Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Blog Tour: David's Song by A.R. Talley


davids tour

Taken from the book cover: Annie only ever really loved two men in her life. One broke her heart, the other married her. Four children and fifteen years later, Annie’s marriage is in jeopardy. Money is tight and her husband questions the very foundation of their relationship. When Annie is unexpectedly given the opportunity to see the young man who broke her heart — a man who is now a megastar in the music industry — Annie is faced with choices. Choices that will determine what is of more value — a second chance at lost love and unfulfilled dreams or commitment, trust, and love built on years of experience.

A psychologically subtle, yet compelling tale about how the instinct and need for love overcomes self-doubt and personal inadequacy.

During the course of reading this story my opinions flip-flop. Sometimes I like it. Sometimes I don't. I am glad of the choice Annie made in the end. I won't tell you what it is! Not gonna spoil. After the story is over there is an excerpt from the second book in the David's Song trilogy, but I really feel this story stands on it's own very well. I'm still not sure what I ultimately think of the book, though. Do I like it or do I hate it? I don't think I hate it. But, I'm not sure if I completely like it. I don't know. I'm on the fence.
The story is told in two parts. The first part is a flashback to a time in Annie's college career and the second is when she meets back up with the man who broke her heart. I didn't really like some of the explanations given in the second part, but it did play true to the characterizations. A.R. Talley really did a good job of making me feel the correct emotions for certain characters.
I read this book as a review request as part of the blog tour via PDF on my laptop. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this review in any way.


Book Review: She Matters by Susanna Sonnenberg





Susanna's life seems to be very liberal and she lives that with her friends.  I was put off by that, I will admit, but this was so excellently written that I could not help but give the book three and a half stars.

Susanna Sonnenberg explores the friendships of her life.  Through this book she shows just how deeply each person meant to her and what she got out of the relationship.  Each friendship is a discovery into what makes her Susanna.  Is each friendship as important as she makes it out to be?  How deeply does she love some of her friends?

The timeline of friendships seemed a bit confusing as friendships did overlap, but they were not always written chronologically so it was hard to keep things in order.  Susanna does not appear to be someone who has a hard time making friends!  I enjoy the honesty at which she describes not just her friendship, but herself as she learns and grows.

I won this book in a giveaway on booktrib.com.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

A-Z Challenge: Z is for Zoo

Zoobooks.  Did anyone order these when they were younger?  My mom did for my brother and me.

Basically, Zoobooks are a monthly magazine subscription for children about animals, but I think you should keep these magazines rather than discard them like regular ones.  While new facts may be discovered they don't go out-of-date like other magazines when the season's over or the news is no longer relevant.  We kept them, but somehow, we lost them in one of our moves.  :(

The magazines helped me out in school.  I used them for school reports.  They're very informative in an interesting way.  I remember doing a report on polar bears and if I could have gotten away with it I would have been fine just using the one source of Zoobooks, but of course I wouldn't have been learning anything.

Then
Ten Facts About Zoobooks:

  • 1980, John Wexo came up with the idea while standing in front of a primate enclosure at the zoo.
  • Original idea was to sell the magazines via vending machines at zoos.
  • 1983, hardcover library editions were published.
  • 10 issues are released each year.
  • There are now three versions: Zoobies for ages 0-3, Zootles for ages 3-6, and the Zoobooks for ages  6-12.
  • Consultant for the Zoobooks was Charles R. Schroeder, D.V.M., Director Emeritus for San Diego Zoo & San Diego Wild Animal Park.
  • There are 58 different titles in the Zoobooks library.
  • There is no Zoobook for an animal that starts with the letter Q.
  • They have a mobile app called ZooWho which allows the user to play and learn interesting animal facts.
  • Now
  • Published by Wildlife Education, LTD.
For more information check out these sites:


And that concludes the A-Z Challenge.  It was fun.  I learned a lot from what I read in other blogs and from the research I did for my own.  It was definitely a challenge.  Will I do it again?  I'm not sure.  I'll have to time to think about that before next year!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Book Review: Gardenias For Breakfast by Robin Jones Gunn





Mother and daughter bonding story.

Abby has the great opportunity to drive her brother's expensive SUV across the US from Washington to Georgia (his family's going on a business trip to Europe and when they get back to the States they want to drive up the east coast).  She's excited for living in Hawaii has given her a bout of homesickness for the mainland and her Grand Lady.  She brings along her 12 year old daughter, Hannah, so she can meet Grand Lady and have the experience Abby had when she was young.  The mother-daughter journey turns into discovery, finding forgiveness, and family.

You can't go home again.  Abby learns this when she travels back to Louisiana and her favorite relative, her grandmother, Grand Lady.  You can go home and it can still be great, but it's not going to be the same.  That's something we have to learn from experience.  What Abby holds dear to herself isn't always going to work for someone else.  Her daughter is her daughter but she's not Abby.  What Abby needs is not always what Hannah needs and what Hannah needs is not always what Abby needs.

Lessons learned in this story are valuable.   Memories are memories and family is family.  We may feel what we feel about our family members, but they are family and we should not forget them.

I read this book for pure pleasure.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

A-Z Challenge: Y is for You

You.  You.  You.  Second person point of view.

What is second person point of view?  First person is "I, I, I."  Third person is "he, she, it".  Second person is "you."  You pick up a book.  You open the book and begin to read.  That sort of thing.

When I think of second person point of view I think of the Choose Your Own Adventure books.  My brother was given a set of four one year for Christmas.  He's not a reader, but I am.  I would sneak into his room and read books on his shelf, which included the Choose Your Own Adventure books.  I'm sure I didn't need to sneak in, but I did it anyway.

These books are considered game books where you decide what happens next.  Do you go up the stairs (turn to page 15) or do you check out the noise in the kitchen (turn to page 3)?  You can read the same book multiple times without reading the same exact story.

