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Showing posts from January, 2012

Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Books I Think Would Make Great Book Club Picks 1.) Anything by Jen Lancaster 2.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King - It's a beast but my book club had such a blast discussing Under the Dome that I think this would be an interesting one to try. 3.) Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay - This book deals with so many different issues and I think it would be really neat to discuss in a group setting. 4.) Everything is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer 5.) We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver - I still haven't worked out how I feel about this book so I wouldn't mind hearing what my fellow book clubbers would think of this. 6.) The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley 7.) The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff 8.) The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams   #7 and 8 are both about polygamy and would probably lead to a really good discussion 9.) The Shadow of the

Review: "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance" by Elna Baker

From Goodreads:  It's lonely being a Mormon in New York City. So once again, Elna Baker attends the New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance-a virgin in a room full of virgins doing the Macarena. Her Queen Bee costume, which involves a black funnel stuck to her butt for a stinger, isn't attracting the attention she'd anticipated. So once again, Elna is alone at the punch bowl, stocking up on generic Oreos, exactly where you'd expect to find a single Mormon who's also a Big Girl. But loneliness is nothing compared to what happens when she loses eighty pounds. . . . and falls in love with an atheist. The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance is the memoir of a girl who distresses her family when she chooses NYU over BYU. A girl who's cultivating an oxymoronic identity as a bold, educated, modern, funny, proper, abstinent, religious stand-up comic, equal parts wholesome and hot. As Elna test-drives her identity, she finds herself in the stra

In My Mailbox (37)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . This week I didn't plan to get anything.  I got braces on Tuesday and was feeling sorry for myself and wound up buying some discounted ebooks later in the week.  I have been reading more on my nook lately and I guess I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it. Here is what I got: Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain

Happy Friday (21)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question is:  Which book genre do you avoid at all costs and why? I will read just about anything but I don't read sci-fi and high fantasy.  I don't know why but I have never been able to get into those genres.  If I see a cover I like and then find out it is sci-fi or high fantasy, I kind of turn my nose up at it (SORRY).  It is very possible that I am missing out on some great books but so far, I am not sure. What genre do you shy away from?  And if you are a high fantasy or sci-fi fan, try to talk me into it.

Review: "Mistress of the Monarchy" by Alison Weir

From Goodreads:  Acclaimed author Alison Weir brings to life the extraordinary tale of Katherine Swynford, a royal mistress who became one of the most crucial figures in the history of Great Britain. Born in the mid-fourteenth century, Katherine de Ro√ęt was only twelve when she married Hugh Swynford, an impoverished knight. But her story had truly begun two years earlier, when she was appointed governess to the household of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster and fourth son of King Edward III. Widowed at twenty-one, Katherine became John's mistress and then, after many twists of fortune, his bride in a scandalous marriage. Mistress of the Monarchy reveals a woman ahead of her time—making her own choices, flouting convention, and taking control of her own destiny. Indeed, without Katherine Swynford, the course of English history, perhaps even the world, would have been very different. My Thoughts:  I have read a few books about the Wars of the Roses (fiction and non-fiction) and Ka

Review: "Nefertiti" by Michelle Moran

From Goodreads:  Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped that her strong personality will temper the young ruler’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods. From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people but fails to see that powerful priests are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person brave enough to warn the queen is her younger sister, yet remaining loyal to Nefertiti will force Mutnodjmet into a dangerous political game; one that could cost her everything she holds dear. My Thoughts:  The title of this book is slightly misleading.  The story is more about Nefertiti's sister, Mutnodjmet, then it is about Nefertiti.  Nefertiti is a main character but the story is told from Mutnodjmet's point of view

Top Ten Tuesday-Free Week!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week's topic is a freebie so I decided to make a list of my Top Ten Favorite Books About Russia.  As I am sure you noticed I am fascinated by all things Russian (I even have a master's degree in Russian Studies).  Some of these books are fiction and some are non-fiction but they are all excellent and very readable (I didn't include any scholarly works on the list). 1.) Kolyma Tales by Varlaam Shalamov - This is a book of short stories about life in the Gulag.  It is heart-breaking and eye-opening. 2.) War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy -This is Russian Literature at it's best.  Do not be intimidated by the length; the story is fantastic! 3.) The Romanovs by W. Bruce Lincoln - This book tells the story of the Romanov family from it's very beginnings in 1613 to the end in 1917.  It is a big book but it reads like fiction. 4.) Natasha's Dance by Orlando Figes - This is a cultural history

