Wednesday, July 30, 2014

W.O.W: Skin of the Wolf

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to highlight releases they are eagerly awaiting.
Here's what I'm looking forward to:

Title:  Skin of the Wolf
Author:  Sam Cabot
Publication Date:  July 31, 2014
Page Count:  384 pages

Summary via Goodreads
In Sam Cabot’s exhilarating new novel, a vicious murder in Sotheby’s begins a series of inexplicable events surrounding an Iroquois ritual mask—and a secret that could unleash the most terrifying chaos and destruction the world has ever seen.

Father Thomas Kelly, art historian Livia Pietro, and scholar Spencer George shared shocking, life-changing events in Blood of the Lamb; in that thriller, Father Kelly learned of the existence of the Noantri—a community of vampires—and that Livia and Spencer were among them. Now, a year later, all three are together again in New York City where Livia is attending a conference on Native American art. But when Spencer is attacked in Central Park by a wolf, the trio are thrown deep into a world where money, Native American lore, and the doctrines of the Catholic Church collide, revealing an alarming secret: the wolf is a Shapeshifter. He is searching for a sacred Iroquois mask with power that, badly wielded, could destroy millions of lives. But as they enter the search for the mask, the three narrowly escape becoming the Shapeshifter’s prey. Will they be able to prevent catastrophe from rising with the next full moon?

I don't know about you, but I think this sounds awesome!  Now I just have to read Blood of the Lamb first!

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday:  The Girl in the Road

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!
Here's this week's teaser:
"Of all my pain stars, the one in my armpit is shining brightest.  I stop to examine it and see that my entire left flank is soaked with blood.  I pinch the fabric of my shirt and it peels away with a wet sucking sound" --page 96
          -----The Girl in the Road by Monica Byrne

I'm really enjoying this book so far and I can't wait to see how it plays out.  What are you enjoying?

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I Own the Most Books From

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form. The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!
This week's theme is:  Authors I Own the Most Books From.  When I find an author I like, I tend to voraciously read everything they've ever written.  It's a disease.  Regardless, here's my list:

Italo Calvino
  • Born in Cuba and raised in Italy, Italo Calvino is a varied writer.  Ranging from fairy tale-esque to realistic and magical realism to modern/postmodernist, he has something for everyone.  He's a brilliant writer.  13 books...
  • Recommendation:  The Baron in the Trees
Alexander McCall Smith
  • A modern Scottish writer and medical law professor, Alexander McCall Smith is most well-known for his No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.  However, I am a huge fan of his 44 Scotland Street collection.  Published as serials in The Scotsman newspaper, it's a fun glimpse into the everday life of several Edinburgh characters.  8 books...
  • Recommendation:  44 Scotland Street
JK Rowling
  • Duh!  If you don't know who J.K. Rowling is,  you've been living under an extremely heavy rock!  10 books...
  • Recommendation:  EVERYTHING!
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • A Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner, Marquez, sadly, passed away this year.  Considered the father of magical realism, he infuses his stories with fantastical elements and dense, expansive plots.  In addition, he sets most of his work in the fictional town of Macondo.  8 books... 
  • Recommendation:  One Hundred Years of Solitude
Chris Bohjalian
  • A contemporary American novelist, Chris Bohjalian is noted for his ability to tackled difficult subjects with grace and sensitivity.  His writing is beautiful and sucks you in.  He utilizes the structure of alternating perspectives in each of his novels, which lends credibility.  8 books...
  • Recommendation:  Midwives   
Rick Riordan
  • An American writer of children's literature and science fiction/fantasy, Rick Riordan's books are so well written and such fun.  Sadly, I think his books have been lost on a market saturated by YA and fantasy literature over the past decade.  5 books...
  • Recommendation:  Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
Jane Austen
  • I love Jane Austen and Victorian England.  For her time (and even now), her writing stands up as relevant.  You really can't go wrong with a JA novel.  6 books...
  • Recommendation:  Pride and Prejudice
George R.R. Martin
  • Much like JK Rowling, if you've been living under a rock the past few years, then you might have missed the total domination of George R.R. Martin and his A Song of Fire and Ice series.  An American novelist, Martin focuses his efforts in the genres of science fiction and horror.  And boy does he succeed!  5 books...
  • Recommendation:  A Song of Fire and Ice series 
Salman Rushdie
  • An Indian born novelist and essayist, Salman Rushdie is a champion of the magical realism literary style.  Thematically, he tends to deal a lot with the notion of migration between the Eastern and Western world.  He's had a very tumultuous career, including death threats and multiple literary prizes.  9 books...
  • Recommendation:  Midnight's Children
Jude Deveraux
  • An American Romance writer, Jude Deveraux is quite prolific.  Though much of her writing is focused on Historical Romance, she does sneak in some contemporary reads as well.  Deveraux is my go-to girl for a light read between much of what I normally choose to immerse myself in.  16 books...
  • Recommendation:  the Montgomery/Taggart series
All so good!  I know that there are several authors on my shelf (and included on this list) who tie for the number of books I personally own, but this is what I'm going with :)

Look for next week's Top Ten:  Books I'd Give to Readers Who Have Never Read X (I haven't decided what X will be yet...)

Happy reading!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bout of Books 11

Bout of Books 11

Yes!  It is upon us again.  I have been eagerly awaiting the new Bout of Books Readathon and it is finally here.  I participated, for the first time, in Bout of Books 10 back in May (read about my experience here) and am so excited to be taking part in it again. 