Direct from Wikipedia:
The stories are formatted so that, after a couple of pages of reading, the protagonist faces two or three options, each of which leads to more options, and then to one of many endings.[1]The number of endings is not set, and varies from as many as 40 in the early titles, to as few as 12 in later adventures. Likewise, there is no clear pattern among the various titles regarding the number of pages per ending, the ratio of "good" to "bad" endings, or the reader's progression backwards and forwards through the pages of the book. This allows for a realistic sense of unpredictability, and leads to the possibility of repeat readings, which is one of the distinguishing features of the books.[7]As the series progressed, both Packard and Montgomery experimented with the gamebook format, sometimes introducing unexpected twists such as endless page loops or trick endings. Examples include the "paradise planet" ending in Inside UFO 54-40, which can only be reached by cheating, and the potentially endless storyline of Race Forever.[4]

Ten Facts about Choose Your Own Adventure:

  • Concept created by Edward Packard.  He came up with the idea while telling his daughters bedtime stories.  He would tell them stories about a character named Pete.  One night he ran out of ideas so he asked them what Pete should do.  Their enthusiasm inspired him to write Sugarcane Island.
  • Sold more than 25 million copies between 1979 and 1998.
  • Originally published as "Adventure of You" Series.
  • Out of print between 1999-2004.
  • Original publishers Bantam (actually, they were third after Vermont Crossroads Press and Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster), now owned by Random House, allowed the trademark to lapse.  The books have been re-released by Chooseco, who now owns the trademark.
  • Chooseco does not reissue titles written by Packard.
  • McGraw-Hill has gotten in on the action and in 2011 published Choose Your Own Adventure Graded Readers.  The Graded Readers are 30 titles from the Chooseco selection adapted to be suitable for ESL readers.
  • 2006, an interactive DVD movie based on Choose Your Own Adventure: The Abominable Snowman starring William H. Macey and Frankie Munez was released.  Every 3-6 minutes the viewer is given a choice which they make with the remote.
  • Aside from the original series and the reprints by Chooseco, there are 12 spin-off series, some of which are Choose Your Own Adventure: Walt Disney Series, Choose Your Own Nightmare, and Choose Your Own Star Wars Adventure.
  • 2010, Edward Packard released one of his titles, Return to the Cave of Time, as an iPhone app under the name U-Ventures.
For a list of titles check out the Wikipedia page here.

For more information check out the following sites:



Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review: 17 Cents and a Dream by Daniel Milstein





Surprising that I'm reviewing this book a few days after April 26, which is the anniversary of the Chernobyl explosion in Russia, which took place in 1986.  This sets in motion Daniel's life.  It changes everything for those who live in the area. Radiation makes it not safe.  Jobs and lives are lost.

Daniel's story is the typical rags to riches story, but it's told in such a poignant way.  Back in Russia, everyone told Daniel he was not to amount to anything.  Except his grandfather.  He knew Daniel could do it.   Daniel's family immigrates to America.  Leaving Russia at the time was a dangerous thing to do, but Daniel makes it with 17 cents in his pocket to mail his friend a letter back home.

Many hinderances get in Daniel's way, but he doesn't let anything stop him.  He perserveres.  He works hard.  He knows what it's going to take and he's not afraid to do it.

This is the story of the No. 1 mortgage loan officer in the world.  This is the story of hard work and dedication.

I read this book as a review request via PDF on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green





This is not the story of cancer.  It is just the story of two kids who have cancer.  Our narrator is Hazel, a 16 year old girl who was diagnosed with Stage IV Thyroid Cancer, but as part of a trial she found a miracle that is keeping her alive (and it didn't work for most).  She meets Augustus Waters at a cancer kids support group, which she tried to get out of going.  He had his leg amputated due to his disease, but doesn't appear to be currently suffering.  This is the story of their adventure together, something they and others need.

I loved the story.  I love Hazel's personality.  She doesn't dwell on her illness.  She knows the truth.  She knows when something's a cancer perk.  She doesn't let it bother her.  It's a fact of life.  The same with her new friend, Augustus or Gus as he likes to be called.  He does things for Hazel.  He has a fake leg and has every right to complain about things, but he doesn't.  He wants life to be fun and he allows that to happen.

The story will tug at your heartstrings.  It will make you feel many emotions.  That's the mark of a great story, when you get emotionally involved.  John Green has the ability to get the reader sucked in.

My review does not do the book justice.  It can't.  The only thing that can is reading the book itself!

I read this book for pure pleasure.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

A-Z Challenge: X is for Xanaduism

The hardest letter of the English language to find something to fit the topic is the letter X.  I could think of one character from Harry Potter with an X, but it was his first name (Xenophilius) and not his last name (Lovegood) so I decided not to go with it.  I searched authors, but came up with nothing of significance to me.  I searched books and came up with nothing that would give me anything substantial to write about.  So, I searched literary terms.  I do believe the term "xanaduism" will give me something to write about.  Not ten facts and all that like I've been doing, but something and something is better than nothing.

What is xanaduism?  It is academic research that focuses on the sources behind imaginative works of literature and fantasy.  Why would someone do this?  To better understand the piece of work.   It is named after a study of this kind by John Livington Lowes titled Road to Xanadu, which was research on Samuel Taylor Coleridge's poem "Xanadu."

This brings to mind what English majors do.  We study stories and poems to death until they lose all mean.  I guess in a sense, xanaduism is a form literary criticism.  Take Harry Potter for example.  The focus would be on where Rowling got her ideas, doing research on the stories that influence her like Merlin and all that.

I'm sorry this doesn't really tell much, but xanaduism is a hard topic to research.  I don't have all the time in the world or I would go to the library and do real research, but right now, all I can rely on is my computer, so I go with what Google can give me and that's not much.

For more information check out the following sites:
Book of a Lifetime: The Road to Xanadu, John Livingston, Lowes
Amazon: The Road to Xanadu
Wikipedia: John Livingston Lowes
The Free Dictionary: Xanaduism
Literary Terms and Definitions: Xanaduism


Friday, April 26, 2013

A-Z Challenge: W is for Wrinkle

From the Time Quintet that would be Madeleine L'Engle's novel, A Wrinkle in Time.  The Time Quintet (sometimes referred to as the Time Quartet) follows the stories of the Murrys.  A Wrinkle in Time is the siblings, Meg and Charles Wallace's story.  Meg is in search of her father who has gone missing after discovering the ability to tesseract, which she has no idea what it is.

As a reader, I've come across this book many times, but I didn't pick it up until I believe it was last year.  I wasn't avoiding it.  I just wasn't going out of my way to read it.  I'm glad I picked it up for it is very good and very worthy of its Newbery Award.

Ten Facts about A Wrinkle In Time:

  • Written between 1959 and 1960.
  • 1962, first published.
  • Rejected by 26 different publishers because it was considered too different and according to L'Engle "because it deals overtly with the problem of evil, and it was really difficult for children , and was it a children's or an adults' book, anyhow?"  Another suggestion was that it contained a female protagonist in a science fiction novel.
  • 1963, wins Newbery Medal.
  • 1964, wins Lewis Carroll Shelf Award.
  • 1965, wins Sequoyah Book Award.
  • 1994, Listening Library released an audio version read by Madeleine L'Engle, herself!
  • Hardback edition still published by Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, the original publishers.
  • 2003, television movie released by Disney with David Dorfman as Charles Wallace, Katie Stuart as Meg, and Gregory Smith as Calvin O'Keefe.
  • 2007, reissued in trade and mass market paperback by Square Fish along with the rest of the Time Quintet.
For more information check out the following sites:


Thursday, April 25, 2013

A-Z Challenge: V is for Voigt

That's the author, Cynthia Voigt.  She covers such interesting topics as mystery, adventure, child abuse, and racism. Some of her more popular work is the Tillerman Family Series which includes Homecoming and Dicey's Song.  If you have not read any of her work I recommend you doing so!

