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Showing posts from November, 2011

November Wrap Up

Oh my goodness.  I can't believe it's December already!  I am starting to get a little burned out on reading but am pretty determined to hit my goal of 200 for the year.  Next year, I don't I will set my sights so high.  I read 20 books in November which is awesome and am at 183 books total for the year.  Luckily I am off work from Dec. 22-Jan. 2 so if necessary, I can spend some extra time reading.  I also met my 2011 New Year's Resolution in November so I am super happy about that.  I had some major crises happen while I was in grad school and had to charge a lot of stuff to a credit card.  I have been trying for 3 years (!) to get it paid off and every time I have been close, another crisis would occur.  But as of last week, I am out of credit card debt and am so happy about it!  Anyway, here is what I read in November: 1.) Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser 2.) The Shunning by Beverly Lewis 3.) In Cold Blood by Truman Capote 4.) Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet

Top Ten Books on My TBR List this Winter

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books on My To Be Read List for Winter (All titles are linked to 1.) Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins 2.) Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran 3.) Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase 4.) Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward 5.) Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward 6.) Frostbite by Richelle Mead 7.) Tully by Paullina Simons 8.) City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare 9.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King (If I get it for Christmas!) 10.) Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie (also on the Christmas list!) What's on your TBR list for the winter months?

Review: "Vampire Academy" by Richelle Mead

  From Goodreads:  St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . . Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever... My Thoughts:  I have never really been interested in reading this series and I am still not really sure what possessed me to pick this book up.  I guess I figured it would be similar to Twilight and I am kind of over all that.  Vampire Academy really surprised me in that the story was good, the characters were deep and believable and it

Review: "The Gathering Storm" by Robin Bridges

From Goodreads:  St. Petersburg, Russia, 1888. As she attends a whirl of glittering balls, royal debutante Katerina Alexandrovna, Duchess of Oldenburg, tries to hide a dark secret: she can raise the dead. No one knows. Not her family. Not the girls at her finishing school. Not the tsar or anyone in her aristocratic circle. Katerina considers her talent a curse, not a gift. But when she uses her special skill to protect a member of the Imperial Family, she finds herself caught in a web of intrigue. An evil presence is growing within Europe's royal bloodlines—and those aligned with the darkness threaten to topple the tsar. Suddenly Katerina's strength as a necromancer attracts attention from unwelcome sources . . . including two young men—George Alexandrovich, the tsar's standoffish middle son, who needs Katerina's help to safeguard Russia, even if he's repelled by her secret, and the dashing Prince Danilo, heir to the throne of Montenegro, to whom Katerina feels in

In My Mailbox (28)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . From the Library: In a Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres From NetGalley: The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley What books did you recieve this week?

Review: "The Betrayal" by Helen Dunmore

From Goodreads:  Leningrad in 1952: a city recovering from war, where Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together. Summers at the dacha, preparations for the hospital ball, work and the care of sixteen year old Kolya fill their minds. They try hard to avoid coming to the attention of the authorities, but even so their private happiness is precarious. Stalin is still in power, and the Ministry for State Security has new targets in its sights. When Andrei has to treat the seriously ill child of a senior secret police officer, Volkov, he finds himself and his family caught in an impossible game of life and death - for in a land ruled by whispers and watchfulness, betrayal can come from those closest to you. My Thoughts:  This book is the sequel to The Siege   which I read a few months ago.  I feel like I haven't read much historical fiction lately and this book made me see how I much I have missed it.  The Betrayal picks up 10 y

Happy Friday!! (13)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question is:    It's Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. so we want to know what you are Thankful for - blogging related of course! Who has helped you out along the way? What books are you thankful for reading? I am thankful for how welcoming the blogging community is.  I learn so much from all the blogs I read and I am super thankful for all of my followers.  I am also really thankful for NetGalley; it is so awesome that they allow me to read and review newer books.  What are you thankful for?

Review: "Finding Chandra" by Scott Higham and Sari Horowitz

From Goodreads:   In the Fall of 2000 a Young Woman from an upper-middle-class California family left the West Coast for Washington, D.C., to begin an internship at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Chandra Ann Levy was not unlike the thousands of college and graduate students who arrive in Washington as interns each year. She wanted to leave the familiar surroundings of her home in the San Joaquin Valley and find her own way in the nation's epicenter of politics and power. Seven months after arriving in Washington, Chandra signed off her computer inside her Dupont Circle apartment on a warm spring day and went for a walk in her gym clothes. She was never heard from again. Six years later, two investigative reporters revisited Washington's most famous murder mystery. My Thoughts:  Wow.  I really had no idea how botched the Chandra Levy case was until I read this book.  It was shocking to read how the simple fact that Chandra had an affair with a congressman could totally misdi