Here are the logistics for the challenge:
I'm hoping I can top what I did last time since I've got a little more free time on my hands during the Summer months, but I haven't actually decided what my goals will be.  However, the weekend of the challenge will probably be neglected a little bit because I will be hitting up a concert in Portland!  My favorite band, Brand New, has finally gone back on tour after a four year hiatus!!!  Yeah buddy!
If you want to participate, here's the sign-up link :)
Happy reading!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Here's what's on my mind...

1.  Something I'm not looking forward to:  a six day work week...barf!  Working at a university, it is sometimes necessary to work six days a week; roughly about eight Saturdays a year.  These happen sporadically throughout the year, but between June and July our Freshmen Orientation programs take place and 6:30am and me do NOT get along.  One bright side to this:  it's the last one!  Woohoo!

2.  Spending Sunday at the beach...or the Oregon Brewers Festival in Portland...or hiking Silver Falls...or relaxing on my only day off.  We haven't decided which yet.

South Falls @ Silver Creek Falls

3.  Finishing up In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen and starting in on Top Secret Twenty-One by Janet Evanovich; I'm picking it up at the library on my way home :)  Along with this, I'm excited to knock out some more squares on my Bookish Bingo: Summer Edition card!

4.  I read a great article on why teachers NEED summers off today.  In it, there were two great lines that I fell in love with:  "...there is no book so great that it could not be improved upon with a good cup of coffee in hand" and "In Powell's, I sit in the aisles and fill my nostrils with that tart, sweet smell of old pages in old books".  Both by the author of the article, Tony Vala-Haynes, who is an Oregon English teacher.  Of course, there are the usual "teachers don't work enough" garbage in the comments ignore that.  However, I would love to have summers off to sit in my favorite coffee shops and in the aisles of Powell's, too.  Alas... 

That's all of got for today, folks.  I promise I'll do better next week!

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by Christine @ Bookishly Boisterous. Feel free to join in on the conversation :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

W.O.W: Lucky Us

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to highlight releases they are eagerly awaiting.
Here's what I've got my eye on:

Title:  Lucky Us
Author:  Amy Bloom
Publication Date:  July 29, 2014
Page Count:  256

Summary via Goodreads
"My father's wife died. My mother said we should drive down to his place and see what might be in it for us."

So begins this remarkable novel by Amy Bloom, whose critically acclaimed Away was called "a literary triumph" by The New York Times. Brilliantly written, deeply moving, fantastically funny, Lucky Us introduces us to Eva and Iris. Disappointed by their families, Iris, the hopeful star, and Eva, the sidekick, journey across 1940s America in search of fame and fortune. Iris's ambitions take them from small-town Ohio to an unexpected and sensuous Hollywood, across the America of Reinvention in a stolen station wagon, to the jazz clubs and golden mansions of Long Island.

With their friends in high and low places, Iris and Eva stumble and shine through a landscape of big dreams, scandals, betrayals, and war. Filled with gorgeous writing, memorable characters, and surprising events, Lucky Us is a thrilling and resonant novel about success and failure, good luck and bad, the creation of a family, and the pleasures and inevitable perils of family life. From Brooklyn's beauty parlors to London's West End, a group of unforgettable people love, lie, cheat, and survive in this story of our fragile, absurd, heroic species

This book sounds awesome!  Travel, clubs, war, adventure...sign me up!

What are you looking forward to?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays:  In Paradise
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!
Here's the teaser for this week:
"The cold of winter afternoon falls quickly.  Toward twilight, as the witness bearers straggle back toward the town, a weak sun, smoggy red, sinks behind the cropped misshapen trees along the road.  A woman murmurs that a faint odor of burning flesh still lingers here a half century later, and someone else recalls her mother's account of a woman who had smelled her fate while approaching Oswiecim in the cattle cars." --page 61
          -----In Paradise by Peter Matthiessen

A heavy teaser today...but they can't all be light and fluffy.

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form.  The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!

This week's theme is:  Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island.  While it's pretty certain this would never happen, it's always nice to know what type of people you would surround yourself with in such a situation.

Here's my list in no particular order :)

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games Trilogy
  • She'd be my go-to-girl for providing fresh food and for having a quick reaction time when needed.  Plus, she's tough as nails and I wouldn't really have to worry about her too much.  She can fend for herself.
Ron Weasley from The Harry Potter Series
  • Purely for entertainment purposes.  He's funny, charming, and would be a pleasure to be around.  Plus, he has magical capabilities, so he could save you/fix things in a pinch.
John Thornton from North and South
  • Eye-candy.  Pure and simple.  But he also has a great work ethic and cares about those less fortunate than him despite the front he may put on. 
Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief
  • Liesel and I would discuss our love of books together.  She's a brilliant character.
Arya Stark from A Song of Fire and Ice Series
  • Arya is a badass.  She's feisty, loyal, and survival is her MO.  As an adaptable character, she would thrive in a survival situation like this one being presented.
Alexia Tarabotti (Lady Maccon) from The Parasol Protectorate Series
  • I think her "magical" parasol would come in handy in a scuffle.  Plus, she's highly inquisitive and logical.  Her thought process would be a notable asset in any situation...though she does have a penchant for getting herself into sticky situations.
Joe Morelli from The Stephanie Plum Series
  • Some more eye-candy, but he's pretty bad ass.  A cop in Trenton, NJ with a sharp wit and take-no-prisoners attitude.  He'd keep order and mediate disputes between the other castaways.
Six from The Lorien Legacy Series
  • She's a bad-ass alien from the planet of Lorien.  She has super-speed and is very smart in a battle atmosphere.  Plus, she's incredibly independent.
Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • Sam would always have your back and be incredibly supportive in your decision while making sure that decisions are made that are in the best interest of the group.
Cyril from The 44 Scotland Street Series
  • Everyone needs a pet, and Cyril is the perfect one to choose.  Not only does he have a gold tooth and regularly drink beer, but he has an intelligent sparkle in his little doggy eye's that is so endearing.
And there you have it...the ten characters I wouldn't mind being stranded on a deserted island with.  I was trying to think of someone who could build a solid shelter, but then I remember that Ron could just whip us up a magical cottage to abide in :)  Who would you choose?

