Thursday, June 28, 2012

TGIF!



TGIF at GReads - This feature is for Fridays to re-cap the week's posts & to propose a question for my followers.

Image source: thisfreshfossil.com


Hey folks!  Sorry about the lack of posting this week...I just started a new job so it's gonna take me a minute to get used to things! :)

This Friday's Question:
Best I've Read So Far: We're half way through the year (crazy how time flies!), which top 3 books are the best you've read so far this year?
Wow, I can't believe we're at the halfway point!  I definitely haven't read as many books in 2012 but, hey, it happens.  And while my quantity is low, the quality of my reading this year is superb!  It was really hard to choose but, drumroll please..........here are my top 3 books of 2012 (thus far):

1.  Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - Epic retelling of an epic!

2. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness - Wow!  Best conclusion to a series EVER!  I loved every second that I spent reading The Chaos Walking Trilogy - I was ridiculously attached to the characters in these novels.

3.  **CHEATER ALERT*** I'm wavering between Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder.  Aaaah!  They're all so different, I'm having a really hard time choosing so I'm just gonna pick all three :)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Monday Memes

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:
Last week I finished Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness and On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves.


This Week:
I hope to finish Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen and Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller and maybe start reading Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry.

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Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Burton Book Review.  This week I received some really exciting books!

Won:
I won a copy of Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon (eeeek - so excited!) from Meg at A Bookish Affair - thanks Meg!

For Review:
I received On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves which is a perfect summer read - courtesy of Penguin. 

I also got a copy of Princess Elizabeth's Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal - courtesy of Random House

Purchased:
The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Latest Review: You Don't Have to Say You Love Me

Goodreads Summary:
Sweet, bookish Neve Slater always plays by the rules. And the number one rule is that good-natured fat girls like her don’t get guys like gorgeous, handsome William, heir to Neve's heart since university. But William’s been in LA for three years, and Neve’s been slimming down and re-inventing herself so that when he returns, he’ll fall head over heels in love with the new, improved her.

So she’s not that interested in other men. Until her sister Celia points out that if Neve wants William to think she's an experienced love-goddess and not the fumbling, awkward girl he left behind, then she’d better get some, well, experience.
 


What Neve needs is someone to show her the ropes, someone like Celia’s colleague Max. Wicked, shallow, sexy Max. And since he’s such a man-slut, and so not Neve’s type, she certainly won’t fall for him. Because William is the man for her… right?

Somewhere between losing weight and losing her inhibitions, Neve’s lost her heart – but to who?



My thoughts:
**Beach Read Alert!!**
I actually read this much earlier in the year when I came across it after reading a lot of praise for Sarra Manning's Unsticky.  I just happened to find a paperback copy for cheap and I'm sooooo glad I did!

Title and cover notwithstanding, this is above and beyond just any old chick-lit!  Now, the basic elements of the plot are pretty average romantic fare but what makes You Don't Have to Say You Love Me stand out is the realistically flawed characters.  You love and completely sympathize with the awkward and inexperienced Neve.  Also, the reader quickly realizes that the seemingly shallow Max has a lot more going on than what's apparent on the surface.  Oh, and the chemistry...sizzling!

Something else that I really liked about this book is that Max and Neve challenge each other to become better people by forcing the other to get over some serious self-esteem issues.  Often in chick-lit self image issues are one-sided (usually it's the woman with the problems) so it's refreshing to see that both of the characters need to get over some major hurdles.  Anyways, if you liked Bridget Jones or are just looking for some good summer fluff, I highly recommend this book!

4/5 stars

Other reviews:
The Allure of Books

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Books on My Summer TBR List.  So hard to know for sure what I'm going to read but this is my tentative list:

1.  Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness - I've been impatiently waiting for this book ever since I read the first book in this series!!

2.  The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - sometimes it's nice to read about the cold when it's sweltering!

3.  Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi - I've heard lots of good things so I'm excited to read this!

4.  The Rebel Wife by Taylor M. Polites - I need some historical fiction in my life!

5.  Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Btown Booksters next read!)

6.  Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen - the cover alone sold me :)

7.  The Probable Future by Alice Hoffman - recommended by Anne over at The Book Garden and I can't wait to read it!

8.  Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly - this one's been on my TBR for too long!

9.  Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop - recommended by the always reliable Jen at Introverted Reader.

10.  Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty - perfect for reading by the pool!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Chicago Funtimes!

View from the architecture tour!


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mini-Vacay!

Hey guys!  I'm heading out to spend some time with my family up in the suburbs of Chicago.  Then, later on in the week the hubs and I are meeting up with some friends downtown.  We're going to go to one of my fave restaurants, Greek Islands, for some amazing grub!  We're also gonna be touristy and do the Chicago architecture boat tour (which I've never done before).


