Thursday, August 16, 2012

Settling In

Now that Rich and I are finally settling in to our new home, I'm feel ready to curl up somewhere in our new house and read. Just read until it's time to go back to work in 1.5 weeks. (How is my summer almost over already!?) --- I realize I'm not getting any sympathy from you (unless you too are a teacher).

Anyway, the house is awesome and very Pinterest-inspired as Richard would say. Hey, I can't let all of those logged-Pinterest hours go to waste. And as my brain begins to click over from being the hyper-organizer to being someone who just wants to kick back, I took some time to think about all of the books I've read so far this year. (Not nearly as much as last year -- but I was considerably more employed this year than last)... 

Know what I realized? They're all novels from different series.

That said, I feel the need to dub this the year of the series/sequels/trilogies/etc. Which means I'm left wondering what I should read next. So I'm putting it out there to you: Any good, fairly easy to read, series out there that you've particularly enjoyed?

Let me know! I'm ready to go!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Review: A Dog's Journey

“You can usually tell that a man is good if he has a dog who loves him.” 

Dog lovers rejoice! We have another very special novel on our hands. And by special, I am of course referring to the wonderful sentimentality and humour with which Cameron tells the story -- from the dog's perspective.
Cameron and his dog, Tucker
The novel starts soon after we last met Buddy in Cameron's A Dog's Purpose: with Buddy missing his recently deceased person, Ethan. He is certain that he has finally, after many reincarnations in the previous novel, fulfilled his purpose as a dog; he loved, comforted, and protected his boy until the very end. Surely, this time, when it's his time to go, he will finally be able to leave the world and pass on to the next.

*Spoiler* Obviously, this isn't the case. And the novel takes us on a journey (a dog's journey?) to learn what this, and every dog's, real purpose is.

I find it amazing how Cameron tells a story so richly from the dog's perspective. His dogs have so much personality and character that you definitely fall in love page after page.

I recommend this book strongly for any dog lover. But first, you have to read A Dog's Purpose. It really helps to know the whole history of this wonderful dog's many lives. Both will make you laugh, bring you tears, and leave you reaching for your own furry friend to snuggle afterwards. I believe the first words out of my mouth when I closed the book were: "When can we get a dog?"

While you're browsing the internet, check out the website for the novels: A Dog's Purpose. You can kill hours looking at all of the photos.

Up Next:
In 7 days I'll be back in my hometown for 3 weeks, at which time I will be picking up City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare and continuing the Moral Instruments series. I can't wait!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

Today's teaser is the first few sentences of my new book, A Dog's Journey.

As I sat in the sun on the wooden dock that jutted out into the pond, I knew this to be true: my name was Buddy, and I was a good dog. The fur on my legs was as black as the rest of me, but down at my paws it had, over time, become tinged with white.
(A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron, pg. 5)

I'm definitely in trouble. When a book starts with an old dog laying on a dock reflecting on his life, it can only mean one thing...

Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: City of Glass

There's nothing a sunny day with a breeze is better for than finishing a good book.

If I didn't know better, I'd have guessed that City of Glass was the final book in the Moral Instruments series. It had all of the action and intensity of a final book, plus, it would seem, the conclusiveness.

And who might this be?
As with the first two, City of Bones and City of Ashes, the battles were of epic proportions, the twists were plentiful (albeit a bit predictable), and the story genuinely juicy

Glass definitely surpasses Ashes in intrigue, as it became increasingly clear with each turned page that the second instalment may have suffered a bit more than I realized initially from the sophomore slump. This story clearly had bigger and better places to go -- and it got there with this third book.

Clary and Jace embark on further and deeper self-discovery, that deepens their relationship to each other and many other characters in the book. We learn much more about Simon and Jocelyn which are welcome and important subplots in the story.

Where will we go next with the fourth book, City of Fallen Angels? I haven't the slightest idea. I can only predict that we may see more of the faeries, more of Raphael and the vampires, and quite possibly we haven't seen the last of Valentine.

