Wednesday, August 31, 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 stumbled across Kickboxing Geishas while looking for another Chamber's book in our library's catalog. Kickboxing Geishas sounded so intriguing I decided to check it out. Since I read Mrs Dalloway (see my thoughts on The Fill In The Gaps blog), I decided I could tackle The Hours (also for the Fill In The Gaps Challenge). I saw The School Of Beauty And Charm on the shelf a while ago and made a note to get it later. A Guide To Elegance has been on my tbr list for a while and is an alternate read for the Original TBR challenge. I spied (on the library shelf) the next in the Parasol Protectorate series, Heartless, and had to grab it.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tithe By Holly Black

Ever since I first heard of Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tales, I'd wanted to read them. Sadly it took me this long to start the series. I love faeries and these are the kind of fey I like-dark, prone to destroy humans and wicked.
After her mother's band breaks up, Kaye returns to New Jersey, her childhood home. When Kaye was growing up she had "imaginary friends", three faeries that she played with. Kaye tries to find them when she returns to New Jersey but has trouble finding them until she meets the mysterious Roiben. The faeries need her help and warn her of Roiben's evil deeds. Kaye quickly finds herself trapped between her faery friends and Roiben.
At the beginning I had a hard time getting into Tithe. Partly because the hype was great. But more because (tiny spoiler) Kaye's a changeling. I'm so tired of the changeling angle. I imagine when this book came out, it was novel. Now it's so tired. But the story moved quickly enough from that and I quickly became engrossed. Black's writing is so enchanting that I forgave her for any faults. I can't wait to read more of Kaye and Roiben's story (and Corny too).
Highly recommended to those who like dark faery stories. Others who shared their thoughts on Tithe: Good Books & Good Wine, The Happy Booker, Books From Bleh to Basically Amazing, and The Book Nerd Club.
This was my twenty-fourth read for the 2011 YA Reading Challenge.
 This was the fifth book I read for the 2011 TBR challenge.  

Monday, August 29, 2011

Enemy Women Readalong Week 4

This is week four of the Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles read-a-long. Please check out week 1week 2, and week 3 discussions.  Up to this point, you would have read through chapter 24.
This week’s discussion is for ch. 25 through the end of the book.  We hope that you’ve enjoyed the discussions so far and have commented or answered the questions.
A lot of the latter parts of the book focus on Adair’s time alone in the woods.  She sits and listens to the animals and listens for soldiers and signs of life.  Do you find her reactions to her surroundings as a lone young woman in the woods believable?
I didn't find Adair's time alone believable at all. Especially the time she spent taking long baths and sleeping nude in the sun. I'm not sure I would believe that behavior at any time period. I think the stories she told herself about the animals were to help her get through a tough situation. 
How did you feel about Major Neumann not making another appearance until the second-to-last chapter, especially considering that some of us are finding his story more interesting than Adair’s?
I was glad when Neumann came back. I enjoyed his story line. At this point I was anxious for him and Adair to reunite. 
What are your final impressions of the book?
Overall I enjoyed Enemy Women. But I hated the ending. I was really hoping for a happy ending but the ending left me confused and annoyed. I would hesitate to recommend it to someone. I thought that it would have been about more than just Adair. With a title like Enemy Women, I expected the story to include other women's stories. I felt it little letdown. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Roses by Leila Meacham

Ok, I was entranced by the cover. Isn't it beautiful? Then when I saw it's comparisons to Gone With The Wind (one of my favorite books ever), I knew I had to read Roses.
It was one of those sweeping sagas about families in a small town in Texas. The Tolivers, The DuMonts and the Warwicks built Howbutker. The Tolivers plant cotton, the DuMonts own department stores and the Warwicks are lumbermen. And they are all mixed up in each other's business. Each person bring something to the story. There are two large sections devoted to Mary Toliver and Percy Warwick stories but Amos (the lawyer), Lucy (Percy's wife), Rachel (Mary's great-niece) and Ollie (Mary's husband) all contribute to the story. There is love and loss, devotion to family and heritage and discovering one's self. The story covers 70 some odd years so there's a lot to tell. It's not a linear story. We start at the end, go back to the beginning, get to the middle, skip to the end, go back to the beginning. Honestly that made me not want to continue reading it. But I got hooked halfway through Mary's story and couldn't put the book down. It was easy to get lost in their story. There's so much pain, loss and betrayal that it makes it hard not to feel for everyone involved. I kept reading cause I was looking for that happy ending and while it didn't come for all the characters, there was a nice one at the end.
I would recommend this to fans of historical fiction. It spans from World War I to the 1980's. There's plenty of description of the changes the characters see (automobiles, changes in clothing, Prohibition). Others who shared their thoughts on Roses: From L.A. to LA, Serendipitous Readings, Tell Me A Story, Royal Reviews, and The Lost Entwife.

