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Showing posts from May, 2012

Review: "Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow" by Juliet Grey

From Goodreads:  Paris, 1774. At the tender age of eighteen, Marie Antoinette ascends to the French throne alongside her husband, Louis XVI. But behind the extravagance of the young queen’s elaborate silk gowns and dizzyingly high coiffures, she harbors deeper fears for her future and that of the Bourbon dynasty. From the early growing pains of marriage to the joy of conceiving a child, from her passion for Swedish military attaché Axel von Fersen to the devastating Affair of the Diamond Necklace, Marie Antoinette tries to rise above the gossip and rivalries that encircle her. But as revolution blossoms in America, a much larger threat looms beyond the gilded gates of Versailles—one that could sweep away the French monarchy forever. My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  Days of Splendor, Days of Sorrow is the second book in Juliet Grey's Marie Antoinette trilogy.  I read the first book in the fall and didn't love it and

Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish . This week's topic is: Top Ten Books Written In The Past 10 Years That I Hope People Are Still Reading In 30 Years This was such a hard topic so some of my picks are not the best. 1.) The Help by Kathryn Stockett - People either loved or hated this book but I personally loved it.  I thought it was a very powerful story and hope it maintains it's popularity. 2.) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - An inspiring story that fits well in the genre of Holocaust literature. 3.) Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling- Harry Potter encouraged so many people to get reading and hopefully, they will continue to do so. 4.) Everything is Illuminated by Jonathon Safran Foer - I just love this book and seeing as how the Holocaust is a 'popular' topic, I think this book will still be relevant in the years to come. 5.) The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova - I think this is just an awesome story.  It's been o

Review: "Jeneration X" by Jen Lancaster

From Goodreads:  In Such a Pretty Fat, Jen Lancaster learned how to come to terms with her body. In My Fair Lazy, she expanded her mind. Now the New York Times bestselling author gives herself—and her generation—a kick in the X, by facing her greatest challenge to date: acting her age. Jen is finally ready to put away childish things (except her Barbie Styling Head, of course) and embrace the investment-making, mortgage-carrying, life-insurance-having adult she’s become. From getting a mammogram to volunteering at a halfway house, she tackles the grown-up activities she’s resisted for years, and with each rite of passage she completes, she’ll uncover a valuable—and probably humiliating—life lesson that will ease her path to full-fledged, if reluctant, adulthood. My Thoughts:  This is probably one of my favorite Jen Lancaster books so far.  As someone who is trying to figure out how to be a grown up, I completely related to her and this book.  I want Jen to be my BFF, can you i

Stacking the Shelves (4)

Stacking the Shelves is a feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews .  It is a great way to share all the books and bookish items received in the past week. NetGalley is killing me lately!  I have more than enough to read (seriously, right now my TBR pile is RIDICULOUS) but I keep finding more great books on NetGalley.  It also doesn't help that I don't have a ton to do at work so I have an ample amount of time to surf their catalog. This week I received 1 book from NetGalley: The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner  -Isn't the cover gorgeous?  I have read Gortner's book on Catherine d'Medici and really liked it so I am looking forward to reading this. Did you receive any fun books this week?  Are you overwhelmed by the ever-growing TBR pile?

Review: "The Fellowship of the Ring" by J.R.R. Tolkien

From Goodreads:  One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find then, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them... In ancient times the Rings of Power were crafted by the Elven-smiths, and Sauron, the Dark Lord, forged the One Ring, filling it with his own power so that he could rule all others. But the One Ring was taken from him, and though he sought it throughout Middle-earth, it remained lost to him. After many ages it fell into the hands of Bilbo Baggins, as told in The Hobbit . In a sleeping village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with the immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose. My Thoughts:  I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this book.  I am not really into high fantasy but I liked the Lord of the Rings movies so I figured

Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read That Aren't About Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is:  Top Ten Blogs/Sites I Read that aren't about Books 1.) The Family CEO  -This is a money management blog that I like.  I have gotten so many good budgeting and money saving tips from this site. 2.) Six Sister's Stuff - A great cooking/crafts blog.  I have made several recipes from this site and they were all delicious. 3.) People I Want to Punch in the Throat -This blog is hysterical!  The blogger is smart, sassy and usually right on the money with her assessments of various aspects of everyday life. 4.) Postsecret 5.) Semi-Homemade Mom -Another great site for recipes. 6.) The Food Librarian -This blog has a lot of great recipes but it also has really awesome photographs of the food she makes. 7.) Get Crocked  -I am obsessed with cooking in the crock pot.  I love this site because it is full of yummy crock pot recipes. 8.) The Chronicle of Higher Education-  I r

