Thursday, June 28, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I've been tagged with the Liebster Blog Award by Bookworm8921. The Liebster Award is for bloggers with less than 200 followers. Award winners share 11 facts about themselves, answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who tagged them, come up with 11 of their own questions and tag 11 more bloggers with the award.

11 Facts about me:

1.  I love photography and yoga.
2. I have four animals, 3 cats and 1 dog, that I rescued from the pound I volunteer for.
3.  I am a vegetarian.
4.  I sometimes skip to the end of the book to find out what happens because I can't wait!
5.  Two of my favorite books are The Jungle Book and Watership Down. 
6.  I like to take vacations in places I can go hiking.
7. That being said, my favorite urban place to travel is New Orleans.
8. I work in a library.
9. I am a Michigander.
10.I am married, and have a younger brother and two stepsisters.
11. My favorite month is October and my favorite holiday is Halloween.

Questions from Bookworm8921:

1.  What is the first book you can ever remember reading?  Henny Penny.

2.  Do you re-read books? If so what book have you re-read the most? Watership Down

3.  Have you ever liked a movie based on a book more than the book itself? No

4. How did you decide on what to call your blog? I can be pretty idealistic and impractical, lol.  I love birds, but my husband also calls me magpie sometimes because I am attracted to shiny objects.  And I can talk the ears off my family and some of my friends; my mom and dad both say I talk too fast as well.

5.  How many books are you hoping to read this year? Last year I read about 125 or something like that- I was hoping for 150, but I got off to a bad start.  After reading 11/22/63, I took a major break - not because of the size, but because I was blown away by how good it was.

6.  Do you have plans to write your own book?  I toy with the idea, and sometimes even start writing. I guess I would like to, but don't have a plan. :)

7.  What was the last book that you read? 127 Hours- Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

8.  What is your favorite movie? Oo good question! I love the movie Love Actually.

9.  Who is your favorite actor/actress?  I love Michael Fassbender and Emma Stone.

10.  What tv shows do you enjoy? Castle, New Girl, Glee, Top Chef, Grimm, Once Upon A Time

11.  Do you collect anything other books? Animals? Dust? No, I used to collect fairy figurines but I don't anymore. :(  Maybe I should start again.  

Blogs I'd like to tag:

(if you have more than 200 followers and I tagged you, I apologize. I had a difficult time figuring that out.)

My Questions:

1.  What is your favorite holiday?
2.  What is the best book to movie adaptation you have watched?
3.  What is the best and what is the worst book you have ever read?
4.  What other hobbies do you like besides reading?
5.  If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you choose?
6.  What is your favorite amusement park ride?
7.  What is your favorite bird?
8.  Do you ever skip to the end of the book while reading it, just to see what happens? 
9.  Where do you usually read?
10. What do you think of e-books and e-book readers?
11. Do you go to the library?

Monday, June 25, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.

Read last Week:

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:  This was given to me by my friend who insisted I read it immediately.  So I did.  I finished it up in one morning, it was just so good.

This is all I ended up reading.  I spent some times with my husband and friends, going to movies (Prometheus and Brave), going to book club, and making a midsummer's eve dinner with my husband too.  Which was amazing - Ratatouille with goat cheese, watermelon feta salad, and berry tarts. It took hours but it was worth it!  I read some old favorite books in between, mostly by Jennifer Crusie. 

Reading This Week:

The Hunter and the Hunted by Kelley Armstrong:  Reading for NetGalley.  

Explosive Eighteen byJanet Evanovich: Wow this series is really going downhill. I was still reading these for Ranger, but they have become a struggle to finish! I am pretty sure this is my last Stephanie Plum. 