Review: "Agent 6" by Tom Rob Smith

From Goodreads:  Tom Rob Smith--the bestselling, award-winning author of Child 44, and one of the most critically-acclaimed new writers of our time--returns with a thrilling and provocative new novel: AGENT 6 How far would you go to solve a crime against your family? It is 1965. Leo Demidov, a former secret police agent, is forbidden to travel with his wife and daughters from Moscow to New York. They are part of a "Peace Tour," meant to foster closer relations between the two Cold War enemies. On the tour, Leo's family is caught up in a conspiracy and betrayal that ends in tragedy. In the horrible aftermath, Leo demands one thing: that he be allowed to investigate and find the attacker that struck at the heart of his family on foreign soil. From the highest levels of the Soviet government, he is told No, that is impossible. Leo is haunted by the question: what happened in New York? In a surprising, epic story that spans decades and continents--from 1950s Moscow to 19

In My Mailbox (36)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . For Review (from NetGalley): Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison Purchased ebooks: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green   The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez What books did you get this week?

Happy Friday! (20)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read . Q: What's the craziest thing you've ever done to get your hands on any particular book? As much as I love books, I don't think I have ever done anything crazy in order to get a particular book. I know that is so boring but I haven't ever had much trouble getting the books I want.  I wasn't into Harry Potter at all until after the 5th book came out so I never went and stood in line for it and I haven't stood in line to meet any authors or anything like that either.  Lame. Do you have cool story about the crazy thing you did to get a book?

Review: "Bloodlines" by Richelle Mead

From Goodreads:  When alchemist Sydney is ordered into hiding to protect the life of Moroi princess Jill Dragomir, the last place she expects to be sent is a human private school in Palm Springs, California. But at their new school, the drama is only just beginning. Populated with new faces as well as familiar ones, Bloodlines explores all the friendship, romance, battles and betrayals that made the #1 New York Times bestselling Vampire Academy series so addictive - this time in a part-vampire, part-human setting where the stakes are even higher and everyone's out for blood. My Thoughts:  YAY!  I loved the Vampire Academy series and it was awesome to see all my favorite characters again in Bloodlines !  Though Rose makes a brief appearance, this is definitely Sydney's story and by the end of the book, I decided that Sydney is just as awesome a character as Rose.  She has a lot more self-control but is really just as much of a bad ass as Rose is.  We get to see a bit of ho

Review: "Three Maids for a Crown" by Ella March Chase

From Goodreads:  In the second novel from Ella March Chase, we meet sixteen-year-old Jane Grey, a quiet and obedient young lady destined to become the shortest reigning English monarch. Her beautiful middle sister Katherine Grey charms all the right people--until loyalties shift. And finally Lady Mary Grey, a dwarf with a twisted spine whose goal is simply to protect people she loves--but at a terrible cost. In an age in which begetting sons was all that mattered and queens rose and fell on the sex of their child, these three girls with royal Tudor blood lived under the dangerous whims of parents with a passion for gambling. The stakes they would wager: their daughters' lives against rampant ambition. My Thoughts: If you are looking for a book about Lady Jane Grey's life, this may not be the one for you.  Jane is featured in the story but is dead before the story is half over.  I honestly expected there to be more about her and her interaction with her sisters and family but 

Top Ten Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read Historical Fiction

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Books I'd Recommend to Someone Who Doesn't Read Historical Fiction ( the genre was up to me) I think these books would make someone who doesn't care for historical fiction change their mind about the genre. 1.) Outlander by Diana Gabaldon 2.) The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons 3.) Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir- 4.) By Fire, By Water by Mitchell James Kaplan 5.) Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin 6.) Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran 7.) The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham 8.) The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall 9.) Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith 10.) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak That's all I have!  Are they any you think I missed?

Review: "The Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov

From Goodreads:  One of the greatest novels ever to come out of the Soviet Union. A parable on power and its corruption, on good and evil and on human frailty and the strength of love. Equal parts fable, fantasy, political satire and slapstick.  My Thoughts:  Just a heads up, this is a really difficult book to review so I apologize if it's kind of vague.  It has been many years since I last read this and I didn't realize how much I had forgotten.  I had originally read it in a 20th Century Russian Lit course while I was in college and I absolutely loved it.  This is a satire that at times is funny and others kind of creepy.  I actually didn't remember being creepy but it kind of was.  It's definitely a dark story but there is an odd sense of hope at the end.  The premise is that the devil and his entourage visit Moscow during Stalin's reign and, while there, wreak havoc on most anyone they come into contact with.  People die strange deaths and disappear int

In My Mailbox (35)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . I only picked up one book this week and it was one that I had put a hold on at the library months ago.  I am super excited to read it because I have heard really good things about it. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys What books did you pick up this week?

