Friday, December 20, 2013

Happy Friday!

Hello folks!  Like the new blog re-design?  I just wanted to simplify things but this is just the first step in a couple of changes coming to the blog.  I wanted to wish everyone a happy Friday and also show off my new bookish Christmas present (prepare to be super jealous)!  My book club hosts a Secret Santa each year and this year my Btown Booksters Secret Santa gave me:

The World According to Garp by John Irving (one of her favorite books)

This amazing Alice in Wonderland bookish scarf
Look how happy I am! :)
Aand some adorable owl magnetic bookmarks.  I am one happy camper this Christmas!  I hope everyone has a non-stressful weekend before the holiday week!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

2013 End of the Year Book Survey

It's time once again, to reflect on the books read during 2013.  I've decided to go with the Perpetual Page Turner's End of the Year Book Survey because it's my fave!

1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

 Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger...I loved her book Soulless but her new novel just didn't measure up for me. 


3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013? 

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley...I loved The Winter Sea but was super disappointed by The Rose Garden.  Unbeknownst to me, The Firebird was a sequel to The Winter Sea and I loved it even more than the first book!


4. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?

Probably The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (another fiction fave of the year)


5. Best series you discovered in 2013?

I really liked the Eon duology - both books were great!


6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?

This is difficult because of how many great books I read this year!  I will answer Gretchen Rubin because her nonfiction book was a page-turner and I absolutely want to read her new Happiness Project book!

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn...I'm not a big crime/thriller reader and actually thought I would not like the book.  Luckily, I was proven wrong!


8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

 9. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley...I love re-reading historical fiction!

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?

The coastline cover of Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

11. Most memorable character in 2013? 

Oh so tough!  I'm going to go with Fermin Romero de Torres from The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  Gotta love amazing supporting characters! 


12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?

This year, it would be The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013? 

Dinner: A Love Story by Jenny made me realize that getting dinner on the table is what's most important and encouraged me to seek out more easy, quick, and healthy recipes.


14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read? 

American Gods by Neil Gaiman...I know!!  What's wrong with me?!?

 15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?

The Art of Fielding: "You told me once that a soul isn't something a person is born with but something that must be built, by effort and error, study and love. And you did that with more dedication than most, that work of building a soul-not for your own benefit but for the benefit of those that knew you.

The Shadow of the Wind: “Every book, every volume you see here, has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands, every time someone runs his eyes down its pages, its spirit grows and strengthens.” 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?

The shortest: The Game by Diana Wynne Jones at 181 pages
The longest: American Gods by Neil Gaiman at 656 pages (unless I'm allowed to count one that I'm still reading, in which case, it would be The Mists of Avalon at 876 pages).


17. 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!

Weeeell I can definitely think of a couple from Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn...namely the ending (but I'll say no more so as not to be spoilery).

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Eleanor & Park is an obvious choice :)

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

I'm sounding like a broken record here but Eleanor & Park (I've previously read Rowell's book Attachments).

20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn...crime/thriller fiction isn't usually my jam but I definitely enjoyed this book

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?

Fiction (Fantasy and YA coming in a close second and third)

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?

Both Ned (from the historical storyline) and Rob (from the modern storyline) were totally crush-worthy in The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley

23. Best 2013 debut you read?

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?

The Shadow of the creepy and gothic!

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?

Awkward by Marni Bates was so cringe-worthy but relatable and fun!

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?

think I cried reading Eleanor & Park...but I don't remember.  Strangely, 2013 was largely devoid of tearjerkers for me.

27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Longbourn by Jo Baker is picking up traction now, but I'm surprised it wasn't a bigger hit!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Turkey Day!