127 Hours Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston: My library this year is doing an adult summer reading program,that is set up like a bingo.  We get a bingo card when we sign up, and we do the tasks in the squares until we get a bingo.  I have one left in my row, and that is a biography, the genre I very rarely read. I remembered that Sheila at Book Journey recently read this, so I went for it.  Plus there is a movie with  James Franco and I love him, so that will be my reward. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Deadlocked - Review

Title: Deadlocked
Author: Charlaine Harris
Source: Barnes and Noble

Goodreads Summary:

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.
Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

My thoughts:

I agree these books are getting a little old and drawn out.  Kind of like the Stephanie Plum series.  But, I find there is something comforting and easy about reading them.  Like an entertaining commercial for your brain, a palette cleanser of sorts.   Unfortunately, although like slipping into an old pair of jeans, this is just ho hum  and didn't really make you feel that good.  

This book had more of the same stuff - Sookie just trying to deal with the supernaturals around her, while living her normal Louisiana life.  The supernaturals are the usual suspects - vampires, werewolves, fairies.  This time Eric is accused of murder and the police are investigating the death of a young woman who died in his front yard.  Sookie and Bill are on the case, to figure out what happened.  I thought the mystery was actually pretty interesting, and I didn't figure it out before the reader is supposed to.  However, it is Sookie's relationships with everyone that gets on my nerves.  

Her brother is all happy-wappy and getting married; this bothers me because I like stupid, shallow Jason for some reason.  I didn't expect him to make such a big change.  Alcide was my favorite for a while, and I always rooted for him and Sookie to get together, but Harris has made him into a really annoying character. Sam is clueless and they almost make fun of his living in a trailer in this book, Tara is having babies, Bill is still mooning over Sookie, and Eric seems ambivalent to Sookie.  Pam is the only character who still seems like herself.  I do think characters need to grow and change (example: Stephanie Plum has NOT grown) but I don't really like the direction Harris went.  These characters seem like watered down versions of themselves.  

I kind of liked the end.  It seemed Harris was cleaning house.  It also is apparent that she is setting Sookie up for a romance with Sam.  I am hoping the next book is the last in the series; and I know I will read it, if just for closure on this series.  I hate when things  end without conclusions.  

So, if you can walk away now from Sookie, I would say walk away.  If you can't, and have to read them, like me, don't expect too much.  

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Gone Girl - Review

Title:  Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Source: Friend

Goodreads Summary:

"'What are you thinking, Amy? The question I've asked most often during our marriage, if not out loud, if not to the person who could answer. I suppose these questions stormcloud over every marriage: What are you thinking? How are you feeling? Who are you? What have we done to each other? What will we do?'"

Just how well can you ever know the person you love? This is the question that Nick Dunne must ask himself on the morning of his fifth wedding anniversary, when his wife Amy suddenly disappears. The police immediately suspect Nick. Amy's friends reveal that she was afraid of him, that she kept secrets from him. He swears it isn't true. A police examination of his computer shows strange searches. He says they aren't his. And then there are the persistent calls on his mobile phone. So what did really did happen to Nick's beautiful wife? And what was left in that half-wrapped box left so casually on their marital bed? In this novel, marriage truly is the art of war...

My thoughts:

Wow. Wow. This book was "amazing"! This book was given to me Thursday at book club by my friend Jill, who told me I absolutely had to read it, and that she could not put it down.  I started reading it last last night, and finished it today.  I couldn't stop either, it was so good.  And that "good" is a weighted, heavy, good with lots of emphasis on the good.  It was unbelievable. I loved it, and it is possibly the best book I have read this year.  And I already have all her books on hold at the library.

This is tough to review - there are so many small, delicate, intricate plot-workings that it reminds me of a brain map.   And I don't want to give anything away.  So, I feel I have nothing to really say except this book was exceptional and I think everyone should read it.  The writing was poetry in parts, and if it hadn't been a library book, I would have been underlining passages right and left.  Such as:

“Sleep is like a cat: It only comes to you if you ignore it.” 

