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The Cat Who Saw Stars and More Used Bookstore Finds

The Cat Who Saw Stars - Lilian Jackson Braun The Defenders of the Dead - Jude Watson The Uncertain Path (Star Wars: Jedi Apprentice, Book 6) - Jude Watson The Captive Temple - Jude Watson

I decided to take my daughters to our local bookstore yesterday, hoping to find a couple of books for Dad for Fathers Day this weekend (I'll do a separate post on what we picked out for him). My daughters each picked out two chapter books, which hopefully they will review on here when they finish reading them, and for myself I found four books that intrigued me. I so much enjoyed the Crochet Mystery book I recently finished, that I was in search of another cozy mystery book series. Unfortunately I wasn't finding much of anything there other than a ton of books in this series by Lilian Jackson Braun, so I figured, why not? I was also super happy to discover three Jedi Apprentice books, as it is a series that I have been wanting to give a try for several years. I would have much preferred to find at least book #1, but I will go ahead and start with books #5-7. If I really like them, I will be on the search for some online used book lots to further the fun.

you young monkey quote- Great Expectations

Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

'Has she been gone long, Joe?' I always treated him as a larger species of child, and as no more than my equal.
'Well,' said Joe, glancing up at the Dutch clock, 'she's been on the rampage, this last spell, about five minutes, Pip. She's a-coming! Get behind the door, old chap, and have the jack-towel betwixt you.'
I took the advice. My sister, Mrs Joe, throwing the door wide open, and finding an obstruction behind it, immediately divined the cause, and applied Tickler to its further investigation. She concluded by throwing me- I often served as a connubial missile- at Joe, who, glad to get a hold of me on any terms, passed me on into the chimney and quietly fenced me up there with his great leg.
'Where have you been, you young monkey?' said Mrs Joe, stamping her foot.

-Charles Dickens 
 

I was a bit disappointed in a book I started last night, so before heading to bed, I was trying to figure out what book I wanted to accompany me. I then suddenly had a strong desire to read some of one of my most favorite reads, Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. This book is so wonderful. There are so many parts I find amusingly fun to read, and find myself laughing aloud (which is rare in my reading). I find this specific part of the beginning funny. I think of all the books I have ever read, the characters from this one specifically has made an imprint upon my soul. I will always think upon Joe as a quiet child-like grown creature, and Mrs. Joe as some raging woman ready to unleash her wrath upon the world...or just Pip. And little Pip, I cannot praise Dickens enough for how he got the inner workings and behaviors of a child so perfectly.

Sense and Sensibility (Real Reads version, adapted and shortened for children)

Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen) - Gill Tavner, Ann Kronheimer, Jane Austen

Originally written by: Jane Austen

Retold by: Gill Tavner

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

I kind of love that those classics that can be hard for adults to get through, are adapted and shortened for children to enjoy. I purchased the whole collection of Jane Austen Real Reads last summer I believe, hoping my daughters would get a glimpse into the world of Miss Austen.

I decided to give Sense and Sensibility a read this afternoon. It read very quickly, being only 54 pages long. The copy is made very sturdy. It isn't softcover, but isn't hardcover either. It is that weird in-between version. There is a dust jacket with a beautiful illustration of distraught Marianne being comforted by her older sister Elinor. There are similar colored illustrations throughout the book, with the pages being much thicker than normal pages.

I love the story of Sense and Sensibility, the newer BBC version of the movie is one of my favorite movies of all time. I thought this version of the story was well done. There is obviously a lot of the story details left out, considering its length. This version is told from the point of view of Margaret, the younger sister (who really has a very minor roll in the original). There was also a couple of times where events were kind of smushed together, and even characters (such as Ann and Lucy Steele becoming simply, Lucy Steele). I know some Austen fans might gasp in shock, but I don't think it hurts the story at all. I just think, a little condensed Jane Austen for young ones is better than no Jane Austen. My only complaint about the shortening and adapting in this specific novel is that the scene with Colonel Brandon finding Marianne in the rain was left out (although I have never fully completed the novel, so maybe that is just in the movies?). That is kind of one of my favorite parts, as it is the moment that Marianne begins to view Colonel Brandon in a different light, knowing how he rescued her.

