Thursday, June 30, 2011

Graveminder by Melissa Marr

I'd been anxiously awaiting the release of Graveminder. I loved Marr's Wicked Lovely series. I was looking forward to falling in love with Graveminder. I was not disappointed.
Rebekkah returns to Claysville after years of running. Her return is not under happy circumstances. Her grandmother passes. Rebekkah thinks she's returned for the funeral but Claysville and its residents have other ideas. To complicate matters, Rebekkah has some involved feelings for Byron, who's also recently returned to town. I could not put Graveminder down. The world Marr created was delicious. The right mix of creepy and romantic made Graveminder a wonderful read. The pace was a little slow but just quick enough to give you rich detail to make the world vivid.
I highly recommend this book. You will not regret the time you spend with Rebekkah and Byron. Others who shared their thoughts on Graveminder: Booked On Feeling, Chaotic Compendiums, Girls In The Stacks and Jenn's Bookshelves.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
 Just one this week. I'm still playing catch up. I'm still hoping to make more progress on my Fill In The Gaps list so I picked up 1984.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Roasted Kale "Chips"

After talking to my coworkers about roasting kale, I decided to make it. I wasn't sure if I would like it so I just made a small bunch.
I followed this recipe pretty closely.
Here's the kale freshly out of the oven. 
So yummy. I wasn't completely sure I would like it but I did. I can't wait to go out and buy more kale.
I served it with basil salmon and garlic bread for dinner. I ate most of the kale, leaving Tai a tiny portion. I wasn't sure he would like it but he did like the little bite I left him. He looks forward to trying a real portion! It's official. I'm a roasted kale addict.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Committed By Elizabeth Gilbert

Despite the fact I had some serious issues with Eat, Pray, Love and finding Gilbert to be whiny, I decided I would give Committed a chance. I'm glad I did. Committed appealed to my research everything nature.
After meeting Felipe in Bali at the end of Eat, Pray, Love, Gilbert decides not to marry him and just live as life partners. But the United States government determines that their arrangement does not suit them and Gilbert and Felipe are forced to get married if they want to live in the United States. While waiting to be allowed back into the States, Gilbert decides she wants to understand marriage better. Neither her or Felipe are excited about getting married after both of their divorces. Gilbert wants to feel more prepared this time around. Although I didn't know how learning about marriage rituals in Southeast Asia helped her feel prepared for marriage, I did enjoy reading about what she learned about. This is not an exhaustive study on marriage through history or marriage customs around the world. But just one woman trying to find a balance between being single and being married. I did not find Gilbert whiny at all (ok, maybe for a moment when she went to Cambodia). Gilbert and Felipe travel through Southeast Asia for 10 months but I wouldn't call this a travelogue. It's very much a memoir of her time and her thoughts on marriage.
A lot of the research she found on marriage gave me a lot to think about. My favorite part had to be about the Auntie Brigade (10% of women never have kids) because that's me. Couples who marry when they are older (over 30) and educated have a lower divorce rate. The expectation that people bring to their marriage also affects their happiness and the success of their marriage.
I'd recommend it to those who enjoy reading someone else's research or learn more about how marriage has changed throughout history. Others who shared their thoughts on Committed: The Girl From The Ghetto, Joy's Book Blog, Just Short of Crazy, Lady Domestic, and Nomadreader.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

I was pretty excited to see Wither sitting on the library shelf. I've been seeing such good reviews of it so I eagerly grabbed it. Overall the story was ok. I think I was expecting much more.
I thought the world Wither is set in was pretty cool. Everything but the United States is gone and most of the United States is pretty desolate and war torn. In an effort to make humans more resilient, children are "manufactured" so they don't get sick. The process backfires and girls die at 20 and boys die at 25. At 16, Rhine is kidnapped and brought to marry Linden. All she wants is to leave his mansion and go home to find her brother. Rhine is pretty overwhelmed with everything, becoming one of Linden's wives, being thousands of miles from home, the whole being drugged and kidnapped. She was as her brother called her, too emotional. She spent a lot of time being upset. I was hoping she'd be more like Katniss. In my opinion it took too long for her to find an escape.
I really liked Jenna, one of Rhine's sister wives. I liked how Rhine related to her and Rose, Linden's first wife. I know they were trying to make Linden's dad, Vaughn, seem super creepy, but he seemed ridiculous to me. I suspected some sort of conspiracy plot to creep up which never did. I'll be interest to hear more about the virus and how it could be stopped or not.
My high hopes got in the way of true enjoyment of Wither. I'll read the second book with more realistic expectations :) Others who shared their thoughts on Wither: Booked On A Feeling, Read. Breathe. Relax, The Book Scout, Reading With Tequila, Feeding My Book Addiction, The Broke And The Bookish, Layers of Thought, Smart Girls Read, My Books. My Life., My Friend Amy, and Confessions of A Book Addict.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

