Reading, writing, and crafting...oh my!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A month's gone by since I posted, but I haven't forgotten my ROW 80 goals. I'm about a 50% overall I think. I've written on half the days, exercised...mmm...less than half ;), but read many books. I won't try to give a full review on all of them, but here's a listing of what I've read this month (including non-spec fic) and the ratings I gave them on Goodreads.

The New Kid at School (Dragon Slayer's Academy #1) by Kate McMullan
4 stars - both my son and I enjoyed it.

Letters to Jenny by Piers Anthony
5 stars - I tried to write a review on this, and I flounder with the words. A must read. Very touching and a wonderful insight into a writer's life.

Song of the Wanderer (Unicorn Chronicles #2) by Bruce Coville
4 stars - doesn't really read like an individual book but rather like Part 2 of one mega novel. But I still really enjoy the story.

The Ship Avenged by S.M. Stirling and Anne McCaffrey
3 stars - not as good as most of the Brainship universe books, but that's mostly because of content, not the writing. Bit on the dark gritty side. But I was expecting that. Picked it up to read another story with Joat.

How to Be a Pirate (How to Train Your Dragon #2) by Cressida Cowell
3 stars - my son liked it, but the differences in some of the characters and dragons from the How to Train Your Dragon movie was disorienting at first. For instance, in the movie, they were ride-able. In this book, they were small enough to ride on people's shoulders. Cute story though.

The Castle Corona by Sharon Creech
meh, granted it was written for kids but I've read intermediate books with tighter plot, even with keeping the whimsical feel that enticed me to pick it up in the first place. It had potential to be better.

Dark Whispers (Unicorn Chronicles #3) by Bruce Coville
4 stars- still not done yet with the overall story. Need to find The Last Hunt. I think that one is supposed to finish off the arc.

One Good Knight (Five Hundred Kingdoms #2) by Mercedes Lackey
4 stars - This book had some great twists both in plot and with the Sir George vs the Dragon tale. Great ending.

Princess of the Midnight Ball (Princess #1) by Jessica Day George
5 stars - Loved it! A fantastic spin on the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses. The soldier didn't start off with the intent to find out why their shoes kept getting holes; he made friends with them first while working as a gardener at the palace. Friendship and concern made him finally take his turn to solve the mystery.

One Corpse Too Many (Cadfael #2) by Ellis Peters
4 stars - Pretty close to the movie version (movie #1) I've seen with Sean Pertwee as Hugh Beringer and Derek Jacobi as Brother Cadfael. This was recommended to me when I was looking for mysteries that were solved without modern tech. Very useful for people writing historical fantasies even when they aren't writing in this time period or setting.

The Sanctuary Sparrow (Cadfael #7) by Ellis Peters
4 stars - Yes, I'm reading them out of order. But it doesn't matter too much since I knew this and that the movies had been somewhat out of order as well. So I expected the change of Abbots from Monk's Hood. It has a few differences, but still very close in plot sequencing.

Monk's Hood (Cadfael #3) by Ellis Peters
4 stars - I haven't gotten to read A Leper of St Giles yet, but out of the three stories I have read and watched, this one had the most differences in plot. I rather liked the movie, but now that I've read the book, I think the book plot makes more sense and the characters more engaging. (And I like Brother Mark better than Brother Oswin as Brother Cadfael's assistant.) Still worth checking both versions out if you can find them.

Tripping Over the Lunch Lady: and Other School Stories edited by Nancy E. Mercado
4 stars - This collection of short stories was hilarious. Following each story was a blurb about each author's school years such as worst school smell, favorite field trip, and worst/favorite subject.

Harry and the Terrible Whatzit by Dick Gackenbach
3 stars - cute picture book. Harry's mom goes down to the cellar and doesn't come back up. He goes down and discovers the terrible whatzit. But he learns the whatzit isn't as terrible as he'd thought.

St Peters Fair (Cadfael #4) by Ellis Peters
4 stars - The town is still dealing with the effects of the fighting that had happened when King Stephen moved in on Empress Maud's forces earlier in the year (see book 2). A series of events seemed ordinary at first but they covered a deeper plot involving kingdom politics.

A Coming Evil by Viviane Vande Velde
4 stars - This intermediate level story is a historical fiction story...with a ghost. I wouldn't have picked it up since I don't normally read war themed stories-this one takes place during WWII in German-occupied France-but I liked the author's spins on Rumpelstiltskin in The Rumpelstiltskin Problem, so I gave this one a chance. Glad I read it, because it worked well, and she uses the ghost aspect in a unique way. A nice way to introduce young readers to some of the issues that some kids faced during the war without being in the middle of the worst parts.

As you can see, many books, a couple of which had been on my to-read list. I've also been doing lots of beading and crocheting, experimenting with pieces I'll want to sell once I open my Etsy shop. Some aren't too bad, but some things are too tedious or not working as well as I want. Even though all this crafting has taken up a bunch of my brain time, my ROW 80 goals have kept me from losing track completely.