Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Review: Fifteen by Beverly Cleary

My first official book review!! Yay!!
And the book that I have chosen to review is:

Fifteen by Beverly Cleary
First published: 1956
Publisher(of this edition): Avon Books, Inc.
Number of pages:203
ISBN: 0380728044

So, first off--I'm a big fan of old stuff. Old movies(and by old I mean like 1930-1950), Old-ish music, but particularly old books. The way they smell, the way there's usually no junk in them, etc. And I'm a huge fan of the 50's in particular. Like, soda fountains, poodle skirts, and swing-dancing. I think it's just adorable! And this book is set in that era. So smiley face #1 :)

Now, second--I love, love, LOVE cute love stories. And this is one of those. Smiley face #2 :)

Jane Purdy is a pretty average girl. She's 15. She babysits. She's kind of insecure. And, she wishes she had a boyfriend. Well, on the way to a babysitting appointment one day, she's thinking to herself "Today I'm going to meet a boy." Guess what? While she's babysitting, a boy comes into the house to deliver horse meat for the dog. He helps her out of a tricky situation with the kid she's babysitting(involving a bottle of permanent blue ink and a beige-y white carpet). That night she's eating dinner with her parents and the phone rings. And it's the delivery boy! And he wants to go out with her! Right about this point, I'm thinking: No way! That NEVER happens.
So she goes out with him. And it's amazing. Both Jane and Stan are such sweet, lovable characters. This book is adorable, but it also has a realistic amount of awkwardness in it combined with the stupid things we do to impress people, and then the freedom that comes from being yourself.
But if you want to know the rest, you've got to read the book. ;)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Random Tidbits of Coolness and Teaser Tuesday!

I'm back!
Today I'm going to share a bunch of random stuff with you that makes me happy, but are too small for individual posts to be entirely devoted to each one.

1) I'm going to see the LAST Harry Potter movie TONIGHT!!! You don't even know how excited I am!! When I found out that the midnight release was going to be one of the nights I would be at Youth Conference and that there was no possible way I would be allowed to see it that night, I was so MAD! I ranted and raved for at LEAST a half hour (it's true! ask my family...) about how unfair it was. But we're not going to think about how this isn't the midnight showing now, are we? Of course not...the only important thing is that I'm gonna get to see it! Tonight!! And it's going to be amazing...even though nobody wants to dress up with me.. :(

2) A couple weeks ago I found a special rock...

Now isn't that the cutest thing? It's got a smiley face!

3) This is an awesome story/parable that you should read: The Tragedy at Rayad
It's not very long, don't worry.

4) Over at Reading Angel it is Teaser Tuesday. Follow the link, and you'll see what I'm talking about.

So here's mine:

"'Jane will you have a flower?'
He gathered a half-blown rose, the first on the bush, and offered it to me."

(from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte)

P.S. I'd love to hear what you're happy about today, or if you have cool rocks that smile too, or anything really, if you'd like to share. :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The End of the Read-A-Thon

"Half an hour 'til midnight!! Can I do it??"
Those were my thoughts as I hurried to finish book #3. I was pretty sure I could do it, but I was getting tired and having trouble staying awake by about 11:00. (Pathetic, I know) And, if you're like me, reading late at night is about ten times harder than most other things you would do late at night(i.e. it's a little easier to stay awake at the computer because you are actively doing something with your hands and stuff...but I must admit about 2:00-3:00 a.m. is pretty tricky even for that) and thus is kind of a "gateway" to sleep.
Anyway, you may be thinking: "Three books in three days? Psssh...that's easy. I could do twice that in half the time!" (Actually, I really hope that's not what you're thinking because I would be semi-convinced that you have no life...either that or you can read at the speed of light, which is simply not fair!) Although, I consider myself pretty good at reading and enjoy it immensely, I don't usually isolate myself for 6-8 hours a day doing just that. So to be perfectly honest, I know I could have fit in at least one more book (probably more) if I had not been so busy the first two days of the Read-A-Thon and completely shut myself up for the whole time, never talking to anyone. But, this was my first time doing a Read-A-Thon (Or rather, my first "official" one) so I feel like considering the circumstances and my amateur-ness I did pretty well.
So here's what I read:

Fifteen by Beverly Cleary (203 pages)

Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare (274 pages)


The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards (277 pages)

Books: 3
Page Count: 754

(Oh, and by the way? The last two were both read almost entirely in the same day. Minus about twenty pages. But that's still like 530 pages in a day! So, I'm still rather proud of myself. )

Yeah, I deviated a little from my originial plan. My Antonia was a little slow going, so I gave up. And I assumed Betty Wales would take too long as well. (FYI: I do plan on finishing these two, just later when I have more time)
But the three that I did read were all excellent! Can't wait for the next one! (And, wow! I should win the "Over-usage of Parenthetical Statements" award, yeah?)

Now last mini-challenge:

*Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing*

Here's the challenge:

"Because I'm such a fan of book recommendations, I want you to recommend books to me. I want you to recommend 2 books to me.

The first is any book of your choice. Pick any book you want and tell me and the world why it should be read and loved.

