Monday, November 26, 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:

I haven't been making much progress reading anything for a few weeks.  I have just been busy and sick.   I did squeeze in some easy reading books. 


Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly:  I read this because the setting was Northern Michigan, where I recently attended a wedding.

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley: This was our November book club book.

Reading This Week:

I went to the library and can't decide what I want to read first. I will be reading 2-3 of these books this week.   I will not be able to read all of them though, sadly. 


The Wisdom of the Shire: A Short Guide to a Long and Happy Life by Noble Smith: I am a first class Tolkien nerd. I even have my own The One Ring. 

Jepp, Who Defied the Stars by Katherine Marsh: Who doesn't like to hear of someone defying the stars? I am super intrigued by this book.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai:  I think this book sounds amazing. 

River Road by Suzanne Johnson: I read the first in this series a few months ago, and when I saw this book displayed at the library I picked it up. 

and I am still working on :

I am sure you will see these two books for a while longer.


What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan: I am not reading these two books very quickly, and I refuse to start Charlotte and Emily before I finish Jane. I am finding the Mullan book very interesting, I just am not able to sit down and just read it. I have to read it in small doses.

Charlotte and Emily by Jude Morgan: I can't wait to start this book! 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Two shorty reviews

I have been busy, travelling up north for my cousin's wedding, working and the holidays, and then of course I get sick from being worn out. When I feel this way, I am not the greatest at concentrating, and I pick up easy reading books.


Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly:  I picked this book up because it is set in northern Michigan, right around where I was for the wedding. It had a mystery element to it, and I feel like I learned about what owning a craft brewing company would be like. I actually thought for a second I would give it a try, beer making. It is still in the planning stages though, since I know absolutely nothing about making beer. And I don't know if I am that big of a beer drinker either.

We did visit this cool brewery when we were in Petoskey, Beards Brewery.  My husband tried to get a free beer because that is our last name, but the taproom guy said no very nicely. :)

The Madness of Lord Ian Mckenzie by Jennifer Ashley: This is our book club book for November. I am not sure what to think of this book, but I can tell you I have never read a period romance where the main romantic hero has Asperger's Syndrome. So that was interesting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday ~Thankful

Top Ten Tuesday
Top Ten Books/Authors I am Thankful For
Brought to you by The Broke and the Bookish

This was difficult, I thought, in the sense that this is such a huge question. I decided to go with authors and books that either got me hooked on reading or influenced my life. That said, here is my list:

Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, #1)1. Laura Ingalls Wilder/Little House Series:  I was hooked on these from the start.  I loved that Laura was mischevious and sometimes got into trouble, because I was more like Laura than Mary.  I loved theses books - the descriptions of Christmas, of the meals and their clothes and their home and their neighbors- all of it.  When my husband lost his job two years ago, I thought back to the time when Pa walked very far away to work, and how Laura and Mary would check off the days until he was home. (and yay, my husband does have a great job now!) 

On the Road 2. Jack Kerouac/On The Road:  I know he is kind of played out and his works looked down upon, but I still love him. When I was in high school, I used to try to be a beatnik. It wasn't easy though. Lol.   

The Complete Poems of Dorothy Parker 

3. Dorothy Parker:  I discovered Dorothy in high school is well, and fell in love with her sarcastic, acerbic wit.  And she loved dogs so that was cool too.  Recently a friend and I had a Dorothy Parker night, where we drank whiskey sours in Dorothy Parker's memory.

The Catcher in the Rye 

4. J.D. Salinger: You guys are probably forming a correct idea of what I was like in high school in college. Another book that I think people now frown on, but I love it still.  I thought Holden Caulfied was the coolest back then, but the book I really loved and still reread is Franny and Zooey.  

A Light in the Attic 

5.  Shel Silverstein: Where would my generation be without this man? These books are amazing! When someone close to me was very sick and in the hospital years and years ago, Shel Silverstein books are what came to my mind to give him to read.  I also would tell my brother I was selling him to the gypsies because of this book.

Goodnight Moon 

6. Goodnight Moon: My mother read this book to me every night before bed.  

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, #1) 

7.  Stephen King: I know he makes most of my lists, I can't help it. He is seriously one of my favorites, if not my very favorite.  And The Gunslinger was the first book I ever shared with my husband, when we first started dating. 

Charlotte's Web 

8.  Charlotte's Web/The Jungle/A Day No Pigs Would Die/The Plague Dogs:  I lumped these together since they all were very influential in my becoming an animal rights activist and vegetarian.

All Things Bright and Beautiful 

9.  James Herriot:  Although I learned more than I wanted to at a young age about what a vet does, these books charmed me.  Another author who influenced the animal part of my life. Sometimes the stories were sad, but other times joyful, and taught me what loving an animal was like.

The Story of Ferdinand 

10.  The Story of Ferdinand:  One of my very favorite books growing up.  A gentle bull who just wanted to smell the flowers.   

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Riot's Poll of Favorite Books

Book Riot recently posted their poll of favorite books. I saw it on Relentless Reader, and wanted to join in with the ones I have read. I have read quite a few, but there are still quite a few I need to read!  What about you? How many have you read?