I especially love how when the story ends, the book does not. At the back of the book, there is a bunch of information for budding minds! They explain how things were condensed and changed for space, and describe in detail how they were in the original novel. There is also a Back in Time section that explains what is was like to live in Miss Austen's time. Another section gives lists of more books and websites to further your Jane Austen interest, along with a few pages of discussion questions that leave your mind reviewing and really putting your thoughts together about what you just read. What more could a parent or teacher ask for in a Jane Austen introduction novel for young ones?

The Lake Monster Mystery (Choose Your Own Adventure)

The Lake Monster Mystery (Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlark) - Shannon Gilligan

Written by: Shannon Gilligan

 

(Read and reviewed by my youngest daughter)

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

Well I'd have to say this was a good book because there was a safe ending. They didn't find the monster but they got home safe and that is just the kind of ending I like. 

Your Very Own Robot (Choose Your Own Adventure)

Your Very Own Robot (Choose Your Own Adventure: Junior! #1) - R.A. Montgomery, Keith Newton

Written by: R.A. Montgomery

 

(Read and Reviewed by my youngest daughter)

 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

Ok, well, I tried to choose the responsible choices and I'm not even going to tell you the ending! I hope the irresponsible choices have a way better ending. So you know what if you aren't ok with making irresponsible choices I'd suggest not getting this book. The responsible choices are bad. 

Dragon Day (Choose Your Own Adventure)

Dragon Day (Choose Your Own Adventure - Dragonlarks) - Anson Montgomery

Written by: Anson Montgomery

 

(Read and reviewed by my youngest daughter)

 

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5 stars

 

In this book you are a dragonlark and there is a big day that is cool, that's like a dragon birthday, sort of, and its awesome. In my ending we were all hero's and everything. And we found Pilly, it was amazing. And it was a really good book and I loved it. And the reason I did apparently 4.5, which is really weird, why do they do that? Why don't they just do 4 and a half. So anyways I gave it this rating because of my good ending.

Barbie Story Collection

Barbie: Story Collection (Barbie) (Step into Reading) - Bill Gordh;Carol Pugliano-Martin

A Dress-Up Day (written by Jessie Parker)

One Pink Shoe (written by Salile Orr)

School Days (written by Apple Jordan)

Two Princesses (written by Bill Gordh)

Lost and Found (written by Carol Pugliano-Martin)

A Day at the Fair (written by Carol Pugliano-Martin)

 

(Read and reviewed by my youngest daughter)

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

Well, I'd have to say my least favorite was probably School Days. My second was probably One Pink Shoe. My third, well, this is a tricky one but it would probably be A Dress Up Day. My fourth favorite was tied between Two Princesses and Lost and Found. I would like Two Princesses better, but that's such a weird lunch. I probably do but that is a pretty weird lunch. You got to admit, I mean like seriously, cheese bread, carrots, and nuts- ewe a disgusting lunch! I would not eat that. My favorite though was (drum roll please, dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum) A DAY AT THE FAIR! It is fun to read.

By Hook or By Crook

By Hook or by Crook - Betty Hechtman

Written by: Betty Hechtman

 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

This was a cute, fluffy read. I've been searching for some mystery books that don't necessarily revolve around a murder, leaves out any and all gory details, and is not filled with sex . This is book really fits what I've been searching for, with a lot of absurdity thrown in as well.

This is, of course, a murder mystery, but that is not really the mystery the book focuses on. There is a crochet group that meets frequently (it seems daily) in a bookstore where Molly Pink works. The characters in the group are so varied; for example, there is even a male model that is a member. (What?) The crocheters are always huddled around a filet crochet piece (a type of delicate crochet) filled with motifs (images) that was mysteriously left for them to decipher. Molly pretty much takes it over, letting her inner sleuth run wild through the town, eventually linking the crochet piece to a murder. Molly has this overwhelming inner desire to figure out who made the filet crochet piece, and why, and she will stop at nothing, including breaking into a private home, wearing her sons clothes, and even pretending to be a janitor.

