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Showing posts from December, 2011

December/2011 Wrap Up

Oh my goodness, what a month this has been!  I hit my goal of reading 200 books and actually surpassed it by 2 (thanks to the Vampire Academy series).  I read 202 books in 2011 which is INSANE.  I am glad I can say I did it but I don't think I will be trying that again anytime soon.  Throughout the year I kept track of all the books I read that I borrowed from the library, got for free from NetGalley, borrowed from friends, etc. (basically books I didn't pay for in 2011).  I then kept track of the lowest price I could find for a new copy of each book to find out how much money I would have spent had I purchased all of those books.  The grand total was $1,651.33!  It's crazy to think that's how much I could have spent this year...thank goodness for the library!!  I finished the Henry VIII challenge I participated in which wound up being not nearly as fun as I expected.  I am getting kind of bored with nonstop Tudor novels.  There are some good ones out there but ther

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2012

GAH.  I swore I was done with signing up for challenges but since I read so much historical fiction, I thought this one would be a lot of fun.  The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is hosted by Historical Tapestry and you can check out the details here . I have a TON of unread books on my shelf that are in this genre.  Since I am glutton for punishment AND one of my goals for 2012 is to read more of the books I own, I think I can do the highest level "Severe Bookaholism".  This means I plan to read to 20 books in the historical fiction genre next year which is good because I can knock out a good chunk of the books on my shelf.

Happy Friday!! (17)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . Question of the Week: The New Year is here -- and everyone wants to know your New Years Blogging Resolution! What are you going to try to revise, revamp and redo for 2012 on your blog? 1.) New Design:  I recently changed my blog design but it is still pretty blah.  I am planning on working on that this year. 2.) Comments:  I read a lot of blogs but for some reason, I rarely comment.  I have been trying to do better but I really want to work on commenting more. 3.) Better Reviews:  My reviews have become progressively worse in the past couple months.  Due to the fact that I was trying to hit my goal of 200 books, I was reading too fast and pumping out some really poorly written and not well thought out reviews.  This is part of the reason I don't plan to set such a high goal for myself next year.  I really want to improve the quality of my reviews in 2012. 4.) Technical Stuff:  Let me b

What I've Been Up To

The past week has been super busy with the holidays and what not so I thought I would share some pictures of what I have been up to.  We had a great Christmas and Turbo had a lot of fun with all of his new toys!  Dec. 26 was Turbo's 1st birthday and since 5 of his 9 siblings are owned by friends of ours, we decided to have a puppy party.  I made 'pupcakes' and we took the dogs out to the country so they could run around.  Turbo loved his treat, he practically swalowed it whole! Hope you all are having a great week!!

Review: "The Chosen One" by Carol Lynch Williams

From Goodreads:  Thirteen-year-old Kyra has grown up in an isolated community without questioning the fact that her father has three wives and she has twenty brothers and sisters, with two more on the way. That is, without questioning them much---if you don’t count her secret visits to the Mobile Library on Wheels to read forbidden books, or her meetings with Joshua, the boy she hopes to choose for herself instead of having a man chosen for her. But when the Prophet decrees that she must marry her sixty-year-old uncle---who already has six wives---Kyra must make a desperate choice in the face of violence and her own fears of losing her family forever. My Thoughts:  This was such a sad book and even though it ended on a hopeful note, it still was heart-breaking.  The picture that the author paints of a religious compound run by crazy zealots is shocking even more so by the fact that the inhabitants of the compound were left so powerless to do anything to better their situation.  Kyr

Top Ten Favorite Books of 2011

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic:  Top Ten Favorite Books of 2011 These are my faves of the books I read this year.  Most were published prior to 2011. 1.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons-I know I rave about this book all the time but seriously it was one of the best books I read this year. 2.) Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson-My favorite Laurie Halse Anderson book. 3.) Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay-This was a heart-breaking look at a lesser known part of the Holocaust. 4.) Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning-A great ending to a fun series! 5.) Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson-A haunting book about eating disorders. 6.) Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch-The book lover in my adored this one! 7.) Columbine by Dave Cullen-This book explains what really happened during the massacre at Columbine. 8.) By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan-Historical fiction plus great writing eq

In My Mailbox (32)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.   I know this is a day late but yesterday was craziness and I wasn't able to post anything.  I hope everyone had a good holiday!  I had a great Christmas and got all the books I asked for. Christmas gifts: Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie 11/22/63 by Stephen King The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon City of Glass by Cassandra Clare Not pictured:  Gift cards to Half Price Books and Barnes and Noble (YAY!) From the Library: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead From NetGalley:  Agent 6  by Tom Rob Smith (I have read the first two books in this trilogy and cannot wait to read this!!) Have a great week!!!

