Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - Rinkitink of Oz

Rinkitink in Oz by L. Frank Baum

Rinkitink in Oz is the tenth book in the Land of Oz series written by L. Frank Baum. Published on June 20, 1916, with full-color and black-and-white illustrations by artist John R. Neill, it is significant that no one from Oz appears in the book until its climax; this is due to Baum having originally written most of the book as an original fantasy novel over ten years earlier, in 1905. Most of the action takes place on three islands — Pingaree, Regos, and Coregos — and within the Nome King's caverns. Since the original ruler of the nomes, Roquat — who later re-named himself Ruggedo, was deposed in 1914's Tik-Tok of Oz, Baum had to cleverly rework the tale to accommodate his selfish but well-intentioned replacement, Kaliko.

Of all the Land of Oz books, this is my least favorite, but for the sake of the series and the beautiful book cover, I felt I needed to include this book to complete the Way Back Wednesday.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kill For Me

Kill For Me by Karen Rose

Hardcover: 432 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446510300
ISBN-13: 978-0446510301

This book picks up right where Die For Me and Scream For Me left off, so if you haven’t read Rose’s other books, this may not be the one to start with.

Susannah Vartanian – sister to Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s special agent Daniel Vartanian - is one of the girls raped thirteen years ago by the clique of “rich boys” in town, but she has managed to pull herself together and go on to live a fairly normal life. She has learned to lean on Luke Papadopoulos and they have developed a true bond. Just remember, nothing is as it seems.

Rose is a modern author who has the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat. This book is action packed and fast paced and will keep you turning the page until the very end.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - The Scarecrow of Oz

The Scarecrow of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Scarecrow of Oz is the 9th book set in the Land of Oz written by L. Frank Baum. Published on July 16, 1915, it was Baum's personal favorite of the Oz books and tells of Cap'n Bill and Trot journeying to Oz and, with the help of the Scarecrow, overthrowing the cruel King Krewl of Jinxland.

Cap'n Bill - a sailor with a wooden peg-leg - and his friend - a little girl named Trot - set out from California on a calm day. The calm day suddenly turns dark and stormy and Cap'n Bill and Trot and washed overboard and are carried by mermaids to a cave where they meet an ostrich-like flying bird called an Ork.

The Scarecrow is at Glinda's palace in the Quadling Country and wants to help Cap'n Bill and Trot, so Glinda sends him to Jinxland with some of her magic to aid him.

Besides Cap'n Bill and Trot, we meet several other new characters: Button-Bright, Googly-Goo, King Krewl, and Bumpy Man. Dorothy, the Tin Woodman and the Cowardly Lion do not make appearances in this book.

(Inside book photos by Rare Antique Books)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060530928
ISBN-13: 978-0060530921

This book just won The John Newbery Medal.

Nobody Owens - Bod for short - had an unusual childhood – he was raised in a graveyard. After the horrific death of his parents at the hands of a knife-welding murder, the toddler ends up in the graveyard on top of the hill and is adopted by a group of ghosts who live there. Mr. and Mrs. Owens have been married over 200 years and never had children, so they quickly take the child under their wings.

In an attempt to hide the child from his would-be murder, they name the child Nobody, because nobody knew who he was. The entire graveyard have a hand in raising Bod, teaching him to read and write, providing him a place to sleep and food to eat.

Although this book has a bizarre plot, it is a fascinating read from cover to cover. Gaiman is a wonderful storyteller and this is a book children and adults alike will enjoy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: the Last Straw (#3) by Jeff Kinney

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Amulet Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0810970686
ISBN-13: 978-0810970687

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a new children’s book series that debuted in 2007. Although the books are intended to get children reading, adults will also enjoy this series.

Greg Heffley has always been a wimpy kid and no amount of prodding by his father will get him to change his ways. His father’s last straw is a threat to send Greg to a military academy. Greg realizes something must be done.

This book is very funny and full of juvenile humor your kids will enjoy. Twentieth Century Fox will be producing a live action movie and are currently seeking out the right boy to play Greg.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Kentucky's Boone: The Pioneer Spirit

Kentucky’s Boone: the Pioneer Spirit by K. Melissa Burton

Perfect Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: McClanahan Publishing House, Inc.
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1934898031
ISBN-13: 978-1934898031

This children’s book describes Kentucky's frontier people and the daily hardships they faced when they arrived in Kentucky. You will learn how the pioneers survived attacks by the Shawnee Indians and learned to live in the savage land of “Kain-tuck-ee”. You will also learn what the pioneers and ancient mummies of Egypt have in common and why Kentucky was called the Dark and Bloody Ground.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Alzheimer's From the Inside Out

Alzheimer's From the Inside Out by Richard Taylor

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Health Professions Press
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1932529233
ISBN-13: 978-1932529234

Learning a family member or friend has Alzheimer’s disease can be devastating, but it is becoming more prevalent in our society. How do you treat someone with this depilating disease? What will happen to your loved one?