There is also a recipe for a noodle dish at the end of the book that Molly Pink made several times during the book, along with a filet crochet bookmark pattern and a small crochet blanket pattern. I do crochet, so I might give them a try one of these days! 

This was a really cute read. I was surprised to find myself still choosing to read this book every night before bed, as a huge part of me really didn't care about the storyline, or if Molly ever figured out what was up with the crochet piece, but it was simply just fun to read. I am guessing that is the purpose of the author, and she did good on that. I will definitely be keeping my eye open for more of her books, or others like this. She may have just opened up the world of cozy mystery books for me!    

The Power of a Bookshelf

I recently decided to steal the small bookshelf from my girls' room and drag it to our living room. It was just sitting in the corner of the bedroom, collecting dust, filled with old books that were never going to be cracked open again (mainly because they were much younger books, storybooks now much too young for my growing girls). Once the bookshelf was placed in an open spot in the living room, we went through all the old books that were on it (mainly putting them into a give away pile), and dug out other newer books they now love that have been stashed beneath their beds. I gave them each one of the shelves (and I took the other), to fill up with their much loved favorite books. What a difference it is to have an easy to access bookshelf filled with favorites! I have found both of my daughters hovering around their shelves daily, pulling books out to look at together. They are both reading every night, and I've even seen them playing with their dolls before the bookshelf (with books included in the play). Why haven't I done this so much sooner? I've placed a vase filled with flowers atop (bouquets my husband gave each of them after their dance recital this weekend), and I cannot hear enough compliments from my daughters about how beautiful the bookshelf looks with all their books, and how it is the most perfect spot for flowers. I always love to see children loving books.    

Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares

Written by: Ann Brashares

 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

 

For whatever reason, I have had an overwhelming desire to read this book, one that I couldn't shake until I found myself ordering the entire series online. I finally received all four books in the mail yesterday, and less than 24 hours later, I have already devoured the first book.

Everyone and their mother must know this tale of the four best friends and the pair of magical pants. These four friends are, for the first time, spending the summer apart. And the pair of pants? Well, they think they are magical, so they must be...

All four girls are nervous to spend so much time apart, so they use this pair of pants that seems to magically fit all four of their different body types beautifully (unheard of in the world of being a girl), to symbolize the love and support that they have for each other. As they go their separate ways, each girl has their own journey, their own experiences that exposes a little more of the world we all live in. They share the pants, each girl wearing the pants during moments of embarrassment or mistakes, and then again during a time of comfort, solace, and making things right. This book covers deep emotional topics, such as young love, stepfamilies, sex (though it is mainly implied), and even death. But, more importantly, this book is about friendship. The kind of friendship that is filled with unconditional love, the kind that will last forever.

I really enjoyed reading about these wonderful girls. I think every teen will be able to relate to at least one of these girls, which is something we all seek to find in a book that we read. The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5, is mainly age related. I loved reading the book, but as I am a mother, married, older than these four girls, I crave to read about these topics on a different level, one that I can relate in my current life. I have seen concern about age appropriateness for this series, as it does touch on some issues that are not for the young, but I do think it all depends on the girl in question. Parents would know if their child is ready for such a book.

I will definitely be keeping this book around, and continuing on in the series.

Sunday Reads #1

By Hook or by Crook - Betty Hechtman

This week has been crazy. Mainly towards the end, getting my two daughters set for their dance recital that was yesterday. Hair bows, crimpers, leggings, sequins, and anything else sweet and girly that comes to your mind! So today I am relaxing on the couch with By Hook or By Crook, book #3 in Crochet Mysteries. I have yet to read any of the other books, including the first two, but I am chuckling at the absurdity of this one. I will write a review for this book when I am finished, but my immediate thoughts when I opened this book was, ridiculous and very unrealistic. The characters, their careers, the idea behind just about everything that goes on in this book. I was tempted to set it aside (and probably give it to my bookstore for credit), then realized I just needed to reset my mind for this book. Ridiculous? Most definitely! Unrealistic? Yes! Absurd? No doubt about it. But so what? Read it for the light fluffiness that it is. So, that is what I am doing today. I am surprised to find myself cracking a smile now instead of rolling my eyes.