"Give me a man with a little fight in him, a man who calls me on my bullshit. (But who also kind of likes my bullshit.) "

" Ironic people always dissolve when confronted by earnestness, it's their kryptonite. "

I urge you all to read this, especially if like thrillers, mysteries, smart people, books about relationships, and of course if you like to be slightly scared and utterly obsessed with a book to the point you are reading it while brushing your teeth.  Read this on a bus, on a plane, on a beach or on the couch - no matter where, you will love it.

Just one olive, though.

The Name of the Star- Review

Title:  The Name of the Star
Author: Maureen Johnson
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London, it's the start of a new life at a boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.

My thoughts:

I really didn't expect to like this very much.  I grabbed it on a whim one morning at the library, and expected an average 
type young adult book.  However, I couldn't put it down, and read it all in one sitting.   

Jack the Ripper freaks me out - so much so that I have read all kinds of books of theories about him.  I tend to read not only stuff I like, but also stuff that scares me.  So I read about Jack.  And I watched the Johnny Depp movie about Jack the Ripper, From Hell.  It is safe to say I grab stuff that I see about him.  I was surprised to see a book about him aimed at a younger generation - some of the details are gruesome, but I guess in the society we have now kids can be a bit savvier.   Nonetheless, it was a subject you don't see in its particular genre - it wasn't about vampires, or werewolves or witches or fairies, but an actual crime that took place in England in the 1880s.  I found this to be interesting.  

The beginning was a little too blah, and I did gloss over some stuff, including something that turned out to be a pivotal moment, so I had to go back and reread it. She seemed just like an American teenager, trying to get used to living in England, until a major part of the book is revealed, a part that I didn't expect.  It changes the book and what I had thought I was reading, but in a good way.  The book ends on a cliff hanger, and I was sad to see that the second book in the series has not come out yet.  I will wait (im)patiently for it!

This book was really good I thought.  It was pretty graphic about the Jack the Ripper murders in some areas, so I would keep that in mind when recommending  it to a kid.   I know a 7th grader that I almost suggested it to, but decided against it at the last minute.  I would stick to high school age and up for this one. 

June Book Club - Invisible Monsters

Hostess: Alyssa

Book: Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
Food: Jalapeno Baked Salmon, Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with Jalapenos, Bread, little Cheescakes
Wine of the Night: Sutter Home Bubbly Pink Moscato
Month: June  

Ok, yes, our favorite wine of the night was low priced bubbly pink moscato.  But it was served in chilled wine glasses and seemed the perfect drink for the night, as we discussed Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk.  Alyssa chose this book to celebrate her engagement; she met her husband-to-be while she worked at a local bookstore, and she waited on him.  So, they have a love of Chuck Palahniuk to thank for their relationship.  I believe that a shared interest in reading and certain authors is pretty important to a relationship too.     

This book took me a while to get into.  The beginning was so tedious for me; I really wasn't interested in it until about halfway through.  Then I couldn't get enough, and my mind was blown by many of the revelations.  Jill couldn't get through it at all, and Chrissy loved it from the start.  While not Alyssa's favorite, it was one she really likes.  I think the end of the book, where you learn that she was the one who shot herself in the face, causing irreparable damage and a whole lifestyle change.  No longer was she the beautiful model, now she was missing her whole lower jaw.  You learn at the end that she did this thing to herself because she was just plain tired of bearing the responsibility of being beautiful.   The book was fascinating - so many things overlapped and made sense at the end, about her brother, her boyfriend, and herself. 

Of course at some point the conversation digressed into other topics, but everyone stayed far later than they usually do.  Could it be that this was our first summer book club?  Or was it the bubbly pink Moscato?

Next book club is mine, and I chose Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. 

Diva - A Review

  Title: Diva
Author: Jillian Larkin
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

Parties, bad boys, speakeasies—life in Manhattan has become a woozy blur for Clara Knowles. If Marcus Eastman truly loved her, how could he have fallen for another girl so quickly? Their romance mustn't have been as magical as Clara thought. And if she has to be unhappy, she's going to drag everyone else down to the depths of despair right along with her.

