Friday, May 30, 2008

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

At first, the 96 chapters intimidated me, but as soon as I started reading the chapter breaks melted and I could not stop reading.

This story is set before 'Peter Pan', Peter has just recently gained his ability to fly and never grow old from a substance called 'starstuff'. Every so often starstuff falls from the sky, and many types of people and creatures are after its uncanny powers. Starstuff can do all sorts of things, many of its powers are not even known.

One set of creatures after the starstuff are called the Others. They are the 'bad guys' who will stop at nothing to acquire the power held by the starstuff. The Others have a creature on their side that is unlike anything. This creature calls himself Lord Ombra. When Lord Ombra touches a person's shadow the shadow goes to him, detaching from the person. One of the characters, Molly, says it this way: "there's a shadow man, I don't know how he does it, but somehow he takes people's shadows, and then he controls them."

Another set of people after the starstuff are the 'starchatchers'. These are the 'good guy's" who give the starstuff back to the sky. Molly and her parents are some of them. The starchatchers have been doing this for centuries; and the Others have been trying to prevent it for centuries.

*This book is a sequel to 'Peter and the Starcatchers,' a fact I didn't realize this until I had finished it. I believe that 'Peter and the Shadow Thieves' can be read alone, but would probably be better understood if read after its prequel.*

Here is a taste of the inside cover:

Peter leaves the relative safety of Mollusk Island- along with his trusted companion, Tinker Bell- for the dark and dangerous streets of London. On a difficult journey across the sea, he and Tink discover the mysterious and deadly Lord Ombra, who is intent on recovering the mission starstuff - a celestial dust that contains unimaginable powers. In London, Peter attempts to track down the indomitable Molly, hoping that together they can combat Ombra's determined forces. But London is not Mollusk Island; Peter is not he boy he used to be; and Lord Ombra- the Shadow Master- is unlike anything Peter, or the world, has ever seen.

There was one formatting issue that annoyed me. There are two, sometimes three, stories going on at the same time. As soon as some nerve-racking or cliff-hanger chapter finishes, the authors switch stories for a chapter or two. It was very annoying at first, but as the book went on it was evident that it helped the story. It really keeps you reading until the last page.

This book also has one of the best end-lines ever. It makes you smile as you close the book. The last sentence in the book is only two words, but it is the best ending the story could have gotten.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

This is the first How-To book I have read. At first I didn't think that it would do me any good to read this book, I thought my habits were already 'highly effective'. But once I started I realized how wrong I was. There is a quote at the beginning of the book that reads:
"If The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens doesn't help you, then you must have a perfect life already."

I didn't realize how right that was until I really began reading the book. I have not actually finished it, but I couldn't keep from posting about the book any longer, so I decided to give mini-reviews on each section/habit.

Get in the Habit

Sean Covey starts the book in a very friendly, open manner that has carried through the rest of the book. He tells you basically what to expect, and what not to expect. In this section Covey tells us what the 7 habits of highly effective teens are:

the 7 habits of highly effective teens

1: Be Proactive
Take responsibility for your life

2: Begin with he End in Mind
Define your mission and goals in mind

3: Put First Things First
Prioritize, and do the most important things first

4: Think Win-Win
Have an everyone-can-win attitude

5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
Listen to people sincerely

6: Synergize
Work together to achieve more

7: Sharpen the Saw
Renew yourself regularly

These habits build on each other so that you cannot have habit 4 before you have mastered habit 3, 2, and 1. If you really think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

Habit 1 is at the bottom, and habit 7 is at the top; you must use habit one as foundation, roots, for the rest of the habits.

The entire book is full of pictures, comics, quotes, stories, and lots more. One of the quotes Covey gives in this section about habits is from writer Samuel Smiles:

"Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny."

The writing is easy to understand, and presented in ways I have not commonly seen. I actually write in the margins and I have begun to change some of the ways I think. I agree with the quote above: you must have an absolutely perfect life (family, friends, school, church...) if this book does not help you in some way, shape or form.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Mennyms

I had heard this story before, we have it on tape. It wasn't something we bought, or that anyone else could, but it was a gift from some cousins who put it on tape themselves. I love listening to those tapes, books always sound different when someone reads them to you; especially if it’s your cousins. I loved this story, but I never went to the library to read it for myself; that is, until just recently.

It was interesting how things 'sound' different in your mind when you read them as opposed to when you hear them. I caught on to different parts, and clung to different words and phrases when I saw them for myself. I even caught myself 'hearing' the words in my mind the same way my cousins read them onto the tape; this comes from listening to them so often...

The story is about this family of three generations that live in a rented house in England. Once or twice a friend of Vinetta comes to visit and talk, her name is Miss Quigley. Sounds fun, doesn't it? But, no story is a story without a conflict. This family is in danger because the owner of the house has died and the house now belongs to a relation of his; Albert Pond. This 'Albert' wants to visit the house his Great Aunt Kate lived in, so he plans on visiting the Mennyms to see it and meet them. There is a catch. The Mennyms are not what we would call 'normal'. They are rag dolls who can sleep, walk, talk, hear, feel, and, most importantly, pretend. They must find a way to keep Albert Pond away, and keep their secret safe.

I love Miss Quigley. She is one of the 'things' that make me happy. She stays away until she is wanted, she does not pry. Later her talents are uncovered: she can take good care of the baby, she is a good business woman, she can paint and more.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happy Movie Premiere Day!!!

The movie by Wetta and Disney, Prince Caspian, the Return to Narnia, premiered this morning at 12:01 AM. I am a very big fan of CS Lewis' books, and cannot wait to see this movie. Have any of you seen it? are you planning on seeing it? What did you think of it? I cannot wait to see it, but I will have to wait until 12:30pm tomorrow...


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

20 things that make me happy

1. Art class
2. Nice weather
3. Electric fans
4. Relaxing with a book
5. Miss Quigley
6. Being able to relax and write
7. Old family photos
8. Learning self-defense in school
(though, not the sore muscles that come with it...)
9. Crabapple trees in bloom
10. getting new clothes
11. hot tea
12. orange juice
13. pancakes for breakfast
14. Chocolate
15. Chewy granola bar
16. Blogging
17. A hug
18. Blank paper, if accompanied by a pen/pencil
19. Going for a short walk
20. Water tubing

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Poetry Challenge

So, here is the challenge: write a poem using the following line as your first line.

The weather can be so fickle

It can be as long or as short as you want.

It can be serious, funny, free verse, any kind of iamb, 'every other line' rhyme, 'every line' rhyme... and the list goes on and on... whatever you feel like writing.

Post the poem as your 'comment'.

Reason: just to have fun and see what kinds of poems everyone comes up with. I have found that two different people can come up with two completely different poems, even if they start with the same first line.

Have Fun!!!