I had some fun browsing through the shelves last week. I really shouldn't do that. I'm behind on challenges and my reading for Fill In The Gaps, but look shiny new books. I'm powerless to resist. I picked up Ape House since I loved Water for Elephants. The Year Of Living Biblically has always interested me. I think that will be a good read. And I've been attracted to the title of the Bitch is the New Black for a while now. I was weak and grabbed it.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Road Trip

This past weekend Tai and I hit the road to Portland. He joked that we left one city for another. His idea of a vacation is to go to the beach or the mountains. But we headed to Portland to see a Cirque show.
This post is devoid of pictures. I just didn't take that many. So I'll do a bullet style review:
  • We stayed at The Paramount Hotel. I highly recommend it. It was lovely.
  • Best risotto in the world is at Bistro 921 in the downtown Hilton hotel. We couldn't stop eating it. The very nice waiter brought us some to take home. Tai declared it blog worthy!
  • The Creme Brulee French Toast and the Poutine at The Original were awesome.
  • We were not aware it was Naked Bike Ride Day (NSFW) in Portland on Saturday. We caught part of the festivities on our way home from Cirque Du Soliel. That was a lot of naked people, Portland. 
  • I got my fill of Stumptown Coffee and finally tried a burger at Burgerville. Yummy. We tried their asparagus fries which were also good. I thought their fresh strawberry shake was the bomb! 
Overall it was a great trip. It was nice to get out of town and relax for a little bit. Now I'm looking forward to our next getaway (possibly in October/November). My next vacation can't come soon enough.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Time Of The Witches By Anna Myers

I picked Time Of The Witches off the shelf because it sounded good. With that cover, I assumed it would be a little creepy. Overall it was ok but nothing I would tell anyone to rush out for.
Time of The Witches is the story of Drucilla, a young woman growing up in Salem Village. An orphan at birth, Dru has been sent to live/work for Mistress Putnam. While there Dru gets involved in the witch hunts as Mistress Putnam is actively searching out evil in the village. Dru and her friend Gabe are fictional characters set in a real story. The book is supposed to be Dru's retelling of what happened during the Salem Witch Trials. While I'm normally a fan of books set during this time frame, Time Of The Witches fell a little flat. Even though Dru was involved in the trials, I felt very removed as if the action were happening away from the reader. 
Time Of Witches was an ok read. Others who shared their thoughts on Time Of The Witches: My Life In Not So Many Words, Teen Book Review Blog and Rebecca's Book Blog.
This is the seventeenth book I read for the YA Reading Challenge.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

I was pretty excited to read The Goddess Test from the first time I heard about it. Greek gods? Sign me up. And I was not disappointed. This was a delightfully sweet book.
Kate is moving to her mom's hometown, Eden. Kate's mom is dying and her last wish is to come back to Eden. I really identified with Kate who's been caring for her dying mother for 4 years. She's given up friends and her senior year to be with her mom. But once they relocate to Eden, Kate goes back to high school to finish her senior year. But school only lasts til she meets Henry, a gorgeous brooding fellow.
The gods and goddess in The Goddess Test are mostly teenagers. There's a couple of adults but most of the main gods and goddess (Ava, Dylan, James, Henry) are teens/young adults. So there's very little violence. No lighting bolts. A lot of normal teen drama (I like him, he doesn't seem to like me bullshit). I look forward to seeing if we move past the angst and the characters get a little more personality. And since I'm mildly griping, the end happened way too fast in my opinion. Especially the resolution with Kate's mom. I wanted a little more there.
Overall, recommended. It's a good beach read. Others who shared their thoughts on The Goddess Test: The Broke And The Bookish, Paranormal Indulgence, My Overstuffed Bookshelf, Library Queue, Debbie's World Of Books and Read. Breathe. Relax.
This was my sixteenth read for the YA Reading Challenge.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Library Loot

 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
It's been a couple of weeks since I brought any books home from the library. I've been trying to read what I have before I get more books. But my hold on Graveminder finally came up (Yay!) so I stopped at the library to pick it. When I saw Cloaked on the shelf I decided to get it. I restrained myself from picking up any more for now.
What did you get this week? 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Five Years

