Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Book Review: Anne Hathaway presents The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

13606660Title: Anne Hathaway presents The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (#1)
Author: L. Frank Baum
Published March 8, 2012 by Audible, Inc. (First published 1900)
Audiobook length: 3 hrs. 49 mins.

from Goodreads:
One of the best-known stories in American culture, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has stirred the imagination of young and old alike for over 100 years. Best Actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Rachel Getting Married, Alice In Wonderland), fresh from filming one of this year's most anticipated films, The Dark Knight Rises, lends her voice to this uniquely American fairy tale.

Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog Toto as they get swept away into the magical land of Oz , where they encounter characters and places you may remember from the movie - and several more that never made it to the big screen - on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City.

"It's such a wonderful book and I was so happy to be a part of bringing it to life", Ms. Hathaway said. "There are a lot of great voices in it. The more fun you have with it, the sillier and the more free you get with it, the better it is because it's a story that can handle it. It's amazing to be able to discover something new about something you feel you know so well."

Alleluialu's Review:
Anne Hathaway is one of my favorite actresses and listening to her narrate "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" was delightful. I had never read the book before, so I was surprised at the differences in the story. It took a lot longer for Dorothy to travel around Oz and find the Wizard, then the Witch of the West. I don't remember the part about the mark on her forehead, but it seems so biblical - the mark of Cain and all. Anyway, I truly enjoyed listening to it and experiencing Oz in a different way. I recommend it.
 I can't seem to get blogger to upload my picture, but I give this 4 stars!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown by Eric Blehm

15849465Title: Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown
Author: Eric Blehm
Paperback: 288 pages
Published May 21, 2013
Publisher: WaterBrook Press

from Goodreads:
Fearless takes you deep into SEAL Team SIX, straight to the heart of one of its most legendary operators.

When Navy SEAL Adam Brown woke up on March 17, 2010, he didn’t know he would die that night in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Afghanistan—but he was ready: In a letter to his children, not meant to be seen unless the worst happened, he wrote, “I’m not afraid of anything that might happen to me on this earth, because I know no matter what, nothing can take my spirit from me.”

Long before Adam Brown became a member of the elite SEAL Team SIX—the counterterrorism unit that took down Osama bin Laden—he was a fun-loving country boy from Hot Springs, Arkansas, whose greatest goal had been to wear his high school’s football jersey. An undersized daredevil, prone to jumping off roofs into trees and off bridges into lakes, Adam was a kid who broke his own bones but would never break a
promise to his parents.

But after high school, Adam fell in with the wrong crowd, and his family watched as his appetite for risk dragged him into a downward spiral that eventually landed him in jail. Battling his inner demons on a last-chance road to redemption, Adam had one goal: to become the best of the best—a U.S. Navy SEAL.

An absorbing chronicle of heroism and humanity, Fearless presents an indelible portrait of a highly trained warrior who would enter a village with weapons in hand to hunt terrorists, only to come back the next day with an armload of shoes and meals for local children. It is a deeply personal, revealing glimpse inside the SEAL Team SIX brotherhood that also shows how these elite operators live out the rest of their lives, away from danger, as husbands, fathers, and friends.
Fearless is the story of a man of extremes, whose courage and determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love of a woman. It’s about a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses and persevered to reach the top tier of the U.S. military. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.

Adam Brown was a devoted man who was an unlikely hero but a true warrior, described by all who knew him as fearless
Alleluialu's Review
I didn't think I would like this book - it was about soldiers and war, etc. - but I really did. Adam Brown was an amazing young man. He was crazy, but amazing! He seemed to have no fear and, when he put his mind and heart on a goal, nothing could stop him. I think this book would be inspirational for our young men struggling to find their role in life. Adam struggled, too. He finally broke down and put his faith in God and from then on, his faith sustained him. He had a strong love of family, friends and country. The things he went through were just mind-boggling and he just kept going! I really, really liked this book.
I gave this book 5 stars. It was very inspirational both from a life standpoint and a spiritual standpoint. I highly recommend it.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book Review: To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Title: To The Lighthouse
Author: Virginia Woolf
Setting: Isle of Skye, Scotland
Published: December 27, 1989 (first published in 1927)
Publisher: Harvest Books
Paperback: 209 pages
Literary Awards: Prix Femina Vie Heureuse Anglais (1928)

from Goodreads:
The novel that established Virginia Woolf as a leading writer of the twentieth century, To the Lighthouse is made up of three powerfully charged visions into the life of one family living in a summer house off the rocky coast of Scotland. As time winds its way through their lives, the Ramsays face, alone and simultaneously, the greatest of human challenges and it greatest triumph--the human capacity for change. A moving portrait in miniature of family life, it also has profoundly universal implications, giving language to the silent space that separates people and the space that they transgress to reach each other.