Top Ten Authors I'd Love To Have At My Thanksgiving Feast

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Authors I'd Love to Have At My Thanksgiving Table I LOVE Thanksgiving!  The hubs, Turbo and I are going to my mom's for the holiday and I can't wait to eat until I'm sick!  Here's who I would love to have over for Thanksgiving. 1.) Diana Gabaldon 2.) Paullina Simons         These two ladies have written some AMAZING books that I absolutely love.  I cannot imagine not inviting them! 3.) Stephen King-There has to some weirdness at Thanksgiving! 4.) J.K. Rowling-Need I say more? 5.) Alison Weir-I would love to pick her brain in regards to British history. 6.) Jen Lancaster-She would definitely bring the fun! 7.) J.R. Ward-I am  really obsessed with her books right now.  Anyone who can create such awesome stories is welcome at my house! 8.) Anne Rice-I just love her.  I have seen her interviewed a few times and I think she would be a great addition t

Review: "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad

From Goodreads:  Dark allegory describes the narrator’s journey up the Congo River and his meeting with, and fascination by, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious personage who dominates the unruly inhabitants of the region. Masterly blend of adventure, character development, psychological penetration. Considered by many Conrad’s finest, most enigmatic story. My Thoughts:  I never had to read this in high school or college so I have always thought that I was missing something.  After reading it, I see now that it wasn't that big of a deal.  Let me just put it out there, this is a weird book.  I understand that it is exploring man's inner darkness as well as the atrocities committed by imperialists in Africa but the story is hard to follow.  It is definitely well-written in that it reads as though you are hearing a story someone is telling you.  But because of the way it is written, it is difficult at times to follow.  The narrator's obsession with Kurtz was strange and the fact that 

In My Mailbox (27)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. From the Library: The Betrayal   by Helen Dunmore The Reckoning by Beverly Lewis Finding Chandra by Scott Higham and Sari Horwitz What's in your mailbox this week?

2012 TBR Pile Challenge

Since I have a ton of unread books on my shelves that need to be read, I decided to participate in the 2012 TBR Pile Challenge! Here is how it works: This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012 . As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can ente r. Sorry about that! Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed! You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!) You can move up levels, but no moving down. Sign-ups will be o

Review: "Mary Boleyn: The Mistress of Kings" by Alison Weir

From Goodreads:  Mary Boleyn (c.1500-1543) was no less fascinating than her ill-fated queen consort sister Anne. In fact, her own claims to fame are numerous: She was not only an influential member of King Henry VIII's court circle; she was one of his mistresses and perhaps the mother of two of his children. In addition, the apparently prolific Mary was rumored to have been also a mistress of the King's rival, Francis I of France. Alison Weir's Mary Boleyn substantially redeems her subject's reputation by disputing her scandalous portrayal in Philippa Gregory's novel The Other Boleyn Girl. Our most detailed view yet of a power behind the throne. My Thoughts:  I love Alison Weir and will read just about anything she writes.  She definitely didn't disappoint this time.  I was thoroughly impressed by the extent of her research for this book; it appeared that there just isn't a lot of clear cut documentation regarding Mary Boleyn's life and she had to wa

Happy Friday!! (12)

This has been the longest, slowest week ever!  I am so happy for Friday to finally be here! Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question is:  Letter to Santa: Tell Santa what books you want for Christmas! I really want:  Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie                          11/22/63   by Stephen King                         Lover Mine by J.R. Ward What's on your Christmas list?

Review: "The Confession" by Beverly Lewis

From Goodreads:   Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman who questioned the strict rules of her upbringing and even her own identity, has been shunned from her Amish community. Katie--now known as Katherine Mayfield--sets out to find her birth mother--and a life--she has never known. Her birth mother is seriously ill and Katie must struggle to find her--and prove her own identity--before it's too late. But in the world of electric lights, telephones, and "fancy" things, Katie stumbles into a web of greed and betrayal where the garb of the Amish is misused to disguise an evil conspiracy. Meanwhile, unknown to Katherine, her long-lost love, Daniel, has returned to the Amish community to find her. Can they ever be together again? Find out in The Confession. My Thoughts:  I was kind of disappointed in this book.  The Shunning was a decent book but this one was way more religious than I like and was kind of boring.  The writing is a too simple for my taste a wnd the story was al

Review: "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith

From Goodreads:  The beloved American classic about a young girl's coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness -- in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience. My Thoughts:  This is another book that I can not believe I have put off reading for so long.  Talk about a great book.  The story itself is sad and depressing but at the same time it is r

Top Ten Unread Books on My Shelf

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's Top Ten is:  Top Ten Books that have been on My Shelf the Longest but I haven't Read A lot of these are books I really should have read by now but because they kind of intimidate me, I have put them on the back burner. Several are memoirs or non-fiction works that center around Russian history 1.) The Drawing of the Three by Stephen King 2.) The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett 3.) The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 4.)  Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 5.) Ada or Ardor by Vladimir Nabokov 6.) The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri 7.) When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman 8.) The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn 9.) The Whisperers by Orlando Figes 10.) Hope Against Hope by Nadezhda Mandelstam What's on your list?