Being a Barnard girl is the stuff of Lorraine Dyer's dreams. Finding out that Marcus is marrying a gold digger who may or may not be named Anastasia? A nightmare. The old Lorraine would have sat by and let the chips fall where they may, but she's grown up a lot these past few months. She can't bear to see Marcus lose a chance for true love. But will anyone listen to her?

Now that the charges against her have been dropped, Gloria Carmody is spending the last dizzying days of summer on Long Island, yachting on the sound and palling around with socialites at Forrest Hamilton's swanky villa. Beneath her smile, though, Gloria's keeping a secret. One that could have deadly consequences . . 

My th0ughts:

I really love to read about this era - I think I am a flapper at heart, and I wish I could have lived during this era, dancing all night long, but sans the mobsters.  This book was the final in this series, and the ending surprised me!

The best part of this book, I thought, was the unlikely pair of Clara and Lorraine, united in their love for Marcus and desire to stop his wedding.  They believe he is marrying a con artist, and team up to make sure he realizes it before it is too late.  Another good duo that evolves is the one that deepens between Lorraine and Melvin.  I knew Lorraine had a heart beneath all her designer fashions!

Gloria's story, as it is in the other two preceding books, is set apart from Lorraine and Clara's.  She is staying with Forrest Hamilton, to find out his secret, so  she can report it to the police, so that she can stay out of jail. Hoo. She ends up uncovering more than one secret, and one is a secret that could get her killed.

The story comes to a big, blow out of a conclusion.  I loved seeing everything all come together in the end.  I don't want to give too much away, so I am keeping this review short.  I think if you like to read about the roaring twenties, you will definitely like this book. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.

Read Last Week:

Diva by Jillian Larkin:  I recieved this from NetGalley, and it was a great end to the series. 

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris:  I have been reading these books forever, and this one was pure Sookie, and reminded me how much I like the books, even though the HBO version sucks.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson:  Picked this up at the library and was in love; I read the whole book this morning without stopping!

All reviews will be up soon!

Reading this  week:


Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt: I didn't get around to this last week, but I hope to get to it this week.

The Hunter and the Hunted by Kelley Armstrong:  I am a fan of Armstrong's supernatural books, so I am looking forward to this one!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly blog meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where you list the books you read last week and the ones you hope to read this week.

Read Last Week (and week before):

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen:  This was a great book, but I didn't love it as much as Garden Spells.  

Ingenue by Jillian Larkin:  I am mad at myself for not reading this  sooner!

Garden Spells and Invisible Monsters are both book club books, that I am planning on reviewing along with that book club night.  I used to do this on my other blog Cinnamon Owl, but I haven't done anything there in months!  I do miss it thought and plan on writing there again this summer.

Reading this week:


Diva by  Jillian Larkin:  Number three in the Flappers series.  I am reading this for NetGalley.

Five Miles South of Peculiar by Angela Hunt:  This cover and title intrigue me.  This is also another NetGalley book.

On another note, which blog host do you all use?  I am getting so frustrated with Blogger right now; I struggle to add my pictures where I want them, and it never works out, and the font type and size just does what it wants when it wants.  Any suggestions, for a different blog host or how to fix my issues?  I would rather not leave but this stuff drives me nuts!

Ingenue - Review

Title:  Ingenue (Flappers #2)
Author:  Jillian Larkin
Source: Nook

Goodreads Summary:

Power . . . love . . . scandal . . .
There’s never enough to go around.

In the city that never sleeps, Lorraine Dyer is wide awake. Ever since she exposed Clara Knowles for the tramp she was—and lost her closest confidante in the process—Lorraine has spent every second scheming to make her selfish, lovesick ex–best friend pay for what she did. No one crosses Lorraine. Not even Gloria.