There are very few exceptional and miraculous novels that have the power to change their readers forever. To the Lighthouse is one of them.
Alleluialu's Review
Virginia Woolf is one of my favorite writers. I love the way she uses words and the turn of the phrases she writes. "To The Lighthouse" takes place in the minds of the characters which was common in the era that Woolf wrote. The pace is pretty slow, but you are treated to all kinds of ideas going through the heads of the participants. The family seemed what I perceive as typical in that era. The father rules the roost and the mother puts ideas out there but lets the father think she can't do anything without him. Obviously not true. Mrs. Ramsey was well in control of things. Their guests and the children were interesting as well. So, if you like lots of beautiful language and you don't mind a slow pace, this is the book for you.
I've given this selection 4 stars. There was nothing objectionable in it and it is a classic. You can get your copy at your local library or here.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Goodreads Nothing But Reading Challenges Group

So, I found this group on Goodreads...Nothing But Reading Challenges...oh my...
I can list all my challenges in one place and track them - not that I don't do that already on an Excel worksheet, but I don't know, it looks cooler to do it on Goodreads. Anyway, I found some of the challenges that I have been doing on my own there, so naturally I signed up for them. Then I found some other challenges that are new to me...uh oh...yep, I signed up for them, too.
Here's a list of all the challenges I plan to work on this year:
Christmas Reading Challenge - that will be over January 6th.
*new* Push Your Boundaries Challenge
*new* Back to the Classics Challenge
*new* Book to Broadway Challenge
(I already do the next two, they just have different names on Goodreads.)
Titles: Read the Alphabet Challenge  
Author Alphabet Reading Challenge
Operation Read the Bible
(This one I already do as well.) New 2 ME Author Challenge
YA Reading Challenge
Romance Reading Challenge
Pages Read Challenge - 15,000 pages this year
Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Mount TBR Reading Challenge
Monthly Mixup Mania (continuation)
Time Travel Reading Challenge
Read Your Name Challenge (using my last name this year)
50 Classics in 5 Years (continuation)
*new* All About You Challenge (this is a different challenge each month, but you can do them anytime and it's open ended)
Seems like a lot, doesn't it? Only 4 new ones. Hmmm. No more...I'll have lots of reading to do. Should be fun! Oh, and I challenged myself to read 50 books this year - that shouldn't be a problem.  

Friday, December 27, 2013

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2014

I will be participating in the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge again this year. I always read historical fiction, but I don't always post my reviews to the challenge blog. I will try to do better this year! Anyway, here is the scoop on the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge hosted by Historical Tapestry:

The challenge runs from 1 January to 31 December 2014. Any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...)
During the following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels: 

20th century reader - 2 books
Victorian reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books - I usually read at least 10 historical fiction books per year, so this is the level for me.
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books

To join the challenge you only need to make a post about it, go to Historical Tapestry and add your link in Mr. Linky or just leave a link to your blog if you are not yet ready to post about it yet. If you don't have a blog you can just leave a comment that you are joining.
Happy Reading!

Back to the Classics Challenge 2014

This Challenge is hosted by Books and Chocolate - how could you go wrong with that?

I have been slacking on reading my Classics, so I thought I would participate in this challenge to get a nudge to read some. Here are the details of the challenge:

There will be six required categories that all participants must complete.  Everyone who reads and reviews six eligible books and writes a wrap-up post will automatically be entered into the drawing for an Amazon gift card for $30 (U.S) or a choice of book(s) from The Book Depository.
There will also be five optional categories for additional entries.  Participants who complete three of those (with corresponding posts) will also get an additional entry into the prize drawing;  those completing posts in all five categories will get another entry, for a total of three.  To receive the maximum of three entries, you would need to post eleven times.  