Wednesday, August 24, 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've been making good progress on my old library loot so I gave myself permission to browse the stacks. I almost left without anything when I spotted these two on the shelf. I haven't heard good things about SVC but come on, I had to read it.
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden

I put Annie On My Mind on my library queue after hearing about it on The Broke And The Bookish. I was looking forward to a sweet story about two teens falling in love. And I was not disappointed.
When reading Annie On My Mind, you have to keep in mind that this is the early 80's or possibly late 70's. While some people still share some of the ideas in the book, a great deal more people don't. Ok, I'm getting ahead of myself. Liza and Annie are seniors in high school, looking forward going to college. They meet at a museum and become fast friends. They come from different parts of New York, go to different schools but find common ground in their otherness. Neither feels like they fit in until they found each other. Their relationship goes from friends to something more. Then they are found out and have to go through the ramifications of everyone knowing they are gay. I found Liza and Annie to be sweet. I liked how their relationship progressed. It never felt rushed.
It was a great story for young adults about a relationship between two young women. I enjoyed the story. Others who shared their thoughts on Annie On My Mind: Youthadvocate, Revolutionary Lit, Dreaming In Books, and Troublingly Good Teen Lit.
This was my twenty-third read for the 2011 YA Reading Challenge.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Enemy Women Readalong Week 3

I'm taking part in the War Through The Generations read-along of Enemy Women. This week, each of us had to read the Chapters 16-24.  Please be warned there will be spoilers if you have not read the chapters previously.
In Chapter 17, once Adair has escaped the prison in St. Louis and is searching for a way South, Jiles makes a point of demonstrating the nation in transition between farming and industrial and traditional and modern sensibilities.  How does she accomplish this and is it done well?
I found it interesting that Adair saw little fighting in on her way back home. I can't remember the transition too clearly (I finished the book a couple of weeks ago) but I liked the different people she ran into. Those characters made the transitions the country was in seem more real.
These chapters center on two things — Adair’s escape and attempts to return home and Major Neumann’s journey to join his new unit and the battle where he loses part of his hand.  Which storyline do you find more interesting at this point?
I found Adair's journey more interesting but I'm glad Jiles' kept Newmann in the story. I was afraid we won't hear from him again. I didn't care for the battle or this part of his story as much. 
What do you make of the woman and the daughter Adair stays with for a time?  Do you think these scenes are necessary?
I found it interesting that Adair stayed with them. She seemed reluctant to trust people so I found it curious that she stayed with them.
Out of curiosity, do you think you would be as merciless as Lila and Rosalie or more cunning like Adair if you needed to steal to survive?
I probably won't steal to survive. My husband jokes that in a crisis I'm the first to lose my head. I mostly likely would have never survived during this time. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Now & Then

Then: August 2001

Age: 25
Romantic Status: Single
Occupation: I was working for a housing program
Fun Night Out: Going out dancing with Ashley or hanging out with Jen and Michelle and their hubbys
My BFF: Ashley
I spent way too much time: waiting for the phone to ring
I spent not enough Ttme: working out
I wanted to be when I grew up: I wanted to manage a program
Biggest concern: finding a boyfriend
What my biggest concern should have been: my growing debt
Where did I live: in my first apartment
The dumbest thing I did that year: I went out with the same asshole twice. I broke up with him once and gave him a second chance a few months later. He didn't change; he was still an asshole.
If I could go back, what would I tell myself: Stop spending money and save some!
Picture of me then:
I loved that shirt and would wear to go out dancing all the time.

Now: August 2011

Age: 35

Romantic Status: Married
Occupation: I work with seniors
Fun Night Out: Dinner and a movie with friends and/or Tai
My BFF: Ashley and Marta
I spend way too much time: on facebook
I spend not enough time: working out
I want to be when I Grow Up: Independently wealthy!
Biggest Concern: Paying down debt
What my biggest concern should be: Paying down Debt
Where do I live: In an apartment with Tai
The dumbest thing I did this year: When we were in Portland, I left the parking lights on in the car and the battery died. We wasted an afternoon waiting for someone to jump start the car!
What would I say to myself in 10 years: I hope all the creams I'm using prevented some wrinkles!


What I Miss Most from 2001: My old job. It was the best.
What I Miss Least from 2001: My old long distance boyfriend. It took way too long for me to get rid of him. We were off and on for 7 years.
What have I accomplished in 10 years that I am most proud of: Building a comfortable life surrounded by wonderful friends and an amazing husband.

