Friday, September 30, 2011

Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

I heard the buzz surround this book and I couldn't help but be attracted to the name. Plus it's a food memoir, my favorite kind. I'm really glad I picked this one up. It made me hungry.
Gabrielle doesn't start out looking to become a chef. She falls into easily, thanks to her mother who let her hang out in the kitchen and watch her cook. As Gabriella got older she began learning how her mom made certain dishes, so when she got out in the world she was the most comfortable in the kitchen. I haven't read a lot of books by chefs but this one has to be one of the best food related memoirs I've read. I loved how Hamilton describes everything, very matter of factly. Everything from the butchering of lambs to almost going to prison for Grand Larceny gets similar treatment. Hamilton has a very conversational tone. I like to think she told me this story while we sat in her New York restaurant eating soft cheeses and cured meats. There might have some bread with salted butter too. I loved her time in Italy. I just wanted to move into her mother in law's villa by the sea and make fresh pasta all day. But I could see how all these situations made her a better chef.
Highly recommended for food lovers. Others who shared their thoughts on Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Nervous Cook, My Vermont Kitchen, Amused by Books, and Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kickboxing Geishas by Veronica Chambers

I picked up Kickboxing Geishas because the title sounded interesting and I'm interested in learning more about Japanese culture (my husband is half-Japanese). While it wasn't everything I hoped it would be, it gave me a good place to start.
Part sociological study, part memoir, Chambers lived in Japan for years. She discussed what women are looking for and what women want in Japan. A lot of reviews on Goodreads mentioned that Chambers was too involved in the story. I almost think she'd have to be. To ask women in a society that's just beginning to give women the allowance to have an opinion to submit to a real study would be ludicrous. Chambers even mention having a difficult time just finding women to talk to her. The idea that one Japanese woman would have something different to say than another Japanese woman wasn't normal when Chambers wrote this book in 2006. I think times have changed and you probably could do better studies especially with the younger women. But I enjoyed Chambers juxtaposition as an American woman with the Japanese women, who did not have a lot of choice until recently.
I think it's a good beginning if you are looking to learn a little about Japanese culture. Others who shared their thoughts on Kickboxing Geishas: Bench Graffiti, su[shu], and Azuki's Book Cafe.

Wednesday, September 28, 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 picked up most of these books before we left for California but didn't have a chance to post about them.
The Nine Rooms of Happiness-Love Maegan posted about this book months ago. I always looking for ways to let go of the little stuff and be happy all the time.
Texas Gothic-Since I loved The Splendor Falls, I had to pick up Texas Gothic.
The Girl In The Steel Corset-I've seen so much buzz around this one. Plus look at that cover.
They Fought Like Demons-I hadn't planned on reading any more books for The War Through The Generations but I was looking over my to be read list and decided to read this one. It actually got on my list after reading The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest. There were these great asides throughout the book about female soldiers. 
I was lucky to find the newest October Daye book (One Salt Sea) on the shelf. 
What did you get this week?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What We Ate in L.A.

Actually we didn't stay in L.A. proper. Tai's from the Valley so there's we stayed and ate.
Our first stop was Zankou Chicken. Tai can't get enough of Zankou's so we ate there twice.
For breakfast we ate at Vip's twice. I love their freshly squeezed orange juice. There's nothing like it in Seattle.
We tried Jinky's which was really good. I had the Coconut Flaky Toast. Look how yummy it was:
We also went to Bob's Big Boy. Both Tai and I used to go there as kids.
Tai had the Big Boy. I had a cobb salad. Both were delicious.
Speaking of burgers, I wanted to stop at In N Out and get a Double Double Animal Style.
I also had to stop at Pinkberry. I love frozen yogurt.
I got the pomegranate frozen yogurt with yogurt chips, raspberries, and granola. It was delicious.
 I begged Tai to take me to Olvera Street. I used to go there as a kid all the time.
 I stopped at the church my mom used to take me to:
We also had some delicious Japanese food at Chiba's and Daichan. And some fantastic Chinese food at Bamboo Cuisine (get the Chicken in Black Pepper Sauce. Amazing!). We tried Boulevard Burger which was conveniently located near our hotel which had a good burger and good fries. I wished they'd been open later though.
So that was our trip. I'd like to go back under better circumstances.

