Thursday, March 19, 2015

Transition to Spruced Up Life

Hey folks!  So you may have noticed that my posting has dwindled to fairly infrequent on this here blog.  After a bit of reflection, I've decided that a book-centered blog just doesn't motivate me the way it used to and I would like to diversify my blogging a bit.  With that in mind, I started a new blog, Spruced Up Life (a play off my last name) that covers more than reading.

I'll still talk books of course, but I'm also going to cover foodie goodness, DIY projects, etc.  I know some of my readers will probably only be interested in a book-centric blog and if that's the case for you, farewell bookish friend!  But if you are open to a wider scope then please check out Spruced Up Life and we can continue our bloggy friendship :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: All Time Faves from the past 3 years

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Favorites from the past 3 years (based on dates read, not publication date).  Without further ado, here's my list!

1. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell...such a unique little love story.  The characters, the dialogue - it's all fantastic!

2. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - if you're a regular reader of this blog you know I LOVE this book to pieces!  Great retelling of the Iliad that throws you into an emotional roller-coaster chariot race.

3. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach - don't be swayed by the baseball subject if you're not interested in baseball - this book is so much more!

4. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - read this one recently and absolutely loved it!

5. Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt - this one requires tissues (at least it did for me) but well worth the cry.  Such a lovely coming-of-age story.

6. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - super unique literary dystopian novel that bounces between viewpoints and timelines to tell a beautiful tale.

7. Firebird by Susanna Kearsley - love this historical fiction/chick lit that largely takes place in Russia and has two main storylines (one modern, one historical).

8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - can't believe I waited to read this because it is an absolute gem of a book (especially for book nerds like myself).  It's a little bit historical fiction, a little bit gothic mystery, and a lot of awesome!

9. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell - this mind and time bender isn't the easiest read but it is super fascinating, unique, and well worth the time invested!

10. Night Film by Marisha Pessl...super creepy thriller that will keep you flipping the pages frantically (but not too scary for weenies like myself).

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Early 2015 Quickie Reviews

Okay folks, starting 2015 off with some fantastic reading!  I went on a beach vacay with my momma and we spent the entire time beaching it and reading (my favorite kind of vacation)!  I read quite a few books during this time and most of them were fantastic.  Here's a quick rundown:

The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - this was one of those books that's been sitting on my TBR forever and I FINALLY got around to it!  So glad I did - what a fascinating woman-centered look at a well-known Old Testament family. 4.5/5 stars.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - what a unique dystopian literary fiction novel.  The book jumps between the past and the present illustrating the differences between society before and after the Georgia Flu.  Fascinating characters and imagining of a desolate American landscape. 4.5/5

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - Gorgeous!  I absolutely loved this book - great characterization, lovely prose, unique take on WWII, etc.  Definitely read this if you haven't done so already! 5/5 stars

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen - y'all know I love me some SAA so I was really excited to read her latest - and it didn't disappoint!  This book is actually a sequel of sorts to her popular Garden Spells.  It was fantastic to get involved with the Waverley family again.  This novel was all that readers expect from SAA: cozy, Southern, foodie, magical realism goodness! 4/5 stars

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins - this book is being called the new "Gone Girl" so I thought I'd give it a try and it was great!  Gotta love a good unreliable narrator thriller :) 4/5 stars

Paper Towns by John Green - such a fun book and I wanted to read it before the film comes out.  Loved the cast of characters and I think it could actually make a good movie too!  4/5 stars

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng - this was actually my least favorite of all of my reads.  It could be because I wasn't a fan of the characters (especially the parents) - as often that will cloud my opinion.  Unfortunately, it just didn't live up to the hype for me.  3/5 stars.

Aaand, I am partway through another book but as I'm still not finished I'll leave it off the list.  Phew!  Lots of reading!  Anyone have any beach vacations coming up?  If so, what books do you plan to bring along?