Ten Facts about Cynthia Voigt:

  • 1942, February 25 born in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • 1981, first book Homecoming is published.
  • 1983, Dicey's Song wins the Newbery Medal.
  • 1984, A Solitary Blue becomes a Newbery Honor book.
  • The second of five children: 1 older sister, 1 younger sister, and 2 younger twin brothers.
  • She knew by the time she started high school that she wanted to be a writer.
  • Graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts.
  • 18 when she wrote Callendar Papers, which happens to be the first book she wrote and the fourth book she has had published.
  • She says winning the Newbery Medal felt like being queen for a day.
  • Took three writing classes and claims they didn't work for her since the teachers didn't like her writing.
Works by Cynthia Voigt:
Series:
Tillerman Cycle:
Homecoming (1981)
Dicey's Song (1982)
A Solitary Blue (1983)
The Runner (1985)
Come a Stranger (1986)
Sons from Afar (1987)
Seventeen Against the Dealer (1989)

Kingdom Series:
Jackaroo (1985)
On Fortune's Wheels (1990)
The Wings of a Falcon (1993)
Elske (1999)

Bad Girls Series:
Bad Girls (1996)
Bad, Badder, Baddest (1997)
It's Not Easy Being Bad (2000)
Born to be Bad (2001)
Bad Girls in Love (2002)
From Bad to Worse the Back to Good (2003)
Bad Girls, Bad Girls, Whatcha Gonna Do? (2006)

The Rosie Stories
Stories about Rosie (1986)
The Rosie Stories (2003)

The Davis Farm Books
Angus and Sadie (2005)
Young Fredle (2000)

Novels:
Tell Me If the Lovers are Losers (1982)
Callender Papers (1983)
Building Blocks (1984)
Izzy, Willy-Nilly (1986)
Shore Writers' Samper II (1988)
Tree by Leaf (1988)
Glass Mountain (1991)
The Vandemark Mummy (1991)
David and Jonathan (1992)
Orfe (1992)
When She Hollers (1994)
Mister Max: The Book of Lost Things (to be released in 2013/2014)

Short Story:
"The Stepsister" featured in What You Wish For (2011)

For more information check out these sites:





Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A-Z Challenge: U is for Umbridge.

We're getting into the "hard" letters.  What works with U?  I could skip U, but then that would sort of be like failing.  Oh, I've got it.  I'll use a Harry Potter character because it's easy to find one that fits with U.  We're going to focus on Dolores Umbridge, the horrific undersecretary and Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor in Harry's year 5 (Order of the Phoenix).

Here's the wonderful story of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix as drawn by Lucy Kinsler (click the image for full-size version).

Five Facts about Umbridge:
  • Her middle name is Jane. That was originally Hermione's middle name, but having her share with Umbridge? No way.
  • Played by Imelda Staunton in the movies.
  • Has an unusually short wand. According to Ollivander unusually short wants usually select those with stunted moral character.
  • Wore the Slytherin locket in book 7, Deathly Hallows, claiming the S represented Selwyn and that she was a part of the family to bolster pure-blood claims.
  • After Voldemort's defeat Umbridge was arrested, tried, and was banished to a lifetime sentence in Azkaban for crimes against humanity.
For more information check out her page in the Harry Potter wiki.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A-Z Challenge: T is for Tolkien

I'm not a big fan of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I have read them and seen the movie.  I'm not an expert or anything on the author, J.R.R. Tolkien, but I do know a little bit being that we didn't just pass over him in Children's Lit.

Tolkien was an English writer, poet, philologist, and university professor.  A philologist is a linguist who studies written text.  He is best known for The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I have not read The Hobbit or see the movie, but I do kind of want to because I have read Lord of the Rings.

Ten Facts about Tolkien:

  • 1892, January 3 born.
  • 1925-1945, Rawlison and Bosworth Professor of English Language at Pembroke College, Oxford.
  • 1936 first work published with E.V. Gordon et al, Songs for the Philologist.
  • 1945-1959, Merton Professor of English Language and Literature at Merton College, Oxford.
  • 1967, final piece published, short story, Smith of Wootton Major (not including work published posthumously). 
  • 1973, September 2 died.
  • J.R.R. stands for John Ronald Reuel
  • Identified as the father of modern fantasy literature.
  • Never liked signing his works.
  • Story goes he came up with the idea for The Hobbit in the margins of a student's paper.
For JRR Tolkien's Bibliography which includes poetry, check the Wikipedia page here.

For more information check out these sites:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Teaser Tuesday

Yes, I actually remembered to do one this week!



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.  Anyone can playing along!  Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from somewhere on that page
  • Be careful not to include spoilers! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away!  You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.


  • "Hannah," I said firmly, "I do not want you to spend the whole summer with your nose in a book.  Do you understand me?"
    P. 36 Gardenias for Breakfast by Robin Jones Gunn

    A-Z Challenge: S is for Sisterchicks

    A Sisterchick is a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you're acting like a brat.

    Sisterchicks is a series of books written by Robin Jones Gunn.  Each book deals with a pair of sisterchicks and a trip to a new place.  I was introduced to these books when my mom brought home the first one, Sisterchicks on the Loose, for my sister and me to read.  My sister never read it, but I did.  I enjoyed it enough to continue on with the series.

    Five Facts about Sisterchicks:
    • 2003, May 31 first book in series, Sisterchicks on the Loose, is published.
    • 2007, Sisterchicks in Gondolas wins Christy Award.
    • 2009, May 19 latest book in series, Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes, is published.
    • Including the devotional, there are 9 books in the series.
    • Places Sisterchicks visit: Finland, Hawaii, Mexico, New Zealand, France, Italy, England, and the Netherlands.
    Sisterchicks Series:
    Sisterchicks on the Loose
    Sisterchicks Do the Hula
    Sisterchicks in Sombreros
    Sisterchicks Down Under
    Sisterchicks say Ooh La La!
    Sisterchicks in Gondolas
    Take Flight: A Sisterchicks Devotional
    Sisterchicks Go Brit!
    Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes

    For more information check out the following sites:

    Saturday, April 20, 2013

    Book Review: Threads of Grace (Patch of Heaven #3) by Kelly Long





    As a young woman, Grace was married off to an older Amish man, Silas Beiler, to save her family's farm.  I didn't spoil anything.  That's all told right in the prologue.  The real story begins when Grace tries to run away from that life after his death.