The second is what you would pick as your favorite of the read-a-thon. You can chose to answer this question now, during the third day, or I'll give you one extra day to give that book just waiting to be picked up a chance. :) "

My recommendations:
1) Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier
Okay, so a lot of my friends are probably sick of me gushing about this book. But it is absolutely amazing! This book and its sequel/companion are on my top 5 list. I don't think I have ever read a book that was as well-written and beautiful as these. Wildwood Dancing is a combination of several fairy tales--The Twelve Dancing Princesses being the most obvious from the beginning--all rolled into one story. There are perfectly gorgeous metaphors (or maybe they're similes. Whatever...) and the ending is the type that leaves you with that ecstatic uncontainable feeling of joy. Just read it! Everyone I know who has read it (all the way through) loved it almost as much as I did.

2) The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
This book was! It's like The Wizard of Oz meets The Chronicles of Narnia meets Alice in Wonderland meets The Phantom Tollbooth with slight hints of Doctor Dolittle and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory here and there. Julie Andrews has created Whangdoodleland and a multitude of fascinating creatures to go along with it including The Whangdoodle (of course!), Flummoxes, Jiffies, Oincks, Sidewinders, Tree Squeaks, and let's not forget the "oily" Prock. There's berries that make you hiccup and the flowers and trees smell like all kinds of delicious things. Now, can you honestly tell me that that doesn't pique your curiosity just a little?

As for the rest of you.... I'll not be posting for a few days as I'm going on a sort of vacation for a few days (instead of going to the midnight showing of Harry Potter... *pouting* so don't say a word, or else!!). So have a marvelous weekend!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Read-a-thon: Update #1 and Mini-Challenge!

Day 2:
I've finished one book(Fifteen by Beverly Cleary) which I absolutely loved!!
Abandoned My Antonia
started Betty Wales

Unfortunately today I have even more obligations than yesterday so I can only hope I will still have a sufficient amount of reading time.
Anyway... On to the mini-challenge!

*YA Bliss*
3 GOOD love triangles

1. Josh vs. Zach in Ally Carter's Gallagher Girl series. A classic nice guy vs. bad boy scenario. Josh is probably the sweetest guy ever, but Zach is pretty dang hot!

2. Laurie(aka Teddy) vs. Professor Bhaer from Little Women. I so wanted Jo to marry Laurie and was absolutely disgusted at first when she met Professor Bhaer. (I mean he's like 20 years older than her!!) But it resolved beautifully and I loved it!

3. Xander vs. Ky from Matched by Allie Condie. (Or Peeta vs. Gale from the Hunger's about the same thing...)

Well, that's it for now!

Monday, July 11, 2011


Hey Guys!
So today is Day 1 of the July Read-A-Thon(which you can learn more about how to enter--it's not too late!!--here)
LinkGo know you want to! So basically for the next couple days I'm going to read...a LOT! Or at least...that's the plan. Sadly, I will not be able to be completely holed up for that time as I have other obligations which must be attended to, but hopefully I'll still be able to finish at least a couple books in that time.
Some of the books that I am hoping to start/finish during this event are:

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards

My Antonia by Willa Cather

Fifteen by Beverly Cleary

Betty Wales-Freshman by Margaret Warde

And... if I get through all of those--not likely but possible, right?

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende

Until next time!

P.S. If you still don't want to do it, you should be aware: there's prizes!!

Friday, July 8, 2011

How I LOVE Northern California!

Hi there!
Sorry it's been a while! I keep meaning to post, and then get distracted or forget or something. Anyway...this last weekend I spent in Nevada visiting family, and though I must admit that Nevada has its own sort of beauty I missed my dear California. I had a wonderful time but it is so hot there! Well, actually I don't think it's any hotter than it is here degree-wise, but it's all dry heat AND there are almost no trees! (Which equals almost no shade. :P)

Some of the things that I did while in Nevada:
1) I learned how to dance a Virginia Reel--super fun by the way.
2) I went horseback riding for the first time in like 5 years.
3) a major sunburn from #2.

You can imagine I was hurting just a little by the time we got back to California. Not just from the sunburn but also from horseback riding for almost two hours after having not done it in years. But was it one of the best weekends of my life? Yeah, probably. :)

I think it was a little while after we had passed Penn Valley when I started to get really excited. (Of course, I had been excited ever since we had passed the California border and started seeing multitudes of trees again.) I could smell the lovely green fields and was actually happy to feel the muggy air.

We passed lovely green fields....

...with trees in the background!!

And then--The walnut orchards!

You would not believe what joy these sights gave to my little heart.

As we were driving by all of this, the last two lines of the poem "I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud" by William Wordsworth came to me.

"And then my heart with pleasure fills,
and I dance with the daffodils."

Now, obviously I have not been talking about daffodils. But I thought of it more because of the feeling conveyed. Which is more or less how I felt at the time--that I would have danced with the daffodils, had there been any. I don't think there is anything quite so nice as returning home after a vacation (no matter how wonderful the vacation was) and smelling all the familiar smells and seeing all the familiar sights.

And there you have a few of the reasons why I think Northern California is superior to any other place I have yet had the privilege of visiting/residing in.

Now a question for you: What place do you love best?

Until next time!