Friday, December 30, 2011

Just a quick note...

Sorry for the lack of posting recently!  I've been off gallivanting with family for the hols - thus my non-existent blog as of the last week.  I'll be back on Monday with my traditional "In My Mailbox" post - can't wait to tell y'all what I got for Christmas!  I hope everyone has had a fantastic holiday season!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: top ten books I hope Santa Brings.  Oooh!  This is a difficult one...does Santa realize how many books I want??  Okay, here goes nothing:

1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - a wildly popular gothic suspense book!

2.  Among Others by Jo Walton - this novel combines elements of science fiction, fantasy, coming-of-age tale, and memoir!

3.  Case Histories by Kate Atkinson - I've heard countless people state that this mystery series is not to be missed!

4.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - many bloggers have named this one of their favorites of 2011 and I want to see what the fuss is about!

5.  Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - I've heard a lot of praise for all of Stiefvater's novels and would love to read her newest novel.

6.  Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell - a coming-of-age story about a river odyssey of a young spunky girl (think, a female Huck Finn).

7.  If I Stay by Gayle Forman - I've only read glowingly positive reviews!

8.  The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli - historical fiction about three combat photographers set in the midst of the Vietnam War.

9.  Cold Magic by Kate Elliott - this book (and series) has topped a lot of bloggers must-read lists which has me very curious!

10.  The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman - it's Alice Hoffman's magical realism at its (supposed) best!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? & Mailbox Monday

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  We share books that we've read over the past week and those we hope to read this week.  

Last Week:
I've been in a sort of reading slump lately, mayhaps due to holiday madness...I'm not sure.  But, I've made it partway through The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore and partway through The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin.  I'm loving both of them so far!!

This Week:
I'd like to finish up both of the aforementioned books and finally get to the long-awaited (for me) final chunkster novel in the Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness.


Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Let Them Read Books.

This week I was super excited because I received an advanced copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer (courtesy of Feiwel & Friends)!

I also purchased The Gate of Ivory by Doris Egan

And I purchased the Kindle edition of Cloud Roads by Martha Wells for a whopping $0.00!!!  I have no idea why (or for how long) this highly regarded book is free - but I jumped at the chance to own it!

The Eclectic Reader Challenge

I've already posted about the majority of the challenges I've joined for the upcoming year, but I've decided to add one more challenge to the mix!  Shelleyrae at Book'd Out is hosting The Eclectic Reader Challenge in 2012.  I love pushing myself out of my reading comfort zone - so this challenge is perfect!  The challenge is to read a total of 12 books from 12 different genres.  The genres are:

  • Literary Fiction
  • Crime/Mystery Fiction
  • Romantic Fiction
  • Historical Fiction
  • Young Adult
  • Fantasy
  • Science Fiction
  • Non Fiction
  • Horror
  • Thriller /Suspense
  • Classic
  • Your favourite genre
Most of these won't be a problem for me (as I'm a pretty eclectic reader) but I practically never read horror books and my crime and thriller reading is few and far between!  This ought to give me a boost to expand my reading horizons!  Is anyone else participating in this challenge?

Friday, December 16, 2011


Ginger at GReads created this fantastic TGIF event featuring a question and a weekly recap.

This Friday's Question:
Most Popular: What blog post has gotten the most 
comments/activity on your blog this year?
 Surprisingly, my most popular blog post has nothing to do with reading or books whatsoever!  It's the post discussing the 90's dance party I threw for my husband this year!  The closest runners-up are of course the giveaway hops on No Page Left Behind - who doesn't love a good giveaway?!

Most popular reviews: The Word Made Flesh (most views), All These Things I've Done (most comments), and When She Woke.