Either/Or

No one tagged me, nor do I tag anyone else. I just stumbled upon this through browsing Booklikes, and thought I would have some fun putting it together on this lazy Sunday afternoon!

 

Booklet or Tome:

I would prefer a smaller book, I am all about comfort. A super huge book is awkward to sit with comfortably and read, whether it is the height or width of a book. However, if the book is spectacular, one always wants to keep reading.

 

Pre-owned or New:

This is a recent change in opinion for myself lately. I was generally always a new book kind of gal. I try to keep my books in perfect condition, don't let anyone else even touch them (probably my inner OCD), but I have recently discovered a local bookstore (our only local bookstore) that sells new and used books. I have been having so much fun browsing through piles of used books, not to mention the prices! The added bonus, I don't feel the need to try and keep them perfect, as they are already perfectly imperfect.

 

Historical Fiction or Fantasy:

I would probably say historical fiction, though I am just as big of a lover of fairy tales. Recent purchases of mine included People of the Longhouse and The Black Swan.

 

Hardcover or Paperback:

Probably paperback. I think Hardcovers look nice, hold up longer, but I despise dust jackets. I usually end up tossing them whenever I get a hardcover, or at least remove them while I read. I prefer having the beautiful covers printed right on the front, in a non-annoying moving around fashion. I also think it is more comfortable to sit and read with a paperback book. Plus they are usually quite a bit cheaper in price.

 

Funny of Sad:

I generally love the dramatic books that trigger deep emotions from within. The kind that leave me pondering throughout my days. But I think I would like a funny book as well; I don't think I have ever read a book that has made me laugh out loud. I tend to have a bit of a stubborn sense of humor I guess.

 

 

Prefer Reading in Summer or Winter:

Both. But if I had to pick one, probably summer. I like curling up in the sun outdoors and reading while my kids play about.

 

 

Classics or Mainstream:

I have probably read more classics. I don't think I necessarily prefer one over the other, but as I general like the more dramatic, deep thought books that carry some profound message, it is a lot easier to find them amongst all others when you search through the classics. Plus I prefer historical fiction, so classics encompass more of what I like. I wouldn't mind reading more of my type of books in mainstream, but I don't think I am as good at finding them.

 

 

Guidebook or Fiction:

It depends. I do like to read both, so it depends on my purpose for reading. I love learning new things, so a guidebook on something I find fun. But it has to be about something I am wanting to learn more about in that moment. I do read more fiction though.

 

 

Crime Novel or Thriller:

As of now, neither. I love mysteries, but have discovered that once you become an adult, most mysteries are murder mysteries...which I don't much like. I am currently reading a series that is a cozy murder mystery, as I have never given them much of a try before. If I can find a series that is not too murder/gross saturated, and more of a fluffy read, then I wouldn't mind the crime novels. Thriller is definitely off the table for me though.

 

E-book or Print Edition:

I have been using a Kindle for the past several years. I love the ease of using an e-reader, though I have recently discovered that using an e-reader has greatly impacted my reading desires in a negative way. I have really only finished 2 books on my Kindle over that time, and other books I devoured were print editions. Upon this new revelation, I have been visiting our local bookstore and reading a lot more. So, I guess this means I prefer print editions.

 

Internet or Bookstore:

I love bookstores. I can spend hours in a bookstore, and will visit one every week if I have the chance! I do, however, browse for books a lot online as well. Both are fun, but I'd prefer to pick out a book that I have in my hands vs. a book I can only see on the computer screen.

 

Backlist or New Publications:

I don't really know? I mean, I kind of flutter around right now. My reading tastes and habits have changed so much. I've changed so much of the past several years. I am in a phase where I am re-discovering what books I really want to get into. I don't really have a habit of one or the other, it is currently all about whatever draws me in.

 

Best or Bad Sellers:

Either one. I don't really go by what others say, unless I am trying to figure out a specific about the book. I usually don't read many reviews or take them to heart until I have actually already purchased the book. There are many times my review does not coincide with the majority though. One of my favorite books for years had many bad reviews, and several others I have read that were best sellers didn't have me wanting to finish the book.