Five years ago I met the man who would become my husband. I've told this story before but it was before anyone really read my blog so I'll retell the story of how I met Tai:

In 2006, I signed up for I'd done internet dating before with mixed results. But I was willing to try it again. I wasn't meeting a lot of single guys in real life. After a few weeks, I saw Tai's profile. His picture was so cute. His profile was full of all sorts of things that I was looking for. I winked at him and waited for a response. For about a week we emailed back and forth. He was so funny. I loved getting his email. I didn't have a computer at home so I was sad when I left work and had to stop emailing him all day. He actually made me want to go to work! He made me laugh. I really wanted to meet him.
Tai had gotten a lot of emails from women from Russia. They were interested in getting him to get them visas. He wanted to make sure I was legit so he wasn't in a hurry to meet me. We scheduled our first meeting about a week after we started emailing. We met at a Starbucks.

Side note, in the emails discussing which Starbucks to meet at we discovered we lived a block from each other. We determined we never would have met without Despite living so close we just didn't go to the same places.
I got to the Starbucks a little early and grabbed a coffee. I was starving but not sure how this was going to go. He seemed so hesitant in his emails so I wasn't sure if he want to have dinner or just hang out. I was sitting there reading my book, waiting for Tai.
I started to get a little worried. It was about time to meet and he wasn't there so I scanned the Starbucks and looked out the window. I saw a guy learning up against a car outside, smoking a cigarette. He kind of looked like the guy I was supposed to meet. I figured that he was going to finish his smoke and come on in. But he didn't. He stayed there like he was waiting for someone.
I had emailed Tai earlier that day, saying let's exchange phone numbers in case one of us is late.
So I called him. I thought if this isn't the guy, then I'll hang up. But the guy outside answers his phone.
"Hi" I say
" Hi, how are you?"
" Good...are you going to come inside or do I have come out there and get you?"
Pause. "Are you here already?" As he rushes to the door. He comes in, laughing. He said later that what I said totally hooked him. I wasn't afraid, I was funny, and I knew what I wanted.
I remember that he shined, like the sun. His smile and his laugh hooked me.
"Let's have dinner" he said, hand outstretched.
I reached for it and didn't let go for the next five hours. We ate dinner, had more coffee. He introduced me to one of his roommates. I didn't want the night to end.
After I finally drove home, he called me and told me that not going home with me that night was very difficult for him. He didn't want me to leave. I never want him to leave now (or then). I couldn't wait to see him again. And I've felt that way since that first night.
Completely sappy I know. It's been the best five years of my life and I'm looking forward to many many more!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

After reading Hunger (see my thoughts here), I was anxious to read Rage. I'm really enjoy this series. Rage is about Missy, a young girl tapped to fill the role of War. This was a difficult book to read. Missy is a cutter. I've never intentionally cut myself but I can see how she gains a sense of control. And in becoming War she has to balance that within herself. I enjoyed getting to know Missy. She definitely felt like a real person. Her problems, her concerns are what a lot of people go through. Death had a larger part in this book than in Hunger. I enjoyed learning a little more about him and seeing him interact with Missy.
Highly recommended. I cannot wait for the next in the series. Others who shared their thoughts on Rage: The Book Scout, Feeding My Book Addiction, Reading Angel, Electrifying Reviews and Bookish Delights.
This was my fifteenth read for the YA Reading Challenge.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Broken Promises by Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman

Once I read the summary of Broken Promises, I put it on my library queue. I also think the cover had something to do with it.
Broken Promises really is two stories that are sort intertwined with each other. First we have Charles Adams who has traveled to England as the Union's ambassador. And then we have Julia Birch, a young woman living in England. I was far more interested in Julia's story than Charles' but that's cause his had a lot more war related. Charles, as the the ambassador, is trying to help the Union and stop English businessmen from assisting the Confederacy. I had no idea that the English helped the Confederacy during the American Civil War. I did enjoy hearing about what England thought about the war and what international sentiment was like, but there was too much war discussion for my liking. Although I did enjoy hearing about Charles' personal life, his wife, Abby and their son, Henry. Those interactions made his portions more tolerable.
But Julia's story was way more interesting. First, she's a woman in Victorian England so she butts up against society and her father's expectations of her. Then there's the romance factor between her and Baxter, Henry's friend. He's a Southern, very scandalous. Navigating English society with Julia was intriguing and just the right amount of Victorian romance novel for me.
Recommended especially for those who enjoy historical novels. Others who shared their thoughts: Gardening Literature and Books By Dona.
This was the fourth book I read for the War Through The Generations challenge.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Salted Caramel Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I bought Trader Joe's Salted Caramel sauce a while ago, but never found an application for it (other than drizzled on ice cream). I hated to think it of it languishing in my fridge. I had an idea about caramel chocolate cookies but needed to find a recipe for it. Bingo, I found this recipe and made these:
So chewy with the prefect mix of salty and sweet. Just delicious. The recipe makes 3 dozen but I make huge cookies so I only got about a dozen which my coworkers gobbled up. Once I told them there was oatmeal in the cookies, they deemed them "healthy". LOL!