What have I NOT accomplished in 10 years that I wish I had: Paid off debt, gone back to school.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tri Tip With Citrus-Chili Butter

I picked up some beautiful tri tip at Trader Joe's the other day and I was out of ideas on how to prepare it. I made kabobs with the other package of tri tip I bought but what to do this one? I was browsing on Pinterest and I thought I'd find a recipe there. And I did: Grilled Tri Tip with Citrus-Lime Butter courtesy of Southern Living.
I don't have a grill so I seared the steak then broiled it for a few minutes. Then topped it with the butter and let it stand for five minutes. Delicious.
I have tons of leftover butter. I think I'll making this again. Maybe tomorrow. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Week Two of Enemy Women Read Along

For this week, each of us had to read chapters 7-15.  These chapters follow Adair Colley and her plight in the women’s prison near St. Louis.
How would you compare Adair’s thinking to that of a more traditional southern woman, like Rhoda?
Adair is more modern than Rhoda. She isn't afraid to voice her opinion and doesn't feel that she should demure to men. I also thought this might have been the way and where Adair was raised. Adair lived in the country, having to work to eat and survive. Rhoda probably had servants and was raised in a more urban area.
Describe the relationship between Adair and Major Neumann.  Is it believable? Do you think the war has influenced it and in what way? Has their plight moved you?
At first I didn't believe it. Neumann seemed to find all the girls tempting. I wondered how many others he gave favors and tea too. But when Adair shared about her family in the first "confession" I think something changed for the Major. For Adair I think he was a way out. Easily manipulated, a game. If he wanted her to enjoy his company and give her gifts, she would thinking that a release would be the final prize.
What do you make of Adair’s “confessions?”  Do you think she should have followed Major Neumann’s advice and given them anything plausible just to be released?
I wonder in any war how many "confessions" are giving just to obtain what reward is dangled. I assume a lot. A captor is asking you to betray friends, family and country. A lot of people probably give false information. I found the reason that Adair found herself in prison to be weak. There was no trial, no checking to see if she was a traitor. Just someone's word and she was locked up in jail. I felt Adair's injustice and I won't make something up just to get released. I understood her point there.
What is your overall impression of the book at this point?  Are you enjoying it more?  Less?
I'm enjoying the story. I want to know what's going to happen with Major Neumann. I hope Adair can get out of jail. The writing is beautiful, makes it hard to put the book down.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday


*I've got my workout mojo back. Yay!
*So glad Tiffany posted about Nike's Training Club. I tried it this week and loved it.
*My rockstar husband as always.
*Jimmy John's #10 unwich. Thanks to Julie for mentioning it.
*Sunny days. Summer is elusive in Seattle this year so I'm thankful each time there is sun.
*Books, libraries, and book loving friends.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What's In My Bag

I've been wanting to do this post for a while. Shows you how exciting it is over here :)  I finally got some time to take pictures of my purse and its contents.
First my wallet. I don't carry a purse everyday. I usually drop my wallet in my work backpack. I had a hard time stuffing a purse into my backpack and I don't really need one. When I'm at work, my important cards, cash and iPhone are all I really need. And this wallet does the trick.

 There are 2 sections for cards, a place to hold my iPhone, cash and change. I looked for 2 years for this wallet and found it at Payless. I buy 2 each time I go. I think this is my fourth one. They aren't too sturdy.
On weekends and when I'm not at work, I toss everything into this purse:
I like that it's a bucket tote. It has a middle compartment that zips-very important. Plus it holds a bottle of water and a book plus all my other crap! I bought it at Kmart. Seriously.
And here's everything I had stuffed into this weekend:
1. Keys. I carry way too many keys. 
2. Hand Sanitizer. I don't go overboard with this but it comes in handy when I'm at the park. 
3. A tote in case I need it. I bought this one at Bath and Body Works for $1!
4. Wallet
5. Gum
6. Lip Gloss I've had way too long.
7. Hair Ties. I always lose them so I keep a few extra on me.
8. My big ass sun glasses. I can't remember where I got these. 
So what's in your purse?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Year Of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs

When I spotted The Year Of Living Biblically on the library shelf, I remembered I had wanted to read it when I first heard about it. I found the premise to be interested and I wasn't disappointed.
Jacobs decides to live his modern Manhattan life as close to they did back in Biblical times. He spent about 8 months studying and following the Old Testament and the remainder of the year studying the New Testament. From this line:
"I am officially Jewish, but I’m Jewish in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant."
 Probably my favorite line in the whole book. I enjoyed reading about Jacobs' adventures and they were adventures. While Jacobs' was writing this book, his wife was pregnant for the second time. It made for a lot of funny situations. Jacobs also met with the Amish, rabbis, ministers, and other religious folks. I enjoyed how he explained the different rules and how different religions interpret them. While there are certain religion and religious practices that Jacobs didn't get, he didn't judge. I actually found his journey inspiring. He didn't necessarily set out to become more religious but he kind of became more religious.
Recommended especially to those on their own spiritual journey. Others who shared their thoughts on The Year Of Living Biblically: Adventures In Flip Flops, Em and Emm Expound on Exposition, and Book Nut.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Week One of Enemy Women Readalong