Happy Friday!! (16)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View . It's Friday, almost Christmas and I don't have go back to work until January 3!!! Yippee!! Here is today's question:  If you had to spend eternity inside the pages of a book which book would you choose and why? This is a really hard one.  I would probably choose Outlander or Little House on the Prairie.   I would love to hang out in Scotland with Jamie Fraser or go live in a log cabin with Laura.  I also wouldn't mind spending eternity inside the pages of any of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books.  Hope everyone has a happy holiday season!!

Review: "By Fire, By Water" by Mitchell James Kaplan

From Goodreads:  Luis de Santángel, chancellor to the court and longtime friend of the lusty King Ferdinand, has had enough of the Spanish Inquisition. As the power of Inquisitor General Tomás de Torquemada grows, so does the brutality of the Spanish church and the suspicion and paranoia it inspires. When a dear friend’s demise brings the violence close to home, Santángel is enraged and takes retribution into his own hands. But he is from a family of conversos , and his Jewish heritage makes him an easy target. As Santángel witnesses the horrific persecution of his loved ones, he begins slowly to reconnect with the Jewish faith his family left behind. Feeding his curiosity about his past is his growing love for Judith Migdal, a clever and beautiful Jewish woman navigating the mounting tensions in Granada. While he struggles to decide what his reputation is worth and what he can sacrifice, one man offers him a chance he thought he’d lost…the chance to hope for a better world. Christ

Review: "Zlata's Diary" by Zlata Filopovic

From Goodreads:  When Zlata's Diary was first published at the height of the Bosnian conflict, it became an international bestseller and was compared to The Diary of Anne Frank , both for the freshness of its voice and the grimness of the world it describes. It begins as the day-today record of the life of a typical eleven-year-old girl, preoccupied by piano lessons and birthday parties. But as war engulfs Sarajevo, Zlata Filipovi´c becomes a witness to food shortages and the deaths of friends and learns to wait out bombardments in a neighbor's cellar. Yet throughout she remains courageous and observant. The result is a book that has the power to move and instruct readers a world away. My Thoughts:  I remember when this book came out and how popular it was but for some reason, I never got around to reading it.  Upon finishing it, I am glad that I read this book as an adult when I can appreciate the maturity of this young girl.  I was completely blown away by this book.  Z

Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I Hope Santa Brings I asked for a few books for Christmas and then some gift cards to book stores.  This list contains some books I asked for and some that I plan to buy if I get gift cards. 1.) Catherine the Great:  Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie 2.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King (I am really hoping I get both of these!!!) 3.) Lord John and the Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon 4.) City of Glass by Cassandra Clare 5.) Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward 6.) Jamie's Food Revolution by Jamie Oliver 7.) City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare 8.)  Linger by Maggie Stiefvater-I have already read this but I really want to add it to my collection!  9.) Where Men Win Glory by John Krakauer 10.) Lionheart by Sharon Kay Penman What books are you hoping Santa will bring?

Review: "The Orchid House" by Lucinda Riley

From Goodreads:  As a child Julia Forrester spent many idyllic hours in the hothouse of Wharton Park, the great house where her grandfather tended exotic orchids. Years later, while struggling with overwhelming grief over the death of her husband and young child, she returns to the tranquility of the estate. There she reunites with Kit Crawford, heir to the estate and her possible salvation. When they discover an old diary, Julia seeks out her grandmother to learn the truth behind a love affair that almost destroyed Wharton Park. Their search takes them back to the 1930s when a former heir to Wharton Park married his young society bride on the eve of World War II. When the two lovers are cruelly separated, the impact will be felt on generations to come. My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.  The Orchid House was a fascinating read.  It contained characters functioning in the present as well as ones functioning in the past.  The author h

In My Mailbox (31)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . This week I picked up MORE books.  I don't know why but when I went to the library, I couldn't help grabbing more books.  GAH.  I am currently reading book # 194 and will need to read 6 more to hit my goal for the year.  I am sure I can do it, but after that my plan was to slow down a bit on reading.  Instead I keep grabbing more books to add to the pile.  Here is what I go this week.... From the Libary: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead Blood Promise by Richelle Mead Mistress of the Monarchy by Alison Weir Nefertiti by Michelle Moran From NetGalley:  Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves What books did you pick up this week?

