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Showing posts from February, 2012

February Wrap Up

I can't believe February is over!  It definitely had it's ups and downs and I am still not sure whether I think it was a good month or not.  I didn't read a ton this month but overall, I think I did fine.  I have made progress on all 5 challenges I am participating in and of the 10  books I read this month, 4 are books I own.  So that's decent!  Here is what I read this month: 1.) The Pregnancy Project by Gaby Rodriguez 2.) March by Geraldine Brooks 3.) Lover Mine by J.R. Ward 4.) Enchantments by Kathryn Harrison 5.) The Little Russian by Susan Sherman 6.) A Handful of Earth by Larisa Walk 7.) Education of a Princess by Grand Duchess Marie of Russia 8.) East of Eden by John Steinbeck 9.) When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman 10.) The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice Regarding my personal goals, I have done pretty good.  I have really gotten into following my training schedule and, except for last week, I have been pretty diligent with it.  I did reg

Top Ten Books I'd Give a Theme Song To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I'd Give a Theme Song To 1.) The Hunger Games- ' Eye of the Tiger' by Survivor-I love this song and I think the lyrics go well with the story of the games. 2.) Twilight- ' Endless Love' by Lionel Ritchie and Diana Ross-A super cheesy love song for a super cheesy book. 3.) Lover Unbound by J.R. Ward- ' Hurts So Good' by John Mellencamp-I am not going to explain this one.  If you've read the book, you know what I mean. 4.) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher- ' How Do You Get That Lonely' by Blaine Larsen-I don't know if this book needs a theme song but when I read it, this song came to mind. 5.)  Tatiana and Alexander and The Summer Garden  by Paullina Simons- 'I Just Got Back From Hell' by Gary Allan-This isn't so much a theme song for these books as it is a theme song for Alexander and what he went through in th

Review: "When Christ and His Slepts" by Sharon Kay Penman

From Goodreads:  A.D. 1135. As church bells tolled for the death of England's King Henry I, his barons faced the unwelcome prospect of being ruled by a woman: Henry's beautiful daughter Maude, Countess of Anjou. But before Maude could claim her throne, her cousin Stephen seized it. In their long and bitter struggle, all of England bled and burned. Sharon Kay Penman's magnificent fifth novel summons to life a spectacular medieval tragedy whose unfolding breaks the heart even as it prepares the way for splendors to come—the glorious age of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Plantagenets that would soon illumine the world. My Thoughts:  This book was so LONG.  I normally don't mind big books but this one felt really long.  It took me a week to finish and I was pretty happy when I was done with it.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad book at all.  It was incredibly well-researched and well-written and had a lot of potential.  The thing that bothered me is it felt li

In My Mailbox (41)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . I picked up two books from the library this week; one is for the 'Back to the Classics' challenge and the other I saw Jenn Lancaster rave about on facebook so hopefully it's as good as it sounds. Macbeth by William Shakespeare You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon That's all I've got.  What books did you pick up this week?

Happy Friday (24)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read. Question of the week:  Take a picture or describe where you like to read the most... I like to read in my living room on our comfy couches.  Usually Turbo is running around and playing while I am reading but sometimes he likes to come curl up with me. Where do you like to read?  FYI...You can now follow me in several ways:  twitter, goodreads, GFC, RSS or via email!  Have a great weekend!

Review: "East of Eden" by John Steinbeck

From Goodreads:  The masterpiece of Steinbeck's later years--a vastly ambitious novel that is at once a family saga and a modern retelling of the Book of Genesis. In his journal, John Steinbeck called East of Eden "the first book," and indeed it has the primordial power and simplicity of myth. Set in the rich farmland of California's Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families--the Trasks and the Hamiltons--whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. Here is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's abscence. My Thoughts:  This review might be a little gushy but East of Eden was a huge surprise to me.  I was expecting a really long, dry book and I could not have been more wrong.  Th