Taylor has answered these and many other questions in this informative book about Alzheimer’s. Diagnosed with the disease at age 61, this former psychologist shows us his slow transformation through a series of essays.

There are really no definite answers for Alzheimer’s, but Taylor asks all the right questions from a first-hand point of view. Not just for health care professionals, lay-people will find this book easy to read and comforting. He buts the focus back on the patient instead of only seeing the disease.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - The Patchwork Girl of Oz

The Patchwork Girl of Oz by L. Frank Baum

This is the 7th book set in the Land of Oz. The book was first published on July 1, 1913, with illustrations by John R. Neill. In 1914, Baum adapted the book to film through his "Oz Film Manufacturing Company."

Ojo the Unlucky is a young Munchkin boy devoted to life with his uncle Unc Nunkie. They live in the wilderness but are on the verge of starvation. Ojo goes to see a neighboring "magician" and old friend of Unc’s, Dr. Pipt. While there they see a demonstration of the Pipt-made Powder of Life, which animates any object it touches. Unc Nunkie and Dr. Pipt's wife are also the sufferers of the consequences of another of the Doctor's inventions, the Liquid of Petrifaction, which turns them into solid marble statues.

This book revolves around Ojo's adventures in finding the antedote for the Liquid of Petrifaction Other characters in this adventure include the Woozy, Scraps (the patchwork girl), Dorothy, the Shaggy Man, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Woodman.

The Patchwork Girl of Oz was made into a silent film by L. Frank Baum's The Oz Film Manufacturing Company. There is also a 2005 animated version of The Patchwork Girl, but I haven't been able to find it for sell anywhere. Although the 1914 version is in black and white, it is a very good short film.

Way Back Wednesday - Tik-Tok of Oz

Tik-Tok of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Tik-Tok of Oz is the eighth Land of Oz book written by L. Frank Baum. Published on June 19, 1914, the book actually has little to do with Tik-Tok and is primarily the quest of the Shaggy Man (introduced in The Road to Oz) to rescue his brother, and his resulting conflict with the Nome King.

Queen Ann Soforth of Oogaboo, a small monarchy separated from the rest of Oz's Winkie Country, sets out to raise an army to conquer Oz. Betsy Bobbin, a girl who is a year older than Dorothy, and her loyal mule Hank are washed ashore during a storm. They all work together to rescue Tik-Tok from the well where the Nome King had tossed him.

This book also reunites us with the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, and the Saw-Horse. New characters include Queen Ann, Tittiti-Hoochoo, Rose Princess Ozga (who is a cousin to Ozma) and Private Files.

Tick-Tok is also a character that shows up in the Disney movie Return to Oz.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues #1)

The Maze of Bones (The 39 Clues #1) by Rick Riordan

Children/Young Adult
Hardcover: 220 pages
Publisher: Scholastic Press; 1st edition (September 9, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545060397
ISBN-13: 978-0545060394

The 39 Clues series is like The DaVinci Code for children. Each book of this projected ten book series will hold clues to a mysterious fortune from around the world.

Amy and Dan Cahill are orphans who learn they are distantly related to Benjamin Franklin. In order to win the fortune, they must collect and solve 39 clues – only two clues are presented in this first book.

Although this book is a blatant marketing ploy – trading cards and on-line games are also available – the book is fresh and clever and will appeal to most children. Although Riordan – author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series - plots the story arcs, several other children’s authors will also be writing installments. Gordon Korman – an award winning Canadian children’s author - writes the next book, One False Note.

The first Cahill card series features 56 thoroughly intriguing evidence cards that kids need to hunt down the 39 Clues. The oversize cards (3.25 x 5) are loaded with top-secret Cahill information and intriguing puzzles that unlock the family's secrets. Each pack contains 16 randomly assorted cards, with at least one rare or ultra-rare card per pack.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Married in Seattle

Married in Seattle by Debbie Macomber

Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Mira
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778326799
ISBN-13: 978-0778326793

This wonderful romance book by New York Times Bestseller Macomber is actually two stories in one book.
Exactly how does a woman find a husband in Seattle, Washington?