Week in Review 01/7-01/14/12

Happy weekend everyone!  Work has been miserable lately so I am really looking forward to having a 3 day weekend.  Since I set so many goals for myself this year, I felt like I should write an update post here and there to let you know how I am doing. -I have read 4 books so far this year.  That's right I said 4.  Last January I read 20 books but this year, not so much.  I am completely okay with that because it's nice not to feel pressured to read every second of the day.  Instead, I have spent a lot of time watching The Big Bang Theory or some other random tv shows. -Of the 4 books I have read, 3 count towards the read challenges I decided to try to complete this year.  I hope to get at least 4 of the 5 challenges started this month. -I am two weeks into training for a half marathon and I am scared sh*tless.  I have been really good at making myself get up in the morning and running but I am worried that I am going to falter or I just won't be able to hack it.  Ugh.

Happy Friday! (19)

It's Friday and I have a 3 day weekend!! Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View . This week's question is:  Many readers/bloggers are also big music fans. Tell us about a few of your favorite bands/singers that we should listen to in 2012. I listen to a wide variety of music but I do listen to a lot of country.  Right now I am really loving Eric Church, The Band Perry and Chris Young.  They each are great musicians and I absolutely love Chris Young's voice. What are you listening to?

Review: "The Crown" by Nancy Bilyeau

From Goodreads:  Joanna Stafford, a Dominican nun, learns that her favorite cousin has been condemned by Henry VIII to be burned at the stake. Defying the sacred rule of enclosure, Joanna leaves the priory to stand at her cousin’s side. Arrested for interfering with the king’s justice, Joanna, along with her father, is sent to the Tower of London. The ruthless Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester, takes terrifying steps to force Joanna to agree to spy for him: to save her father’s life she must find an ancient relic—a crown so powerful, it may hold the ability to end the Reformation. Accompanied by two monks, Joanna returns home to Dartford Priory and searches in secret for this long-lost piece of history worn by the Saxon King Athelstan in 937 during the historic battle that first united Britain. But Dartford Priory has become a dangerous place, and when more than one dead body is uncovered, Joanna departs with a sensitive young monk, Brother Edmund, to search elsewhere f

Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Authors I Wish Would Write Another Book (debut authors, authors who seem to have taken a hiatus, OR for those who read classics authors you wish would have written another book before they passed) 1.) Anne Rice -I know she is still writing but I would love if she write another vampire or Mayfair witches book! 2.) Ann M. Martin -I was a huge Babysitter's Club fan when I was a kid and wouldn't mind seeing a current book with the old characters.  There's a new Sweet Valley book, why can't the BSC come back too? 3.) R.L. Stine -It would be so fun to read an adult Fear Street book. 4.) Elizabeth Kostova -I loved The Historian and The Swan Thieves was pretty good.  I definitely wouldn't mind seeing a new book from her. 5.) Tracey Chevalier -I have read Girl with a Pearl Earring  2 or 3 times   and I enjoyed all of her other books but it's been a few y

Review: "Explosive Eighteen" by Janet Evanovich

From Goodreads:  B efore Stephanie can even step foot off Flight 127 from Hawaii to Newark, she’s knee deep in trouble. Her dream vacation turned into a nightmare, she’s flying back to New Jersey solo, and someone who sounds like Sasquatch is snoring in row 22. Worse still, her seatmate never returned to the plane after the L.A. layover. Now he’s dead, in a garbage can, waiting for curbside pickup. His killer could be anyone. The FBI, the fake FBI, and guns-for-hire are all looking for a photograph the dead man was supposed to be carrying. O nly one other person has seen the missing photograph—Stephanie Plum. Now she’s the target, and she doesn’t intend to end up in a garbage can. With the help of an FBI sketch artist Stephanie re-creates the person in the photo. Unfortunately the first sketch turns out to look like Tom Cruise, and the second sketch like Ashton Kutcher. Until Stephanie can improve her descriptive skills, she’ll need to watch her back. O ver at the Bail Bonds Agen