    Seth Wyse has had his eye on her since she moved to town, but she has been reluctant to get close to anyone.  Grace's autistic son, Abel, gets along well with Seth which should be a plus for Grace.

    In comes Grace's brother-in-law, Tobias, with her late husband's will.  If she is not married within six months of Silas's death, she has to marry Tobias and he inherits the farm.  With the deadline fast approaching Seth has the idea to marry Grace himself, forcing her into a relationship she is not ready for.

    This is one of those forced relationship stories.  I don't believe love is something you can force.  You either love someone or you don't.  Grace had a bad experience with Silas and wasn't ready for another relationship with a man just yet.  She was forced into it to save herself from Silas's brother.  This love story is supposed to show the reader that Seth is meant for Grace and he's here to save her.  Seth has had a thing for Grace since she moved to town and I feel this was way of getting what he wanted without really caring about what Grace needed.  Maybe I'm seeing something that's not there, but it's what came to me across the pages.

    I read this book as a review request from Book Sneeze using the Kindle app on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

    A-Z Challenge: R is for Rowling

    ...which rhymes with bowling.  Being the Harry Potter fan that I am I would be remiss to not devote a day to the author.

    Rowling's story is pretty famous.  I remember hearing about it on the nightly news.  She was a single mother with her baby at her side writing in a coffee shop this story about a boy wizard.  She came up with the idea for Harry while on a train.  Story goes she had no writing utensil so she sat there daydreaming about it all.

    Ten Facts about JK Rowling:

    • 1965, born in England at Yates General Hospital.  Shares birthday with Harry, July 31.
    • 2007, named runner-up in Time's Person of the Year.
    • 2008, listed as the 12th richest woman in Britain.
    • The first story she ever wrote (as a kid) was about a rabbit named Rabbit.
    • Graduated from Exeter University with a degree in French and Classics.
    • She denies the rumor that when she was a single mother working on Harry Potter she lived in an unheated apartment.  "I am not stupid enough to rent an unheated flat in Edinburgh in midwinter.  It had heating."
    • According to goodreads.com, she does not have an email address!
    • Has three kids: Jessica, the baby she took to the coffee shop while writing Harry Potter (1993); David (2003), and MacKenzie (2005).  Think about it!  Miss Jessica is turning 20 this year!
    • Turned down the idea of having a cameo in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone as Lily, Harry's mother.
    • Jane Austen is her favorite author and Emma her favorite book.
    For more information check out these sites:

    Friday, April 19, 2013

    A-Z Challenge: Q is for Quidditch

    Q is a hard letter to find something to fit, so I'm going with the popular wizarding sport created by JK Rowling.

    Quidditch is the most popular sport in the Wizarding World.  They have other sports, like Gobstones, but none bare the popularity as Quidditch.  Muggles, such as ourselves, are even privy to a book about the sport titled Quidditch Through the Ages by Kennilworthy Whisp.

    Each team consists of 7 players: 3 Chasers, 2 Beaters, 1 Keeper, and 1 Seeker.  The Keeper guards the three rings where the Chasers try to throw in the Quaffle.  The Beaters have bats and use them to hit Bludgers at the opposing team.  Each goal is worth 10 points.  The Seeker's job is to find the Snitch, a golden ball flying through the air.  Catching the Snitch results in 150 points and the end of the match.  Most times catching the Snitch results in the win, but not always.  Oh, yes, I should mention this all happens up in the air as everyone is on brooms.

    Ten Facts about Quidditch:

    • There are over 700 Quidditch fouls, but most are not open to the public.
    • 1473, first ever Quidditch World Cup.  Only European teams competed.
    • 1473, all 700 fouls are committed at the Quidditch World Cup.
    • In the early days of Quidditch, they used a Golden Snidget instead of a Snitch.  The Snidget is alive and so people were looking for replacements.
    • Bowman Wright invented the fake Snidget, the Golden Snitch.
    • Harry is the youngest student at Hogwarts to play Quidditch.  Students don't usually start joining teams until their second year.  They aren't even allowed their own brooms in their first year.  Harry was invited to the team in his first year by the head of his house, Minerva McGonagall.
    • Harry's first match is against Slytherin.  Gryffindor wins when Harry catches the Snitch in his mouth.
    • Gryffindors won the Quidditch Cup in three of Harry's years at Hogwarts starting with year 3, Prisoner of Azkaban.
    • Harry's final game is Gryffindor's second game of his year 6 against Hufflepuff.  He is knocked out of the game and his team loses.  The injury he sustains does not allow him to play in the third and final game against Ravenclaw.
    • The record for length of game is 3 months.
    For more information check out the following sites:

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    A-Z Challenge: P is for Pilgrim

    No, no, this is not a John Wayne post, Pilgrim.  This is about the John Bunyan classic, Pilgrim's Progress.  I've wanted to read it for years, but have not obtained a copy until this year.  My mom asked for it for Christmas, so I got it for her.  I am going to read it, but I want to wait until she's finished.  That might be awhile, though.

    My mom's not a big reader, especially not of fiction, even if it is Christian allegorical, but she heard that famous preacher Charles Spurgeon came to Christ after reading this book, so she wanted to read it, too.

    I first came across Pilgrim's Progress when it was mentioned in Little Women.  The girls played "Pilgrim's Progress" when they were younger and in the first chapter decided to go at it again.  It made me curious as to what this story was about.

    Today, I'm reading Gardenias for Breakfast by Robin Jones Gunn.  The main character and her daughter are on a long road trip.  On a pit stop they buy two audio books.  Would you believe that one of them, the one they listen to first, is Pilgrim's Progress?

    Ten Facts about Pilgrim's Progress:

    • 1678, first published
    • 1951, Ralph Vaugh Williams wrote an opera.
    • 1912, first feature film released.
    • 1979, feature film made starring Liam Neeson
    • 2008, feature film made with Daniel Kruze as Christian.
    • Has been translated into more than 200 languages
    • Has never been out of print
    • Two parts: first part centers itself around Christian's journey from his home "The City of Destruction" to "The Celestial City".  Second part centers around the journey of his wife, Christiana; sons; and maiden, Mercy.
    • Christian Allegory
    • Has an explicit English Protestant theology that shared the then popular English antipathy towards the Roman Catholic Church.
    For more information check out these sites:

    Wednesday, April 17, 2013

    A-Z Challenge: O is for O'Malley

    O'Malley, the family Dee Henderson set her O'Malley Family series around.  Shocking, isn't it?! ;)

    The O'Malleys are orphans who befriended each other in the orphanage.  Not having any other family, they became a family, and they adopted the last name O'Malley.  When they grew up they all got dangerous jobs and that's what the books are about.  Well, they're about that, finding love, and finding God.