For all of you in the states, I hope you have a fantastic Thanksgiving and stuff yourselves silly!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten I'm Thankful For

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten I'm Thankful For 

Here's my somewhat bookish thankfulness list:

1.  That I live right next to the library.  It's amazing.

2.  That I still have PLENTY of books in my bookecases that I haven't read

3.  That I have lots of books that are well-worn loves on my shelves

4.  That my TBR list is ginormous (not too shabby of a problem really)

5.  That my hubby totally supports my reading habit :)

6.  That we actually have a room dedicated to books (I hesitate to call it a library...bc it really isn't) but a whole room for books yayyy!

7.  For my family (both nuclear and extended)

8.  For my Indy and Btown friends...gotta love having people in your life that are always down to do things!

9.  For my hubs...I know he counts as family but he's so awesome he gets a double-mention :)

10.  For music and cooking and movies and crafting and travel and so many other wonderful aspects of life!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Towering TBR: It just keeps growing!!

Image: Parada Creations
This new segment on the blog came about because my desire to read new books vastly outstrips my ability to dwindle down my TBR list...oh, to have more free time!  Reading 2 chunksters simultaneously does not help my cause either!  Newest TBR list additions:

1. Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner...historical fantasy taking place in an alternate dictatorial society - sounds unique!  This one is sitting on my bedside table thanks to my local library (now if I could only finish Mists).

2.  Night Film by Marisha Pessl...I've been wanting to read another thriller and this one is getting lots of buzz!

3.  Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain...I've heard really good things about this author and this sounds like a really good book club choice!

4.  The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope by Rhonda Riley...been praised as better than The Time Traveler's Wife.  Okay, I'm definitely interested.

5.  The Whole Golden World by Kristina Riggle...story of a teacher/student romance - another good pick for a book club.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween Y'all!

Happy happy Halloween folks!  I hope everyone has a blast trick-or-treating, watching scary movies, and/or reading haunting tales!

"Poison" Toffee Apples

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Towering TBR: The Halloweenie Edition

Image: Parada Creations
This new segment on the blog came about because my desire to read new books vastly outstrips my ability to dwindle down my TBR list...oh, to have more free time!  Anyways, these are some new scary/gothic/magical additions to the good ol' TBR:

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey..."The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey."  Sounds like a total nail-biter!

Magyk by Angie Sage...rife with charms, potions, and spells - sounds like a fun read to me!

The End Games by T. Michael Martin..."It happened on Halloween. The world ended. And a dangerous Game brought it back to life."  Whoa, perfect read for this creepy holiday!

Porcelain: A Gothic Fairytale by Benjamin Read and Chris Wildgoose...Patrick Rothfuss recommended this one, so it automatically lands on the TBR!

Shadows by Robin, ROBIN MCKINLEY!  'Nuff said.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Latest Review: Gone Girl

Goodreads Summary:
On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

My blabberings:
I know, I know, everyone and their aunt's neighbor has already read and reviewed this book.  Nonetheless, I wanted to just add my two cents into the mix.  I was really hesitant to read this book for one main reason: friends and reviewers repeatedly stated that the main characters are awful people.  Once I heard that I was certain I would hate the book.  It has rarely occurred where I've read a book with despicable characters and still liked the book.  Apparently I have to identify with a character in order to really care about their story...who woulda thunkit?  Anyways, I had already decided that I would just let this book be a buzz-generator that I skipped.   

However, the Btown Booksters thought differently and it was picked for one of our recent reads.  I purchased the novel with trepidation and sat down in my couch nook to read a few pages.  I looked up from my book sometime later and realized I was already several chapters in (this is not a rare occurance).  I ended up finishing the book in two days.  Not, as many others have stated, because it was so compelling that I read through the night, but because I had procrastinated and had exactly that long to finish before our next book club meeting!  That being said, it was a really compelling book, it was just as twisty turny as you would want a suspense novel to be.

