Saturday, April 30, 2011

On My Wishlist (7)

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City.  Click the link to sign up!

book cover of Shadowland by Peter StraubTitle:  Shadowland
Author:   Peter Straub
Genre:   Horror, Fantasy
Page Count:   480 pages
Summary:  (From Goodreads)  In a private school in New England, a friendship is forged between two boys that will change their lives for ever. As Del Nightingale and Tom Flanagan battle to survive the oppressive regime of bullying and terror overseen by the sadistic headmaster, Del introduces Tom to his world of magic tricks. But when they escape to spend the summer holiday together at Shadowland -- the lakeside estate of Del's uncle -- their hobby suddenly takes on much more sinister tones. After a summer exploring the mysteries and terrors of Shadowland nothing will be the same.
book cover of Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana FranklinTitle:  Mistriss of the Art of Death
Author:  Ariana Franklin
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Page Count:  384 pages
Summary:  (From GoodreadsIn medieval Cambridge, England, Adelia, a female forensics expert, is summoned by King Henry II to investigate a series of gruesome murders that has wrongly implicated the Jewish population, yielding even more tragic results. As Adelia's investigation takes her behind the closed doors of the country's churches, the killer prepares to strike again.
book cover of The Glass Castle by Jeannette WallsTitle:  The Glass Castle
Author:   Jeannette Walls
Genre:  Autobiography, Memoir
Page Count:  288 pages
Summary:  (From GoodreadsJeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children's imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn't stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an "excitement addict." Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.
Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town -- and the family -- Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents' betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

Friday, April 29, 2011

REVIEW: The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien

book cover of The Return of the King by J. R. R. Tolkien
Title:  The Return of the King
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Date Published:  Originally published in 1955
Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy
Page Count:  464 pages
Challenge:  E-Book Challenge

     And the shadow continues to stretch from Mordor all the way across Middle-Earth as the Ring Bearer gets closer to his destination.
     The climax of this book was phenomenal.  The dark tower falls and lightness comes back to the land.  The events leading up to this, the battle in Gondor and the procession up to the black gates was amazing to read.  Parts of this did drag though, for example, Frodo and Sam's trip through Mordor dragged, but I think that had to do with the fact that I was so ready to get to the climax.  Oh, and of course, Gollum's wretched character played his part in that.
     Much of the last half of the book was dedicated to wrapping up loose ends.  With Aragorn and Gandalf and of course, our hobbit friends.  A lot has gone down in the Shire in the time they've been gone and a lot of the last half of this describes those events.

     The series was amazing.  Of course, at times it dragged, and Tolkien is wordy, but that didn't take away from this masterpiece of a trilogy.  I think that to fully get it, its going to take several rereads later on, but I highly recommend this series to everyone and I honestly think that anyone who reads science fiction, or classic literature in general should READ THESE BOOKS, not just watch the movies, because you get so much more from them by reading the books.  I give this piece of the trilogy, and the trilogy as a whole a 5 out of 5.
Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com     The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of The Lord of the Rings

Thursday, April 28, 2011

REVIEW: The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien

book cover of The Two Towers by J. R. R. Tolkien
Title:  The Two Towers
Author: J. R. R. Tolkien
Date Published: First published in 1954
Genre:  Science fiction, Fantasy
Page Count: 352 pages
Challenge:  E-Book Challenge

     And we continue in the saga of Mr. Frodo Baggins and the ring of doom.  I liked how this began right where the last one left off.  It had no beginning or no end, and its got a lot going on in it.
     For one, this is when Frodo and Sam split from the group, so you're following their journey and then the one of the rest of the group.  There have been some people that disliked this, but I think where the segments ended were in good places and it was overall done well.
     In this volume, you get a better look at several of the characters and are introduced to some new ones.  There's the epic battle of Helm's Deep, and the last march of the Ents, who I LOVED.  Treebeard is one of my favorite characters in the series thusfar.
     I love this series thusfar, its a classic, that everyone needs to read.  I give this book, like The Fellowship of the Ring, 5 out of 5 stars.