    Kate
    Her story is featured in book #1, The Negotiator.  She's a hostage negotiator.  Dave is an FBI Special Agent.  The two fall in love but Dave is afraid to go forward as he's a Christian and she's not.

    Marcus
    Featured in book #2, The Guardian, is our US Marshall.  He's not as present with the family as everyone else because of his job.  He falls in love with the only witness of a federal judge's murder.  His assignment is to watch over her, which is not an easy task.

    Lisa
    The Truth Seeker tells Lisa's tale and her profession is that of forensic pathologist.  She falls for Marcus's friend, Quinn Diamond who is also a US Marshall.  She's a lover of animals, so her house is full of them.

    Jack
    He's a fireman with his story told in #4 The Protector.  A serial arsonist has targeted his area and friends.  Cassie, a sidelined firefighter, is the only eyewitness.  Jack is already friends with her and having to protect her as well brings the two closer together.

    Rachel
    She's a trauma psychologist specializing in helping victims of distasters obtain closure and heal spiritually.  The Healer is where we read her story.  She is already friends with a co-worker of Jack's, which grows to something more.  This story is about her dealing with everything--her job, her feelings for Cole, and her sister, Jennifer's health.

    Stephen
    The final book in the series is Stephen's, The Rescuer..  He's a paramedic who thinks he's bored with his job.  On top of that, he's the remaining non-Christian O'Malley.  With his sister on her deathbed, it's everyone's wish for him to find God.

    Jennifer
    She's a physician.  At first her story wasn't told in a separate book like the other O'Malleys.  Her story was spread throughout each one.  She is battling cancer and still holding strong to her faith.  Just this year, Henderson released the book, Jennifer: An O'Malley Love Story to bring us to the beginning of her story, since we already know the end.

    For more information check out the following sites:
    Dee Henderson's Official Page
    Amazon.com: Dee Henderson
    Christianbook.com: O'Malley Series

    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Book Review: Gods at War by Kyle Idleman




    Idols.  They're not just things or people we sit and pray to.  We need to look at our lives and see what we give the most attention.  That can become an idol.

    It is okay to like things.  It's okay to do things that aren't directly Christian (like reading a book blog on the internet or watching a secular television show).  When we put these things above God, give them our special time and treatment, they become idols.  This can happen to Christian things as well, like music, traditions, books, movies, religious figures, anything.

    Idleman's book focuses on what we may knowingly or unknowingly place as idols in our own lives and what to do when this happens, how to overcome idol worship.  He shows how easy it is to let something be an idol.  The most common everyday things can become idols in our lives. The gods at war are the false idols and the real true God.  We cannot fully follow God when we are still attached to false idols.

    I read this book as a review request from netgalley.com using Adobe Digital on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

    A-Z Challenge: N is for Newbery

    Had my post almost all written out when I realized what the topic should be!  N is for Newbery as in the Newbery Award.

    The official name is the John Newbery Medal.  It is an award given by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA).  It is given to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

    John Newbery was an 18th cenutury English publisher of children's books.

    Ten Facts about the Newbery Award:
    • First children's book award in the world.
    • 1921, Frederic G. Melcher proposed award to ALA meeting of the Children's Librarians' Section, suggesting it should be named after the 18th century bookseller.  
    • Medal designed by Rene Paul Chambellan and depicts author giving his book to a boy and girl.
    • The bronze medal has the winner's name and date engraved on the back.
    • Inscription on medal reads "Children's Librarians' Section" though the section has changed its names four times and now includes both school and public library children's librarians starting in the year 1959.
    • 1922, first award given to The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon. 
    • 1971, Newbery Honors are officially given out to worthy runners-up and are given retroactively to books dating back to 1922 when the award was first given out.
    • Knee Knock Rise by Natalie Babbitt, Enchantress From the Stars by Sylvia Louis Engdahl, and Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell are the first books to be named Newbery Honors not retroactively.
    • 2013 winner The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.
    • 2013 Newbery Honors: Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz, Bomb: The Race to Build--and Steal--the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin, and Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage.
    For more information check out the following sites:

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    Book Review: High School Substitute Teacher's Guide by Cherise Kelley





    I don't plan on becoming a high school substitute teacher any time soon, but one time my brother was talking to my sister about it and did get me interested.  When I was given the choice to review this book on substituting I thought it would be worth the read.  It was, even though I don't plan on actually using the information.

    Cherise Kelley is an experienced high school substitute teacher and with this book she gives tips and help on how to become a substitute and what to do when one is a substitute.  If you want to be, are, or entertain thoughts on being a high school substitute teacher you should definitely check out this book.

    From goodreads.com:
    "You're a high school substitute? Are you crazy? We were so mean to them!" This is a common reaction when I tell people what I do, but I love substitute teaching at the high school level. 
    This book will give ideas on how to deal with students.  I didn't like how she separated the underclassmen (9th and 10th graders) and upperclassmen (11th and 12th graders).  She treats the underclassmen like children and the upperclassmen as adults.  I do not have experience teaching or substituting these age groups, but I would imagine to get better behavior from the underclassmen one should treat them as adults as well.  Purely opinion, though.  I could be wrong.

    Definitely a good read if you are planning on becoming a high school substitute teacher.  If you have substituted middle or elementary students don't just think it is the same!

    I read this book as a review request using the Kindle app on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.


    A-Z Challenge: M is for Martin

    The author of the Baby-Sitters Club is who I am focusing on today.  She's more than that.  She's written so many more books.  Today's focus is Ann M. Martin.

    I could write a lot about Ann M. Martin, especially since I read her biography, Ann M. Martin: The Story of the Author of the Baby-Sitters Club by Margot Becker R.

    I still read Martin's work today.  She's a great children's author.  She's written about children, young teenagers, animals, and dolls.  What I like is her work is realistic fiction, even when it's a story narrated by a dog.  Well, okay, maybe not The Doll People, though I have not read those books, so I can't comment, and realistically people don't stay in one grade for multiple decades.

    I admire Ann M. Martin. She's a normal person who has written so many fun books.  Going through the chronology of her books it's easy to see how she matures as a writer, but stays in the bounds of children's literature.

