Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays:  Station Eleven

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn @ A Daily Rhythm. 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 today's teaser:
"There was the flu that exploded like a neutron bomb over the surface of the earth and the shock of the collapse that followed, the first unspeakable years when everyone was traveling, before everyone caught on that there was no place they could walk to where life continued as it had before and settled wherever they could, clustered close together for safety in truck stops and former restaurants and old motels." --page 37
          Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I'm really enjoying this book so far...though I'm only about 50 pages in.

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Recently Added to My TBR

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 topic is:  Top Ten Books I've Recently Added to My TBR List.  I swear that I add books nearly every single day...and rarely clean up my list.  It's very hard for me to delete anything once it's made the list and I feel really bad if I do get rid of something. 

Regardless, these are the newest books that have made it to my shelf...

Language Arts by Stephanie Kallos
The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows

Honolulu by Alan Brennert

Seraphina and Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro
Sweetland by Michael Crummey
What books have recently popped up on your radar?

Also, look for next week's post:  Top Ten Characters I'd Like to Check In With Now That the Book/Series is Over.

Happy reading!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Bookish Bingo: 2015 New Year (Updated)

Yes!  Just as one Bookish Bingo reading challenge concludes, another begins.  I'm super stoked.  The challenge is hosted by Great Imaginations and is so much fun. 

Here's the card for this challenge:
Yeah new reading challenges!  And this will also count for Bout of Books 12.  What what!  I will be keeping track of my progress on this post.
If you would like to join in, here's the sign-up post.
B3, I3, FREE, G3, O3
B1, I2, FREE, G4, O5
B1, B2, B3, B4, B5
G1, G2, G3, G4, G5
B1:  Forgotten Fridays Pick:  Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
B2:  Pretty Dress Cover:  The Elite by Kiera Cass
B3:  Blue Cover:  A Sudden Light by Garth Stein
B4:  PoC MC:  Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan
I1:  Start a Series:  The Selection by Kiera Cass 
I2:  Middle Grade:  The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
I3:  Mystery or Thriller:  Blood Magick by Nora Roberts
I4:  Mental Illness:  Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
N2:  White Cover:  The One by Kiera Cass
N4:  Romance:  Easy by Tammara Webber
N5:  Male POV:  The Zone of Interest by Martin Amis
G1:  Magical Realism:  The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
G2:  LGBTQIA:  We Are Water by Wally Lamb
G3:  Over 400 Pages:  Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy
G4:  2014 Release You Missed:  Landline by Rainbow Rowell
G5:  Super Powers:  The Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore
O3:  Graphic Novel:  The Walking Dead, Compendium 1 by Robert Kirkman
O5:  Pink Cover:  Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays:  The Night Circus

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Jenn @ A Daily Rhythm. 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:
"In response, Celia goes to the wall and removes a thin Ottoman dagger with a jade hilt from where it hangs with its partner.  Holding it in her right hand, she places her left palm down on the billiard table, over the scattered cards.  Without hesitating, she plunges the blade into the back of her hand, piercing through skin and flesh and cards and into the felt underneath." --page 281
          The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Though the verdict's still out on how I feel about this book (roughly 95% finished), I'm holding out until the end to see how it all pans out before making up my mind completely...

Happy reading!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books from my Childhood/Teen Years

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 topic is:  Top Ten Books from my Childhood/Teen Years That I Would Love to Revisit.  As a rule, I do not like to revisit books often because it takes away from reading/discovering new books.  However, these are some books that I have read again as an adult and will probably do so in the future.

Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Little Critter Series by Mercer Mayer

I know this is eleven books, but oh well. 

What are some of your favorite reads from your childhood or teenage years?

Also, look for next week's post:  Top Ten Books I've Recently Added to my TBR List.

Happy reading!

Monday, March 23, 2015

A-Z Challenge Theme Reveal Blogfest

Oh man, oh man!  It's nearly that time of year when an entire month is devoted to consistent blogging, hopping around visiting and discovering different blogs, and having a great time doing so!  This will be my fourth year participating in the A-Z Blogging Challenge and I have loved being a participant every time. 