Monday, September 26, 2011


A couple of years ago I made a list of 41 things I wanted to do before I turn 40. I haven't made as much progress as I would have liked but a lot of it is pretty over the top. But last week I was able to cross off one more item, #35-Meet Tai's dad and his brothers and sisters.
Sadly it wasn't for the best reason, Tai's dad fell and wound up in the hospital. He's stable now but it was kind of touch and go at the beginning. But we took off last week for Southern California. I was excited to meet Tai's brothers and sisters (all but his oldest sister). I wish I could have met his father under better circumstances but what can you do.
I'm behind on reading my blogs but I got tons of reading done. Three books closer to the magical 100th book.
Tomorrow I'll post about the food we ate (really the only non-hospital thing we did). I was glad to meet the rest of Tai's family and be there for his dad but I'm so glad to come home. I like sleeping in my own bed.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sweet Valley Confidential: Ten Years Later by Francine Pascal

When I picked up Sweet Valley Confidential off the shelf, I knew it wasn't going to be good. I'd heard some pretty bad reviews of it, but I never expected it to be this awful. There was no redeeming part of this book. I was a fan of the Sweet Valley High and Sweet Valley Twins as a kid. I was originally excited to read about Jessica and Elizabeth as adults. Ugh, I needed a lobotomy after reading this shit.
Ten years have changed Jessica and Elizabeth. The twins have had a falling out. Elizabeth is mean and angry. I understand the betrayal she feels but there's a scene where Elizabeth starts throwing things. Elizabeth was graceful and poised before. I didn't even know who these characters were. I tried to read it as if I had no connection to the characters but it didn't help. I couldn't understand their motivations. Everything felt forced. 
To quote a review on Goodreads by Jennifer: "To say I was disappointed in this book is an understatement. To say that I felt my childhood was dragged out, beaten and raped and then set aflame would be more accurate." I felt the same way. I recommend that you stay the hell away from this book. Others who shared their thoughts on Sweet Valley Confidental: Ten Years Later: My Overstuffed Bookshelf, I Read Banned Books, Feeding My Book Addiction, Books Devoured, ChickLitReviews, and Debbie's World Of Books.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

I added The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake after it first came out. I saw it on multiple blogs and added it to my tbr list. I knew very little about the book other than the main character could taste people's feelings in the food they made. I heard mixed reviews so I didn't rush out to get it. I'm glad I didn't I didn't dislike The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake but I didn't really enjoy it either.
The book spans from when Rose is nine til she's in her twenties. On her ninth birthday, Rose discovers she can taste her mother's anger and it leaves her with a hollow feeling. She soon discovers that she can taste the feelings of whoever made what she eats. Soon these feelings overwhelm her. Sadly I didn't really connect to Rose. Her brother, Joe, is odd. I was interested in what his story was more than Rose and her story.
I saw The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake described as magical realism. While there were magical elements to the story, the story itself lacked any magic. I could understand Rose's frustration but I didn't really care about her. None of the characters leapt off the page for me. The writing was good and story was well paced though.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake wasn't my favorite but I could see how others might like it. Others who shared their thoughts on The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: ChickLitReviews, Bookfan, The Perfect Binge, and The Broke And The Bookish.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Plus By Veronica Chambers

If you are looking for a fun young adult/chick lit romp, Plus is your book. I immediately liked Bee. She’s smart (premed) but really insecure. She snags an adorable boyfriend but things quickly fall apart with him. Out of the blue, Bee is offered a chance to model. At one point in the book, Bee compares modeling to a river. Instead of navigating that river (at least at the beginning) she gets pulled along. I wouldn’t even call it floating, more like towed by the undercurrent. Bee spends most of the book struggling to stay above water both in modeling and with her relationships. At one point, a guy asks her what her passion is. Is she truly passionate about being a doctor? But I think if you ask most 17 year olds what their passion is, you’ll get a blank stare. Ask me what my passion is and you’ll get a blank stare. That’s probably why I identified so much with Bee. Modeling was dumped in her lap. It wasn’t her dream. At the beginning Bee was pretty na├»ve.  She struggles with her narrow view of the world and the reality of the world. I felt the beginning of her story was very realistic except her parents. Bee is 17 and signs a modeling contract without her parent’s involvement. That struck me as odd. As well as her parents never getting involved with her new professional life. Bee grows up, learns to enjoy her newfound success and balance her modeling with her relationships. I was really happy for Bee at the end. 
I really enjoyed Plus and would recommend it especially for fans of Bridget Jones (less alcohol and ciggies in Plus), Jemima J (Big Girl gets her man) or Good In Bed (another Big Girl gets her man). Others who shared their thoughts on Plus: Smitten With Books, The Book ScoutFrenetic ReaderElectrifying Reviews, and Debbie's World Of Books.
This was my twenty-fifth read for the 2011 YA reading challenge.