    Ten Facts about Ann M. Martin:
    • Born August 12, 1955 in Princeton, NJ.
    • 1983, first novel, Bummer Summer, published.
    • 1987, published first book in Baby-Sitters Club, Kristy's Great Idea.
    • 2000, published last book in the entire BSC collection, BSC Friends Forever Super Special #2 Graduation Day.
    • 2003, A Corner of the Universe received Newbery Honor.
    • She did not come up with the idea for the BSC.  She was approached by editor, Jean Feiwel, and they're lucky to have picked Ann for the series since she was a big baby-sitter growing up.
    • The Perkins family in the BSC is based on her best friend, Beth Perkins's family.
    • Her middle name is Matthews, her mother's maiden name.
    • Had her spleen removed when she was eleven after falling off a tree house ladder.  She turned her experience into a Little Sister book #81 Karen's Accident.
    • Currently resides in the Hudson Valley of upstate New York.
    Ann M. Martin's Works:
    Series:
    Novels:
    • Bummer Summer (1983)
    • Just a Summer Romance (1987)
    • Ten Kids No Pets (1988)
    • Yours Turly, Shirley (1988)
    • With You and Without You (1989)
    • Inside Out (1990)
    • Me and Katie (the Pest) (1990)
    • Stage Fright (1990)
    • Eleven Kids One Summer (1991)
    • Ma and Pa Dracula (1991)
    • P.S. Longer Letter Later with Paula Danziger (1998)
    • Snail Mail No More with Paula Danziger (2000)
    • Belle Teal (2001)
    • A Corner of the Universe (2002)
    • Here Today (2004)
    • A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray (2005)
    • On Christmas Eve (2007)
    • Everything For a Dog (2011)
    • Ten Rules for Living With My Sister (2012)
    • Ten Good and Bad Things About My Life (So Far) (2012)
    Other Works:
    • Rachel Parker, Kindergarten Show-off (1993)
    • Leo the Magnificat (2000)
    • "Lost Art of Letter Writing" for What You Wish For (2011)
    • Because of Shoe and Other Dog Stories (2012)
    For more information check out these sites:



    Saturday, April 13, 2013

    A-Z Challenge: L is for Lewis

    That's Beverly Lewis, the first name in Amish Fiction.  There are many options I have for L, but I've chosen to go with Beverly Lewis as I really enjoy her work and it has been featured many times here in book reviews, like the one I posted yesterday.

    Beverly Lewis started Amish Fiction.  Before her there was no Amish fiction.  It's a category that has brought many authors and books.  It would not be without Lewis.  One work was made into a Lifetime movie, with two more being made for The Hallmark Channel (The Confession will premiere on May 11).

    Ten Facts about Beverly Lewis:

    • 1949, Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania the heart of Amish Country.
    • 1993, first book published Holly's First Love the start of a 14 book series for pre-teen girls.
    • 2001, published Sanctuary with her husband, David Lewis.
    • The story of Katie Lapp told in The Heritage of Lancaster County is loosely based on her maternal grandmother, Ada Rank Buchwalter, who left her Old Order Mennonite upbringing to marry a Bible College student.
    • Grew up an Assembly of God Minister's daughter.
    • Member of the National League of American Pen Women
    • Began playing the piano when she was five.
    • Started writing short stories when she was nine.
    • Enjoys hiking in the Rocky Mountains.
    • Rated 8th in Top Ten Christian Authors of 2009 by the Evangelical Christian Publisher's Association.
    For a complete list of all her works click here.


    For more information check out these sites:
    Official Site
    Wikipedia: Beverly Lewis
    Amazon: Beverly Lewis

    Friday, April 12, 2013

    Book Review: The Bridesmaid (Home to Hickory Hollow #2) by Beverly Lewis





    Joanna Kurtz is first introduced to us as a secondary character in the first book in the Home to Hickory Hollow series.  When Amy DeVries follows Michael to Hickory Hollow, she stays at the Kurtzes' and befriends Joanna.  That's the connection book #1 has to book #2.

    Always the bridesmaid never the bride.  That's Joanna Kurtz.  Her sister, Cora Anne, warns her it is bad luck to be a bridesmaid three times, but Joanna doesn't care.  She believes her time will come. A trip to her great uncle's funeral in Virginia has her meeting Eben Troyer.  They end up courting.  Problem is, he lives in Shipshewana, Indiana!  The only way their relationship will work out is if one of them is able to move to the other's town.  Roadblocks are put in their way, one of them includes Cora Anne.  Will Joanna ever get to be a bride?  Will her secret passion end up being her undoing?  What is her secret passion?  You'll just have to read the book to find out!

    I love it when a story evokes emotion in me.  Cora Anne's actions made me so angry.  I was angry, but I was happy that I was angry for it meant I was really getting into the story.  Beverly Lewis has that ability.  For all the Amish stories she has written, she's still able to bring out the emotions in us readers.

    I read this book for pure pleasure.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this book in any way.

    A-Z Challenge: K is for Kingsbury


    Karen Kingsbury definitely belongs in the K spot as both her first and last names start with K.  She has quickly become one of my favorite Christian fiction authors.  She's been around for a while, but I only started reading her last year.

    She has written over 50 novels with one being turned into a feature film, another into a made-for-TV movie for CBS, and a few others have been optioned for feature films and should be in theaters in the upcoming years.

    Ten Facts about Karen Kingsbury:

    • Born June 8, 1963 in Fairfax, Virginia.
    • 1992, Her first book published, Missy's Murder, based on a murder story in LA she covered as a reporter.
    • 1998, published first piece of inspirational fiction, Where Yesterday Lives.
    • 2005, Oceans Apart wins Gold Medallion for Best Book of the Year and Retailer's Choice Award.
    • 2005, Redemption Series wins Retailer Choice Best Series Award.
    • 2007, Ever After wins Gold Medallion for Best Book of the Year.
    • 2007, Found wins Retailer's Choice Award.
    • 2009, first song she helped co-write with Gary Baker and Richie McDonald titled "Walls" is released by Richie McDonald.
    • 2010, Her novel Like Dandelion Dust is released as a major motion picture starring Mira Sorveno.
    • Dubbed by Time Magazine as the Queen of Christian Fiction.

    For a list of her major works, check out her website here.

    For more information on Karen Kingsbury check out these sites:


    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    Book Review: The Best Camp Counselor in the World by Mike Ronny





    There was no story here.  I'm so confused by what I read.  This is it?  This is all there is to this short story or novella or whatever you want to call it?

    Eddie returns to camp as a camp counselor.  His girlfriend, Jessica, hates to see him go.  He meets a fellow camp counselor named Erika who could make him forget about Jessica or has Jessica already done that?  On top of that, the son of an old grade school bully of his has arrived at camp.