This year, there's a new feature popping up:  A Theme Reveal!  Today's the day when bloggers from around the world announce what their guiding theme will be for the month of April.  I made a rather extensive list of possible topics and it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to one.  However, I now have topics for the next several years! 

Moving on, and without further ado, here's my proposed topic:
Music That Has Inspired Me/Means Something to Me

Posts will include the following:
  • Artist and Title (obviously)
  • Video (or video link)
  • Best lyrics...or something
  • Why this particular song means something to me
I'm rather excited about this year's topic and already have my days decided...narrowing songs down was a freakin' doozy!  Regardless, here's to an awesome month of blogging!

Happy reading!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Dracula: A Review

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Title:  Dracula
Author:  Bram Stoker
Published:  1897
Publishing Company:  WW Norton & Company (1986 edition)
Page Count:  488

Summary via Goodreads
Jonathan Harker, incarcerated in a Transylvanian castle, has an alluring but terrifying dream of three women, eager to prey upon him. His host and jailer is none other than Count Dracula, or Nosferatu, the Un-Dead, controller of the wolves.

My Thoughts
A short and very vague summary, but this book (the 1986 edition especially) has so much to offer the reader.  Nearly everyone knows the base story of Dracula, but what is discovered when finally reading the book is the strength (to a certain extent) of the female characters, especially Mina, the madness of Seward, the hell-bent determination of Van Helsing and Jonathan, the humor of Quincey, and so much more.  And, of course, the fear that Count Dracula inspires in everyone.  There is mystery, horror, and seduction woven throughout the text.  The chase is substantial from page one, and it is thrilling.  However, upon reaching the final stages of the chase, I have to say that it feels like Stoker rushed the ending.  It felt abrupt and unsatisfying compared to the first 3/4 of the novel.  Despite this, it's a well-done horror/gothic novel that everyone should read at least once.

Four stars.  Had the ending been more satisfying, this would have received higher rating from me.  The elements are all there, but it left me wanting more.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR List

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!
Today's topic is:  Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List.  I always have insurmountable goals for my seasonal reading lists...and they continually change because I see something out of the corner of my eye and randomly pick it up.  Really, I shouldn't even make a seasonal list because I just go with whatever strikes my fancy. 

Regardless, here are my ten choices:

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Yes Please by Amy Poehler

A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

by Jay Allison and Dan Gediman (Editors)

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Beautiful You by Chuck Palahniuk
Playlist for the Dead by Michelle Falkoff

The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushdie

And there you have it.  I can guarantee that several of these will be replaced along the way, but it's a start.

What's on your TBR list for Spring?

Also, look for next week's Top Ten:  Top Ten Books from My Childhood/Teen Years that I'd Like to Revisit.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Red Rain: A Review

R.L. Stine's Red Rain

Title:  Red Rain
Author:  R.L. Stine
Published:  October 9, 2012
Publishing Company:  Touchstone
Page Count:  371

Summary via Goodreads
In Red Rain, Stine uses his unerring knack for creating terror to tap into some very grownup fears. Travel writer Lea Sutter finds herself on a small island off the coast of South Carolina, the wrong place at the wrong time. A merciless, unanticipated hurricane cuts a path of destruction through the island and Lea barely escapes with her life.
In the storm’s aftermath, she discovers two orphaned boys – twins. Filled with a desire to do something to help, to make something good of all she witnessed, Lea impulsively decides to adopt them. The boys, Samuel and Daniel, seem amiable and immensely grateful; Lea’s family back on Long Island – husband Mark, a child psychologist, and their two children, Ira and Elena – aren’t quite so pleased. But even they can’t anticipate the twins’ true nature – or predict that, within a few weeks’ time, Mark will wind up implicated in two brutal murders, with the police narrowing in

My Thoughts
Well...I don't even know where to begin.  I was a huge, HUGE, fan of Stine as a kid with a massive obsession with the Fear Street series.  This book was a big disappointment.  It was highly predictable, not suspenseful, and so Children of the Corn-esque that it was off-putting.  The characters are unreliable, unbelievable, and grating.  The twins, Samuel and Daniel, are creepy from the start and the fact that Lea completely misses this is shockingly bad.  Then, when Mark is accused of murder, it's so far-fetched that I nearly gave up.  But I just couldn't do that because I have a problem in never leaving a book unfinished.