Now, to get to my point of contention, the characters...were they so loathsome that I couldn't like the story?  Not exactly.  Was a character or characters absolutely heinous to their very core? Yes.  Once I closed the back cover of the book, I looked over at my husband with wide eyes, shuddered, and said, "whoa."  A novel that can evince that kind of reaction at its culmination must mean that it's good, right?  I don't really know how to answer that question.  Yet, I can say that I was surprised that I didn't loathe this book as I did the character(s).  Suspense isn't my favorite literary category, but I did enjoy the novel and won't be so quick to pass over a book because I'm certain I won't like the characters.

4/5 stars

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Lost Lake

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

This week, I'm doing the happy dance for Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen.  Those of you longtime readers of NPLB know that I'm a huge SAA fan so obviously I would be jigging around my house once I saw that there's an actual cover and release date for her newest novel!  Can it be February 11th yet?!

Goodreads Summary:
Suley, Georgia, is home to Lost Lake Cottages and not much else. Which is why it's the perfect place for newly-widowed Kate and her eccentric eight-year-old daughter Devin to heal. Kate spent one memorable childhood summer at Lost Lake, had her first almost-kiss at Lost Lake, and met a boy named Wes at Lost Lake. It was a place for dreaming. But Kate doesn't believe in dreams anymore, and her Aunt Eby, Lost Lake's owner, wants to sell the place and move on. Lost Lake's magic is gone. As Kate discovers that time has a way of standing still at Lost Lake can she bring the cottages—and her heart—back to life? Because sometimes the things you love have a funny way of turning up again. And sometimes you never even know they were lost . . . until they are found.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

TTT: Top Books I Was "Forced" to Read

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Best "Forced" Reads.

Thanks to some Elementary/Jr. High School teachers, I've read these great books:

1. Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

2.  The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander

3. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

4.  Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman

Some miscellaneous "forced" reads:

5.  The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne this interesting book as required for a college Anthropology course.

6.  The Plague by Albert for a High School English/Philosophy course

Lastly, thanks to my book club (The Btown Booksters) I've read:

7. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield...great gothic bookish story!

8.  We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver...haunting!

9. Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell...again, haunting.  The Btown Booksters seem to have an affinity for these types of books :)

10.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn...despite all of the buzz surrounding this book, I wouldn't have read it if it weren't for my book club because I was convinced I wouldn't like it (due to others stating that the characters were despicable).  I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Towering TBR

This new segment on the blog came about because my desire to read new books vastly outstrips my ability to dwindle down my TBR list...oh, to have more free time!  Anyways, these are some new additions to the good ol' TBR:

Rootless by Chris Howard...a blogger somewhere recommended this and based on their description of the book I new I had to add it to the TBR.

The River King by Alice Hoffman...I've read her before and want to see what else she has in her repertoire!

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer...this one made the list thanks to positive hype.

A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters by Julian Barnes...the premise of quirky history-themed short stories engaged me enough to add it to the pile.

Paris by Edward Rutherfurd...if I ever travel to Paris I am definitely reading this before or during my trip!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Sequels Ever

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, this week's topic: Top Ten Best Sequels Ever.

1. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss...this sequel I actually liked better than the first novel in the series which never seems to happen - but Rothfuss just keeps getting better!

2. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley's strong female protagonists and this story was one of my faves growing up.

3. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis...I didn't even realize this was the 2nd book in a series because it stands alone so well.

4.  The Crowded Shadows by Celine Kiernan...I really loved this lesser-known YA fantasy trilogy and the second installment had me glued to my couch flipping pages like mad.

5. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness...if you're a regular reader of my blog then you know that I absolutely LOVE this trilogy!

6. The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart...who doesn't love the Arthurian legend?  This series knocks my socks off!

7. The Subtle Knife by Philip of the best YA trilogies out there (IMHO) and the second book is amazing.

8. The Masque of the Black Tulip by Lauren Willig...such a fun series filled with intrigue and romance!

9. The Black Cauldron by Lloyd of my fave authors as a kid, this second book in the Chronicles of Prydain is fantastic.

10. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson...this thriller trilogy had me staying up well into the wee hours of the morning!