    I probably would have enjoyed this story if it was longer and more fleshed out.  As I read the ebook I felt I was missing tons and tons of pages.  Did I get the abridged version?  All these questions the story created did not get answered.  Jessica and Eddie fight at the beginning of camp and she wants him to not call him.  It's never mentioned again and when he goes home afterwards its as if nothing happened.  No resolution.  Nothing!  The bully's son, you think that's going to be a dramatic moment or something.  Very anti-climatic.  What happens with Erika?  Hate to spoil it for you, but there's no story there, either!  I was very disappointed in how very little of a story there was.  We don't even know why the campers love him so since we rarely see him act as a camp counselor (or anything).

    It's gotten some good reviews on goodreads.  Check them out for many readers seem to have a very different take on the book.

    I read this book as a review request as a PDF on my laptop.  All opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for this review in any way.

    A Z Challenge: J is for James

    James as in James and the Giant Peach.  We already discussed the author, Roald Dahl, in a previous post so we will only discuss the book (and maybe the movie) in this post today.

    From Goodreads.com
    When poor James Henry Trotter loses his parents in a horrible rhinoceros accident, he is forced to live with his two wicked aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker.  After three years he becomes "the saddest and loneliest boy you could find." Then one day, a wizened old man in a dark-green suit gives James a bag of magic crystals that promise to reverse his misery forever.  When James accidentally spills the crystals on his aunts' withered peach tree, he sets the adventure in motion.  From the old tree a single peach grows, and grows, and grows some more, until finally James climbs inside the giant fruit and rolls away from his despicable aunts to a whole new life.  James befriends an assortment of hilarious characters, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipde--each with his or her own song to sing.  Roald Dahl's rich imagery and amusing characters ensure that parents will not tire of reading this classic aloud, which they will no doubt be called to do over and over again!
    Ten Facts About the Book:

    • Published in 1961 (typo in D is for Dahl has it listed as 1943.  Has been corrected).
    • Roald Dahl's second children's book.
    • Originally titled James and the Giant Cherry but Dahl changed it because a peach is "bigger, prettier, and squishier" than a cherry.
    • Currently #56 on ALA's Top 100 List of Most Frequently Challenged Books.
    • References Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  When the peach rolls off the tree it rolls past "a famous chocolate factory." Towards the end, the creatures living in the peach are thought to be names of creatures that live in Loompaland.  Original illustration of the factory has the word "WONKA" on the side.
    • Film released April 12, 1996.
    • Took 12 years to get the book-to-film released.  Dahl declined a film made in his lifetime, but his widow, Liccy (Felicity Crosman), approved of this version.
    • Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 93% rating based on 58 reviews.
    • Film nominated for Academy Award for Best Music, Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (Randy Newman).
    • Film won Annecy International Animated Film Festival Best Animated Feature Film.

    For more information check out the following sites:
    Roald Dahl Official Website
    Wikipedia: James and the Giant Peach (film)
    Amazon.com: James and the Giant Peach: A Play
    Fun Trivia: James and the Giant Peach
    Wikipedia: James and the Giant Peach
    The Big Cartoon Database: James and the Giant Peach
    IMDB: James and the Giant Peach
    Goodreads: James and the Giant Peach


    Wednesday, April 10, 2013

    A-Z Challenge: I is for I

    What does this mean?  I is for I?  Huh?

    In thinking of I topics, I had a hard time coming up with one.  So, I've cut corners to fit this one in.  This is about first person point of view, which I have read in abundance lately.  Seems to be a popular point of view.

    What is first person point of view?  The story is written in the point of view of one person.  The reader sees the story through the narrator's eyes.  The writing is filled with a lot of "I"s and "me"s and "my"s as well as "we" and "us".  This point of view can and most likely will be biased as we are in the narrator's head.  We only know what the narrator knows and we only see what the narrator sees.  We don't see everything.  We don't know the whole story.  If the narrator's not the main character there should be a lot of information we won't get.

    Ten Examples of Fiction Written in First Person:


    For more information visit these sites:
    About.com: Fiction Writing: First Person Point of View
    Wikipedia: First Person Narrative
    The Writer's Craft: First Person Point of View
    About.com: Grammer and Composition: First Person Point of View


    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    A-Z Challenge: H is for Harry

    You can't expect me to do a month long blog challenge on books without mention one of my favorite series ever!  That's right, today H is for Harry Potter!

    I'm going to do something different today.  Instead of giving ten facts and all that, I'm going to share ten Harry Potter graphics.  I love looking at funny images online.  I've collected so many and rather than just have sit in my laptop I want to share them.  So, today, I give you ten funny, thoughtful, cute Harry Potter related graphics.






























    Monday, April 8, 2013

    A-Z Challenge: G is for Girls

    Girls, girls, girls.

    Let's focus on some of my favorite girls in literature. Who do we have?
    The Baby-Sitters Club
    Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
    Jessie and Violet Alden
    Katniss Everdeen
    Tris Prior
    The March Sisters
    Jamie Sullivan
    Hermione Granger
    Ramona Quimby

    Before I continue, you're probably wondering where Sunday's post was. We get Sundays off for good behavior. Actually, there are only 26 letters of the alphabet so we get Sundays off to make everything fit, which is fine, since Sundays are supposed to be our days of rest.  Also, I am sorry for making everyone wait so long for this entry!  I really thought I was going to have this done before I went out of town on Friday, but unfortunately I did not.

    OK, back to the Girls in Literature post. Let's focus on some of my favorite girls.

    The Girls of the Baby-Sitters Club:
    The awesome thing about these girls, besides the fact that they can do anything, is that there is a girl for almost everyone. Readers can usually find someone to relate to in this group and I do believe that's really good for the age group target (middle readers). I always had a hard time picking my favorite. In different times of my life I related to Mary-Anne and Mallory. I'm really shy, cry easily, and my best subject is English. That's Mary-Anne. I love to write and plan on being an author one day. That's Mallory. Plus, I did have braces for a few years.
    Each girl is an individual. No two BSC members are the same. We've got the bossy Kristy, the artistic Claudia, fashionista Stacey, the sensitive Mary-Anne, California Girl Dawn, Dancer Jessi, Writer Mallory, Studious Shannon, and sporty twin with allergies Abby.

    Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants:
    These four girls are vastly different from the girls of the BSC.  While the BSC is always together, the Sisterhood is rarely seen together.  They seem to get closer by being separated and sharing the Traveling Pants between them.  Each story is set in the summer when they are out of school and off on some adventure.  They don't take their trips together except at the end of book four when they go to Greece to search for the pants and in the reunion book when they travel at the request of Tibby.
    Also different from the BSC is there is not one girl for everyone.  We have four girls.  They are different from each other, but not so that everyone can find a quality of themselves in a girl.  We have Carmen, Tibby, Lena, and Bridgett.   Carmen is the intense, half-Puerto Rican of the group who lives only with her mom until (spoiler alert) she gets remarried and has a baby! Tibby grew up with hippie parents and thus is like a leftover from that life.  Lena is the shy artist of Greek heritage.  Bridgett is the athletic, independent, extrovert of the group.