Two stars.  Sigh...I hope his next book is better since he's revisiting Fear Street.  Fingers crossed!

Happy reading.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Cellist of Sarajevo: A Review

Steven Galloway's The Cellist of Sarajevo

Title:  The Cellist of Sarajevo
Author:  Steven Galloway
Published:  May 15, 2008
Publishing Company:  Riverhead Hardcover
Page Count:  235

Summary via Goodreads
In a city under siege, four people whose lives have been upended are ultimately reminded of what it is to be human. From his window, a musician sees twenty-two of his friends and neighbors waiting in a breadline. Then, in a flash, they are killed by a mortar attack. In an act of defiance, the man picks up his cello and decides to play at the site of the shelling for twenty-two days, honoring their memory. Elsewhere, a young man leaves home to collect drinking water for his family and, in the face of danger, must weigh the value of generosity against selfish survivalism. A third man, older, sets off in search of bread and distraction and instead runs into a long-ago friend who reminds him of the city he thought he had lost, and the man he once was. As both men are drawn into the orbit of cello music, a fourth character- a young woman, a sniper- holds the fate of the cellist in her hands. As she protects him with her life, her own army prepares to challenge the kind of person she has become.

My Thoughts
This is a beautiful book that I stumbled across while perusing the endcaps of the local Dollar Tree.  Sometimes you really find gems there!  The characters are rich, vibrant, and haunting.  As there is danger lurking around every corner, and from the sky, the reader is constantly on the edge of their reading seat wondering if these four characters will make it out alive; in fact, the characters are wondering the exact same thing.  Based on the true story of Vedran Smailovic, the determination of the cellist in the midst of chaos is admirable and speaks volumes about the resilience of the people who inhabit Sarajevo during the war.  In addition, the dedication of Arrow, the young sniper, is impressive.  She continually risks her life to ensure that the cellist is able to continue playing in the square and complete his memorial to those killed in the mortar attacks.  Kenan, the only character with an identifiable family, risks his life to collect water every four days, in addition to bringing water back for a cantankerous neighbor.  His self-sacrifice is wonderful to witness.  Brilliant characters and shocking action keep the reader interested and invested in this little book.

Four solid stars.  If you've never heard of this book, I wouldn't be surprised...despite the controversy surrounding it.  However, I highly recommend checking it out.  You won't be disappointed.

Happy reading!

Friday, March 6, 2015

A Plethora of Blogging Awards

Recently, I've received a number of blogging awards (despite my pseudo-lack of blogging consistently on topics that are not pre-planned and really easy to construct).  However, I want to thank Lori @ Palmer's Page Turners for the nominations.  Here's the lowdown:

The Very Inspiring Blogger
  • Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
  • List the rules and display the award.
  • Share seven facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  • Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.
Random facts will be combined with the Versatile Blogger Award below.
The Versatile Blogger
  • Nominate 10-15 other bloggers relatively new to blogging
  •  Let the bloggers know that you've nominated them.
  •  Share 10 random facts about yourself.
  •  Thank the blogger who nominated you either by leaving a comment or following them and link back to their blog.
  • Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post.
Random Facts
  • I'm obsessed with Cheddar Jalapeno Cheetos.  They're so freakin' delicious...but so bad for you! Ugh...
  • I can watch reruns of Friends over and over and over again.
  • Ghosts are real.  True story.
  • When I was in the second grade I was in a local commercial for a place called The Costume Loft.  I was dressed as a Medieval princess, complete with cone hat...though I really wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy because the dress was pretty and so poofy...my cousin got that costume :(
  • I really dislike re-reading books because I feel like it takes time away from my goal of reading the "1001 Books to Read Before You Die" and all other books that are out there!  *Panics*
  • I feel like I am a really good driver, but distrust nearly everyone else on the road...
  • If I could mainline coffee, I think I would...
  • I will read just about anything that's put in front of my face.  Even if it's bad I stick it out because I have hope that it will somehow get better...maybe...
  • I love the rain and am really, really, really upset that we have had a very, very dry season here in Oregon.  My skin is dry...my nails are brittle...I feel under-moisturized no matter how much lotion I put on!  I mean, it's supposed to be in the 70s this weekend and that just doesn't happen!  (Sorry to all my Mid-west and Northeast friends/readers)
  • I have a goal to visit every continent before I die.  I've conquered three so far:  North America, Europe, and Asia (pathetic!)
The Sisterhood of the World Bloggers