Also, look for next week's Top Ten:  Authors I Own The Most Books From

Happy reading!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Musing Mondays 6

Musing Mondays # 6

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading and is quite simple, really. It asks you to comment/muse each week on one of the following prompts:
  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
  • Tell us what you're reading right now--what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; why you are (or aren't) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books--let's here it, then!
Here's what's on my mind today...
I had a very busy non-reading weekend.  While this makes me happy because I was able to see friends I haven't seen in a while and hit up a wedding all at the same time, it also makes me sad because I did not accomplish finishing the book I was intent on finishing.  In fact, I think I only read about 15 pages all weekend.  Yikes!  Hopefully I'll finish up the book I'm currently reading and start on the other two that I have checked out from the library sometime this week.  I know I won't get a significant amount of reading done this weekend either because of having to work on Saturday...and then recovering from that on Sunday.  Barf!'d your weekend go?

Happy reading! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

The House of Special Purpose: A Review

John Boyne's The House of Special Purpose

Title:  The House of  Special Purpose
Author:  John Boyne
Published:  May 7, 2009
Publishing Company:  Other Press
Page Count:  469

Summary via Goodreads
Part love story, part historical epic, part tragedy, The House of Special Purpose illuminates an empire at the end of its reign. Eighty-year-old Georgy Jachmenev is haunted by his past—a past of death, suffering, and scandal that will stay with him until the end of his days. Living in England with his beloved wife, Zoya, Georgy prepares to make one final journey back to the Russia he once knew and loved, the Russia that both destroyed and defined him. As Georgy remembers days gone by, we are transported to St. Petersburg, to the Winter Palace of the czar, in the early twentieth century—a time of change, threat, and bloody revolution. As Georgy overturns the most painful stone of all, we uncover the story of the house of special purpose

My Thoughts
This is the first book of Boyne's that I've ever read and I absolutely loved it from the time I opened the front cover to the time I closed it.  The story of Georgy and Zoya is beautiful and heartbreaking.  Told from the perspective of Georgy, the reader follows his life story from the time he is a teenager in rural Russia until his old age in England.  The journey that he takes the reader on is set against the backdrop of the Romanov family and the Russian Revolution, tying history and imagination together rather seamlessly.  As you venture further into the novel, secrets are alluded to and slowly revealed about both Georgy and Zoya.  Told in an alternating style of past and present, where the chapters in the past slowly move forward in time and the chapters from the present slowly move back until they meet in the middle near the end of the book, there is such suspense that you never want to put the book down.  And when you learn exactly what the house of special purpose is, everything you believed and thought makes sense.  If you're looking for a great historical novel, pick this one up!

Five super big stars!  I recommend this book so much!

What are some of your favorite books set in Russia?

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

Highlights of the week/coming weekend:

1.  Yesterday after work was spent lounging poolside to combat the unnatural heat we've been experiencing here in the PNW (Pacific Northwest).  I love that there are opportunities like this and friends with pools who are down to open their doors during the work week for a little cooldown.  Naturally, we always come bearing some form of dinner and liquid libations; last night was bratwurst, bacon-ranch macaroni salad, chips, and beer.  I like to think we're pretty accommodating guests :)  To top the evening off, we were able to spend some lovely time in the hot tub afterward!

2.  Tonight, along with my lovely friend Lori @ Palmer's Page Turners, I'll be hitting up an awesome, FREE, concert in the park.  Parish Gap, a local band, puts on a great show of classic rock covers peppered with some originals.  Definitely check their stuff ou.

Cajun tots and Rubinators!
3.  Tomorrow night (Friday) I'll be heading down to Corvallis for dinner with a friend at McMenamins, a PNW tradition.  We try to get together every month or two to catch up and swill some delicious beer.  Friday will be no exception!  Cajun tots and Rubinators await!

4.  On Sunday, my boyfriend and I will be attending a friend's wedding up near Portland.  While he has never met these friends (and I told him he did not have to come along), I think it will be a great time regardless.  Plus, it's at a venue I've never been to and it looks gorgeous.  And, if I know Brianna and Ian (the lovely couple) at all, it will be an awesome time!

5.  Sunday evening will also be my catch-up day on So You Think You Can Dance!  I am three weeks behind (ugh) and I have been dying to watch the episodes.  I've been holding off on watching them because I thought someone (BF) wanted to watch as well since he likes the auditions, but Noooo.  Silly BF.  I'm not waiting any longer!

That's about it for now.  Oh!  And, of course, there will be reading scattered throughout!

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by Christine @ Bookishly Boisterous. Feel free to join in on the conversation :)

B.T.T: Summertime

Booking Through Thursday:  Summertime

Booking Through Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Deb @ Booking Through Thursday. Every week she posts a book related prompt/question, you answer the prompt, and then link back to the original. Here's this week's:
Question/Prompt:  Summertime
Do your reading habits change in the summer?
I wouldn't say that my reading habits change all that much in the summer.  I do think that I spend a lot of time reading year-round, but it's always nice to sit outside in the warm weather with a book.  I think that my big reading spurts are during late Fall, Winter, and early Spring because of the simple fact that we tend to get a fair amount of rain in the Pacific Northwest, so we spend a lot of time indoors.  Summertime is when we all venture outside for outdoor activities, so time spent reading might take a bit of a hit when the weather is nice.  However, I am perfectly content to sit on a blanket in the park/at the ocean/etc with a book and some cool libations.  Regardless, I am a year-round voracious reader :)

How do your reading habits change throughout the year?