    Jessie and Violet Alden:
    These are the sisters of the Boxcar Children.  While they have their differences I really feel there is not much that makes them two separate characters.  Jessie is the older sister being the second of the four siblings and Violet comes in right behind her as the third of the siblings.  Jessie is the mother of the siblings and Violet is the artsy one with a knack for sewing and playing the violin.  Jessie's favorite color is blue and Violet's is, shockingly, violet!
    The two girls are sweet, loving sisters who, along with their brothers, Henry and Benny, solve mysteries and live with their grandfather with their boxcar residing in his backyard.

    Katniss Everdeen:
    With Katniss we take a step in a different direction with the girls.  Katniss lives in a dystopian society where every year a special game is played, killing off 23 adolescents, and declaring one a victor.  Katniss's father died in a mining accident and with no boys in the family, she took on the fatherly role left open.  She does the hunting and other food aspects as well as keeping her mother in order.  Her mother really lost it when her husband died and it was all Katniss to keep the family of three (she has a younger sister) together.
    The Hunger Games allows us to see Katniss in some feminine roles, dressing up, looking pretty, and all that, but other than that she has, in my opinion, an undefined femininity.  She's a girl, obviously, but she partakes in a man's role and does it better than others that we see.  She's strong and independent because someone had to be.  She fell into the role because no one else was going to.  She's protective of her family and friends.  She's a great person.  If you lived in her society, I think she'd be an awesome person to know.

    Tris Prior:
    Tris follows in the same vein as Katniss.  She is from a dystopian society separated by the quality admired most.  She leaves her family's faction for that of Dauntless.  Dauntless are to be brave to the extreme of extremes, which includes such things as jumping in and out of trains!  Tris shows that she belongs.  She is strong and independent, but I don't think she's as much the qualities as Katniss is.  There's more softness to her.  Instead of simply being herself, she wants to show she belongs and that she chose the right faction.  Tris's dystopian society is seen in the Divergent series.

    The March Sisters:
    Introduced in Little Women, there are three books featuring these lovely sisters of Louisa May Alcott's imagination.  The four sisters are very similar, but each one contains one quality, one aspect, that makes her unique.  Meg is the oldest.  She is the mother of the sisters and runs the house when their mother is out.  In Little Women, before she gets married and starts her own family, her job is that of governess.  She's sweet, gentle, and friendly.  Her family is poor, but she's invited to balls and parties.  Next comes Jo.  Jo is the boy of the siblings.  With their father away at war, she claims herself to take over his role.  She befriends the boy next door, Laurie.  Jo takes care of her aunt and then becomes a writer before she marries and opens up a school for boys.  Beth comes along third.  She is the shy, quiet one of the group befriending Laurie's grandfather and his piano.  She is the musical one.  SPOILER ALERT! Sadly, she does not make it out of Little Women.  Her health becomes compromised by a bout of scarlet fever and later on in the Good Wives section, she ends up passing away.  Last but not least is Amy.  Her special talent is art.  She loves to draw.  Her job is to go to school.  What I remember the most about her is the limes.  They are really popular with her classmates so much that they cause trouble and Amy does get in trouble for getting caught with them.  Another SPOILER ALERT!  She takes a long trip to Europe, meets up with Laurie, and because he was dismissed by Jo, she marries him!

    Jamie Sullivan:
    Jamie Sullivan was inspired by Nicholas Sparks's sister, Danielle, who died of cancer.  Like Jamie, she was unpopular in school and wore the ugly sweater.  Her relationship with her husband was just like that of Jamie and Landon.  No one ever thought Jamie'd get a boyfriend and during her illness, Landon proposes to her.
    Jamie is a sweet, sensitive, innocent soul.  She carries her Bible with her wherever she goes.  It is her most prized possession.  It shows what she values most.  Her father is a preacher and has instilled in her Christianity.  Jamie knows what people think of her, but she never lets it bother her.  She stays true to herself.  The sad part is she has leukemia.  Why does such a sweet girl get such a disease?  Life isn't fair.  Jamie shows us that we don't have wallow in the unfairness.  The book she is featured in, for those who don't know, is A Walk to Remember.

    Hermione Granger:
    How can I write a post about girls in literature and not speak about the smartest witch of her age who just also happens to be Muggle-Born?  From the Harry Potter series, Hermione is the brains of the Golden Trio.  Without her, Harry would have no success.  She is what keeps them alive.  She cares the most about education, wanting the top marks and to take every class possible.  She loves to read, reading huge tomes for pleasure.  Her third year, she finds the limits to her love of knowledge, by taking so many classes she needs a Time-Turner, and thus wearing herself out.  She is a strong-willed girl who will not back down from what she believes in, like house-elf rights.  It isn't until the sixth book, Half-Blood Prince, that she admits to her crush on her best friend Ron Weasley, but it isn't until book seven, The Deathly Hallows, that she lets him know.  She is absolutely one of the best role models for girls, especially when coupled along side such "literary" characters as Bella Swan and Ana Steele.

    Ramona Quimby:
    Every girl and boy should read Beverly Cleary's Ramona books.  Ramona is a spunky younger sister who often finds herself in trouble or creating a mess.  She doesn't do it on purpose.  She isn't a troublemaker.  She just can't sit still.  Her older sister, Beezus, finds her annoying as most older sisters do of their younger siblings, but she does show love for her as well.
    Favorite Ramona memories of mine: Her first day in kindergarten, her teacher tells her to sit at a certain desk for the present.  Ramona is afraid to leave the desk.  If she does she may not get the present she's been promised.  Unfortunately, there is no present.  It was a misunderstanding.  Her teacher just wanted her to sit at the desk for the time being.
    When her father takes up smoking she wants to quit so she makes a sign to say "No Smoking" but not being careful of the space taken up by her letters it ends up saying "Nosmo King."  And her dad asks, "Who is Nosmo King?"
    Beezus and Ramona share a bedroom until Ramona's eighth year when an addition is added onto the house. The girls will share both bedrooms as one girl will spend a few months in the new room and then switch.  Ramona gets to use the new room first.  Ramona is excited until she has to go to sleep.  Laying in bed she thinks about the gorilla in her animal book squeezing himself through the cracks in the room.  She is scared and makes her father take the book out of the room.