The first story is about a controversial “arranged” marriage. Janine Hartman is outraged when her grandfather arranges a marriage for her – the groom-to-be is also outraged. But knowing Macomber’s romantic writing, there is more to this story than meets the eye.

The second story is what happens when a teenager places a “personal ad” in the paper on behalf of her mother - Wanted: Perfect Partner. Meg Remington is further humiliated when her daughter announces she has found the perfect partner.

Easy to read and a fun way to spend an afternoon, you will not be disappointment in this newest book by the author of The Blossom Street series.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Tablecloth

The Tablecloth by Brenda Hughes Vanderpool

Paperback: 172 pages
Publisher:, Inc.
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1601455232
ISBN-13: 978-1601455239
"This book is an inspirational memoir about a small-town, ordinary woman who has had more than her share of heartache,trauma and loss; and yet views her life, not as tragic, but rather as rich and blessed."

The Tablecloth is the remarkable story of an ordinary woman from the Bluegrass state of Kentucky - how could I not like a story by someone from my home state? Vanderpool has been through the trials and tribulations of most everyday women, but she has also suffered tragedy and loss. Through it all, she has managed to keep her faith and unbiased point of view.

Like many women from Kentucky, Vanderpool fell in love with and married her high school sweetheart when she was 18 - I can totally relate because I married my high school sweetheart when I was barely 17. Trying to make ends meet, she and her husband, Abe, were forced to move north to look for work.

They live a normal life as young newlyweds, not realizing that tragedy is on their doorsteps. Just as they are celebrating the birth of their 2nd child, a son, they are also faced with personal devastation when their 1st child, a daughter, dies. In dealing with grief, the couple realizes how much they miss their families, so they make the decision to return to their Kentucky roots.

Vanderpool's lyrical prose shows us that God has a purpose for our lives and that all things happen for a reason. It would be so easy to become cynical and bitter after the death of a child, but through the grace of God the family sticks together.

Heartbreak and hardships were not done with Vanderpool, but she has been able to persevere. This book will make you laugh and it will make you cry and you will not want to stop reading until you reach the very end - and then you will be wanting more. I easily read this book in one sitting and then I immediately passed it on to family members to read.

You will not be disappointed by reading The Tablecloth. Vanderpool has a unique voice that begs to tell more stories. I eagerly await the next book by this talented author.

The Associate

The Associate by John Grisham

Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Doubleday
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385517831
ISBN-13: 978-0385517836

Kyle McAvoy is pending graduation from Yale Law School with plans for a life of public service, when an incident from his past surfaces. In trying to save his reputation, he is blackmailed into joining a prominent New York law firm as a spy and spilling secrets from the firm’s largest trial.

Lesson learned: your past will always come back to haunt you.

This was a fast-paced read and if you love Grisham it is a must read. Although I have been a Grisham fan for many years and I enjoyed this book, I didn’t think it lived up to The Firm or A Time To Kill.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Way Back Wednesday - The Emerald City of Oz

The Emerald City of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Emerald City of Oz is the sixth of Baum's 14 Land of Oz books. Originally published on July 20, 1910, it is the story of Dorothy Gale and her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em coming to live in Oz permanently. While Dorothy and family are toured through the Quadling Country, the Nome King is assembling allies for an invasion of Oz. This is the first time in the Oz series that Baum made use of double plots for one of the books. This book was also adapted into a Canadian animated film in 1987, but I haven't been able to find this to watch it.

Baum had intended to cease writing Oz stories with this book, but financial pressures prompted him to write and publish The Patchwork Girl of Oz - next week's book - plus 7 more Oz books. An interesting fact about Emerald City is revealed in this book: Emerald City is described as having exactly 9654 buildings and 57,318 citizens. We didn't see all this in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, did we??!!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Blogland Black Hole

I feel like I've been in a blogland black hole - no cable in our home also means no Internet. So not only have I missed out on watching TV to take my mind off the ice storm, but I haven't been able to post to my blogs, read other blogs or keep up with what my bloggy friends are doing.

Tomorrow is a brand-new day! Although I'm ecstatic to finally have the Internet back, I'm too wiped out to give you more than an update.

I'll be back up to blogging at warp speed starting tomorrow. Until then ...