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

W.O.W: The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to highlight releases they are eagerly awaiting.
Here's what I'm looking forward to:

Title:  The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl:  How Two Brave Scientists Battled Typhus and Sabotaged the Nazis
Author:  Arthur Allen
Publication Date:  July 21, 2014
Page Count:  400

Summary via Goodreads
Few diseases are more gruesome than typhus. Transmitted by body lice, it afflicts the dispossessed refugees, soldiers, and ghettoized peoples causing hallucinations, terrible headaches, boiling fever, and often death. The disease plagued the German army on the Eastern Front and left the Reich desperate for a vaccine. For this they turned to the brilliant and eccentric Polish zoologist Rudolf Weigl. In the 1920s, Weigl had created the first typhus vaccine using a method as bold as it was dangerous for its use of living human subjects. The astonishing success of Weigl s techniques attracted the attention and admiration of the world giving him cover during the Nazi s violent occupation of Lviv. His lab soon flourished as a hotbed of resistance. Weigl hired otherwise doomed mathematicians, writers, doctors, and other thinkers, protecting them from atrocity. The team engaged in a sabotage campaign by sending illegal doses of the vaccine into the Polish ghettos while shipping gallons of the weakened serum to the Wehrmacht.

Among the scientists saved by Weigl, who was a Christian, was a gifted Jewish immunologist named Ludwik Fleck. Condemned to Buchenwald and pressured to re-create the typhus vaccine under the direction of a sadistic Nazi doctor, Erwin Ding-Schuler, Fleck had to make an awful choice between his scientific ideals or the truth of his conscience. In risking his life to carry out a dramatic subterfuge to vaccinate the camp s most endangered prisoners, Fleck performed an act of great heroism.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews with survivors, Arthur Allen tells the harrowing story of two brave scientists a Christian and a Jew who put their expertise to the best possible use, at the highest personal danger."

I know it's a long description, but it just sounds so freakin' awesome!  I love all things World War II (memoir, fiction, non-fiction, science, etc); it's all so intriguing to me.

What are you looking forward to?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays:  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!
And here's this week's little tidbit:
"People tell boring lies about politics, God, and love.  You know everything you need to know about a person from the answer to the question, What is your favorite book?" --page 87
          -----The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

I am loving this book so far.  It overflows with book love!!!

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Movies or TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form. The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!

This week's theme is:  Favorite Movies or TV Shows.  Oh, man, oh, man...where do I begin?  I'm going to go with TV shows for this week's post, because they're easier to narrow down!

Here are my favorites (past and present) in no particular order:

The Walking Dead
  • I am obsessed with this show.  Beyond obsessed.  It's kind of ridiculous.  I'll watch the marathons even though I've seen every single episode.  I also stick around after each episode and watch The Talking Dead.  But it's oh so good!  If you like zombies and aren't grossed out by gore...this is THE show for long as Daryl and Glenn don't die.
So You Think You Can Dance
  • Dancing?  Check!  Awesome choreography?  Check!  Alternating guest judges?  Check!  Returning all-stars?  Double check!  This is, hands down, my favorite "reality" show.  It's entertaining, emotional, and full of talented people.  I seriously do a countdown for SYTYCD because it's so buck!
  • When this show came out, I quickly became a voracious watcher.  It was fun and involved aliens...because they exist...and the whole Area 51 conspiracy theory.  So good.  Even when it was scheduled to be cut from the WB line-up, fans sent thousands upon thousands of bottles of tabasco to keep it on the air...and it worked!
  • This one is pretty self-explanatory.  10 years of awesome comedy and I still watch the reruns on tv whenever their on. 
  • There are multiple reasons I love this show.  1. It's set in Portland and the Pacific Northwest (where I live).  2. It is all about Grimm fairytales and, as a lover of German culture, this appeals to me greatly.  3. It's just plain awesome. 
The IT Crowd
  • Specifically the British version of the show (the original).  So, so, so funny!  The adventures, and misadventures, of Roy, Moss, and Jen are flat out hilarious.  If you haven't seen this show, definitely check it out.  Seasons 1-3 are available to stream via Netflix :)
  • This is where the nerd in me comes out hardcore.  I love Jeopardy.  I love knowledge and trivial tidbits.  My mother says that I am a fount of useless information...and I have to agree with her.  However, this allows for me to be pretty damn good at Jeopardy :)  One day I'll try out...
Game of Thrones
  • The books are phenomenal...the shows pretty awesome as well.  Though I have to say that if you've never read the books, there are so many things that can be confusing in the series; I find myself having to explain who someone is or a plotting device to my boyfriend often when we watch the show.  We're currently finishing up season two (no spoilers, please) and are eager to begin season three!
One Tree Hill
  • This show began right before my sophomore year of undergrad and I loved it.  We had OTH watching parties and were eager to see what exploits the characters were getting up to each week.  I'll admit that I didn't watch the last three or four seasons, but I've been seriously thinking about going back and finishing it up.  It's a great teen drama.
Dawson's Creek
  • What can I say...I love a good WB teen drama!  The drama surrounding Dawson, Pacey, Joey, and Jen was right up my alley and coincided perfectly with my age group.  I loved that show and watched it from start to finish.
And there you have it!  What are some of your favorite TV shows?