I'm participating in the War Through The Generations read along of Enemy Women. Every Monday I'll be posting my response to the questions posted on the previous Friday.
Do you think the prologue was necessary? Why or Why not?
I liked the prologue. I thought it set up the story very well. I liked the extra background. I don't think it was necessary but helped build up the story.
What are your first impressions of the main character, Adair Colley?
I like Adair.  She's head strong and loyal to her family. I'm looking forward to reading more about her story. I actually hope to learn more about her father too.
The correspondence at the beginning of each chapter provides background to the fighting.  How do you think that will figure into the overall plot or what is its purpose?
I love the correspondence at the beginning of each chapter. It's like a little piece of history. It lends well to the story but I'm not sure how it will fit into the overall plot.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cloaked by Alex Flinn

Since I really liked Beastly, I was happy to pick Cloaked up off the library shelf. While Beastly had a more cohesive story line, Cloaked was very entertaining.
Johnny is tasked with a quest to save a prince. If he succeeds he will marry a princesses. All of this is very out of the ordinary to Johnny, who works in his family's shoe repair business. He goes from normal guy living a normal life to a magical world filled with giants, talking animals and witches. Unlike Beastly which follows the Beauty and the Beast story, Cloaked weaves multiple fairy tales. I'd never heard of these tales but Flinn has a brief outline of all them in the back of the book.
Overall it was a cute story. Flinn had a lot of stories to tell so there wasn't a ton of character development. But I liked Johnny and I wanted him to succeed.
Others who shared their thoughts about Cloaked: Death, Books, And Tea, The Book Bind, Book Journey, and Books from Bleh to Basically Amazing.
This is the twenty-second book I read for the YA Reading Challenge.

Wednesday, August 3, 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'm doing the War Through The Generations read along this month so I'm glad Enemy Women showed up now. I picked up the next in the Women of The Otherworld series, Personal Demon. It's been a while since I read one of Armstrong's books. Tithe is for The Original TBR challenge. I spotted Blood, Bones & Butter on the shelf. I was intrigued by the title. 
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Food And Loathing By Betsy Lerner

I added Food and Loathing to my tbr list after reading Sharlene's review. The second part of the title-A Life Measured Out In Calories that caught my attention. Sometimes I feel that way. That life is measure out in calories not moments.
I related to the beginning where Lerner struggles with her desire to be thin and her addiction to eating. Lerner's whole family deals with overeating so they join Overeater's Anonymous. There Betsy clings to the tenets of any the Anonymous programs. There she finds her first success at weight loss. But food isn't just her only problem. Being bipolar makes it harder for Betsy to maintain her success at weight loss. Bipolar pushes her into a mental health facility. I think her time in the facility was my favorite part. It reminded me of Girl, Interrupted but I could see why Lerner was in the facility.
I loved the honesty of her writing. I can imagine how painful some of her experiences were. Overall I enjoyed Food and Loathing. Others who shared their thoughts on Food and Loathing: Backcountry Writer, Delightful Shrinking, and Tiny Little Reading Room.
This is my fourth read for The Original TBR Challenge.

Monday, August 1, 2011

July Book Tally

Girl In Blue by Ann Rinaldi
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Deadline by Mira Grant
Soulless by Gail Carringer
Food, Girls and Other Things I Can't Have by Allen Zadoff
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Changeless by Gail Carringer
Food And Loathing by Betsy Lerner (review coming this week)
Cloaked by Alex Flinn (review coming this week)

Another great month. Ten books read. I completed my goals for the War Through The Generations challenge and the Support Your Local Library Challenge. I'm really plowing through my library loot pile so I hope to start tackling more books on my TBR challenge and Fill In the Gaps challenge lists.

The Stats:
Fill In The Gaps Challenge: YTD: 7 (I, Robot and Slaughterhouse Five)
War Through The Generations:YTD: 5 (Girl In Blue)-COMPLETE
YA Reading Challenge: YTD: 22 (Girl In Blue, The Graveyard Book, Food, Girls, and Other Things I Can't Have, and Cloaked)-COMPLETE
The Original TBR Challenge: YTD: 4 (Food And Loathing)
Support Your Local Library Challenge: YTD: 58-COMPLETE
100+ Reading Challenge: YTD: 76