Most popular Teaser Tuesday: teaser from The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

Most popular Top 10 Tuesday: my list of top beach reads

Most popular Waiting on Wednesday: when I get all giggly about wanting to read Habibi

And there you have it!  I love it when peeps comment on my blog - even if it's just a little "hi!"  It let's me know that I'm not talking to outerspace :)

Happy weekend folks!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Gifting Books

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Books I Want To Give As Gifts. 
  1. Bossypants by Tina Fey...who doesn't love a good laugh?
  2. World War Z by Max Brooks...a great gift for the guys in your life (or for zombie lovers).
  3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline...another fantastic option for male readers (and/or fantasy fans).
  4. Divergent by Veronica Roth...for the young adult in your life.
  5. The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt...for Western lovers!
  6. The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen...for ladies who like romantic tales.
  7. In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson...for the non-fiction fan.
  8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness...for middle-school readers.
  9. Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton...for the foodie friend.
  10. Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson...for the mystery/thriller fan.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Follow Friday

Happy Follow Friday!  Click on the pic to be taken to a whole slew of new book blogs.  The question of the day:

Q: Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends?

This is a's hard to find a book that has a wide appeal.  I'm going to cheat and choose a couple of books.

From this year, I'd choose When She Woke by Hillary Jordan.  This book is not only an engaging read but it brings up some great issues.  Also, when I was describing this book to a friend, another friend of mine said "That movie sounds awesome!  When does it come out?"  LOL!  I told him, much to his disappointment, he'd have to read it rather than watch it.

For my all-time pick, I would choose Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.  Such a funny and entertaining read!  I don't see how anyone couldn't enjoy it!

Have a fantastic weekend folks! 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Latest Review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Goodreads Summary:
“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions?

Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

My Thoughts:
This was the Btown Booksters December choice and I loved it - adorable contemporary Christmastime romance!  Perfect book to read for the hols.

This story really reflects current young folk culture...jeebus that makes me sound like an oldie :)  This book has hipsters, nerds, over-eager friends and everything in-between. 

I connected more with Dash over Lily (odd because I'm probably more similar to Lily).  I loved Dash's snarky attitude.  I suppose I identify with his critical demeanor more than Lily's overly innocent mindset - although I totally agree with her Christmas-loving nature (still, Halloween is better)!  Overall, it's a fun romantical holiday read that's akin to watching one of those well worn feel-good Christmas movies ("Love Actually," "It's a Wonderful Life," etc.).  I highly recommend this to those looking for a holiday read...completely endearing!

4/5 stars

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

2011 End of the Year Book Survey

This meme/questionnaire is hosted by The Perpetual Page Turner and I thought I'd take part this year!  So let the fun begin!

1. Best Book You Read In 2011?
Ahhh!  I just can't possibly pick one...waaay to many awesome books that I've read this year!  Sorry, I just have to cheat :)

YA: Divergent by Veronica Roth, The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, and Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Adult Fiction: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, and When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

2. Most Disappointing Book/Book You Wish You Loved More Than You Did?
Shortcomings by Adrian Tome.  I know it's a critical darling but I really disliked this graphic novel centered around a whiny protagonist.

4. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2011?
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.  I wasn't sure how I'd like a zombie romance, but it was a subtle and unique story.  This is no Twilight with zombies instead of vampires...not that I'm dogging on Twilight, but did you see the movie poster for Warm Bodies?  I may have screeched in outrage - that is not at all what this story is about (R is wearing a hoodie???).

5. Book you recommended to people most in 2011?
Four-way tie between A Discovery of Witches, The Language of Flowers, The Knife of Never Letting Go (and series), and When She Woke.  All of them different and all fantastic!

6. Best series you discovered in 2011? 
The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness - holy guacamole is this a superb series!
Runner up: The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins - I think most would agree that this is a compelling series with wide appeal.

7. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2011?
Lauren Oliver, Patrick Rothfuss, John Green, Deborah Harkness, Sarah Addison Allen, Patrick Ness, and Diana Wynne Jones (I know, I know, I'm super late to the game with most of these authors).

8. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
In the Woods by Tana French.  It's not often that I read crime mysteries (despite loving them as a child) but I randomly picked up this novel and was rewarded with amazing writing and all sorts of twists and turns!

I mean, check out the opening of the prologue:
"Picture a summer stolen whole from some coming-of-age film set in small-town 1950s.  This is none of Ireland’s subtle seasons mixed for a connoisseur’s palate, watercolor nuances within a pinch-sized range of cloud and soft rain; this is summer full-throated and extravagant in hot pure silkscreen blue."

9. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2011?
Definitely Divergent by Veronica Roth...luckily for me I opened this one up on a weekend when I had nothing major planned so I was able to fly through this compelling book!

10. Book you most anticipated in 2011?
This absolutely had to be Patrick Rothfuss' The Wise Man's Fear and boy howdy it did not disappoint!  I can't get enough of this epic fantasy series!

11. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2011?

I mean, who isn't grabbed by the image of smoking shoes?  Also, it fits perfectly with the plot of the story...makes you curious, right?

12. Most memorable character in 2011?
This one's pretty easy, it has to be the flamboyant Tiny Cooper from Will Grayson, Will Grayson.  Who could forget this larger-than-life personality??

“Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large.”

13. Most beautifully written book read in 2011?
Just Kids by Patti Smith...hands down.  I seriously savored this book and the gorgeous imagery Smith created.

14. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2011?
I think the book that impacted me the most emotionally would have to be Still Alice by Lisa Genova - jeebus I cried my eyes out!

15. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2011 to finally read?
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon...I'm kinda peeved about it actually.  I think that the crazy hype surrounding this book just made my expectations impossibly high and if I had read it earlier (forgoing the hype) I probably would have enjoyed it much more.

16. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2011?
I loved all of the descriptions of Prague from Laini Taylor's The Daughter of Smoke and Bone:

“The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century—or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies. Tall houses glowed goldenrod and carmine and eggshell blue, embellished with Rococo plasterwork and capped in roofs of uniform red. Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper, and Gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Motzart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet.”

Don't you want to visit immediately?

17. Book That You Read In 2011 That Would Be Most Likely To Reread In 2012?
Pretty much anything by Sarah Addison Allen.  All of her books are lovely comfort reads.  Who doesn't adore a Southern romance with a magical realism twist?

18. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (OMG - the ending!!)
Delirium by Lauren Oliver (again - the ending!!)
The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson (all sorts of twists and turns!)

Follower Appreciation Giveaway (500+ peeps - woot)!

I'm super ecstatic that I have just over 500 GFC followers - you guys rock!  To show my appreciation I want to give one lucky winner my hardcover copy of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin!

Here's my review in which I talk about how I didn't think this book deserves the hype it received (although it's still a good novel).  Buuut, I'm hugely in the minority and most people loved All These Things I've Done!  So, I thought this book should go to a loving home that will appreciate it more than I do :)

Waiting on Wednesday: Insurgent

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that showcases upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week I can't wait to get my grubby hands on Insurgent the second installment of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth!  Unfortunately, I have to wait impatiently until May :(

Goodreads Summary:
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

I loved Divergent and can't wait to see what's in store for Tris next!  What lovely books are y'all waiting on?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: Childhood Faves

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Childhood Favorites.  This week's topic is tough - so many great reading memories!  If I could cheat I would absolutely add Nancy Drew books (I devoured these), L. M. Montgomery's Anne series, and the Boxcar Children novels!

1.   Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle - I mean, I loved every L'Engle book I read (and I've read them all) but this was the first and it holds a special place in my heart.

2.   The Chronicles of Prydain Series by Lloyd Alexander - again, everything he writes is fantastic...but reading this series is one of my earliest reading memories.

3.   The Giver by Lois Lowry - the entire dystopian genre owes a big smooch to this breathtakingly beautiful YA dystopian novel (BTW - I just found out there are sequels to The Giver, has anyone read them??).

4.   Wise Child by Monica Furlong - unfortunately, this is a rare and sadly overlooked book.  I don't remember the details of the story, but I remember being completely enamored with this novel.

5.   The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis - I have a feeling this will make an appearance on most people's lists.

6.   The Blue Sword (and series) by Robin McKinley - I don't think I can convey how much I looooved this book with words (um, kickass sword-wielding heroine anyone??).  If you like fairytales you should definitely check out McKinley's works!

7.   The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer - early proof that I would soon be nerdtastic...futuristic sci-fi awesomeness :)

8.   The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare - wonderful historical fiction with endearing characters.

9.   The Golden Compass (and series) by Philip Pullman - I was lucky to have a bookworm mom.  Due to her bookish-ness, she heard the buzz surrounding this epic book and it was purchased for me when it was only available as a hardcover back in '95 - thanks mom!