Also, look for next week's top ten:  Characters I Would Want with Me on a Deserted Island

Happy reading!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts

It's been unseasonably warm the last few weeks here in Oregon.  Typically, we are not an area that reaches 90 degrees often throughout the Summer; it can happen, but it's never this early in the year and it rarely sticks around for days at a time.  This year it's different.  The heat seemed to spring up on us quickly (think a difference of 20 degrees overnight).  I don't like it at all!  I am a 75 degree tops type of person and thoroughly enjoy the rain.  Normally this isn't an issue in western Oregon, but this year it is.
So, to combat the oppressing (to me) heat, I now have two AC units in my apartment.  Originally I had one that I utilized in the main living space (I rarely used it last year), but my parents are pretty much the best ever and suprised me with one for my bedroom...along with an awesome teal patio set for my porch...yesterday evening!  Needless to say I slept quite well last night :)

After installing both units, we all went out to dinner (my parents, myself, and my boyfriend) to a restaurant in a nearby town that had just been remodeled under new ownership.  It's definitely a step up from where it used to be and the food was surprisingly delicious.  However...I neglected to notice that my pasta dish came with a side of steamed veggies that included broccoli and carrots.  While I absolutely love steamed veggies (including broccoli and carrots), what I don't love is the possibility of having an allergic reaction and not being able to breathe.  Personally, I kind of like breathing.  Over the last four years I have developed an increasingly severe allergy to broccoli and, to a lesser extent, carrots.  So strange!  The broccoli allergy is definitely hereditary as my grandfather, mother, and sister all have the same allergy.  The carrot allergy is just weird.  But I'm weird, so there's that. 

I was going to attempt to eat around the broccoli and avoid anything touching the evil (though delicious) veggie, but kept coming across little kernels mixed in with  my pasta.  Everyone kept telling me to send it back, but I HATE doing that!  I hate it so much.  I never want to be "that" customer.  But about three bites in I finally caved because the roof of my mouth was getting numb...whoops.  The waiter and kitchen were completely understanding and I got a new plate more quickly than I had imagined...and it was delicious.  However I still feel bad about sending perfectly good food back to the kitchen...

Note to self:  ALWAYS read the fine print!!!  And tip well!

Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts is a weekly meme hosted by Christine @ Bookishly Boisterous.  Feel free to join in on the conversation :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

W.O.W: Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to highlight releases they are eagerly awaiting.
Here's what I'm anticipating:

Title:  Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay
Author:  Elena Ferrante
Publication Date:  September 2, 2014 (translated from the Italian)
Page Count:  Not Known

Summary via Publishers Weekly
Surpassing the rapturous storytelling of the previous titles in the Neapolitan Novels (My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name), Ferrante here reunites Elena and Lil, two childhood friends, who dissect subjects as complicated as their own relationship, including feminism and class, men and women, mothers and children, sex and violence, and origin and destiny. As the narrative unfolds in the late 1960s and early ’70s, the fiery Lila stays in Naples, having escaped an abusive marriage, and lives platonically with a man from the neighborhood, along with her young, possibly illegitimate son. The feisty Elena leaves town, graduates from a university in Pisa, publishes a successful book, marries an upper-class professor, and moves to Florence, where she gives birth to two daughters. Against the backdrop of student revolution and right-wing reaction, the two women’s tumultuous friendship seesaws up and down as each tries to outdo the other. “You wanted to write novels,” Lila tells Elena. “I created a novel with real people, with real blood, in reality.” Are the two women less opposites than parts of a whole? The book concludes not with a duality but with a surprising new triangle involving Nino, another homegrown intellectual, who loves both women.

I am loving, loving, loving this series and cannot recommend it enough!  So excited for the next novel.  Definitely check it out.

What are you excited for?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A-Z Book Survey

An A-Z Book Survey

A fun little A-Z Book Survey hosted by Jamie @ The Perpetual Page Turner.  I love doing these because it allows me to share some of my favorite reads with my fellow bloggers...perhaps they'll discover something they haven't heard of.  I know that I always do! 

Here we go!

Author You've Read the Most Books From
I think that would be Italo Calvino...a brilliant Italian writer.  A close second would probably be J.K. Rowling.  I do love me some Harry Potter!  Oh...wait.  Nora Roberts.  I've read nearly all of her books because they're quick and don't require much thought. 

Best Sequel Ever
This one is so difficult because there are so many great sequels, but I'm going to go with A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin.  It's the third book in the A Song of Fire and Ice series and it's so, so, so good!  So many shocking scenes and twists and turns!  Gah!  Cress by Marissa Meyer is also a fantastic sequel.  Really there are just too many to name.

Currently Reading
I just cracked open the spine of The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante.  I absolutely loved the first book in this series and was stoked to see that the second had finally been translated into English from its original Italian!  Score!

Drink of Choice While Reading
COFFEE!!!  I am an addict...which I openly admit.  If I could have a bottomless coffee cup, I'd be a happy camper...or an IV of delicious coffee...that'd be okay too :)

E-Reader of Physical Books?
Physical books are my go-to.  I love being able to physically turn pages, break the spine, dog-ear where I'm at, and smell their bookish goodness.  While I do enjoy having the convenience of an e-reader, I don't read on it as much as I read physical books.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Dated in High School
Neville Longbottom.  I love Neville :)  Or Jon Snow...mmmm...Jon Snow.

Glad You Gave This Book a Chance
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.  I randomly picked this book up at the public library one day and I'm so glad I did!  The synopsis sounded intriguing, but it is Ferrante's lyrically brilliant writing that makes this a superb novel.  I am so incredibly glad that I have discovered her work and can't wait to get my hands on all of her English translations!