Review: "Frostbite" by Richelle Mead

From Goodreads:  Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose… It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians—including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks… This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But her

Happy Friday! (15)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question:  When you've read a book, what do you do with it? (Keep it, give it away, donate it, sell it, swap it..?) If it's a book I have purchased, I simply keep it and loan it to friends if I think they will enjoy it.  In the past, I didn't have much trouble getting rid of books that I didn't love but lately I am having a hard time convincing myself to get rid of books.  Lately, I have been reading a ton of library books so I obviously just return them to the library when I am done. What you do with books when you are done with them?

Review: "Life's a Beach" by Claire Cook

From Goodreads:  Cook returns with another sparkling romantic comedy that's reminiscent of Must Love Dogs in all the right ways, but very much its own animal—about a relationship-challenged single woman, her quirky-to-put-it-mildly extended family, and the summer the shark movie came to town. Life's a bit of a beach these days for Ginger Walsh, who's single at forty-one and living back home in the family FROG (Finished Room Over Garage). She's hoping for a more fulfilling life as a sea glass artist, but instead is babysitting her sister's kids and sharing overnights with Noah, her sexy artist boyfriend with commitment issues and a dog Ginger's cat isn't too crazy about. Geri, her BlackBerry-obsessed sister, is also nearly over the deep end about her pending fiftieth birthday (and might just drag Ginger with her). Toss in a dumpster-picking father, a Kama Sutra T-shirt-wearing mother, a movie crew come to town with a very cute gaffer, an on-again-off-ag

Review: "Cleopatra's Daughter" by Michelle Moran

From Goodreads:  The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts. My Thoughts:  I really enjoyed Moran's book, The Heretic Queen , but after reading Madame Tussaud, I wasn't sure if I would lik

Top Ten Books I Want To Give As Gifts

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I Want to Give As Gifts I have already bought almost all of my Christmas gifts and few of them are books.  If I had to go back and buy books for everyone, here is what I get. 1.) Dark Lover  by J.R. Ward-This would be for my best friend, Sam.  She loves romance books and I think she would really enjoy this. 2.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons - I would buy this for my mom and aunt.  We read the Outlander series together and I think they would love this trilogy. 3.) Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich-My grandma is a big Stephanie Plum fan so this would be for her. 4.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King-For my step-dad who is not a big Stephen King fan but wants to read this. 5.) The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald-I bought this for my 8 year old brother because I loved the series when I was a kid. 6.) Generation Kill by Evan Wright - For my dad since he basicall

Review: "City of Ashes" by Cassandra Clare

From Goodreads:  Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father. To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. Ho

In My Mailbox (30)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . I am really trying to hit my goal of 200 books so this week I went to the library and grabbed a ton of books.  I only have 11 more books to read so I am hoping I will be able to make it. From NetGalley: The Last Romanov by Dora Levy Mossanen From the Library: Frostbite by Richelle Mead Plum Spooky by Janet Evanovich Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward Lover Mine by J.R. Ward The Dress Lodger by Sheri Holman Cloudsplitter   by Russell Banks What did books did you get this week?

Review: "A Thousand Lives" by Julia Scheeres

From Goodreads:  In 1954, a pastor named Jim Jones opened a church in Indianapolis called Peoples Temple Full Gospel Church. He was a charismatic preacher with idealistic beliefs, and he quickly filled his pews with an audience eager to hear his sermons on social justice. After Jones moved his church to Northern California in 1965, he became a major player in Northern California politics; he provided vital support in electing friendly political candidates to office, and they in turn offered him a protective shield that kept stories of abuse and fraud out of the papers. Even as Jones’s behavior became erratic and his message more ominous, his followers found it increasingly difficult to pull away from the church. By the time Jones relocated the Peoples Temple a final time to a remote jungle in Guyana and the U.S. Government decided to investigate allegations of abuse and false imprisonment in Jonestown, it was too late. A Thousand Lives follows the experiences of five Peoples T

Happy Friday! (14)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question is:   Keeping with the Spirit of Giving this season, what book do you think EVERYONE should read and if you could, you would buy it for all of your family and friends? Of the books I read this year, I would have to say Tolstoy and the Purple Chair .  It is about how the joy of reading, how great books are and how they can impact one's life in ways you can't even imagine. Overall, my favorite book is Fahrenheit 451   and this is one I would definitely buy for everyone I know.  It is about a dystopian world where books are outlawed (the horror!) and I just love it. What books do you think everyone should read?