Think you might want to give this book a try? Read other reviews or order from Amazon.com   The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of The Lord of the Rings

A Ridiculous Excuse for Journalism.

     So, as I was perusing Facebook this evening, watching severe weather, I came across an article that one of my close friends posted.  Apparently, this has blown up in the blogosphere, but I guess since I've been away for a bit, I was the last to know.  Regardless of that, I'm going to write about it now.
     In a small town in Pennsylvania, there lives a 10th grade school teacher.  She's been teaching for 25 years.  She also writes erotic fiction on the side, under an assumed name.  Judy Mays has published several books that would probably make you blush.  However, she has never made her second career public, until now.  In what is a completely sorry excuse for journalism, WNEP of Snyder County, PA thought that it would be a good idea to out this woman's second career.  Of course, you can imagine the response that ensued.
     If you read the broadcast, transcribed below the video, you will see the complete idiocy that I'm referring to.  This is a woman has been a successful and esteemed educator for 25 years.  She is a published author.  But, you can't do anything without offending someone these days and there are parents that apparently think that it is wrong for a teacher to do something else, other than teach.  Judy Mays has never publicly let her students know that she was a writer, which tells me that she has reserve and knows how to keep things separate that need to be.
     I'm not a fan of her type of novels.  Its just not my thing.  However, there are plenty of people that do read her novels and other novels of that genre and I think that its completely ridiculous that there are people that think that she's "disgusting" because of the things that she writes about.  If there wasn't a market for it, she wouldn't write about it.
    Some parents are even going as far as to say that she need to be either a school teacher or a writer.  Why should she have to choose?  Why should she have to choose between the two things that she loves doing when she was not the one that went public with this information.  It shouldn't be an issue.  The subjects of her books to my knowledge are not about teenagers, she is not selling them to the students that she teaches, hell, she doesn't even talk about it to the children she teaches.  Basically, what I think is happening is that some stay at home moms with nothing better to do, looked too deep on the Internet and they're pissed because there's someone doing what they never could do and writing about all the sex that they'll never have.  Excuse me for being blunt, but that's my humble opinion.  

So, what can you do to support Judy Mays?  You can go to Facebook, and show your support by liking this page.  There are also other ways to help, and if you visit this article, it will tell you how to do that.

I don't think that I could sum this up better myself, but one of my good friends did it and posted it on WNEP's Facebook page,
"Shame on WNEP for relying on sensationalism to attract readers. Reporting the facts is one thing. Inciting outrage by lending the article a flavor of scandal is quite another. Unless her actions are breaking the law (and I assure you, THEY ARE NOT) it is of no import how she chooses to spend her free time. I mean really, you are faulting an English teacher for pursuing a creative outlet? Yeah, how dare she be an independent thinker with an entrepreneurial bent who pursues her own passion for writing outside of her work environment, under an assumed name, no less. What if all teachers did this? What if they were, GASP, like real people who have varied interests that might not align with the rest of the population? They might all teach our children horrible things like perseverance, creativity, critical thinking, the power of believing in and pursuing ones dreams. Yeah, those are terrible, terrible lessons to learn… Shame on you for potentially ruining a woman's career to sell a story. This is why journalism earns a bad reputation--people like Kena Vernon twisting facts and inciting scandal to make her debut catchy."
 
So, what do you bloggers think?  As you know my opinion, I would love to hear yours!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Welcome back?

It makes me sad to know that it was over a month ago that I published my last blog post.  As any college student knows, the end of the semester is a rough time, when everything comes at one time.  I've spent a lot of my time at the computer lab on campus or at work, which has left me not a whole lot of time to get any reading done.  However, all I have left is 2 exams and I'm free for the rest of the summer!  This is when I plan on getting a lot of my reading done for the year, and I'm going to be keeping up with my weekly meme's and overall just being an overall more active blogger!  I have missed it a lot!  And I see that I've lost about 5 followers, so those of you that will take the time to read this, I think you for sticking around!

I do have a review or two that I need to write and post up, so those will be up in the next few days.

Again, thanks for those of you that still read and I promise I'll make he blog WORTH reading in the future!
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