The Eastern European Reading Challenge 2012

I am officially insane.  I said I wouldn't commit to any more reading challenges but this was one I could NOT refuse.  The Eastern European Reading Challenge 2012 is being hosted by The Black Sheep Dances .  Half of the 81 books I own and need to read are about Russia or Eastern Europe so I figured that this challenge would only encourage me to read books I already own and need to read.  I am only planning to complete the 'tourist' level which is 4 books about Russia/Eastern Europe.  These can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, basically any genre.  There are already 2 Russian related books on my list of books for the TBR challenge but I am trying to not overlap books for challenges so I will read 4 additional books. Here is what I plan to read: 1.) Education of a Princess by Grand Duchess Marie of Russia 2.) Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie 3.) The Death of Ivan Ilyich and other stories by Lev Tolstoy 4.) The Voices of the Dead   by HIroaki Kuromiya I th

In My Mailbox (34)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . From the Library: Three Maids for a Crown by Ella March Chase Faithful Place by Tana French Purchased with Xmas gift cards: Lover Unleashed by J.R. Ward Prophet's Prey by Sam Brower What's in your mailbox this week?

Happy Friday!!! (18)

It's Friday!  This week has been rough; going back to work after 10 days off was brutal! Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . Question of the Week: Go count the number of unread books sitting on your shelf. How many? I counted last week and I have 81 unread books on my shelves.  GAH.  I keep going to the library to get more books when I own enough books to keep me busy for the whole year!  I am so hoping I can get my act together and get a good chunk of these read this year.  How many unread books are currently on your shelves?

Review: "Last Sacrifice" by Richelle Mead

 From Goodreads:  Rose Hathaway has always played by her own rules. She broke the law when she ran away from St. Vladimir's Academy with her best friend and last surviving Dragomir princess, Lissa. She broke the law when she fell in love with her gorgeous, off-limits instructor, Dimitri. And she dared to defy Queen Tatiana, leader of the Moroi world, risking her life and reputation to protect generations of dhampir guardians to come. Now the law has finally caught up with Rose--for a crime she didn't even commit. She's in prison for the highest offense imaginable: the assassination of a monarch. She'll need help from both Dimitri and Adrian to find the one living person who can stall her execution and force the Moroi elite to acknowledge a shocking new candidate for the royal throne: Vasilisa Dragomir. But the clock on Rose's life is running out. Rose knows in her heart the world of the dead wants her back . . . and this time she is truly out of second chances.

Top Ten Books I am Excited to Read in 2012

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I am Excited to Read in 2012 Books coming out in 2012 1.) Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward- I have been waiting for Tohr's story since I read Dark Lover ! 2.) The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead- I haven't read Bloodlines yet but I am happy that Richelle Mead is continuing the series. 3.) Written with My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon- The next installment in the Outlander series is supposed to come out in 2012.  It has been almost 3 years since the last book and I am so anxious to see what happens next for Jamie and Claire. 4.) Insurgent by Veronica Roth 5.) Spellbound by Rachel Hawkins Books published before 2012 that I am Excited to Read this year 1.) Bloodlines by Richelle Mead 2.) Catherine the Great by Robert K. Massie 3.) 11/22/63 by Stephen King 4.) The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon 5.) City of Glass by Cassandra Clare What books are you

2012 Goals

I am super excited for 2012!  2011 was kind of a sucky year so I am looking forward to good things this year.  I have lots of goals for the blog and for books I plan to read.  I also have some personal goals for the year that I hope I will be able to achieve. Goals for the Blog: - Comment more -I get lazy and don't always comment on reviews I read nor do I usually reply to comments on my blog.  I feel really bad about this and want to try to comment more. - Work on layout - Technical Stuff -I really need to figure out how to create a button!  I also need to get some working knowledge of html and need to learn how reconfigure things so that when GFC goes away there won't be too many issues. - Better Reviews -As I said on Friday, my reviews have been pretty crappy lately.  I plan to work on that this year. - Hosting a giveaway -I have great followers and I really want to host a giveaway to show my appreciation. - Get more comfortable with social media -A lot of blogs are

In My Mailbox (33)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . Happy New Year everyone!!  It's the first IMM of 2012.  I am so glad that 2011 is over and can't wait to see what 2012 will bring! Christmas Gift: Inside of a Dog:  What Dogs See, Smell and Know   by Alexandra Horowitz Purchased with Christmas gift card: Starvation Heights by Gregg Olsen (I have never heard of this book but it piqued my interest.) Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks (I got this from the library recently but didn't have time to get to it.) Where Men Win Glory:  The Odyssey of Pat Tillman by Jon Krakauer From the Library: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich What books did you pick up this week?