In My Mailbox (26)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren .  It's a great way to check out all the books that other bloggers picked up this week. I didn't realize it until last week but I got a lot of books this past week!  Here is what I received: From the library: Blood Brothers by Nora Roberts The Confession by Beverly Lewis Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich Smokin' Seventeen by Janet Evanovich Mary Boleyn:  Mistress of Kings by Alison Weir Purchased books (I am having major issues with the picture): Lover Revealed by J.R. Ward Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward Lover Enshrined by J.R. Ward Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward From NetGalley: The Crown by Nancy Bilyeau you don't think I just read ALL the time.  This is what I did yesterday.  It's definitely not my best work but it was pretty fun.  Have a great week everyone!  What books did you pick up this week?

Review: "Maybe Baby" by Lori Leibovich

From Goodreads:  A few years ago, touched a primal chord when it hosted a series of personal essays about "to breed or not to breed question." In this expanded collection, more than two dozen writers weigh in on the fears, hopes, and uncertainty of the Big Baby Decision. Contributors include Anne Lamott, Mary Roach, Dani Shapiro, Michelle Goldberg, Laura Miller, Amy Reiter, and Cary Tennis. My Thoughts:  I read about this book on another blog and since I am getting to the age where I am thinking about kids, I thought I would check this out.  It's a collection of essays by people who chose not to have kids, those that did and those that are still on the fence.  I think the mix of view points on kids made this book pretty interesting and it definitely gave me some food for thought.  I liked that no one essay tried to get the reader to agree with their outlook on whether or not to reproduce.  I think my favorite essay was about an Indian woman who felt that ra

Happy Friday! (11)

It's Friday again and it's Veteran's Day, a holiday that is very close to my heart.  Take the time to thank a veteran today; they have a tough, thankless job. It's also time for Follow Friday! Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . Today's question:  In light of 11.11.11 and Veteran's Day, tell us about your favorite soldier and how he or she is saving the world, fiction or real life. My brother has been in the army for 7 years.  He is on his third deployment to Iraq (a 12 month tour, a 15 month tour and this one will be 6 months) and should be home in December.  Thank goodness!  He was also deployed to Haiti after the earthquake to help rebuild and maintain order.  He is only 26 years old and instead of doing what normal guys in their early twenties do, he has been out risking his life and serving his country.  He is also an amazing husband and father.  We are super close and I am so proud of all of his a

Review: "The Shunning" by Beverly Lewis

From Goodreads:  Katie Lapp only knew the Amish ways, but when she discovers a satin infant gown in her parents' attic, her hidden past devastates the community she has always called home. Heritage of Lancaster County book 1. My Thoughts:  I had a heard a lot of good things about this book from the hubs' aunt and grandma but I was never very interested in it until I saw the tv movie.  I was also kind of afraid of reading this book because I am not really into Christian fiction but I am glad I did.  It was not overtly religious, it had an engaging story and it was an easy read.  I felt like I really got to know who Katie was but I feel like some of the other characters lacked depth.  I would have liked to get to know her mother better and some of the other characters.  It was also shocking to read about how strict Amish rules are.  I couldn't believe the whole process of shunning a person, I cannot imagine what it would be like to be in that position.  The Shunning is t

Back to the Classics Challenge 2012

  So I know it's a little early to be thinking about my reading goal for next year but I have decided to participate in the Back to the Classics Challenge 2012 hosted by Sarah Reads Too Much.   I am really excited for this challenge because I was already considering how I could incorporate some classics into my reading goals for next year.  Below are the categories and which books I plan to read for them. Any 19th Century Classic – The Three Musketeers Any 20th Century Classic – East of Eden Reread a classic of your choice The Master and Margarita A Classic Play - Macbeth Classic Mystery/Horror/Crime Fiction - Frankenstein Classic Romance The Scarlet Pimpernel Read a Classic that has been translated from its original language to your language               - Les Miserables Classic Award Winner  - The Age of Innocence Read a Classic set in a Country that you (realistically speaking) will not visit during your lifetime  - To Clarify, this does not have to be a

Ten Books I Read that were Out of My Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Ten Books I Read that Were Out of My Comfort Zone 1.) Harry Potter -I was so not into the whole Harry Potter excitement for years.  I only read the books because people kept bugging me about them.  I wound up loving them but it was a huge thing for me to even read them. 2.) Black Dagger Brotherhood 3.) The Fever series      Both of these are paranormal romance which I swore I would never read.  The idea of reading about sexy demons, fairies and vampires was so outside my comfort zone despite the fact that I was a huge fan of Anne Rice. 4.) The Stephanie Plum series-I used to make fun of people who enjoyed these books.  Now I am one of those people. 5.) Helter Skelter -I have always been interested in the Manson Family but seriously, I am super afraid of Charles Manson.  Even Pictures of him freak me out and I was very uncomfortable while reading this book even though it was rea

Review: "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote

From Goodreads:  On November 15, 1959, in the small town of Holcomb, Kansas, four members of the Clutter family were savagely murdered by blasts from a shotgun held a few inches from their faces. There was no apparent motive for the crime, and there were almost no clues. As Truman Capote reconstructs the murder and the investigation that led to the capture, trial, and execution of the killers, he generates both mesmerizing suspense and astonishing empathy. In Cold Blood is a work that transcends its moment, yielding poignant insights into the nature of American violence. My Thoughts:  This was the November pick for my book club and I feel like I can't live in Kansas without having read this book.  It was definitely well worth the read.  In Cold Blood reads like a novel but tells the story of an brutal murder that took place in the 1950s.  I had to keep reminding myself that this was non-fiction because it read like your average mystery novel.  Capote did an amazing job of sh

In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . From Netgalley: The Wedding Gift by Kathleen McKenna  The Gathering Storm by Robin Bridges  I am so excited for this book!! Paranormal story set in 19th century Russia, YES! What's in your mailbox this week?

Review: "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser

From Goodreads:  Fast food has become a veritable American institution, with restaurants serving a quick bite in every strip mall and roadside rest area across the country. But, according to Fast Food Nation, the fast food establishment has been serving up much more than just cheap hamburgers and greasy fries. In compelling fashion, author Eric Schlosser traces the growth of fast food chains after World War II and condemns the industry for giving rise to such cultural maladies as obesity, classism, American global imperialism, and environmental devastation. My Thoughts:   This book was completely different than I expected.  For one, it was as much about the meat packing industry as it was about the fast food industry.  For two, I didn't realize it was published 10 years ago (where have I been??) so some of the information in the book seemed outdated.  Basically this book discussed the history of the fast food industry in America and how it has impacted everything it touches, i

Happy Friday! (10)

Happy Friday everyone!  Can you believe it's November?  The Book Blog Hop is on hiatus for a while but we still have Follow Friday this week! Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parkajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question: Today's Question is something new, an activity. We want to see what you look like! Take a pic with you and your current read! Too shy? Boo! Just post a fun pic you want to share. I hate having my picture taken and since I am sitting her with wet hair and no makeup, I am just going to post a fun picture (please excuse the giant pile of laundry in the background). Have a great weekend!

Review: "Dirty Sexy Politics" by Meghan McCain

From Goodreads:  Meghan McCain came to prominence as the straight-talking, progressive daughter of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate Senator John McCain. And her profile has only risen since the election ended in favor of the other guy. What makes Meghan so appealing? As a new role model for young, creative, and vocal members of the GOP, she's unafraid to mix it up and speak her mind. In Dirty Sexy Politics she takes a hard look at the future of her party. She doesn't shy away from serious issues and her raucous humor and down-to-earth style keep her positions accessible. In this witty, candid, and boisterous book, Meghan takes us deep behind the scenes of the campaign trail. She steals campaign signs in New Hampshire, tastes the nightlife in Nashville, and has a strange encounter with Laura and Jenna Bush at the White House. Along the way, she falls in love with America--while seeing how far the Republican Party has veered from its core values of freedom, honesty,

October Wrap Up

October was a pretty good month for reading.  I read 18 books and have hit 163 books for the year.  I am kind of nervous that I won't hit 200 for the year but I am going to keep trying. Here is what I read in October: Fearless Fourteen Everyone Worth Knowing Dirty Sexy Politics The Favored Queen Angel of Vengeance Lover Revealed The Red Tent Bright-Sided Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Lover Awakened Madame Tussaud Thirteen Reasons Why Lover Eternal The Winter Palace Dark Lover The Siege The Emancipator's Wife Quiver How did you do in October?

Top Ten Books I Had Very Strong Emotions About

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Books I Had VERY Strong Emotions About This was a very tough topic as I am kind of an emotional person and get emotional about books easily. 1.)     The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons - This book was an emotional rollercoaster.   I laughed, cried and almost threw the book across the room.   2.)     My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult-This book made me sob uncontrollably while also being extremely pissed off at the author.   3.)     Devil’s Knot:   The True Story of the West Memphis Three by Mara Leveritt-This book made me so angry!   4.)     Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster-My husband thought I was nuts when I read this because I couldn’t stop laughing. 5.)     Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi-Charles Manson scares the crap out of me.   I had to keep this book in my office at work and read it over lunch because having it in the house freaked me ou