True love conquers everything—or so Gloria Carmody crazily believed. She and Jerome Johnson can barely scrape together cash for their rent, let alone have a moment to whisper sweet nothings in the dark. And if they thought escaping Chicago meant they’d get away with murder . . . they were dead wrong.

Clara was sure that once handsome, charming Marcus Eastman discovered her shameful secret, he’d drop her like a bad habit. Instead, he swept her off her feet and whisked her away to New York. Being with Marcus is a breath of fresh air—and a chance for Clara to leave her wild flapper ways firmly in the past. Except the dazzling parties and bright lights won’t stop whispering her name. . . .

INGENUE is the second novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic Flappers series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . where revenge is a dish best served cold.

My thoughts:

We read the first in this series, Vixen, last year for book club.  I loved it but never got around to reading book 2.  I am sorry I waited so long, because I just finished Ingenue, Book 2, and I loved it too!

The flappers this books revolves around are three very different girls - Gloria, Lorraine, and Clara.  We got to know them in Vixen, but Ingenue shows the girls in the midst of growing up and becoming women rather than girls.  Gloria and Jerome have a new set of problems, and have not yet solved their first set.  Lorraine is the manager of high end club, but needs to get out from under the thumb of Carlito and have some confidence.  And Clara must confront her demons - can she really do it?  We also meet new characters such as Hank, who I desperately hope is in book 3 because he has some 'splaining to do, and also we learn more about Jerome's sister Vera, and Evan a trumpet player. 

They are starting to become actualized and independent, but have not left their problems behind, only escaped them momentarily.  In Ingenue, these problems come to a head for all of them, and you will have to read to see how it all turns out.

These are fun books and if you have ever daydreamed about being a flapper, these books are for you.

The Peach Keeper

Title :  The Peach Keeper
Author: Sarah Addison Allen
Source: Nook

Goodreads Summary:

 Walls of Water, North Carolina, where the secrets are thicker than the fog from the town’s famous waterfalls, and the stuff of superstition is just as real as you want it to be.

It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

For the bones—those of charismatic traveling salesman Tucker Devlin, who worked his dark charms on Walls of Water seventy-five years ago—are not all that lay hidden out of sight and mind. Long-kept secrets surrounding the troubling remains have also come to light, seemingly heralded by a spate of sudden strange occurrences throughout the town.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

Resonant with insight into the deep and lasting power of friendship, love, and tradition, The Peach Keeper is a portrait of the unshakable bonds that—in good times and bad, from one generation to the next—endure forever.

My thoughts:

I always love the writing of Sarah Addison Allen- they are such wonderful stories of women and everyday magic, and a little extra magic as well.  They are southern, magical, and beguiling. 

While I really enjoyed The Peach Keeper, I was not as enthralled as I had been while reading Garden Spells.  (although Garden Spells is so similar to Practical Magic by  Alice Hoffman I think)  It was one of the first by her I have read that the main characters were not special in some way, like the characters in Garden Spells were.  I was the girl who grew up looking for fairies in our rose bushes, and that aspect of me has not totally gone away.  I like to believe somewhat that there are people out there who can do incredible magical things, which is a reason I love Allen's books.  This one did not deliver much of that, but it was nevertheless a book I enjoyed reading. 

The main characters were people very different from one another - Paxton, a rich, OCD chick who lives with her parents, Willa, a woman who owns an upscale hiking supply store but hates nature and was known as the Joker in high school, Paxton's brother Colin, and Sebastian, Paxton's seemingly aesexual friend that she is in love with.  They all seem to be sad in their own lives, wanting more but not knowing what it was they wanted or how to get it. 

Then the reopening of the Blue Ridge Madam shakes up the all their lives.  It has a history that ties Willa and Paxton together, as they try to sort out the mystery of their grandmother's friendship, Tucker Devlin, and their own budding friendship and romances.  I genuinely enjoyed watching these characters grow and find their own happiness.