2012 Support Your Local Library Challenge

I have decided to participate in the 'Support Your Local Libary Challenge' hosted by The Eclectic Bookshelf.   I love the library in my town!  The collection is amazing and it's very rare that they don't have or can't get a book I want.  My budget doesn't allow to buy every book I read nor do I want to own every single book I have read so I am huge library user. The Rules are: -Anyone can join. -You don't need a blog to participate. If you are a Non-blogger please leave a comment with a link (if you review elsewhere) to your review or with the book(s) you read. -Audio, ebooks (some libraries allow ebooks to be checked out), bound books are ok. -No re-reads -Create a sign up post and post the link in the linky below. -Challenge goes from January 1, 2012 - December 31, 2012 Levels: Level 1 - Read 12 library books Level 2 - Read 24 library books Level 3 - Read 36 library books Level 4 - Read 37+ library books I think I am goin

Review: "Lola and the Boy Next Door" by Stephanie Perkins

From Goodreads:  Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit -- more sparkly, more fun, more wild -- the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood. When Cricket -- a gifted inventor -- steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door. My Thoughts:  I feel terrible for saying this but I didn't enjoy this book as much as I expected to.  It is definitely not as good as Anna and the French Kiss .  It was kind of slow moving, not very compelling and I found myself not really caring about the characters.  At times I liked Lola but at other times I thought she was kind of a brat.  For much of t

Top Ten Childhood Faves

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Childhood Faves When I was in elementary school, I loved these: 1.) The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder 2.) The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis 3.) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 4.) A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett 5.) Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery When I was very young, I loved these: 1.) Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess 2.) Anything by Don and Audrey Wood ( Heckedy Peg, Elbert's Bad Word, King Bidgood's in the Bathtub, etc) 3.) Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak 4.) Anything by Beatrix Potter ( Peter Rabbit, etc ) 5.) Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Review: "The Wedding Gift" by Kathleen McKenna

From Goodreads:  17 year old Leeann Worthier is the perfect girl in town - or so she says. George Willets is the heir to a booming petroleum business. When they announce their engagement, George's controlling mother is unimpressed and Leeann absolutely refuses to live with her mother-in-law. So George gives his new wife a house as a wedding gift. Thirty years before, the same house had hosted a grisly scene: George's uncle and cousins had all been slaughtered, his aunt Robina accused of both murder and suicide. The house is a gorgeous, well-maintained mansion but has stood empty since the tragedy. It's intimidating, but who is Leeann to turn down a free house? When the ghost of Robina begins to haunt Leeann, she realizes she's made a huge mistake ...   My Thoughts:  Wow, talk about "My Big Fat Redneck Wedding".  This book was slightly ridiculous.  I felt like I was inside some white trash girl's head the entire time which was incredibly obnoxious but a

In My Mailbox (29)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . For Review (Thank you Other Press!): By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan What was in your mailbox this week?

Review: "In A Treacherous Court" by Michelle Diener

From Goodreads:  An unconventional woman. A deadly enemy. A clash of intrigue, deception, and desire. . . . 1525: Artist Susanna Horenbout is sent from Belgium to be Henry VIII’s personal illuminator inside the royal palace. But her new homeland greets her with an attempt on her life, and the King’s most lethal courtier, John Parker, is charged with keeping her safe. As further attacks are made, Susanna and Parker realize that she unknowingly carries the key to a bloody plot against the throne. For while Richard de la Pole amasses troops in France for a Yorkist invasion, a traitor prepares to trample the kingdom from within.Who is the mastermind? Why are men vying to kill the woman Parker protects with his life? With a motley gang of urchins, Susanna’s wits, and Parker’s fierce instincts, honed on the streets and in palace chambers, the two slash through deadly layers of deceit in a race against time. For in the court of Henry VIII, secrets are the last to die. . . . My Thoughts: 

Happy Friday!! (14)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question is:  Question: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to books? Maybe you don't like love triangles or thin plots? Tell us about it! Honestly, I am getting really sick of series books.  I just want to read a stand alone novel with a good plot, fun characters and an ending with no loose ends. I also really hate weak female lead characters.  I get tired of the whole "oh I need a man to be happy and to take care of me" story.  What are your book pet peeves?