Friday, September 16, 2011

BBAW 2011-Tools To Help Me Blog

The world of blogging is continually changing. Share 3 things you are essential tried and true practices for every blogger and 1-3 new trends or tools you’ve adapted recently or would like to in the future.
This prompt confuses me. I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to talk about so I'll talk about my behind the scenes process.

When I'm looking for inspiration, I often turn to my Google Reader. I love Google Reader. 
I use Google Reader to read all my blogs. 
Do you not use Google Reader? I'm not too familiar with other feed readers. But Google Reader is easy for me to use. I'm a huge fan of Google products. It's free. Adding subscriptions is very easy. Click on the add subscription button at the top write and add the url and there you go. I check Google Reader twice a day. If there is a post I want to refer back to I click on the star next to the title of the post (see the yellow star next to 40 things (13)?). Then it gets saved in my Starred Items til I remove the star. 
If you are looking for a feed reader I cannot recommend Google Reader enough.
I also use Google Documents to keep my tbr pile and my spreadsheet of books read. I love that I can access all that information anywhere. 
I confess. I preplan my posts. On Sundays I try to write all the posts for the week. Sometimes I can't and I might only post 2-3 days worth of posts.
I also love Goodreads for keeping track of my books and books I want to read. Are you on Goodreads? Friend me there!
I'm pushing myself to comment more and be more active on Twitter. I don't always know what say. Find me on Twitter at @sillylittelinda.
What about you? Any tips to share?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

BBAW 2011-How Book Blogging Has Affected Me

Book bloggers blog because we love reading. Has book blogging changed the way you read? Have you discovered books you never would have apart from book blogging? How has book blogging affected your book acquisition habits? Have you made new connections with other readers because of book blogging? Choose any one of these topics and share your thoughts today!
Other book bloggers are to blame for my out of control to be read list. I rely on other bloggers to tell me when new books are coming out and generally all of my book recommendations come from other bloggers. A lot of times other bloggers push me out of my usual boundaries and expose me to books I wouldn't normally read. This year is the first year I've participated in challenges. Every book on my War Through The Generations challenge is not something I would have chosen if not for the challenge. I'm looking forward to choosing more challenges next year to broaden my reading horizons. 

Wednesday, September 14, 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 have Getting The Girl on my Original TBR but it's the third in the Wolfe Brothers trilogy. Luckily my library had all three books in one book. All get all 3 books done at once. 
What did you get this week?

BBAW 2011-My Place In The Book Blogging Community

The world of book blogging has grown enormously and sometimes it can be hard to find a place. Share your tips for finding and keeping community in book blogging despite the hectic demands made on your time and the overwhelming number of blogs out there. If you’re struggling with finding a community, share your concerns and explain what you’re looking for–this is the week to connect!

Despite the fact I've been blogging for 4 years, I didn't start blogging about books til the end of 2008. And I didn't get involved in the community until 2009. While I've made some good friends, I frequently don't feel part of the book blogging community. Partly because I don't just blog about books and I don't think I comment enough. The first one is just the way I am and the way I blog. I could have a separate blog for non-book related posts but I would have a hard time maintaining both. The second one I'm trying to be better at. I'm very happy with the tiny corner of the community I do belong to but I'd love to broaden my connections.
What about you? Any tips for me?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BBAW 2011-Interview With WalkieTalkie Book Club's Blog

  1. I love BBAW because it introduces to me so many new blogs. Tell me more your blog, Walkie Talkie Book Club blog.
I started the blog in early 2010 as a place to keep track of book club activities, write about books, and hopefully create discussion with friend about books read.  I have been in one book club for many years and my “walking partner” and I started reading some of the same books, too, and discussing them while we walked.  We called ourselves the Walkie Talkies.  A few years later I moved and decided to pick up the Walkie Talkie theme with a few people – reading a book and then mall walking or walking outside and discussing it.  My first book club is a large group of women and we always celebrate our books with food and long discussions.  The Walkie Talkie Book Club is meant to fit into a busy schedule and incorporate movement of some kind!  Alternatively, I hope that Walkie Talkie Book Club will also become a place where friends from all over could weigh in on the books we read. 

  1. How do you choose what you read? Do you plan out what you read in advance or just follow your whims? 
My big book club decides month by month what we’re going to read, unless we have reserved “Book Club In a Bag” from the library, in which case we plan out a few months at a time.  (Love those “Book Club in a Bag” choices!).  The Walkie Talkies are also very spur of the moment in choosing our books.  We have created lists of books we want to read and fly by the seat of our pants there, too.  Personally, I use Goodreads to keep track of my TBR list and will pull it up on my phone when I’m at the library to check out a book from that list or reserve books from that list.  I add books from the many book blogs and book newsletters that I read!

3. What do you find to be the best part of book blogging?

I certainly don’t think I’m a great book reviewer, but I like writing about books (and occasionally movies).  The past few years I have challenged myself to “write more” – through journals, letters, poetry, or blogs!  So I like to sit down with a blank “NEW POST” page on the internet and see what transpires. 
I like reading other book blogs and the questions bloggers pose, either through their memes or their discussion about a book.  I like some of the challenges that book bloggers create, but have only participated in a few.  I’m not a fast reader, so I don’t rip through too many books in a month, much less a weekend! 

      4. What’s the hardest part of book blogging?

I think I obviously am very wordy, so that isn’t difficult, but I don’t think I give a good book review.  I mostly write how the book made me feel initially but I don’t delve into “themes” in the book or character representation.  I don’t feel bad about it, but am more amazed at how others can really get to that in their blogging. 
I also don’t have many people interacting with me on my blog, and that can be a little discouraging at times, but I’m ok with just writing my thoughts to the ten people who might read it.  J 

     5. What types of books do you avoid if any?

Although I loved dystopian books when I was younger (teen years), I have a hard time reading it now so I avoid it.  I also don’t read science fiction.

6. What book do you love that other people seem to dislike?

Depends on the people, I guess. J  My book club likes pretty mainstream, contemporary, lighter fare.  There were many who could not read “Pride and Prejudice,” which is one of my all time favorite books.  They also didn’t love “The Life of Pi” as much as I did!

7. What book did you dislike that others love?  

I have not read a single book in the Twilight series.  Books that I started but didn’t finish because I disliked them include “The Corrections” by Jonathan Franzen, “A Visit from the Goon Squad,” and “Running with Scissors.”  They were best-selling books (even prize winning) but not my taste. 

8. I see you are a movie fan too. What are your top 5 favorite movies?

 Tough question! 
1)    Moulin Rouge & Strictly Ballroom
2)    Pride & Prejudice (BBC version)
3)    Billy Elliott
4)    Bridesmaids
5)    Under the Tuscan Sun & Sleepless in Seattle
I could go on and on.  Goodness… Now I’m craving a good movie!  J

Thank you Danette for playing along with my questions. Please check out WalkieTalkie Book Club's Blog.

Monday, September 12, 2011

BBAW 2011-Favorite Book Bloggers

Yay! It's my favorite time of year! It's Book Blogger Appreciation Week! I'll be participating all week. Here's the schedule:
Today-Talking about community. I'll be highlighting some of my favorite book bloggers.
Tomorrow-Interview with Walkie-Talkie Book Blog!
Wednesday-Community and my place in it.
Thursday-How has blogging affected my reading habits?
Friday-Advice for bloggers/Trends in blogging
So let's get to today's topic-a few of my favorite book bloggers. This was a toughie, but I'm going to keep my list to five.

Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
I can always count on Linda to comment on my posts. She reads a lot of fantasy and urban fantasy so I'm always adding books she reviews to my tbr list. She's hella nice and always helpful.

A Striped Armchair
I started reading Eva's blog because she used to host Library Loot. I stuck around because I love her passionate posts about fantastic literature. I don't read a lot of the same books Eva does but I do love to read what she thinks about them. I do credit her for making me think about what I read, about who wrote what I read and what experiences I had reading them. Eva's also the reason I started calling my reviews my thoughts on the book. I don't review books; I share my thoughts on them.

The Captive Reader
Claire took Eva's spot as co-host of Library Loot which is how I started reading her blog. Like Eva, Claire reads a lot of books I don't read. Now this might seem silly, to read about books I have no intention of reading. But I like reading Claire's thoughts. Her thoughts broaden my thinking and make me think more about what I read.

From L.A. to LA
Shoshanah and I tend to lean towards the same books. I know a few books she reviewed wound up on my tbr list. I definitely love hearing about her life in Louisiana as well as her planning for her upcoming wedding.

My Books. My Life.
I actually gave Michelle this last spot because I love following her on twitter. Find her at @michelleerin. She talks about awesome things like books, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, fantasy football, and ballet. She also reads a lot of books I want to read so I enjoy her review posts too. 

Did I expose you to a new book blogger or do you agree with my five favorites?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

I added Jane Eyre to my Original TBR challenge list because I've never read it and it's one of those classics "I should read". And since I really enjoyed it, I'm glad I finally read Jane Eyre.
Despite this being a classic, it's really just a boy-meets-girl-boy-and-girl-fall-in-love-boy-loses-girl-boy-and-girl-reunite. At the beginning Jane reminded me of another orphan I like-Harry Potter. She lives with her aunt and cousins who torment her. She goes to school where she begins to blossom. I immediately liked Jane. Her desire to find a place in this world was overwhelming and endearing. While she finds school more tolerable than her life with the Reeds, she really finds her place at Thornfield Hall where she becomes a governess and meets Mr Rochester. This is part where it kind of dragged for me. I liked the descriptions of house, the countryside. But it went on a little too long for me. I just had to wait til she found her way back to Mr Rochester.
I recommend Jane Eyre. I loved the language. Others who shared their thoughts on Jane Eyre: A Book Blog. Period, Library Queue, Erin Reads, The Lost Entwife, and Book Journey.
This was my sixth read for the Original TBR challenge.

Tuesday, September 6, 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!
Last week I mentioned I had been looking for another Chamber's book while I found Kickboxing Geishas. This is was the book I was looking for-Plus. I've had this on my tbr list since I read about it on The Book Scout blog
What did you get this week?

Ape House by Sara Gruen

Since I had enjoyed Water for Elephants, I picked up Ape House. I knew little about it except it wasn't anything like Water for Elephants and dealt with apes. I didn't expect to be so enthralled by Ape House but I was.
Ape House is nothing like Water for Elephants except that the animals steal the show. If you fell in love with Rosie, you'll definitely like Bonzi, Lola, Sam, Jelani, Mbongo and Makena. While the apes (bonobos really) are the center of the story, Isabel and John create the story around them. Isabel is a language researcher, studying the apes in a research facility. John comes to do a story on Isabel and the apes. Isabel feels like the apes are her family and John, dissatisfied with his life, feels drawn to her commitment to the apes. Then the book takes off a like a train. I had a hard time putting the book down. I was engrossed with the story. An explosion injures Isabel and displaces the apes. John struggles with his life, trying to maintain his career and his marriage. Both John and Isabel are on paths to get back what means the most to them.
If you choose to read Ape House, know there are scenes of animal abuse, similar to Water for Elephants. It was hard for me to read but it was part of the apes' story. Just like humans, they endured pain and abuse to come out stronger. This story does have a beautiful, happy ending.
I highly recommend Ape House. It was a fast paced story that I throughly enjoyed. Others who shared their thoughts on Ape House: The Perpetual Page Turner, From One Book Lover, Sassy. Savvy. Domesticity, Bibliophile By The Sea, and My Books. My Life.

Friday, September 2, 2011


I used to do these posts about things I currently liked but stopped. I'm going to start that up again. 

We've had a really mild summer here in the PNW. As a result I've had 3 colds this summer. After the first one, Tai mentioned we should get a tea kettle. He was thinking of stove top one but I choose this one instead. I love that I can heat up water quickly. The red color doesn't hurt.

I grabbed a sample of these Crunchmasters Multi-Grain Crackers at Costco, then went back for 4 more samples. Finally the sample guy pointed to the boxes stacked next to him and I took the hint. I top them with Laughing Cow cheese for a delicious snack. 


Yes, 30 Rock's been a round for a while but Tai and I just started watching this. I love it. We have little marathons every night. 
What are you currently enjoying?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

August Book Tally

Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Enemy Women by Paulette Jiles (week 1, week 2, week 3 and week 4)
The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs
Annie On My Mind by Nancy Garden
Blameless by Gail Carriger
Roses by Leila Meacham
Tithe by Holly Black
Personal Demon by Kelley Armstrong

A good month. Eight read this month. I'm making great progress on the Parasol Protectorate series. Next month I should be all caught up! It's tough to pick a favorite. I enjoyed Roses, Blameless, Tithe, The Year of Living Biblically and Annie On My Mind. And I'm closing in on 100 pretty quickly. Should be there in another two months. I've already surpassed the number of books I read last year (78).

The Stats:
Fill In The Gaps Challenge: YTD: 8 (Mrs Dalloway )
War Through The Generations:YTD: 6 (Enemy Women)-COMPLETE
YA Reading Challenge: YTD: 24 (Annie On My Mind and Tithe)-COMPLETE
The Original TBR Challenge: YTD: 5 (Tithe)
Support Your Local Library Challenge: YTD: 65-COMPLETE
100+ Reading Challenge: YTD: 84