  1. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (126 votes)
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
  4. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  5. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  8. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  10. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  11. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  12. The Secret History by Donna Tartt
  13. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  15. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  16. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  17. The Stand by Stephen King
  18. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  19. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  20. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  21. Persuasion by Jane Austen
  22. The PIcture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  23. The Brothers Karamozov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  24. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon
  25. East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  26. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  27. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  28. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  29. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  30. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  31. 1984 by George Orwell
  32. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  33. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  34. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  35. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  36. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  37. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams
  38. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
  39. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  40. Ulysses by James Joyce
  41. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  42. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  43. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  44. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  45. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  46. Dune by Frank Herbert
  47. Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
  48. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  49. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  50. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (13 votes)

Vanity Fare ~ Review

Vanity Fare: A novel of lattes, literature, and love
Title: Vanity Fare
Author: Megan Caldwell
Source: LibraryThing Early Readers

Goodreads Summary:

A charming novel about a 40-year-old Brooklyn mother, recently divorced, who starts writing copy for a bakery, discovers a knack for food-related literary puns, and becomes entangled in a love triangle.

Molly Hagan is overwhelmed.

Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman, her six year-old son is questioning her authority, and now, so is she. In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokemon and Legos-not to mention food and clothing-she has to get a job. Fast.

So when an old friend offers Molly a copywriting position at a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind. But the sexy British pastry chef who's heading up the bakery has other thoughts. And so does Molly when she meets the chef's intimidating business partner-who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own Happily Ever After.

 My Thoughts:

 I won this book from Library Thing, and it arrived the day after I finished Heading Out to Wonderful.  I was in a funky frame of mind, suffering from book hangover, so I picked it up and immediately started reading it.  It was fun and silly, and the perfect antidote to the heaviness I was feeling.  This is normal for me, I do usually try to balance the books I read so if I read something pretty emotional I follow up with something easy.  I started this when I was reading Joyce Carol Oates books’ back to back to back and started feeling grumpy and depressed. Her stuff is so good, but so dark!  So I don't like to be all serious all the time.

Vanity Fare is about a forty year old rich woman named Molly whose husband abruptly leaves her, and not only is he gone, but so is their money and his job.  She is forced to get a job, but after being a stay at home with a liberal arts degree, she feels she has few options.  In the past, she had dabbled in freelance proofing and editing for her friend’s marketing firm, and when he calls with an opportunity, she has to check it out, for the sake of herself and her son Aidan.  The job is writing copy for a celebrity chef, Simon from Britain, who is opening a new bakery – and he wants his products tied into the library next door, hence the name Vanity Fare. She writes lots of puns, reworking book titles to have to do with baked goods.  Molly ends up dating Simon a few times, but really has her eye on Nick, the financial guy behind Simon.  There are a few hiccups along the way to happiness for Molly, but ultimately this book has a happy ending.

One thing did bother me- Molly was always going on about her internal editor, and would mentally note if someone used the same word more than once in a paragraph or a document.  But I counted the author using the word surreptitiously at least 6 times, and 3 times out of the 6 was on the same page. I wasn’t sure if this was supposed to be ironic or if it was a mistake, but it bugged me after reading how the character hated when that happened.   

This book is an easy feel good book.  Not too serious or dramatic, just something to read when you need a pick me up.  I could easily see reading it, while drinking a peppermint mocha latte and eating something equally indulgent.

Sunday, November 11, 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:

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick: I am in love with this author. I loved this book, it was fabulous and pretty intense. 

Vanity Fare: I won this from Library Thing, and I read it last week after Heading Out to Wonderful. which was the perfect time to read it.  It was a silly, fun little book, which you need in your diet of reading to keep you balanced. My review will be up Wednesday. 

Reading This Week:

I have our last family wedding until April this week, but this wedding is four hours away, so I should have some time to read. :)


What Matters in  Jane Austen:  Still working on this one, but I am finding it fascinating so far!

Charlotte and Emily: I am excited to read this the same week I am reading the Austen book. Its nerdy fun. Lol.  


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Heading Out to Wonderful ~ Review

Title:  Heading Out to Wonderful
Author: Robert Goolrick
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

"Let me tell you something, son. 
When you're young, and you head out to wonderful, everything is fresh and bright as a brand-new penny, 
but before you get to wonderful you're going to have to pass through all right. And when you get to all right, stop and take a good, long look, because that may be as far as you're ever going to go."It is the summer of 1948 when a handsome, charismatic stranger, Charlie Beale, recently back from the war in Europe, shows up in the town of Brownsburg, a sleepy village of a few hundred people, nestled in the Valley of Virginia. All he has with him are two suitcases: one contains his few possessions, including a fine set of butcher knives; the other is full of money. A lot of money.Finding work at the local butcher shop, Charlie befriends the owner and his family, including the owner's son, Sam, who he is soon treating as though he were his own flesh and blood. And it is through the shop that Charlie gradually meets all the townsfolk, including Boaty Glass, Brownsburg's wealthiest citizen, and most significantly, Boaty's beautiful teenage bride, Sylvan.This last encounter sets in motion the events that give Goolrick's powerful tale the stark, emotional impact that thrilled fans of his previous novel, A Reliable Wife. Charlie's attraction to Sylvan Glass turns first to lust and then to a need to possess her, a need so basic it becomes an all-consuming passion that threatens to destroy everything and everyone in its path. Told through the eyes of Sam, now an old man looking back on the events that changed his world forever, Heading Out to Wonderful is a suspenseful masterpiece, a haunting, heart-stopping novel of obsession and love gone terribly wrong in a place where once upon a time such things could happen.