We're finishing up the weekend festivities with some tailgating and a Chicago Fire game!!  I'll be kind of MIA on the blog for the rest of the week but I'll be sure to get lots of reading accomplished.  The hubs and I will be listening to Jenny Lawson's Let's Pretend This Never Happened on the drive up (we've already put a sizeable dent in this audiobook and it is HILARIOUS)!  Also, I just received an advance copy of Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness via NetGalley which I'm soooo excited for and will definitely be reading!  Have a great rest of the week/weekend everyone!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Beach Reads


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Beach Reads.  I've already made a list of beach reads last year, so now I need to think of some new books that are perfect for reading out in the sun!

1.  For Austen fans who don't mind a bit of magic: Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

2.  For contemporary YA lovers: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen (or anything by Dessen for that matter).

3.  For people who want to towel-travel fantasy style:  Kushiel's Dart by Jacqueline Carey

4.  For those who like to read a little romance by the pool: anything by Kristan Higgins (but especially All I Ever Wanted, Until There Was You, and Catch of the Day).

5.  For those who enjoy genre-benders: To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis (Sci-Fi/Historical/Comedy of Errors).

6.  For people who want a good chuckle: Let's Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

7.  For epic fantasty lovers: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin

8.  For those who want to read an awesome book. Period.  The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

9.  For readers who want some adventure in their YA:  The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

10.  For people who want a fun series to read:  The Weather Warden series by Rachel Caine

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Monday Memes

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:
Last week I finished the AMAZING Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein and Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo and have slowly been making headway on Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller.


This Week:
I would like to get to The Rebel Wife by Taylor Polites, Scarlet by A. C. Gaughen and/or The Rook by Daniel O'Malley.  Yikes, LOTS of library books to get to this week!

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Mailbox Monday is a touring meme where book bloggers share their bookish acquisitions from the week prior.  It is hosted this month by Burton Book Review.  This week I received some really exciting books!

For Review:
Soulbound by Heather Brewer (ARC courtesy of Penguin)

Purchased:
The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted by Bridget Asher (yay for our Library's bookstore!)

A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin

Latest Review: Code Name Verity

Gahhhh!  Awesomely capable female heroines, WWII military bad-assery, PLUS twists and turns galore - Code Name Verity is a serious gem!


Goodreads Summary:
I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.


My thoughts:  
Code Name Verity is another fave of 2012!  At first the book starts off a bit slow as you are reading the narrator "Queenie's" confession/story of her time working for the British War Effort.  After reading for a bit the reader realizes that they're missing something...Queenie's confession isn't quite what it seems.  I had several theories as to what I thought was going on and each of them was completely wrong!

The second half of the novel is written from a completely different perspective (that's all I'll say in order to keep this review unspoilery) and reveals all sorts of twists and turns.  Just as an FYI - you will shed a few tears (at least, I did) but they are well worth it! 

Recommended to those who enjoy well-researched historical fiction (especially WWII stories) and to those who like tales focusing on strong women and female friendship.  

4.5/5 stars

*Disclosure: received a copy from NetGalley for review.

Friday, June 8, 2012

BEA: Ask the Experts

This week in New York City the annual BEA is taking place!  For all the book bloggers who can't make the trip there is "Armchair BEA."  If you want to learn more about Armchair BEA head over to their website here.



Today's topic: Ask The Experts. "In your post, ask the visitors to your blog for blogging advice. What did you always want to know about blogging but were afraid to ask? Now is the time!"

Okay, my one question that I'm a bit hesitant to ask is: How do you guys get to all of your review books?  I don't really request very many ARCs yet I still have trouble getting to them along with all of the other books I want to read for the year.  Also, I see other bloggers with HUGE stacks of ARCs each week in their mailbox and think to myself "how in the world do they get to all of those?"  Do you actually read EVERY ARC you request or do some get left behind?  Do you guys have any tips for ensuring you get to your request books?  I was thinking maybe creating some sort of review schedule might be helpful.  Anyways, I had a lot of fun reading everyone's Armchair BEA posts and I hope that the bloggers that physically went to BEA had an amazing time!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Foodie Fiction TBR

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: (Choose your own) Foodie Fiction TBR. After talking about my Foodie Fiction February segment yesterday, I decided to make a list of potential foodie reads for next year's event!  I've read quite a bit of foodie fiction already but if anyone has any other suggestions please let me know!

1.  The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones

2.  Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood

3.  The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

4.  Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo

5.  Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie

6.  Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber

7.  The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

8.  The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

9.  Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

10.  The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry