Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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.

Life has been a little busy lately. So busy it's keeping from blogging. Blergh! Hopefully it will even out and I can resume my normal blogging schedule. Until then I hope to post my library loots if nothing else.
After spying Hero Food on Cooking With Amy, I immediately added it to my library queue. For some reason, cooking in January seems to be a struggle. I'm always looking for inspiration!
In the same post on Cooking With Amy, I noticed The Kitchen Diaries. Since joining Full Circle (which delivers fresh fruits and veggies to us weekly), we've been eating more seasonal. But I'd love to get more out of our fruit and veggie box and perhaps try something new. 
I adore Scott Pilgrim vs The World. I've always thought I should read the books but never did. I decided it was time to stop thinking about reading them and read them.
I have heard nothing but good things about Code Name Verity. I'm looking forward to reading it.

What did you get this week?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dearie: The Remarkable Life of Julia Child by Bob Spitz

I picked up Dearie because I wanted to learn more about Julia Child. Spitz does a remarkable job of collecting information about Julia's life. Sometimes it was overwhelming but I was definitely engaged in the story.
The story starts before Julia is born. Spitz does a lot of research on her dad's family. This is where I was little bored and contemplated putting Dearie aside. But I stuck through it and was rewarded with lots of Julia stories. I was especially interested to hear how she met Paul and more about their relationship. I'd read My Life In France so those parts were a little repetitive but Spitz does a good job of collecting stories that gave a deeper understanding to My Life In France. I enjoyed the parts about how she got her television show. Julia had a wicked sense of humor and constantly liked to say things that would make people laugh and blush. Spitz does a great job of letting Julia's personality shine through.
Overall I enjoyed Dearie. I'd recommend it for anyone who wanted to learn a lot more about Julia's life. Others who shared their thoughts about Dearie: Bless Their Hearts Mom, Bearing Reality, and BS in The Kitchen.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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.

Another one for the Historical Reading Challenge.
I heard about this on Layers of Thoughts. Historical fiction about a Chinese immigrant during the Civil War era. 

What did you get this week?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

I'm so glad Staci recommend that I read The Violets of March next. As with Blackberry Winter, I couldn't put The Violets of March down and finished it in a day.
In her twenties, Emily had it all, a best selling novel, a gorgeous husband and unlimited possibilities. Now, Emily has writer's block. Her marriage is ending and she feels limited by life. At the urging of her best friend and her aunt, Emily leaves New York and heads to Bainbridge Island (outside of Seattle, Washington) to heal. I've only been to Bainbridge a few times but Jio captures the feeling of the island perfectly. So beautiful, so relaxing with a force to help heal. Once Emily arrives at her Aunt Bee's house, she finds an old diary. Emily is immediately intrigued by the story of Esther, Elliot and Bobby. The diary is a mystery. Does the diary belong to Bee or one of her friends? How did it wind up in the room Emily is staying in?
I liked Emily. She was going through a hard time and trying to find her footing again. I really like Bee and her friend, Evelyn. I enjoyed the mystery of the diary. Jio is a wonderful writer and draws in the reader so quickly. Again, I was transfixed by Jio's storytelling.
I really enjoyed The Violets of March. I will be reading more of Jio's books! Others who shared their thoughts on The Violets of March: Life In The Thumb, Wandeca Reads, Bookfan, Peanut Butter Fingers (spoiler included), and Just A One Girl Revolution.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

I picked up The American Heiress because I heard good things about it. It was exactly the type of historical fiction I like: interesting characters, richly detailed historical setting, and sweeping romance. I enjoyed The American Heiress.
Cora is the toast of Newport in 1893. She is the heiress to the Cash flour fortune. Cora's mother is looking to find a suitable match for Cora. Cora is looking for love. On a trip to England, Cora accidentally meets Ivo, the Duke of Wareham. Cora is thrust into English society and must learn how to navigate being a Duchess.
I liked the almost fish of water tale that became Cora's life. Cora was a big fish in America but in England, she needed to learn everything all over again. I did like Cora. She's strong and smart and loves with her whole heart. There was something almost endearing about Cora. I also enjoyed the side story about Bertha, Cora's maid. Bertha enjoys her job but misses her home in South Carolina. In England, Bertha doesn't feel her race matters to people as much. Bertha meets a man in England and starts a relationship with another servant. In the United States, their relationship, a white man with a black woman, would be illegal in some states but condemned by society. I did find it interesting that servants were not permitted to marry. Anyone know any historical fiction written from the servants point of view besides The Remains of The Day?
Overall I enjoyed The American Heiress. I thought the end wrapped everything up too quickly but I think I just didn't want to leave Cora's world. Others who shared their thoughts about The American Heiress: Devourer of Books, Wandeca Reads, BookNAround, and Life From A Lefty.
This is my first read for the 2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge.
This is my first read for the 2013 Mammoth Book Challenge.
2013 Mammoth Book Challenge

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Awkward & Awesome Thursday

It's been a while since I did an awkward and awesome Thursday. This one is for you, Sean!

-I sliced my index finger on my right hand last week. It's make life interesting. I never noticed how often I need to use my index finger. 
-I'm taking my car to the shop today. Car repairs=$$. Sad wallet.
-I've been a day off all week. I thought yesterday was Thursday. 
-I've been so tired lately. I don't know if it's the weather or the cold I'm still fighting. But I feel I could sleep for days.

-Three day weekend coming up. Yay!
-I made this apple snack. Delicious. Tai really likes it. 
-We have discovered Friday Night Lights. We have devoured season one. 
-It's only the middle of January and I've read over 1,000 pages already. Yay!
-I got my Influenster box filled with Palmolive FreshInfusions dish soap.

What was awkward and awesome in your week?

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

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.

A lot of loot this week!
I'm gathering books for the Historical Fiction Reading challenge. Right now, I'm interested in reading books about Asia. This one caught my eye since it's about women from Japan coming to San Francisco to become brides. 
The third in the French Twist series.
Another historical fiction novel set in Japan.
I read the Goddess Test way back in 2011. I spotted Goddess Interrupted on the shelf and decided to continue the series.
This was also on the shelf so I decided to grab it as well.
First cookbook of the new year. I like Rachel Ray so I'm looking forward making some of her yummy recipes.
My aunt recently read this book and enjoyed it. So I decided to pick it up. 
This the only other Rosie Thomas book my library has. I'm going to have to find another way to get my hands on her books.

What did you get this week?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Scarlet by AC Gaughen

I picked up Scarlet from the library because I'm a sucker for anything related to Robin Hood legend. I'm glad I did. While it wasn't a perfect story it was an enjoyable ride.
Gaughen simply decided to make Will Scarlet female. I enjoyed that twist. Scarlet, as she's mostly called throughout the book, joined Robin in London. There's a lot about Scarlet that the reader and Robin Hood do not know about. Scarlet keeps things close to the chest and doesn't reveal a lot about her. Sometimes I found that irritating, all the mystery. But overall it worked.
In this retelling, Robin Hood is probably in his early to mid twenties. Scarlet, John Little, and Much are all late teens (17-19ish). I liked how John Little was flirty and was always kissing girls. I found it charming. Robin is usually the charmer but he was a little moodier in this story. Still swashbuckling and the people's hero though. I wasn't familiar with Much. He's never cropped up in the other Robin Hood stories I've read. Perhaps I need to read more.
Overall, a good story. Pretty solid beginning, looks like the first in a planned trilogy. Others who shared their thoughts on Scarlet: Paranormal Indulgence, The Sweet Bookshelf, and Passion for Novels.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tell The Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I added Tell The Wolves I'm Home after Vivienne mentioned that it was one of her favorite reads of 2012. I'm glad I read it. It definitely different than what I normally read in a good way.
The story centers around 14 year old June. June's beloved Uncle Finn is dying of AIDS in the mid-1980's. June loves Finn very much and spends as much time as possible with him. June's sister, Greta, is not as enamored with Finn as June is and prefers to spend her time getting ready for the school play. There's a lot of quiet family drama. June's mom has a lot of unresolved issues with her brother, Finn. Greta and June are drifting apart. June develops a friendship with Finn's boyfriend, Toby. There's so much going on but in a normal way. And it all unfolds in such a beautiful way. By the end, I was so engrossed in June's life that I didn't realize how invested I felt. The whole story was satisfying.
This was not a book I would normally read but I still really enjoyed it. I would recommend it. It was a little slow in parts and sometimes a little awkward but a wonderful told story. It felt a lot like real life, not just a story. In my opinion, that's the mark of a good author. Others who shared their thoughts on Tell The Wolves I'm Home: Bibliophile By The Sea, The Lost Entwife, Respiring Thoughts, and Bird On A Pencil.

Friday, January 11, 2013

2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

Each time I read a historical fiction book, I think I should read more books like this. In an effort to make me read more historical fiction, I'm joining the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. I'm shooting for the Victorian reader level (5 books). I think that's doable.
Any favorite historical fiction I should add to my list?

Thursday, January 10, 2013

2013 Mammoth Book Challenge

2013 Mammoth Book Challenge

Since I'm trying to read so many pages this year, I've decided that I need to include some larger books into my reading. I usually shy away from bigger books because they take longer to read. But since it's all about the page count, I figure longer books would help out. 
I'm joining The Mammoth Book Challenge and going for the White Rhinoceros level (9 books 450 pages or longer). I'm looking forward to reading some longer books this year. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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.

After reading Blackberry Winter, I was chatting with Staci about the next Sarah Jio book I should read. She recommended Violets of March next. 
I put this one on my library queue after reading about it on Devourer of Books.
A reloot. Hopefully I'll be able to read it this time. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bon Appetit by Sandra Byrd

After reading Let Them Eat Cake, I added Bon Appétit to my library queue. I wanted to continue Lexi's story and how could I resist reading about France? I'm glad I did. I'm enjoying this series.
Lexi moves to France to learn to bake the French way. She thinks her new adventure will be fun and give her life more direction. But going to baking school and working in a bakery can be hard especially when Lexi's on her own. In Let Them Eat Cake, I had enjoyed getting to know the other women in Lexi's life. Bon Appétit is more about Lexi than anyone else. I missed Lexi's relationships with other women. Lexi certainly has a little trouble making friends in France and her focus was more on school and work. I did enjoy seeing Lexi grow and try things outside of her comfort zone.
I liked Bon Appétit. It was a quick read. I'm looking forward to the last in the series, French Twist. Others who shared their thoughts about Bon Appétit: Book Dilettante, Hitting The Books, and Lesley Ann McDaniel.

Monday, January 7, 2013

End of The Year Book Survey: 2012 Edition

It took me so long to complete this. I read so many really good books in 2012. Too hard. I had to skip questions just to complete it.

Best In Books 2012

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. It's been more than 7 months since I read it and I'm still in love with it. 
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr. I was really excited about it but wound up feeling meh about it. 
 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012?
Julie and Julia by Julie Powell. I didn't care for Julie's character in the movie but I understood her better in the book. 
 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?
Ready Player One, The Fault In Our Stars by John Green, and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn were all books I recommended numerous times. 
 5. Best series you discovered in 2012?
I started several series in 2012 but my favorites are Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater, Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Jodie Meadows' Newsoul, The Selection by Kiera Cass, and Jessica Spotswood's The Cahill Witch Chronicles. 
 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?
Beth Revis! 
7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Sudden Country by Karen Fisher. I read it for the Western Genre challenge. 
 8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?
The Rook by Daniel O'Malley.
 9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:
Ready Player One.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?

 13. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2012? 
Shortest book was The Thorn and The Blossom by Theodora Goss at 82 pages.
Longest book was Blackout by Mira Grant at 659 pages.
14. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
Witch Child by Celia Rees. My friend Jen loaned it to me. I'm glad she did. 

Looking Ahead…

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?
I said I'd read Pride and Prejudice and I still have not. I'm planning on reading it this month.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?
The end of the Across The Universe series. I can't wait to see how it ends. 
3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?
Keep making new friends and enjoying both reading and blogging.

Friday, January 4, 2013

December Book Tally and End of Year Wrap Up

December Book Tally

Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day Winifred Winston

Her Fearful Symmetry by  Audrey Niffenegger
Ashes of Honor by Seanan McGuire
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Son by Lois Lowry
Blackberry Winter by Sarah Jio
Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister
Saga vol 1 by Brian K Vaughn
The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin
Blankets by Craig Thompson
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Stumptown vol 1 by Greg Rucka
The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas
Demon Knights vol 1 by Paul Cornell
Amulet vol 5 by Kazu Kibuishi

Fifteen books! I had a lot of time for reading but I also had a bunch of books that sucked me in. Towards the end of December, I got really sick and had a hard time reading. So I read 3 graphic novels in 2 days. 

So how did I do on my goals?

  1. Read Pride and Prejudice-Fail. I thought I owned Pride and Prejudice but I own Sense and Sensibility. I was too sick to go out and buy a copy before the end of 2012. 
  2. Participate in the War Through The Generation challengeThe Western Genre challenge, and the Foodies Read 2 challenge.-I met my goal for the War through The Generation challenge and exceeded my goal for the Foodie Read 2 Challenge. I failed at my goal for the Western Genre. 
  3. I'm keeping reading goal at 100. -I met my goal and exceeded it. 
  4. Participate in Weekend Cooking. I've been invited numerous times to participate and I'm going to start in January. I'll still have my slow cooker Tuesdays but post non-slow cooker recipes on Saturdays. -I've been participating in Weekend Cooking for most of the year. 
Now all the stats!

Total books read: 128 (5 more than last year)
Total number of pages read: 39,863 (1823 more pages than last year)

 YA continues to be my largest genre of books read. I read less graphic novels than last year. These are not all the books I read just the most popular ones for me.
I still read more books by women than men. This is still about the same as last year.

How was your reading in 2012?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas

A coworker and I were talking about books and she asked me if I'd ever read any of Rosie Thomas' books. I hadn't so my coworker lent me The Kashmir Shawl. I'm so glad she did cause this is the kind of historical fiction I crave.
The story starts after Mair's father dies. Mair and her siblings are cleaning out his home for sale when Mair comes across a beautiful shawl. Mair's sister thinks it was their grandmother's. Mair finds a lock of hair in an envelope, tucked within the shawl. The hair doesn't belong to anyone in her family. Mair finds the shawl and its history to be a mystery. How did a missionary's wife come into possession of such a fine shawl? Who's hair is tucked in this envelope? What was her grandmother's life like in India?  With all those questions, Mair treks off to India.
The book goes back and forth between Mair's journey and Nerys, her grandmother, in 1940's India. The switch wasn't always clear. I wish Thomas would have made it a little more clear which time period we were in. That's my only gripe about The Kashmir Shawl. But I loved the mystery, the romance, the history. I liked Mair and Nerys and their stories. Thomas writes so well and makes the story flow very well.
Overall, I really enjoyed The Kashmir Shawl. I can't wait to read more of Thomas' books. Others who shared their thoughts on The Kashmir Shawl: House With No Name, For Book's Sake, Curious Book Fans, Reading The Past, and Readers in The Mist.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2013 Let Me Count The Ways Challenge

This year I'm doing something different. I've always tired to reach a certain number of books I read but a friend suggested I count pages instead this year. I like the different challenge so I'm joining the Let Me Count The Ways Reading Challenge. I'm going for the Mansion level (10,001+). In 2012, I read  39,378 pages. In 2013, I'm going to read 40,000 pages. I think I can do this.