My thoughts:

I read this book last night and it shattered me. The whole time I read it, I was filled with trepidation, not sure if I wanted to go further. Everything was so idyllic, perfect, you just knew something was going to happen. Like the Robert Frost poem, nothing gold can stay.  I even had to tweet Jennifer at The Relentless Reader I was so nervous!!  

And here is the tricky thing - everything in the book was going swimmingly.  I had no reason to be anxious, but Goolrick has a way of creating an atmosphere, and although all was wonderful, it was an ominous wonderful.   Charlie Beale arrives in town,a stranger and a drifter living out of his truck on the land he had purchased. He enjoys a cigarette and a glass of whiskey before bed, and never fails to write in his diary. He is a butcher who cares about the animals he slaughters not wanting them to experience fear. He gets a job at the local store as a butcher, and befriends the owners, Willie and Alma, and their son Sam.  Within a short time, Charlie becomes beloved.  His relationship with Sam evolves into one close to that of father and son, and Charlie would never do anything to hurt Sam. Charlie possesses a mastery of whatever he decides to do, and for a while, that is just being a good citizen of Brownsburg.  And then Sylvan waltzes into his life, and it all goes to hell.

I had a crush on Charlie, just like all the residents of Brownsburg did.  I thought I understood him, although we know next to nothing about who he was before he came to Brownsburg, what he did, where he got his money.  Love will certainly mess a person up! He started doing things that I was uncomfortable with, I trusted him less as a character. I was hoping for redemption, but what I got blew my mind!  I was so emotionally involved in this book, I am tired out today.

 This book is like a gothic folk ballad, haunting and lovely and tragic. I absolutely loved it.

Sunday, November 4, 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:

Nothing. I was crazy to think I would.  Too busy with Halloween and the wedding, where I did things like this:

Mean Mugging Bridesmaids!
Stop! In the Name of Love (Detroit Motown!)

The wedding was a blast!! Chrissy, my new sister in law, was simply stunning, and I have never seen my brother happier or more proud. :) It was a beautiful wedding, and a wonderful time!

Reading this week:

 Belle and Jennifer loved it, and I am sure I will too!  I also need to start working on my Netgalley titles too, so I am starting this John Mullan book as well.

Heading Out to Wonderful by Robert Goolrick: Because I am part of that Goolrick fan club!

What Matters in Jane Austen by John Mullan: I am excited to start this historical behind the scenes look into Jane Austen's novels.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Book Club

Funny Courtesy Hello Ecard: Have a nice time at 'book club.'Hostess: Erin (Chrissy)
Book: No book read - we had a book exchange!
Food:Everyone brought something - I made vegetable soup, Jennifer brought yummy bakery bread, Chrissy brought cheese and crackers, Alyssa brought bread and dip, Jill brought cupcakes, Kelly brought her famous cheese puffs, and Mary brought chips and salsa
Month: October

Books recieved :
  • Chrissy got Swapping Lives by Jane Green from Jill
  • Jill got A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving from me
  • I got Candide by Voltaire and The Executer by Jesse Kellerman from Alyssa
  • Alyssa got A Gentleman's Honor by Stephanie Laurens from Kelly
  • Kelly got the Sex Lives of Kings from Jennifer
  • Jennifer got A Season of Miracles by Heather Graham from Mary
  • Mary got Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden from Chrissy

Nope, I did not take any photos, although I really meant to. I never ever remember to take pictures, which is unbelievable since I am always taking pictures!

This book club we did something different. It was Chrissy's month to host, but since Ocotber is the month before her wedding to my brother (which is tomorrow- November 2nd), we decided to mix things up. I had read a blog post by Sheila at Book Journey, where her book club all exchanged books. I had everyone over my house, and made it a pot luck. Then we did the same thing as Sheila, wrapping the books up, then doing a white elephant to draw a book out of the bag. We started with Chrissy, the bride-to-be, and the next person to pick was the person who had brought that book.   Everyone was excited about the books they had gotten, and interestingly, for the most part everyone received a book they had not read and really wasn't in their normal genre, which I think is cool, when people read something not usually in their wheelhouse.  I am looking forward to hearing what everyone thought of the book they got.

At about 9:00, book club became dance club in my living room!  We had started talking about the wedding and dancing, then we decided we had to practice The Time Warp, The Wobble, The Hustle, and The Cupid Shuffle, and Gangnam Style before the wedding. Lol.  It was hysterical. I am the most uncoordinated person in the world, so I should not lead these dances ever. I also learned Kelly can do the Charleston that night.  

Next book club is Kelly's, and she picked The Madness of Lord Ian MacKenzie.