Review: "Education of a Princess" by Grand Duchess Marie of Russia

From Goodreads:  To clarify the confusing Romanov family: this Marie was the granddaughter of Czar Alexander II, the daughter of Grand Duke Paul, and the cousin of Tsar Nicholas. Her brother, Prince Dmitri, was one of the plotters against Rasputin. He was exiled for that, to the Persian frontier, which saved his life when the roundup of the Imperial family began. These are the memoirs of her childhood, a glittering version of solitary confinement, and young adult life. Her father was banished for marrying without the Czar's permission, which left Marie and her brother to be brought up by her uncle, the military governor of Moscow. After her uncle's assassination in 1905, her aunt arranged a marriage with a Swedish prince whom Marie saw a few times before the wedding. The marriage was disastrous, and a divorce was arranged, quickly and quietly. Marie's young son stayed in Sweden. Charity was an acceptable occupation for the women of the aristocracy, but Marie became a qual

Top Ten Books I'd Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books I'd Quickly Save If My House Was Going To Be Abducted By Aliens This is going to such a hard list to make!  I have a ton of books that are no longer in print and while I would want to save all of those books as well all of the other books I own, I don't think that would be possible.  Here is what I would try to grab: 1.) The Gulag Archipelago Vol 1-3 by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn- These are first edition English translations that my mom and step-dad gave me for Christmas a few years ago.  I would definitely not want anything to happen to it. 2.) Hope Against Hope and Hope Abandoned by Nadezhda Mandelstam- First editions also given to me by my mom and step-dad. 3.) Dr. Zhivago by Boris Pasternak and War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy (Russian editions)- I took two classes in grad school where we read these books in the original Russian.  My professor gave the c

Review: "Enchantments" by Kathryn Harrison

From Goodreads:  St. Petersburg, 1917. After Rasputin’s body is pulled from the icy waters of the Neva River, his eighteen-year-old daughter, Masha, is sent to live at the imperial palace with Tsar Nikolay and his family—including the headstrong Prince Alyosha. Desperately hoping that Masha has inherited Rasputin’s miraculous healing powers, Tsarina Alexandra asks her to tend to Aloysha, who suffers from hemophilia, a blood disease that keeps the boy confined to his sickbed, lest a simple scrape or bump prove fatal. Two months after Masha arrives at the palace, the tsar is forced to abdicate, and Bolsheviks place the royal family under house arrest. As Russia descends into civil war, Masha and Alyosha grieve the loss of their former lives, finding solace in each other’s company. To escape the confinement of the palace, they tell stories—some embellished and some entirely imagined—about Nikolay and Alexandra’s courtship, Rasputin’s many exploits, and the wild and wonderful country on

In My Mailbox (40)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. My IMMs have been pretty light lately because I am really trying to read what I own and utilize the library and NetGalley right now.  I really need to be putting money aside rather than spending money on books (no matter how much I want to!) so I may only post IMMs sporadically over the next couple weeks.  I did pick up one book this week though and I am pretty excited to read it! From the Library: The Wilder Life:  My Adventures in the Lost World of Little House on the Prairie by Wendy McClure What books did you pick up this week?

Happy Friday! (23)

This has been such a weird week so I am really happy to have a few days away from the office! Feature and Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read . This week's question:   I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What’s the most unique character name you’ve come across? Oh my goodness, there are so many books with unique names in them and I am struggling to think of all of them.  I do have to say that one of my favorites is 'Elphaba' from Wicked.  It's one of a kind but it fits that character so well. I alos always think of Cricket and Calliope from Lola and the Boy Next Door and there is also Katniss and Peeta from The Hunger Games.  The Black Dagger Brotherhood books are definitely chock full of unique names as are Twilight (Renesmee anyone?) and Harry Potter.  Anyway, what are some unique character names you have come across? Also, the Book Blog

Review: "A Handful of Earth" by Larisa Walk

From Goodreads:  As the Mongol Horde draws near her tiny Russian principality, a spinster princess YAROSLAVA fears the worst. Her father is too old and ill to organize the defense. Yet her people would not follow her because she is a woman. The princes from the neighboring city-states and principalities won’t come to help because of the old feuds. Worse yet, Yaroslava receives a foretelling that she will betray her people. Yelnik, the principality’s throne town, falls. Most of its defenders perish. Attractive women and craftsmen are taken into slavery. Yaroslava herself becomes a slave, destined to serve the Mongol khan as his concubine. In captivity she faces many enemies. Among them are: a Russian slave with a grudge; a fellow concubine that can kill with the power of the evil eye; her uncle whom Yaroslava mistakenly thinks she can trust. To survive and regain freedom for herself and the other slaves from Yelnik, she will break a religious taboo against using magic, commit treason