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you, and link back to their site.
  • Post the award's logo onto your blog.
  • Answer the 10 questions you've been asked.
  • Nominate 10 other bloggers and ask them 10 questions.
Answers are combined with the Liebster Award below.

The Liebster Award

  • Award to bloggers with less than 200 followers
  • Ask 11 new questions to those I nominate
1. What is your favorite book you've read so far in 2015?

2. Do you prefer physical books or ebooks?
Definitely physical books.  While I do enjoy my e-reader, I really like an actual book in my hands.  It's comforting and all about the sensory aspects.
3.  Describe your ideal reading spot.
Anywhere that I'm comfortable.  Though I can't read in a car or on a bus, I really enjoy reading on trains and airplanes.  Weird.  Other than that, my comfy couch or a coffee shop!
4. Adults reading YA: OK or Not OK?
Totally ok!  Read what you want and don't be ashamed.  If you want to read some YA, read some damn YA.  If you want to read smut, read some smut.  If you want to read the toothpaste packaging, by all means, read the toothpaste packaging!
5. Book you're most excited to read in 2015? (It doesn't have to be a new release)

By Marissa Meyer

6. What is your biggest bookish pet peeve?
Lending books and not receiving them back in the same condition in which they were lent.  This has happened so many times that I have now taken on the position of not lending books to people unless I know exactly how they treat books.
7. Do you let others borrow your books? Why or why not?
See the above answer...
8. What time of day do you prefer to read?
All day everyday!  I really enjoy reading in the evening because it relaxes me.
9. What book would you recommend to a non-reader to get them excited about reading?
Harry Potter...duh!  But seriously, their easy to read, they are packed full of entertainment, and they're just plain awesome.  Though the actual length would definitely be intimidating.
10. What else do you enjoy doing in addition to reading?
I'm kind of a music fanatic, so anything to do with live shows is something I enjoy immensely.  I also enjoy movies and going to the beach...that's my happy place.  Wandering through antique shops...scrapbooking...knitting.  I think I'm an old lady stuck in a not-so-old lady body...
11. What is your favorite thing about being a book blogger?
The community and discovering new books/authors.

Eleven Questions (should you choose to participate)
  • What is the best book you've read this year (2015)?
  • What do you enjoy doing, other than reading of course?
  • What made you start blogging?
  • If you could have tea/coffee with any writer, who would it be and why?
  • What is your favorite genre and why?
  • How do you choose which books to read next/add to your TBR list?
  • What is your favorite fictional world?
  • Have you ever gone somewhere simply because of a book?  Where?
  • What is your favorite book to movie adaptation?
  • Is there a genre you refuse to read?  Why?
  • What is your favorite book you read as a child/teenager?
This was a lot of fun to put together and I feel that anyone who reads my blog (all two of you) should be recipients of these awards...so, have at it! 

Happy reading!


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorites from the Past 3 Years

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 topic is:  All-Time Favorite Books from the Past Three Years.  Luckily these don't have to have been published in the last three years, so this should be pretty easy!

Here are my top ten faves (in no particular order):

Life of Pi by Yann Martel

Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

Honorable Mentions
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Zeitoun by Dave Eggers

The above were all read between 2012 and 2015 (2015 doesn't really count yet...)  Some of these are ones I recommend over and over, so they are among my top favorites of all time.  That's saying something!

What are some of your favorites from the past few years?

Also, look for next week's top ten:  Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like X (again, haven't decided what X will be).

Happy reading!