Saturday, January 10, 2015

TBR list from Bloggers' Best of 2014 Lists

So 2014 was not my best reading year - lots of weddings to celebrate (6!), travel (between me and the hubs we went to Park City UT, New Orleans, Nashville, Las Vegas, UP Michigan, Louisville, and Chicago), and delving deeper into my jewelry making did some real damage.  With all of those distractions, I didn't feel as though I had read enough and with enough variety to create my own best of 2014 list.  That didn't stop me from excitedly perusing other bloggers' end of the year lists.  This, of course, caused much book coveting and below is just a smidge of my TBR list that I gleaned from all of those "Best of 2014" lists:

The Martian by Andy Weir - I initially ignored all of the rave reviews about this book because it didn't sound like something that would interest me...but it's appeared on soooo many "best of" lists that I think I need to step out of my comfort zone and try this one.

The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu - I've been wanting to find another fantastic sci-fi novel and, based on all of the international acclaim, this sounds like it may be the one!

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi - a debut novel that has received lots of rave reviews...and I seem to be a sucker for an Afghanistan setting.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jaqueline Woodson - I've wanted to read Woodson previously but it sounds as though this is her best work yet!

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides - a non-fiction page-turner...sign me up!

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North - a Groundhog Day-esque plot line that must be extremely compelling to make so many "best of" lists.

What about you folks?  See anything from the end of the year lists that really catches your eye?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Monday Miscellany: Bookish Christmas Gifts for Early Readers

It's often true that I am the dreaded Aunt that always gives books as gifts instead of toys - whups.  This Christmas, my sister-in-law told me that my nephew actually wants early reader books so you can imagine my glee!  To make the gift more fun, I glued the following inside the cover of each book:

I also wrote in the information on each, gave him some extras for future books, and of course a date stamper so he can have fun making it look like a real library card!  For those interested, after doing some research, these are the books that are being gifted:

National Geographic Kids: Polar cool is it that National Geographic has early reader books on TONS of different subjects??

Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure!  - I remember my little sister loving Flat Stanley as a kiddo.

Ride, Fly Guy, Ride!  This one is just super fun :)

Ellray Jakes Walks the Plank!

The Legend of Diamond Lil...this one is more of a beginning chapter book - and who doesn't love a mystery?

The Cat on the Mat is Flat...this one is also a longer book but looks super-fun!

I also bought him a few early readers from Target that feature superheroes because I know that he loves Spiderman!  Hopefully he likes his gift and becomes a little bookworm like his Aunt Kat :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

TTT: Top Sequels I Can't Wait to Read!

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait to Get!  I'm going to split this list into sequels I can't wait to come out and then sequels that I still need to read.

Sequels I Can't Wait to be Published:
1.  I absolutely cannot wait until the last installment of The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss comes out - I want to know the end of Kvothe's story!!

2.  I always love the newest installment of The Pink Carnation Series and can't wait until the next mystery/historical romance/adventure!

3First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen is a sequel of sorts to Garden Spells.  I can't wait to see what has happened to all of these well-loved characters!

4.  I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the Queen of the Tearling Series!  I really enjoyed the first novel and look forward to The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen in 2015.

Sequels I Can't Wait to Read (but haven't read yet for some reason...)
5.  Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

6.  Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

7.  Across a Star Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

8.  The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

9.  Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartmen

10.  The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey

The moral of the story...I really need to wait to start a series until most books are already published.  Whups!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

TTT: Top Ten Characters That Should Get Their Own Book

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Characters That Should Get Get Their Own Book.

1.  Fermin Romero de Torres from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

2.  Thetis from The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller...she's so mean, scary, and powerful - interesting combo for a heroine!

3.  How about little Rob from Shadowy Horses by Susanna Kearsley?  Oh wait...she already did write a novel about him, Firebird!  (I highly recommend both)

4. I think Ashley Cordova from Marisha Pessl's Night Film would have a very interesting story.

5.  I would have said Auri from The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss, but he just came out with a book centered around this delightful character called The Slow Regard of Silent Things.

6.  I would love a book focused entirely on the flamboyant Lord Akeldema from Soulless by Gail Carriger

7.  How about Isaac from John Green's The Fault in Our Stars?

8.  Manchee from The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

9.  Bay from Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen (but I think her soon to be published book, First Frost, revolves around Bay!)

10.  I absolutely loved Swede from Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and think she definitely deserves her own book!