Review: "The Little Russian" by Susan Sherman

From Goodreads:  The Little Russian spotlights an exciting new voice in historical fiction, an assured debut that should appeal to readers of Away by Amy Bloom or Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. Based on the experiences of the author’s grandmother, the novel tells the story of Berta Alshonsky, who revels in childhood memories of her time spent with a wealthy family in Moscow –a life filled with salons, balls and all the trappings of the upper class — very different from her current life as a grocer’s daughter in the Jewish townlet of Mosny. When a mysterious and cultured wheat merchant walks into the grocery, Berta’s life is forever altered. She falls in love, unaware that he is a member of the Bund, The Jewish Worker’s League, smuggling arms to the shtetls to defend them against the pogroms sweeping the Little Russian countryside. Married and established in the wheat center of Cherkast, Berta has recaptured the life she once had in Moscow. So when a smuggling operation goes awry

Top Ten Books That Broke My Heart A Little

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic:  Top Ten Books that Broke My Heart a Little 1.) My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult- I have ranted about this book many times so all I am going to say is that this book broke my heart A LOT.  A LOT meaning I sat sobbing on my couch after finishing it. 2.) In the Woods by Tana French - I so wanted this book to have a happy ending.  I loved Rob as a character and I wanted things to end up better for him then they did. 3.) Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon - Jamie and Claire saying goodbye for what I thought was the last time equals extreme heartbreak. 4.) Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward - This book broke my heart but in a good way.  The kindness shown to Mary by the Scribe Virgin was just WOW. 5.) The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons - As much as I loved this trilogy, there was a point in this book where Tatiana and Alexander had both done dumb things and I just wanted to yell WHY?  H

Review: "Lover Mine" by J.R. Ward

From Goodreads:  John Matthew has come a long way since he was found living among humans, his vampire nature unknown. Taken in by The Brotherhood, no one could guess what his true history was-or his true identity. Xhex has long steeled herself against the attraction to John Matthew. Until fate intervenes and she discovers that love, like destiny, is inevitable. My Thoughts:  I love this series!  Lover Mine finally gives more background on Xhex, a character we have been seeing throughout most of the series.  I honestly didn't like her much in past books but she really surprised me.  We learn about her past and why she is the way she is and I liked that she actually was a little vulnerable in this book as opposed to being a full time bad ass.  Lover Mine is a cool book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series because there is so much going on it.  Not only is there the John and Xhex story but there is more about the Blay and Quinn situation, Tohr and some of his background and Payne

In My Mailbox (39)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . I didn't get very much this week which is good because I am completely bogged down in books!  I had a bunch of NetGalley requests come through last week and I am still trying to read books I own.  So here is what I got this week: From NetGalley:  The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott From the Library:  The Little Russian by Susan Sherman What did you get this week?

Happy Friday! (22)

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View . Q: What would your prefer: reading your favorite book over and over again until you got sick of it OR reading 100s of mediocre books? And why? Ugh!  I can't imagine reading hundreds of mediocre books.  I would rather never read again!  I would definitely prefer to read a favorite book over and over...there have been times that I have gotten into a reading rut due to reading mediocre books and it makes me not want to read at all.  At least if I was rereading a story I loved, I would be enjoying it and remember how and why the story captured my interest in the first place. What about you?