Monday, June 6, 2011


Saturday night I finally got to see U2 with some friends. I say finally because I've had my ticket for over a year. We were scheduled to see them last year but Bono had back surgery and the concert was postponed. This was the best concert to see for any U2 fan. They did most of their greatest hits.

Probably one of my favorite U2 songs. Always reminds me of Reality Bites.

Another great early U2 song. Probably one of my favorites from the concert.

Such wonderful lyrics. Also amazing live.

I can't tell you how excited I was that they sang this one. This song and the album it was on was my introduction to U2. I never forget when my brother gave me this CD. I played it over and over again for months. Until I discovered their older stuff and expanded my love of U2.

I was sad they didn't do this but still a great song. I love the video.
What's your favorite U2 song?

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore

I choose to read The Splendor Falls after reading About Happy Books wonderful review. I'm so glad I did read it. In fact I read it almost all in one sitting. Yes, it's a 500 page book but I could not put it down!
The Splendor Falls should be made into a movie. It read like a movie. We have Sylvie, a dancer who broke her leg. Sylvie is dealing with the fact she can no longer dance as well as her mom remarrying. To avoid leaving Sylvie alone in her Manhattan apartment, she's shipped off to her cousin's house in Alabama. I loved Sylvie immediately. She's angry at the world. She meets Ryhs, a hunky Welshman in town with his dad, and Shawn, the town golden boy. She's torn between the two. She feels pulled to both of them. Which will win out? I have to admit I couldn't decide for the longest time. Both were attractive.
There's also an element of finding out your past and learning about where you came from. I loved how Clement-Moore weaved the past with Sylvie's present. The book did have a mystical charm to it especially toward the end.
I highly recommend The Splendor Falls. It was a charming escape. Other review can be found at About Happy Books, Curling Up The Fire, Forever Young Adult, Giraffe Days, Lisa's World Of Books and The Scattered Bookshelf.
This is the fourteenth book I read for the 2011 YA Reading Challenge.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Sex Life of Food by Bunny Crumpacker

I picked The Sex Life of Food off the library shelf because it sounded interesting. It was interesting only cause it was filled with random food, sex and life facts. Crumpacker certainly did a lot of research but sometimes it felt like she wanted to tell you what she found but it didn't always fit with the story.
There's plenty of folklore, stories and research on food and sex. The beginning talks about how we eat as children and how that affects as we grow older. Crumpacker talks about studies that show how people eat relate to how the have sex. Then there's lore about weddings and wedding food. The book kind of rambles. I didn't really understand why there was an entire chapter on Hitler. Sure he was a vegetarian and had some sexual fetishes but he wasn't the only person to be those things. I did skim a lot of the chapter on cannibalism. Suffice to say it happens.
Overall it was a good read but a little slow at times. Others who shared their thoughts on The Sex Life of Food: Culinate, Tell Me Dr Freud and The Dinah Project.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Book Tally

Belle By Beverly Jenkins
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
We're Just Like You Only Prettier by Celia Riverbark
Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire
Broken by Kelley Armstrong
Anita Blake: Circus of The Damned: Book One by Laurell K Hamilton
The Sex Life of Food by Bunny Crumpacker (review coming this week)
The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore (review coming this week)
The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

Nine books isn't bad when you start off the month not wanting to read. I squeezed The Splendor Falls and The Pilot's Wife in at the last minute. Both were quick reads. The Splendor Falls was my favorite read this month. I'm looking forward to write that review.

The Stats:
Fill In The Gaps Challenge: YTD: 5 (The Pilot's Wife)
War Through The Generations:YTD: 3 (Belle)
YA Reading Challenge: YTD: 15 (Belle, Will Grayson, Will Grayson and The Splendor Falls)-COMPLETE
The Original TBR Challenge: YTD: 2 (none additional this month)
Support Your Local Library Challenge: YTD: 42
100+ Reading Challenge: YTD: 57