Hidden Gem Book
Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer.  This is a brilliant and beautifully written book.  It is hilarious and heartwrenching all at the same time. 

Important Moment in Your Reading Live
Oh there have been several.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak...The Baron in the Trees by Italo Calvino...Death in Venice by Thomas Mann...Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.  I could go on and on.  So many books have influence my reading.

Just Finished Reading
Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies and Greetings from Somewhere Else by Monica McInerney.  It was a good reading weekend :)

Kind of Books You Won't Read
I am really up to read just about anything, but I'm not the hugest fan of science fiction or christian ficiton books.  That's not saying I haven't read books from either of those genres, they just aren't ones I normally gravitate toward.  Also, chick lit.  I enjoy reading these books, but they're never ones I hit up first in a bookstore.  I'm more of a classics/literary fiction/historic fiction reader. 

Longst Book You've Read
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.  At a whopping 1463 pages (depending on your edition), it's a doozy.  But oh so good!  Definitely recommend it.

Major Book Hangover Because Of...
Harry Potter.  I did not want it to end...EVER!  I absolutely love this series and re-read it nearly every summer.  I haven't done so this summer, but there's still time :)  I also felt this way when I finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Number of Bookshelves You Own
Two.  They are both six feet tall...and double-stacked.  They also have books piled on top of the double-stacked rows.  I think I might need to buy more bookshelves...getting rid of books is rarely an option :)

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.  This is one of my most favorite books of all time.  I love going on Charlotte's adventure with her.  So captivating!  It's also the book I've bought the most copies of because they keep disappearing...

Preferred Place to Read
Anywhere that coffee is available.  I love reading in coffeeshops for several reasons.  1. There is an infinite supply of coffee...and snacks.  2.  If I need to take a break, I can people-watch!  3.  Most of the time there is light music in the background, which I rather enjoy.  I also absolutely love reading on airplanes and in airports.  Weird.

Quote that Inspires You or Gives You All the Feels
"Whatever the cost of our libraries, the price is cheap compared to that of an ignorant nation" --Walter Cronkite
"Books are a uniquely protable magic" --Stephen King

Reading Regret
Not being as well read in classic American writers as I am in European writers.  I'm not the hugest fan of American writers, I much prefer European authors, and that's something I feel bad about.  I'll purposely skip over works by Faulkner, Hawthorne, Hemingway, etc. and pick up something by Tolstoy or Dickens.  I just find European literature so much more fulfilling. 

Series You Started and Need to Finish (that's completely published)
Oh gosh...most of the series I'm reading aren't completely published!  Um...maybe 44 Scotland Street by Alexander McCall Smith, but I think he's still writing on the series.  There are so many series that I want to start!  Or The Neapolitan Novels series by Elena Ferrante.  I think there are only three and the final one has been published in its original Italian, but the English translation doesn't come out until September.  Does that count?  I don't know...

Three of Your All-Time Faves
I'm going to go out of the box here and suggest ones that are not on everyone's radar (aka Harry Potter, The Book Thief, The Hunger Games, etc).  Here are three of my faves:  If on a winter's night a traveler by Italo Calvino, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and Midwives by Chris Bohjalian.

Unapologetic Fangirl For...
Harry Potter...all things Harry Potter.  I make no apologies for this love/obsession at all.  And, yes.  I do have an account on Pottermore and it's awesome!  Don't judge me...

Very Excited for This Release, Above All Others
Winter by Marissa Meyer.  I am loving, loving, loving The Lunar Chronicles and can't wait for the last book to come out.  2015 is way too far away!

Worst Bookish Habit
Breaking the spine and dog-earing pages.  I know, I know.  So bad.  As someone who loves books, and knows the value of and correct way to handle rare books, this should be a no-no.  But I just can't help myself.

X Marks the Spot:  Start at the Top Left of Your Shelf and Pick the 27th Book
Well, since my bookselves are double stacked, these are the four books that are in the 27th spot from the left:  Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende, The Russia House by John le Carre, Passing by Nella Larsen, and Reached by Ally Condie.

Your Last Book Purchase
How about the last eleven books I purchased...haha.  The Friends of the Library booksale was on Saturday, and I hit that up hard-core!  Walked away with the following gems for a total of 6 bucks!:  White Oleander by Janet Fitch, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson, The Secret Book of Grazia dei Rossi by Jacqueline Park, Goodnight Nobody and Little Earthquakes by Jennifer Weiner, The General in His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III, City of Light by Lauren Belfer,and  Between Two Rivers by Nicholas Rinaldi.

Zzzz Snatcher:  Last Book that Kept You Up WAY Too Late
Probably A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin, the fourth book in A Song of Fire and Ice series.  They're just so freakin' good!

This was fun!  Feel free to participate and happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Blogging Confessions

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form.  The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!

This week's theme is:  Blogging Confessions.  I'm really going to try to come up with ten blogging confessions, but I don't know if I can do it. 