 

Cooking or Baking Book:

Definitely baking. I love looking through cookie baking books. Not that I actually cook or bake enough for my opinion to count on the matter!

Bunnicula and Friends: Hot Fudge

Hot Fudge (Bunnicula and Friends, #2) - James Howe

Written by: James Howe

 

(Read and reviewed by my youngest daughter)

 

Rating: 500 out of 5 stars (yes, she said 500)

 

Wow! I love this awesome book. Its like my favorite book in the entire world. Its so cool it makes me want to dance all day and all night. That's how awesome it is, its so amazing I almost want to scream my little heart out. So, I don't want to be a spoiler, but it was so AWESOME! Harold is so awesome and cool I could read this book all day. Plus its one of those cool books that get so much cooler and more awesome and more amazing every single time you read it. AND I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!

People of the Longhouse

People of the Longhouse - W. Michael Gear, Kathleen O'Neal Gear

Written by: W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O'Neal Gear

 

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

 

I am somewhat torn about writing this review. I was really excited to finally get my hands on one of these books in this series, as I am a fan of historical fiction novels, and I love Native American cultures and belief systems. This book is really well written, about a witch that is known as a legend amongst the tribes, who raids villages and steals children to put into slavery. There are terrible stories about how badly she treated the children, and those fears are once again rising, as she is now back and has abducted children from several tribes. This book is about the horrors that the children experience, and the trials the parents of these children go through while trying to track and find where there children have been taken. I love reading about their culture, beliefs, legends, and anything about their way of life. The authors share so much of this throughout the novel, it is wonderful. However, along with their way of life was much violence, and the writers really did not hold back anything. I will say there are some pretty harsh scenes when learning about what the children are dealing with, even a pretty detailed scene of several men raping the children that have been abducted. I found some of these scenes quite disturbing to read and with my caged thinking that plagues me due to having OCD, I had a tough time shaking them off. I got about half way into the book and had to stop and reassess if I should read on. Even though I really wanted to get to a happy ending and (hopefully) find the children back with their parents again, I really just couldn't read more about the harsh treatments of children. I guess it is sort of a soft spot for me, and I would have much preferred a PG version.

I am a quite a bit disappointed, as I was looking forward to digging into this series, but I am guessing that the violence will probably run through all of these books on some level, probably a level I wont want.

Would I recommend this book? Sure, but I would suggest you understand the specific type of violence this book gets into, and if you can stomach such a thing, the plot is really interesting and well written.

The First Princess of Whales

The First Princess of Wales - Karen Harper

Written by: Karen Harper

 

(Read and reviewed in June 2007)

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

I received this book as a birthday gift, and was quite amazed that it turned out to be a book I would have picked myself! Aside from one war scene that was a bit boring for me, the rest of the book was really intriguing, and kept me reading on. There are some parts in the book, that as a women makes you cringe...but unlike other reviews, I don't think that it was all intended to be romantic. I had no idea it was even listed under romance. It more came across to me as being a historical fiction, and along with that also comes how women were treated during that time, which wasn't always the best. I would definitely recommend this book, but be prepared for some harsh parts.

Into the Woods

Into the Woods - Lyn Gardner, Mini Grey

Written by: Lyn Gardner

 

(Read and reviewed in June 2009)

 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

 

I stumbled upon this book, purchasing it by impulse (I can't contain myself when I come in contact with fairytales!). I was not disappointed. This is by far the best fairytale I have read in such a long time. The book had everything- adventure, mystery, frightening parts, along with sisterly bonds that were unbreakable! Even though there were hints of other tales mentioned here and there, entwined within the story- Into the Woods is a story all in itself that I couldn't put down. I was enthralled at Lyn Gardner's creativity from beginning to end, and loving how she was able to keep the feel of an old-time fairytale within the pages of something so new and original. It will, like other reviews mentioned, be loved mainly by girls, as the story focuses around three main characters who are sisters. However, there is enough scare, wolves, and an evil Dr. to entertain the boys as well! Plus, it is just one of those stories that will intrigue those of all ages. I am 31, and loved it, and can't wait to read it to my little girls who are 4 and 6. I wish Gardner would write another!