Random Thoughts

Real Neat Blog Award

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I’ve been nominated!

I’d like to thank Bookheathen’s Right to Read for nominating me for a Real Neat Blog Award! I’m very flattered. The idea is for me to respond by answering a few questions and by nominating some other friends to do the same. Wow!

These are the rules:


1. Thank and link the blogger that nominated you.

2. Answer the 7 questions that the nomination has provided you.

3. Create 7 questions for your nominees.

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers.

Well, here are the questions I was asked:

  1. What inspired you to start writing a blog?
    I just wanted to start recording my thoughts and opinons on books, as well as keeping a log of what I’ve read.
  2. Do you have an all-time favorite book and, if so, what is it?
    Ride the Wind by Lucia St. Claire Robson is definitely right in the top mix. Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier is there as well along with The High Lord (Book 3 of the Magician’s Guild Trilogy) by Trudi Canavan. I know I reread those one regularly. I also love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte, and Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.
  3. It’s a commonly held opinion that a movie is never as good as the book on which it is based. Do you have a favorite movie that you think is better than the book? [just one, in case you have more]
    I thought the Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightly was better than the book. Only because it followed the story almost exactly, the costuming and language were spot on, and it made the story move a little more interestingly and quickly.
  4. What do you look for in your favorite blogs – e.g. poems, humor, challenging writing, serious issues, frivolity, art, photographs  etc – or whatever?
    I like interesting articles on random book knowledge and also polls and book crafts.
  5. What historical figure is your role model, if any, and why?
    I don’t really have a historial role model.
  6. What is your favorite indulgence – e.g. chocolate, expensive holidays, fast cars etc – or whatever?
    Totally books and chocolate LOL and yarn for crocheting.
  7. What recipe can you offer for achieving world peace?
    I think everyone should have to visit different countries and live there for a minimum of two months. This way they can experience how different people live and have a better appreciation of the difficulties and values of different societies.

And here are MY questions:

  1. What inspired you to start writing a blog?
  2. Do you participate in any reading challenge(s)? Which one(s)?
  3. What is your favorite book format and why? (Paperback, Hardback, Kindle/E-book, Audiobook, Large Print, etc.)
  4. What is your favorite NON-fiction book?
  5. What is your go to book store when you are looking for something?
  6. What hobbies do you have aside from reading?
  7. What are your five favorite fictional places?

My nominees are:

  1. Maria Casacalenda – Big City Bookworm
  2. Ajoobacats
  3. Kindles and Wine
  4. Robert – 101 Books
  5. A Year of Reading the World
  6. Becky – Blog of a Bookaholic
  7. The Classics Club
2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Book Reviews

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This book has been on my to-read list for quite a while. I had downloaded the Kindle book a while ago and when I logged on to Audible, I found I could get the audiobook for free since I had purchased the corresponding Kindle book. I am quite glad that I read the book. I added it to my list of books to read before you die. It quite an uplifting story and would be great for anyone to read.

The story follows 10 year old Miss Mary. She grew up in India with her parents until cholera wiped out her household. When she was little, she was raised by her nurse and was given anything she wanted. Everyone had to listen to her and do what she said. So when everyone was gone, she didn’t really know what to do. She was sent to live with her uncle in England. Her uncle was very hands off and left her to her own devices. Between her maid, the housekeeper, and a gardener, she slowly transitions from a spoiled, bored, sickly child to a rather independent, lively child who enjoys gardening. She is encouraged by everyone to spend as much time outdoors to improve her health and strength. She meets Dicken, her maid’s brother who has a strong affinity for animals and talking to him helps her see the world differently. She finds her way into a garden that has been shut-up and hidden for a decade. Between her and Dicken they begin to bring the garden to life and the changes they make there begin to reflect themselves in the spirits and health of the young ones. Mysterious crying in the house leads to a new discovery the helps to bring the magic of the secret garden completely to life.

I think the story is a great message to everyone. It teaches about the importance of not being spoiled and lazy. It shows acceptance of disabilities and illustrates the power of thoughts. I found the story to be highly enjoyable and engaging. The writing was simple and fun to read. The language was not extremely difficult but it did provide vocabulary that most children now-a-days do not hear very often. It is also told from the child’s point of view so it will be very easy for children to relate to. Even as an adult, I was able to connect with the story. The simple lessons taught throughout that I mentioned before are relevant even to an adult’s life and it helps to see the world through their eyes. I highly recommend this book if you have never read it before.

My rating:

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2016 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, Book Reviews

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

I read this book in middle or high school years ago. I remembered it a couple months ago and decided to buy it. I remembered enjoying it greatly back then and hoped I would still enjoy it. I was not disappointed. I enjoyed it as much this second time as I did when I was younger.

The book has an interesting premise. Several people are invited to live in the same apartment building. Unbeknownst to them, they are all heirs, or immediately related to an heir, of one Samuel Westing. After a couple months, the death of Sam Westing is announced and the heirs are invited to the Westing mansion to have the will read. The will proposes a game, the Westing game, to determine who will inherit the money. The heirs are broken up into pairs and each set given a set of clues and $10,000 that they must agree how to spend. Then the game begins. While the pairs try to determine the significance of their clues, interesting things begin to happen. Bombs going off, friendships created or lost, old secrets coming to life, rampant theft, and the secrecy of clue keeping the apartment building interesting and the heirs stirred up. I liked that at the end of the book, they tell you want happened to everyone after the game was over and where they were five years later. It’s always nice when there is an epilogue and you are not left wondering what happens to them later.

The characters are well developed and completely relateable. They are as unlikely a crew as could be imagined – a bride from China who can barely speak English, a judge, two doctors, a cleaning lady, a retired court stenographer, a high school athlete, a retired dressmaker, and a disabled child just to name a few. Each person has a distinct personality and traits that you learn more and more about through the book. One of my favorite characters was the judge. However, as you learn more and more about each person’s history, they all become more interesting.

Even though I remember who inherited, I was still surprised that I couldn’t figure out how until the reader discovered it in the book. It is a clever story line and engrossing in its puzzle like nature. It is written for young adults, but older adults will enjoy it as well. There is no vulgarity, no sex, no drugs, nothing unmoral, just a good storyline. I think it is especially good for younger adults as a way to find entertainment that is completely wholesome and interesting. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good mystery. The only downfall to it is that I will have to wait a while to re-read it so I forget how to solve the puzzle! It is quite short as well, under 250 pages, and would be great for a summer read. Check it out!

My rating:

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