Here is the definition of a classic according to our hostess: "A classic is a book that has endured for some reason ; therefore, I am defining a classic as a book that was published at least 50 years ago.  Therefore, any book published after 1964 is ineligible." 
Here are the rest of the guidelines:

  • All books must be read in 2014.  Books started prior to January 1, 2014 are not eligible.  Reviews must be linked by December 31, 2014.
  • E-books and audiobooks are eligible!  Books can count for other challenges you may be working on.  However, books may NOT crossover categories within this challenge.  You may NOT count the same book twice for different categories in this challenge.  
  • If you do not have a blog, you may link your review from Goodreads or other publicly accessible online format.  
  • Please sign up for the challenge using the linky below BEFORE MARCH 1, 2014.  Please link to your sign-up announcement post (if possible/applicable).
  • You do not have to list your books prior to starting the challenge, but it is more fun that way :).  You can always change your list at any time.  You can read the books in any order (including mixing in the optional categories at any time).
  • You can decide to attempt the optional categories at any point (you can also bow out of the optional categories at any point as well).
  • Please identify the categories you've read in your wrap-up post so that I can easily add up your entries for the prize drawing! Adding links within the post would also be greatly appreciated. 
And finally. . . . The 2014 categories:
  1. A 20th Century Classic
  2. A 19th Century Classic
  3. A Classic by a Woman Author
  4. A Classic in Translation  If English is not your primary language, then books originally published in English are acceptable.  You could also read the book in its original language if you are willing and able to do so.
  5. A Classic About War  2014 will be the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I.  Any book relating to a war is fine -- WWI, WWII, the French Revolution, the War of the Worlds -- your choice.
  6. A Classic by an Author Who Is New To You This can be any author whose works you have not read before.  It doesn't necessarily have to be an author you've never heard of.  
Optional Categories:
  1. An American Classic
  2. A Classic Mystery, Suspense or Thriller 
  3. A Historical Fiction Classic.  This is any classic set at least 50 years before the time when it was written.  For example, Margaret Mitchell published Gone with the Wind 70 years after the end of the Civil War; therefore, it is considered a historical novel.  A Tale of Two Cities and The Scarlet Letter are also historical novels.  However, older classics set during the period in which they were written are not considered historical; for example, the novels of Jane Austen.
  4. A Classic That's Been Adapted Into a Movie or TV Series.  Any period, any genre!  This is practically a free choice category.  However, it's a separate category than the required categories.
  5. Extra Fun Category:  Write a Review of the Movie or TV Series adapted from Optional Category #4.  This should be some kind of posting reviewing the book read for the previous optional category above.  It can be any adaptation -- does not have to be adapted before 1964.  For example, if you chose Pride and Prejudice as your the optional classic above, you could review any adaptation -- 1940, 1980, 1995, 2005, etc. These two optional categories go together, but this must be a separate blog posting -- no fair just mentioning it in the book review!
And to clarify, you have to read different books for each category -- you can repeat authors or genres, but no fair using the same book multiple times within this challenge! The only book that you can repeat is in the movie/TV adaptation review.  
There you have it! There will be a list of possible choices over at Books and Chocolate, so go over there to sign up and look for the list. Good luck!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Very Different Challenge - Expand Your Horizons

The Push Your Boundaries Reading Challenge 2014
This Challenge will possibly make you uncomfortable - reading books that are out of your comfort zone! But it may open your eyes to something you might enjoy! You never know.
Here is my chart - I couldn't get it to line up in a table:
In My Zone: Debut Authors, YA Fiction/YA Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction, Time Travel/Historical Romance, Classics
Read On Occasion: Made Into A Movie, Urban Fantasy/Dystopian, Inspirational Fiction, Set Outside U.S./U.K./Canada, Fantasy, Literary Fiction                
A Bit Of A Stretch: Humor, Sci Fi, Historical Mystery, Memoir/Autobiography, Romantic Suspense, Translated                                   
Pushing It: Mystery/Thriller, Paranormal Fantasy, Poetry, Biography/History, Action/Adventure, A Play
Out Of My Comfort Zone: Horror, Political Nonfiction, Sports, War Novel, Book I am Intimidated By, Graphic Novel
Just For Fun: Book From Birth Year, Reread From Childhood, Short Stories, Food & Cookbooks, 500+ Pager, Banned Book                                        
There it is! I'm planning to track my reads on Pinterest as well. I have to set that up, so I will post about it when I have that done.
If you want to sign up for this challenge, go to Roni Loren Greetings From The Ranch.

