting up pretty much the whole night... I thought he'd be so tired that he'd sleep in this morning, but no chance, we were up at 6:15. Sigh. This sleep deprivation thing is what I find hardest in parenthood.

Anyway, before going to bed last night and in between feeding baby S and doing puzzles etc with him, I've been making some progress on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, volume 2. I miss Buffy the series and always really enjoy the comics. I'm a total purist though and I only like the ones where the characters look exactly like on TV. No creative deviations when it comes to my Buffy, please!

Baby S seems to want something so I'm again. I hope to squeeze in a few more pages though!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Read-a-thon Hour 10

Time for me to go to bed now... When I get up in the morning I'll have to look after my son, so I probably won't get too much reading time... I had fun today and finished two books - When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead on audio and One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. I started a few more too!

If I don't post again before it finishes, have a great rest of the read-a-thon, everyone!

Read-a-thon Hour 7

Where has my day gone? It's now 8pm over here and I'm tired. And I didn't even read all that much! I did spend a lot of time blogging and I spent some time reading and I also spent some time baking, which has nothing to do with the read-a-thon of course. But the results were yummy so I now have snacks for the evening. And breakfast for tomorrow. :-)

What have I been reading? I finished listening to When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead when I went for a long walk earlier today. It's a great book, I enjoyed it immensely. I'm about halfway through One for the Money by Janet Evanovich. And I read some of the first comic in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Omnibus, volume 2.

I'm having a great day, but I'm certainly not as productive a reader as I have been in the past. Oh well, the point is to have fun, eh?

See you in a couple of hours!

Yay, the Read-a-thon is here!

Dewey's read-a-thon is now an institution in our blogging world. It's here again now and I'm ready! I can't participate for the full one this time, only the first half or so, but hey, it's better than nothing.

This is the pile I'll be reading from:

It's a beautiful day today and it would be a real shame not to get out there, so I'll be going for a walk and hopefully finishing the audio version of Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me as well. I'm on the last chapter and can't wait to find out what's going on!

I'll be checking in once in a while, so see you later. Enjoy the read-a-thon if you're participating too!

(edited to add this intro meme)

1)Where are you reading from today? I'm reading from my home in Tervuren, Belgium. Very close to Brussels.

2)Three random facts about me…
I got married a month ago.
I bought a pair of red cowboy boots a few days ago.
I grew up in Flushing, Queens, New York.

3)How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
Five real books and the ending of an audiobook.

4)Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
Nope, no goals, just want to enjoy a day more-or-less to myself. My husband's daughter is visiting and they took the baby out for most of the day. Time for me, yay!

5)If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, any advice for people doing this for the first time? Don't miss out on the blogging aspect, the community fun is amazing!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Whip up something new! in April

Head on over to Michelle's (My Favorite Time of Day...), she's the Whip up Something New! host for April. Make sure you leave a link to your April recipe(s) here, a Mr. Linky will be available all month. And she promises a giveaway at the end so how much more incentive do you need, really??

Don't know what I'm talking about? Read this post. We're trying to get through some of the recipes we've all clipped over the years. It's great, lots of people are cooking, baking and posting about it. Only thing is, everyone is making such yummy food that I now have even more recipes to try! :-)