Here goes!
  1. I have well over 50 book reviews in my drafts folder that I need to finish.
  2. I stopped adding new books that need to be reviewed to my drafts folder months that number should probably be much closer to seventy...or more :(
  3. I go in big blogging spurts and then kind of disappear for months.  It becomes quite difficult to post consistently during certain times of the year for some reason.
  4. The only time I post consistently is during the month of April because I participate in the A-Z Blogging I'm FORCED to post something.  This was my third year participating and it's a lot of fun.
  5. If I don't like the look of a blog, or if it's too busy, I won't stay to read what has been written.  That's horrible of me!
  6. Along those same lines, if a blog doesn't have me hooked in the first few sentences or first paragraph, I won't stick around to finish reading the post (I'm the same way with newspapers and magazines)
  7. I'm woefully inept at figuring out Blogger!  How do you make a button?  Pages...forget about it!  A personalized signature...nope.  I'm lucky that I can figure out how to put in links and pictures. 
  8. I get bored with my page design quickly and am unimpressed (for the most part) with the pre-made  Blogger template options, but I'm too cheap to pay for a professionally designed page and too tech illiterate to build one myself.
  9. I get slightly depressed when I see the lack of correlation between how many times a post has been viewed and how many comments it received...or didn't receive.
  10. I feel like reviews should never have spoilers in them and get angry when others include them.  My personal reaction:  "Great!  Thanks for RUINING the book for me, Jackhole!" 
Whew...I did it!  And got those off my chest.  Hopefully I didn't offend anyone and hopefully I'm not alone on some of these.  Regardless, what are some of your blogging confessions?

Also, look for next week's Top Ten:  Favorite Movies or TV Shows

Happy reading!

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays:  The Story of a New Name

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!
And...for your reading's teaser!
"When they came home, exhausted, her husband made a scene and Lila did her best to provoke his fury.  She shouted that if he wanted someone who obeyed, and that's all, he was out of luck; she was not his mother or his sister, she would always make life difficult for him" --page 116
          -----The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante

Happy reading!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Musing Mondays 5

Musing Mondays #5

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading and is quite simple, really. It asks you to comment/muse each week on one of the following prompts:

  • Describe one of your reading habits.
  • Tell us what book(s) you recently bought for yourself or someone else, and why you chose that/those book(s).
  • What book are you currently desperate to get your hands on? Tell us about it!
  • Tell us what you're reading right now--what you think of it, so far; why you chose it; why you are (or aren't) enjoying it.
  • Do you have a bookish rant? Something about books or reading (or the industry) that gets your ire up? Share it with us!
  • Instead of the above questions, maybe you just want to ramble on about something else pertaining to books--let's here it, then!
Here's what's on my mind today...

I had a successful reading holiday weekend (woohoo!) and was able to finish Belle Cora by Phillip Margulies and Greetings from Somewhere Else by Monica McInerney.  Both books were pretty good (look for my reviews later on).  I was also able to start a book I picked up from the public library, The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante.  This is the second book in a series by Ferrante, an Italian author.  I am so excited to dive into this book.  The first in the series, My Brilliant Friend, was outstanding! 

More books to add to the shelves!
Also in the book realm, this weekend, being the 4th, is quite hopping in the town where I live (Independence...they go BIG for Independence Day).  Along with all of the normal activities, parades, fairs, fireworks, musical performances, the local library has a two day booksale where paperbacks are 50 cents and hardbacks are $1.  Needless to say I scored a nice, hefty stack of books to add to my already overflowing bookshelves :)  I'll post a picture of all my new treasures later this afternoon (they're at home...I'm at work...alas).  It was a successful library trip to say the least!

How was your holiday weekend (for those of you in the US)?

Happy reading!

Note:  sorry all of the links are from Amazon; my Goodreads account isn't cooperating this morning :(

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Lavender Morning: A Review

Jude Deveraux's Lavender Morning

Title:  Lavender Morning
Author:  Jude Deveraux
Published:  January 1, 2009
Publishing Company:  Atria Books
Page Count:  384

Summary via Goodreads
Jocelyn Minton is a woman torn between two worlds. Her mother grew up attending private schools and afternoon teas, but she married the local handyman. After her mother died when Joce was only five years old, her father remarried into his own class, and Joce became an outsider -- until she met Edilean Harcourt. Although she was sixty years Joce's senior, Miss Edi was a kindred soul who understood her like no one else ever had. When Miss Edi passes away, she leaves Joce all her worldly possessions, including an eighteenth-century house and a letter with clues to a mystery that began in 1941. In the letter, Miss Edi also mentions that she has found the perfect man for Joce -- a handsome young lawyer. Joce is shocked to learn that the mystery, the house, and the future love of her life are all in Edilean, a small town in Virginia that Miss Edi never told her about. Hurt that the woman who meant so much to her kept so many secrets, Jocelyn moves to this tight-knit village in an attempt to understand the legacy that has been left to her. As she begins to dig into Miss Edi's mystery, she soon discovers some shocking surprises about her family's history and her own future -- and she meets a man with his own mysterious past.

My Thoughts
I have read several of Jude Deveraux's books throughout the past tenish years, but it wasn't until probably the last three years or so that I've really fallen in love with her writing.  Lavender is the third book in the Edilean series that Deveraux has written.  I like this series for several reasons: 1. It includes both historical romance books and contemporary romance books, 2. The historical books are mostly set in Scotland...and I love Scotland, 3.  The contemporary books aren't unappealing (I'm not the biggist contemporary romance fan).  I enjoyed this particular book in the series because of the mystery it offered to the reader.  You discover things about Miss Edi, the town of Edilean, Jocelyn, and so much more.  It's a nice, quick read that leaves you satisfied, but it is not the best one in the series.

Three stars on Goodreads.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

The Witness: A Review

Nora Roberts' The Witness

Title:  The Witness
Author:  Nora Roberts
Published:  January 1, 2012
Publishing Company:  Putnam Adult
Page Count:  757

Summary via Goodreads
Daughter of a controlling mother, Elizabeth finally let loose one night, drinking at a nightclub and allowing a strange man's seductive Russian accent lure her to a house on Lake Shore Drive. The events that followed changed her life forever.