I won't get to find out for another two weeks as Fallen Angels is waiting patiently for me on a shelf 7 hours away.

Up Next: In the meantime, I'm likely to dive into a huge departure from the fantastical world of the Mortal Instruments -- A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron. A sequel to A Dog's Purpose which I read early in 2011 before I started this blog, Journey continues to tell the story of Buddy, as he is reborn to look after another human sorely in need of a dog's love. It's bound to be as gushy and emotional as the first and I'm looking forward to it immensely!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Funnies #24

Now that summer has finally arrived for me and all of my teacher friends, everywhere I look there's messages of celebration on Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest.

By working in a school, and with summers off, sometimes it's hard to believe we're "grown ups."

But at this blog, I like to keep it real. (Even though it's primarily about fictional worlds). Here are some friendly reminders, or a check-list if you will, to tell if you are in fact a grown up... Even despite our best efforts to not be.
Please forward this on to all of your grown up friends. Or even to those friends who think they're not grown up, but probably actually are.

Happy Weekend!
And enjoy your summer... Don't forget to avoid the reality of being a grown up by stepping into a fictional literary reality (and then tell me about it!)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

I am making it my goal to try not to fall off the face of the blogging-earth this summer (like I have this past week). No Friday Funny? What's with that!? But truth be told, between travelling, attending weddings, planning my own, and preparing to move into our new house (Yay! We bought a house!), it's going to be a pretty crazy summer.

However, I will not forget to make time to read. 

In fact, I'll probably use this gorgeous day (and my second official day of summer vacation) to dig in further into City of Glass.

Before Simon could ask him what he meant by that, Alec entered the room. He was frowning, just as he had been when he'd left. His gaze lingered momentarily on Simon, a look almost of confusion alight in his blue eyes.
City of Glass by Cassandra Clare, pg. 69

This book is full of loaded comments so early on... I can't wait to find out what the hell is happening. So many secrets. (I even found myself using Google to translate some Romanian that wasn't translated for me).

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades Freed

Well, I am finally finished the Fifty Shades phenomenon.

The last book, Fifty Shades Freed, took me considerably longer to get through than the first two for 2 key reasons: 1. End of the School Year Wrap-Up and 2. I was admittedly dragging my feet a little to prolong it. I have a tendency to do that when I really love a series. (I'm surprised I ever finished The Deathly Hallows and Breaking Dawn).

There isn't too much to say about the final book. It was fantastic. The story had evolved so that it was different from the first but still true to the style. It delivered answers to everything questioned in the beginning of the series -- satisfyingly so.

It took you to the horizon so you could see the future and left you not searching for more, but content with a real, solid resolution. Yes, satisfying is definitely the right word.

I'd like to make a few notes on the series itself.

With origins based in Twilight fan fiction (and the novel has been heavily criticised for this), I think to a Twilight fan (such as myself) it's easy to get caught up in the obvious resemblances: possessive relationships, somewhat naive young heroine who discovers herself through a man, Washington settings, separated parents, adoption, etc, etc. But for a reader with the foresight to look past these similarities, you're rewarded with a plot-line and story quite rich in intrigue, emotion, and excitement.

This is a must-read for the following readers:
1. Those who can't bear to be left out of current trends/fads in literature -- whether you read to enjoy or to criticize, you can't miss this one if you want to be "in" on all of the Fifty Shades hullabaloo.
2. Fans of romantic fiction. It's undeniable that this is a love story not to be missed. And what's more is that it's not all "hearts and roses" -- It's got a darkness to it that makes it even more irresistible.
3. Mature Twilight fans. All of the elements of the Twilight story are there -- sans the supernatural. But be warned ... it's not considered erotic fiction for nothing.

Up Next:
I'm pressing on with the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. Book 3: City of Glass ... And I'm actually quite excited to revisit it. Fifty Shades was a welcome break, but it's time for more of the supernatural in my life.