10.   The Crystal Cave (and series) by Mary Stewart - these are not necessarily YA books (but not particularly challenging either), yet what kid doesn't love tales of Arthur and Merlin??  This series was (and is) one of my faves.

Monday, December 5, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? & Mailbox Monday

Hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.  We share books that we've read over the past week and those we hope to read this week.  

Last Week:
I haven't accomplished much reading this week - partially due to the fact that we held our 2nd Annual Twisted Turkey Friendsgiving this weekend!  It was a blast but ate up a lot of my free time last week (pun intended). I did manage to squeeze in some reading for the Btown Booksters holiday meeting last Friday and finished the adorable Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (review coming this Thursday)!

This Week:
I really want to read some books that have been sitting on my shelves for far too long.  Also, I want to continue with some Holiday reading.  My hopes are that I'll read the following:

  • Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness - I've waited far too long to finish this fantastic trilogy!
  • The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin - I've heard nothing but praise for this novel and it's been calling to me from my TBR shelf.
  • The Stupidest Angel by Christopher Moore - this looks like a hilarious Christmas book and I can't wait to read it!


Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Let Them Read Books.

This past week I received some fantastic goodies!

First up, I found Arcadia by Lauren Groff sitting pretty in my mailbox.

Next, I squealed with glee when I opened a package containing No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel as I had just blogged about wanting to read this book!

What goodies did you find in your mailbox?

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Follow Friday

Happy Follow Friday!  Click on the pic to be taken to a whole slew of new book blogs.  The question of the day:

Q: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don’t like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it!

 Ultimately, my MAIN pet peeve is whiny insecure female protagonists.  I don't mind insecurity in my heroines...but it should be realistic and not based solely on looks or the approval of a man (argh!!! the whole "I'm not pretty" insecurity is soooo annoying).  Authors are walking a fine line when trying to deal with these issues...I have no advice other than, make the heroine multi-dimensional (don't make her all-consumed by her insecurities).  This never seems to happen with male protagonists...a reflection on society?  Mayhaps. 

Anyways, that is my main stress-inducer whilst reading...however, a close second would definitely be unnecessary love triangles.  If it seems forced, I HATE it!  I mean, c'mon now!  The love triangle thang can only be played out for so long without getting tired.  And unless it is genuine, it's just insulting to read.  Those are my main gripes...what about you folks?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Super-Shorty Reviews

My reviewing these days has just gone by the wayside...if I don't review a book immediately after I've read it then my motivation slowly wanes.  To remedy this slightly, I'll quickly shoot off some super-short reviews :)

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Goodreads Summary:
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My thoughts:
  • I liked it even better than Perkins' Anna and the French Kiss!
  • If you haven't read Anna and the French Kiss (and are planning to) you may want to read it first as this book has spoilery characters from Anna in it.
  • Adorable.  I loved both main characters in this book and their endearing quirks.
  • If you like John Green, you'll probably like Stephanie Perkins.
  • Read this if you're in the mood for a great contemporary YA romance :)
  • 4/5 stars

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal (sequel coming soon!)
Goodreads Summary:
Shades of Milk and Honey is exactly what we could expect from Jane Austen if she had been a fantasy writer: Pride and Prejudice meets Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. It is an intimate portrait of a woman, Jane, and her quest for love in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality.

Jane and her sister Melody vie for the attentions of eligible men, and while Jane's skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face. When Jane realizes that one of Melody's suitors is set on taking advantage of her sister for the sake of her dowry, she pushes her skills to the limit of what her body can withstand in order to set things right--and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

My thoughts:
  • If you're like me and love a) Jane Austen and b) fantasy - you will be smitten with this book!
  • I adored Jane and liked the fact that she was admirable for her mind and skill rather than her looks.
  • It was a fantastic and quick read with a lovely ending.  It's perfect as a stand-alone novel, but to my delight there is a sequel called Glamour in Glass coming out in April!
  • 4/5 stars
Phew!  There we go, sorry for the abbreviated nature of these reviews but at least now I'm a bit caught up.  Coming soon - reviews of Dash & Lily's Book of Secrets and The Stupidest Angel.