Twelve years later, the woman known as Abigail Lowery lives on the outskirts of a small town in the Ozarks. A freelance programmer, she designs sophisticated security systems -- and supplements her own security with a fierce dog and an assortment of firearms. She keeps to herself, saying little, revealing nothing. But Abigail's reserve only intrigues police chief Brooks Gleason. Her logical mind, her secretive nature, and her unromantic viewpoints leave him fascinated but frustrated. He suspects that Abigail needs protection from something -- and that her elaborate defenses hide a story that must be revealed.

My Thoughts
This book was a fun, quick read despite the daunting 757 page count; quite long for a Roberts book.  It offers all of the things we expect to find in her stories:  a man, woman, conflict, and romance.  So satisfying.  The nice change of pace with this book, compared to her others, is that it was more suspenseful.  More along the veins of the books she publishes under J.D Robb.  Regardless, you can still tell it's a Nora Roberts books.  The writing is clear and enjoyable.  The characters are well-written and fleshed out.  And the storyline is intriguing.  It also highlights how our choices can have unforeseen consequences.  This is probably one of her better ones in recent years.  Great story.

Four stars on Goodreads.  I love a Nora Roberts book :)

Happy reading!

W.O.W: The Revenge of Seven

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekley meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to highlight releases they are eagerly awaiting.

Here's what I'm looking forward to:

Title:  The Revenge of Seven
Author:  Pittacus Lore
Publication Date:  August 26, 2014
Page Count:  416

Summary via Goodreads
The worst was supposed to be over. We were reunited after a decade apart. We were discovering the truth of our past. We were training and getting stronger every day. We were even happy...

We never imagined the Mogodorians could turn one of our own against us. We were fools for trusting Five. And now Eight is lost forever. I would do anything to bring him back, but that's impossible. Instead, I will do whatever it takes to destroy every last one of them.

I've spent my entire life hiding from them, and they've stolen everything away from me. But that stops now. We're going to take the battle to them. We have a new ally who knows their weaknesses. And I finally have the power to fight back.

They caught Number One in Malaysia.

Number Two in England.

Number Three in Kenya.

And Number Eight in Florida.

They killed them all.

I am Number Seven.

I will make them pay.

The Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore is so much fun!  I have loved every single book and have eagerly anticipated each new addition.  Number four ended on such a cliffhanger that I can't wait to plow through this one.  August can't come soon enough!

What are you eagerly anticipating?

Happy reading!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesday:  Greetings from Somewhere Else

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB @ Should Be Reading. Here are the rules: grab whatever you're reading, open to a random page, select no more than two sentence (NO SPOILERS), share the title and author, and GO!
Here's this week's teaser...
"She decided to do what she always did when she was feeling overwhelmed.  Make a list.  She sat at the dining-room table and grabbed a notepad from the pile in the center.  Top of the list?  That was easy.  PANIC." --page 29
          -----Greetings from Somewhere Else by Monica McInerney

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Classic Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and it's a way to share what you're loving in list form.  The topic changes every week, so there is always something new to discover!

This week's theme is:  Favorite Classic Books.  Now, classic is a subjective term in literature and can span quite a large selection.  So for this list I'm going to list my favorite classics published before 1900.

Here ya go:

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (published 1882)
  • I read this book while living in Vienna and quickly fell in love with it.  It must have been fate that I chose to read it when I did because during the holidays that year, the Vienna Opera House put on a ballet of the book.  Score!  It was phenomenal.
Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert (published 1869)
  • This is one of those strange books where you absolutely loathe ALL of the characters, but find the book fantastic.  Such a great read.
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (published 1862)
  • A hefty piece to get through, but completely worth it by the time you're finished.  The story of Jean Valjean, Cosette, and Fantine is one that shouldn't be missed.  The new film was actually quite good...aside from Russell Crowe...
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (published 1855)
  • Sacrilege...but I kind of love Elizabeth Gaskell more than Jane Austen.  This book is amazing.  Seriously, if you haven't read it yet, read it NOW!  And then go watch the BBC version starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby-Ashe.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (published 1837)
  • Poor Oliver!  I loved this books so much and felt terrible for Oliver and all the other children in the Poor House.  I really liked that there were humorous aspects and historically accurate descriptions of the social times.  It's a beautiful, though at times rushed, book.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (published 1813)
  • This is pretty self-explanatory in my opinion.  Austen is a literary force to be reckoned with and her first book is, perhaps, her best.  It has spawned several film versions and inspired much fan fiction/spin-offs.  If you've never read the story of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, you've been living under a very heavy rock! 
Hamlet by William Shakespeare (published 1602)
  • I've read a lot of Shakespeare, but this is probably my favorite for several reasons.  The madness, backstabbing, murder, ghosts, etc all appeal to me.  And it's got some of the best monologues!
The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (published 1390)
  • If you've never read any of Chaucer's tales, then you're missing out.  They're raucous, hilarious, sentimental, raunchy, and awesome!  This book has inspired a lot of other writers and even films...hello, A Knight's Tale
Beowulf by Anonymous (442 BC)
  • Though the most famous and widely read translation of this story is by Seamus Heaney and was published in 2001, it is originally from the above time period so I'm counting it.  Also, it's an epic poem and not a book, but that's nit-picking!  Though this is required reading in a lot of educational settings, I promise that it is an excellent tale and worth your time.
Flowers of Evil by Charles Baudelaire (published 1857)
  • If you're looking for something macabre, off-putting, putrid, and beautifully written, definitely check out Baudelaire's collection of poetry.  It's so good! 
And there you have it, folks.  My top ten classics published prior to 1900.  I could keep going and start working my way up to the 1950s, but then this would be a really, really long list.  So, what are some of you favorite classic books?

Also, look for next week's Top Ten:  Blogging Confessions

Happy reading!