"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Friday, July 30, 2010

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

It's been a busy summer, reading, reading, reading!!!  Isn't that perfect?  I mean really?  Aside from a much desired, and might I add needed, vacation to the ocean or a nice lake, what could be more compelling?  Not much if you love reading and writing like I do!

Fablehaven is the first of a series written by Brandon Mull and is his first published material.  If you like Harry Potter; as many adults, teens and children do; you will truly enjoy Fablehaven.  It is written primarily for a tween or early teen market but appeals to a vast spectrum.

This is the story of Seth and Kendra, the grandchildren of the Sorensons.  Interestingly, the children are left to stay with their grandparents while the parents go on a cruise.  That's not the interesting part.  Most intriguing of all is the story behind the Sorensons and their land, Fablehaven.  Upon entering the premises, signs warning all to stay away are scattered along the roadway.  "Certain Death Awaits" reads one. 

A pet chicken who is not really a chicken, yes I mean "who"; hummingbirds who are not what they seem, and a mystery forest that is off limits.  Similar to a well-known series, and yet not.  Seth's curiosity gets the better of him and Kendra too as she is dragged along on his adventures and mishaps.  Mysterious creatures are hidden within the forest and the barn.  Though given ample warning from their grandfather, Seth and then Kendra and Seth, investigate the property and find secrets too hard to believe, including the disappearance of their grandmother.

Full of adventure and fun and suspense, this book is hard to put down.  Brandon Mull leaves hints for future novels to continue the saga and creates a desire to read on and on.  This reader cannot wait to get the next in what promises to be a best-selling series.

Rating 5/5

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

This book was highly recommended and spent some time on the New York Times Bestseller List. 

This is the story of Mma (pronounced "ma" with a long a) Precious Ramotswe, a traditional African woman who, with an inheritance from her father, begins the first ever detective agency run by a woman.  She receives some flack for this because it certainly is not tradtional.  Some would say a woman's place is in the home, raising children and chickens!  Not Precious.  In this respect she is anything but traditional.

This is the book of many stories of cases Mma Ramotswe quickly and easily solves.  She is intuitive and sharp.  She knows people.  It's the way she solves crimes that beguiles the reader.  From cheating husbands, to wayward children to a missing child.  How she knows to wait at a riverside for a crocodile to solve the case of a missing man, I shall not know but she does!  Precious solves mysteries with apparent ease, sometimes too much so for me. I wish the author had dwelt a little more on building the cases, creating conflict, and prolonged resolve. Perhaps that is his style.

Amusing and enthralling and yet never too descriptive nor vulgar, which I personally prefer, this story is charming.  Alexander McCall Smith's first foray into the life of Precious and her people portrays the rarely seen side of Afrikaans, the good and bad while still presenting this country in a favorable light. You leave here desiring to see, touch, and feel the land of great skies, thorn trees and people who understand the meaning of things.

When asked how Alexander created Precious his response was:
  "There is no particular person upon whom Precious Ramotswe is based, but there is an incident. Years ago I was in Botswana, staying with friends in a small town called Mochudi. A woman in the town wished to give my friends a chicken to celebrate Botswana National Day. I watched as this woman—traditionally built, like Mma Ramotswe—chased the chicken round the yard and eventually caught it. She made a clucking noise as she ran. The chicken looked miserable. She looked very cheerful. At that moment I thought that I might write a book about a cheerful woman of traditional build."

And that, my friends, is but a glimpse into the character that is Precious.  Mr. Smith's site is a must see of  What's What and Who's Who http://www.randomhouse.com/features/mccallsmith/main.php   
African music, light and cheerful, plays in the background as you peruse the site. Here you find photos, descriptives and an insightful look into the life that is Precious'.  Under features check out the Reading Guide for this series of which The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency is the first.

4/5 I shall actively seek more in this series.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Washington's Blog

This is not a book on my shelf, nor in a library but still enlightening.  Or perhaps more intriguing, giving one cause to ponder, to deliberate.  Today I checked out the Blogs of Note and came across one called Washington's Blog.  It's latest entry is what caught my attention, that of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  The photos are graphic of the damage caused to wildlife.  It is saddening and makes one want to see justice or amends made.  But, can anything, any amount of money, substitute for the lives lost?  For those whose livelihood depends on the fishing industry this is catastrophic.  Residents in Louisiana and Mississippi, still rebuilding as a result of Hurricane Katrina, now face certain financial despair due to the devastation of the shrimp, fish and shellfish industry that they built their independance on. 

Washington's Blog shares with the reader photos and information not readily available to the public due to previous publication bans.  Herein you find the answers to questions you may have asked about the condition of the area, the progress made, the implications to the wildlife and humans alike. 

If it affects our planet, it affects us.  Take a moment to read this blog:


Photo from Washington's Blog

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Words That Matter

Brought to you by Harper Collins Publishing from the Editors of O, Oprah Winfrey's magazine, comes this enlightening book, "Words That Matter".  Valuable quotes to inspire, uplift and encourage are found within.  Looks to be a promising read and a possible bestseller.  Check this link for more:

"Nothing really worth having is easy to get. The hard-fought battles, the goals won with sacrifice, are the ones that matter." -- Aisha Tyler, actress and comedian

"Fortune helps those who dare." -- Virgil, poet

"Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last you create what you will." -- George Bernard Shaw, playwright

"I fear only God. I don't fear any human. When you have that kind of spirit, you can just do what you have to do. Let it roll." -- Stevie Wonder, singer

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Lucky One

Written by Nicholas Sparks, author of bestsellers including Nights in Rodanthe, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, Dear John and The Notebook.  Another great novel by Nicholas Sparks.  

When a US Marine, Logan Thibault, finds a photograph of a beautiful young woman he pegs it on the bulletin board for the owner to claim but no one does.  Putting it in his pocket, he fights in Iraq with his platoon.  Many die around him but he survives.  His friend Victor tells him the photo is a charm.  As long as he has the charm he will be protected.

There's a catch here.  When they return from duty, Victor tells him he has to return the favour to the woman.  He must find her.  Taking only his dog, Zeus, and a backpack, Logan treks across the country from Colorado to North Carolina in search of the  mystery woman.

It is a story of the paths our lives take, destiny, and true love with suspense thrown in. A new twist from what I have read of Sparks.  A drama that will capture you from the start.

I recommend this book as a 5/5!  Take this one with you on holiday for some great summer reading!


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