Showing posts from November, 2011

Stasiland: Stories from Behind the Berlin Wall

Stasiland: Stories From Behind the Berlin Wall by Anna Funder
review copy provided by publisher
Description from Goodreads:
In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell; shortly afterwards the two Germanies reunited, and East Germany ceased to exist. In a country where the headquarters of the secret police can become a museum literally overnight and one in#160;50 East Germans were informing on their fellow citizens, there are thousands of captivating stories. Anna Funder tells extraordinary tales from the underbelly of the former East Germany. She meets Miriam, who as a 16-year-old might have started World War III; she visits the man who painted the line which became the Berlin Wall; and she gets drunk with the legendary "Mik Jegger" of the east, once declared by the authorities to his face to "no longer to exist." Each enthralling story depicts what it's like to live in Berlin as the city knits itself back together#151;or fails to. This is a history full of emotion, attitude, …

Belated Readathon

I will be participating in Belated Readathon hosted by Amanda at Dead White Guys and Britteny from The Souls of Thought. Why am I participating?? Because I love the title of the readathon and I love Dead White Guys and besides, who doesn't love an excuse to read all day long? 

Here are the details from Amanda:
THE DEETS. -The event starts at 7 a.m. on Saturday, December 3rd, and runs until 7 a.m. Sunday, December 4th. If you can't/don't want to participate for all 24 hours, you absolutely do not have to. I have a feeling I won't even do that, and I'm the one (co) hosting it. So. Also, we're in EST, but you can start at whatever time you want in your time zone. -Brittney and I will be gathering at my house for the duration of our endurance, eating snacks and doing hourly updates on our respective blogs. You are not required to do hourly updates, or any updates, really. HOWEVER, I do encourage you to do some sort of updating so we know you're alive, …

Follow Friday

Since it is the Friday after Thanksgiving, this Follow & Feature Friday is about what we bloggers are thankful for. This meme is hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read.

Our featured blogger is Shanan from The Book Addict. Be sure to check out her blog and follow.
My name is Shanan. I am the blogger behind The Book Addict. Some my earliest memories of spending time with my grandma were trips to our local library to get stacks of books. Since then, I have been hooked. I love when a story sweeps me away, takes me to a new place, allows me to explore a new idea. I love to read just about anything–fiction, non-fiction, classics, young adult. Some of my favorites are Pride and Prejudice, the Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder, and The Heir Chronicles by Cinda Williams Chima.I have a two-year old daughter who keeps me on my toes, but she has also taught me to enjoy the little things in life, to be silly, to dance to the music I hear, and the importance of always k…

Happy Thanksgiving

This year I just happen to be reading America: A Narrative History Brief Edition by George Brown Tindall and David Emory Shi. This is for my oldest's history this year, but I am reading it as well. I am really enjoying this book. Recently reading about the Revolution and the founding of our nation has made this Thanksgiving even more meaningful for me. I think we all need reminders of our history to keep it fresh in our minds.  I am thankful for so much.

I wish all my fellow bloggers and readers a very Happy Thanksgiving. And happy reading! The long weekend for me is the perfect opportunity to get in lots of reading time.

Cutting for Stone

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese borrowed from a friend Description from Goodreads: Marion and Shiva Stone are twin brothers born of a secret union between a beautiful Indian nun and a brash British surgeon. Orphaned by their mother’s death and their father’s disappearance, bound together by a preternatural connection and a shared fascination with medicine, the twins come of age as Ethiopia hovers on the brink of revolution.

Moving from Addis Ababa to New York City and back again, Cutting for Stone is an unforgettable story of love and betrayal, medicine and ordinary miracles—and two brothers whose fates are forever intertwined.
My take:
Cutting for Stone was a book choice for my book club. At first I was very impressed with this book. It really is beautifully written. I loved the descriptions of Africa and the depiction of life there. This book was very ambitious. It takes on many issues including love/lust, betrayal, forgiveness, family, sibling relationships, and tragedy. The firs…


Bunheads by Sophie Flack
kindle edition purchased from
Description from Goodreads:

As a dancer with the ultra-prestigious Manhattan Ballet Company, nineteen-year-old Hannah Ward juggles intense rehearsals, dazzling performances and complicated backstage relationships. Up until now, Hannah has happily devoted her entire life to ballet.