The first 2014 Reading Challenge - Book to Broadway

This is a new challenge for me. It's all about books to musicals! The challenge is to read a book or play with a musical based on it. Then, you watch or listen to the musical! What could be more fun! The Book to Broadway Challenge is being hosted by Debz Bookshelf and you can sign up here.

Here are a few more details:

  • This doesn’t actually have a specific start or end time, unless it would be simpler to stick to January 2014 – December 2014. I’m not picky!
  • Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, fairy tales, and short stories all count.
  • I’m personally only going to be reading/watching things which have made it to Broadway or West End, mainly because it’s a lot harder to track down recordings/soundtracks of shows that were only ever off-Broadway or regional productions.
  • Each book DOES NOT count until you’ve seen/listened to the musical.
It doesn't look like there are any levels or anything - just read and watch/listen as many selections as you can! Sounds good!

Book Review: Comment Le Grinch A Volé Noël by Dr. Suess

Title: Comment Le Grinch A Volé Noël
Author: Dr. Seuss
Hardcover edition: 64 pages
Published: October 8, 2013 by Ulysses Press

from Goodreads:
Brilliant, lighthearted, and endearing, Dr. Seuss's timeless books have won over generation after generation. Even today when parents and teachers need a beginner book for a new reader, they turn to Dr. Seuss more than any other author. So what better book to help a child learn to read French than this widely popular holiday favorite.

Every holiday season children love to read about the Grinch, whose heart is two sizes too small. He hates Whoville's holiday celebrations and plans to steal all the presents to ruin Christmas for everyone. To his astonishment, Christmas comes anyway, and the Grinch discovers the true meaning of the holiday. Comment le Grinch a volé Noël offers a true-to-the-author presentation of this classic.

Alleluialu's Review:
My daughter bought this for me for Christmas this year so I could read it IN FRENCH!!! It was so much fun! I love it!                  
I loved this book - obviously - and you can get your copy here. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Book Review: The Christmas Bus by Melody Carlson

Title: The Christmas Bus
Author: Melody Carlson
Hardcover: 176 pages
Published: October 1, 2006
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company

from Goodreads:
The people of Christmas Valley always celebrate Christmas to the fullest extent. The mayor plays Santa, every business is holiday themed, and there's a nativity for the kids each Christmas Eve. This town knows Christmas. But this year nothing goes according to plan. Shepherd's Inn is full of strangers, Mad Myrtle is causing problems, and a young couple with a baby due any minute rolls in to the middle of town in their Partridge Family-style bus. It's hardly the holiday Christmas Valley wanted--but it may be just what they need. This charming novella is sure to become a new Christmas tradition for readers who love a great holiday story.

Alleluialu's Review

This book only has 176 pages, but it is definitely full of stories. As you read in the synopsis, Edith and Charles open their Bed & Breakfast to strangers for Christmas after learning that their children will not be coming home. Charles, the pastor of the local church, gives a sermon on practicing hospitality and remembering that you may be entertaining angels unawares. Along comes Myrtle out of nowhere - a crochety old woman who gets in everyone's face and certainly affects all the guests and townspeople. Then there is the young couple, Collin and Amy, in their hippie-style painted Christmas Bus. Amy is pregnant and about to give birth any day. That outcome is predictable. Actually, it's a Christmas book, so the outcome is predictable, but the way it comes about is interesting and entertaining. The characters have such distinct personalities and there are so many little side stories to read. This was a delightful book. I may have to look for one of the other 149 books Melody Carlson has written. Very well done!

I gave this book 5 stars. It was a very clean, charming Christmas read. You can get your copy from your local library or here.

I got another award!

I got another award!