Review: "March" by Geraldine Brooks

From Goodreads:  From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women , Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man (Sue Monk Kidd). With "pitch-perfect writing" ( USA Today ), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as a renowned author of historical fiction. My Thoughts:  I really wanted to like this book, I swear.  I thought it would be neat to see a different take on Little Women  which is why I picked this up.  Ugh, it wasn't neat at all.  I know that March is a Pulitzer Prize winner but it just didn't do it for me.  The story

Review: "The Pregnancy Project" by Gaby Rodriguez

From Goodreads:  Growing up, Gaby Rodriguez was often told she would end up a teen mom. After all, her mother and her older sisters had gotten pregnant as teenagers; from an outsider’s perspective, it was practically a family tradition. Gaby had ambitions that didn’t include teen motherhood. But she wondered: how would she be treated if she “lived down” to others' expectations? Would everyone ignore the years she put into being a good student and see her as just another pregnant teen statistic with no future? These questions sparked Gaby’s school project: faking her own pregnancy as a high school senior to see how her family, friends, and community would react. What she learned changed her life forever, and made international headlines in the process. In The Pregnancy Project, Gaby details how she was able to fake her own pregnancy—hiding the truth from even her siblings and boyfriend’s parents—and reveals all that she learned from the experience. But more than that, Gaby’s sto

Top Ten Books I'd Give to Someone Who Doesn't Like to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is:  Top Ten Books I'd Give to Someone Who Doesn't Like to Read I picked all of these books because they have great stories and characters and are not difficult to read. 1.) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 2.) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K.Rowling 3.) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead 4.) Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning 5.) Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster 6.) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 7.) One for the Money by Janet Evanovich 8.) The Giver by Lois Lowry 9.) Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir 10.) The Help by Kathryn Stockett Any books I missed?  What books are on your list?

Review: "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys

From Goodreads:  Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they've known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin's orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions. Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously - and at great risk - documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father's prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is

In My Mailbox (38)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren . For Review (from NetGalley): The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice A Handful of Earth by Larisa Walk Archive 17 by Sam Eastland Sister Queens by Julia Fox What books did you get this week?

Happy Friday! (21)

Whew!  I am so glad it's Friday!  This week has been crazy (I turned 29 on Monday!)  and there is so much going on this weekend.  I am actually ready for it to be next Friday when all of the craziness will have died down. Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee's View .  This week's question:   Define what characteristics your favorite books share. Do they all have a kickass heroine or is the hot love interest the Alpha Male? I read such a wide variety of books that it is hard to see which characteristics they have in common.  I do know that my most favorite books tend to have amazing well-written stories that suck me into them and make me never want to leave.  I love being so completely immersed in a story that it feels like you literally have to pull yourself out of the book and back into the real world.   Books like The Hunger Games, Outlander, Vampire Academy  and The Bronze Horseman had such complex, wonderful storyline

Review: "Faithful Place" by Tana French

From Goodreads:  The past haunts in Tana French novels. That which was buried is brought to light and wreaks hell--on no one moreso than Frank Mackey, beloved undercover guru and burly hero first mentioned in French's second book about the Undercover Squad, The Likeness. Faithful Place is Frank's old neighborhood, the town he fled twenty-two years ago, abandoning an abusive alcoholic father, harpy mother, and two brothers and sisters who never made it out. They say going home is never easy, but for Frank, investigating the cold case of the just-discovered body of his teenage girlfriend, it is a tangled, dangerous journey, fraught with mean motivations, black secrets, and tenuous alliances. Because he is too close to the case, and because the Place (including his family) harbors a deep-rooted distrust of cops, Frank must undergo his investigation furtively, using all the skills picked up from years of undercover work to trace the killer and the events of the night that changed

January Wrap Up

Can you believe that January is already over?  The month completely flew by.  I managed to read 12 books (see below) and I got started on 4 of the 5 challenges I signed up for this year.  That being said, I did even make a tiny dent in my TBR pile.  I read one (!) book that I has been sitting around for a while and that is it.  I had a bunch of galleys to catch up and all the library books I requested in November became available this month.  So hopefully in February, the majority of what I read will be books I already own. Regarding personal goals, I am struggling to stay on my training schedule for the half marathon.  I was doing really good and then I had a rough week and last week was just okay.  If I can't get my butt back on track this week, I am not sure that I will be ready enough to participate.  I want to do it, I am just being kind of lazy.  Hopefully next month I will have better news about that. Anyway, here is what I read I in January: 1.) The Last Romanov by Do