But when she meets a handsome musician named Jacob, Hannah's universe begins to change, and she must decide if she wants to compete against the other "bunheads" in the company for a star soloist spot or strike out on her own in the real world. Does she dare give up the gilded confines of the ballet for the freedoms of everyday life.

My take:
I originally wanted to read this book because of the insider's view of being a member of a large ballet company.  I have two daughters who dance and I wanted to see if Bunheads would be appropriate for my older daughter to read. 

I found it very interesting to read about the everyday life o…

A Second Life

A Second Life by Dermot Bolger
purchased from Kennys Bookshop
Description from Goodreads:
Following a car crash, for several seconds, Dublin photographer Sean Blake is clinically dead. When he plummets back to life, it is into a world which, for him, has profoundly changed. This is not the first time that he has been given a second life. At the age of six weeks he was taken from his mother, when as a young girl in rural Ireland, she was forced to give up her baby for adoption. Beginning the quest for his own identity, Sean determines to find his natural mother. This leads him on a strange and absorbing journey. Bolger exposes a dark wound from Ireland's history to explore how we must not only reclaim the past but try to redeem it. As Sean closes in on the truth of his birth, A Second Life builds with a resonance that is both through-provoking and utterly moving.

My Take:
Until I read this book, I was not very aware of this particular aspect of Irish history.  I think I was vaguely awa…

Follow Friday

It's time for some Follow Friday Fun!  Follow and Feature Friday is hosted by Parajunkee's View and AlisonCanRead.

This week's feature blog

Hi! My name is Jinny. I’m 22 years old, live in Canada. I love reading books, of course. I also love video games and, stereotypically, hockey! I’m currently majoring in English (language, not literature, though I have to take some lit courses anyway as part of my degree) and I hope that after I graduate, I will be accepted into a nursing program so that I can become a nurse.

My book blog was born in November 2009. I started my book blog when a couple friends and I decided to challenge ourselves by reading 50 books in a year, so I used the blog to keep track of my books. From there, it became a sort of review site, though recently I am trying to participate in more memes and whatnot I read a bit of everything, though I think by and large the genre I gravitate towards the most is YA.

Now for some follow fun:

Q: Today’s Qu…

Fool's Sanctuary

Fool's Sanctuary by Jennifer Johnston
book purchased from Kennys Bookshop
Summary from back of book:
The Great War is over; but the war in Ireland is only just beginning, as the IRA and the Black and Tans move on to the attack. It all seems very remote to Miranda Martin, during that miraculous Indian summer.

Her father, hoping to forget his dead wife, thinks of nothing but his trees; Miranda thinks of the future, a future which must surely include Cathal, who brings news from Dublin. Everything seems calm and serene.

But then Andrew, her officer brother, comes home, bringing his eccentric, likeable friend Harry, and as the Indian summer fades, the scent is set for tragedy.

My take:
For such a short novel, it is quite powerful. The beginning of Fool's Sanctuary takes place much after the main action of the novel. It is retold in the flashbacks of a seemingly very old and frail Miranda Martin.  The novel begins:
There are no new days ahead of me.
Is this what they meant by limbo?

Upcoming Challenges

Last year I signed up for way too many challenges. With my homeschooling schedule, the kids' music and ballet activites, I was far too busy to read at the level I have in the past. I am hoping to rally these last two months and at least make a decent showing. That said, I will be participating in The Book Vixen's Outdo Yourself Challenge 2012. This one should be a bit easier to attain as it is just trying to read more books than last year.

Runs January 1, 2012 – December 31, 2012 (books read prior to 1/1/12 do not count towards the challenge). You can join at anytime. Sign up on The Book Vixen’s blog. The goal is to outdo yourself by reading more books in 2012 than you did in 2011. See the different levels below and pick the one that works best for you. Nothing is set in stone; you can change levels at any time during the challenge. Books can be any format (bound, eBook, audio). Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed. Grab the reading challe…

In the Forests of the Night

In the Forests of the Night (The Goblin Wars book 2) by Kersten Hamilton
ARC provided by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
Description from Goodreads:
Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man's forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends.
Teagan knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich.…