Stacking the Shelves (3)

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly feature hosted by Tynga's Reviews .  It is a great way to showcase any books received during the week. Even though I am completely overwhelmed with books right now, I picked up a few more this week.  I need a week long vacation just to get caught up on reading! From the Library: Jeneration X by Jen Lancaster Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare From NetGalley: Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham What books did you pick up this week?

Review: "The Secret Keeper" by Sandra Byrd

From Goodreads:  Juliana St. John is the daughter of a prosperous knight in Marlborough. Though her family wants her to marry the son of her father’s business partner, circumstances set her on a course toward the court of Henry VIII and his last wife, Kateryn Parr. Sir Thomas Seymour, uncle of the current heir, Prince Edward, returns to Wiltshire to tie up his business with Juliana’s father’s estate and sees instantly that she would fit into the household of the woman he loves, Kateryn Parr. Her mother agrees to have her placed in the Parr household for “finishing” and Juliana goes, though perhaps reluctantly. For she knows a secret. She has been given the gift of prophecy, and in one of her visions she has seen Sir Thomas shredding the dress of the king’s daughter, the lady Elizabeth, to perilous consequence. As Juliana learns the secrets of King Henry VIII’s court, she faces threats and opposition, learning truths about her own life that will upset everything she thought she

Review: "Pretty in Plaid" by Jen Lancaster

From Goodreads:  In Pretty in Plaid , Jen Lancaster reveals how she developed the hubris that perpetually gets her into trouble. Using fashion icons of her youth to tell her hilarious and insightful stories, readers will meet the girl she used to be. Think Jen Lancaster was always "like David Sedaris with pearls and a super-cute handbag?" (Jennifer Coburn) Think again. She was a badge-hungry Junior Girl Scout with a knack for extortion, an aspiring sorority girl who didn't know her Coach from her Louis Vuitton, and a budding executive who found herself bewildered by her first encounter with a fax machine. In this humorous and touching memoir, Jen Lancaster looks back on her life-and wardrobe-before bitter was the new black and shows us a young woman not so very different than the rest of us. The author who showed us what it was like to wait in line at the unemployment office with a Prada bag, how living in the city can actually suck, and that losing weight can be

Review: "The Terror" by David Andress

From Goodreads:  For two hundred years, the Terror has haunted the imagination of the West. The descent of the French Revolution from rapturous liberation into an orgy of apparently pointless bloodletting has been the focus of countless reflections on the often malignant nature of humanity and the folly of revolution. David Andress, a leading historian of the French Revolution, presents a radically different account of the Terror. In a remarkably vivid and page-turning work of history, he transports the reader from the pitched battles on the streets of Paris to the royal family's escape through secret passageways in the Tuileries palace, and across the landscape of the tragic last years of the Revolution. The violence, he shows, was a result of dogmatic and fundamentalist thinking: dreadful decisions were made by groups of people who believed they were still fighting for freedom but whose survival was threatened by famine, external war, and counter-revolutionaries within the fled

Review: "Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare

From Goodreads:  When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos. Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own. Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two be

Review: "Moloka'i" by Alan Brennert

From Goodreads:  This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai'i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place---and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit. Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka'i. Here her life is supposed to end---but instead she discovers it is only just beginning. With a vibrant cast of vividly realized characters, Moloka'i is the true-to-life chronicle of a people who embraced life in the face of death. Such is the warmth, humor, and compassion of this novel that "few readers will remain unchanged by Rachel's story". My Thoughts:  I know that I always say 'Why didn't I

Review: "The Law of Dreams" by Peter Behrens

From Goodreads:  The Law of Dreams tells the story of a young man's epic passage from innocence to experience during The Great Famine in Ireland of 1847.  On his odyssey through Ireland and Britain, and across the Atlantic to “the Boston states,” Fergus is initiated to violence, sexual heat, and the glories and dangers of the industrial revolution. Along the way, he meets an unforgettable generation of boy soldiers, brigands, street toughs and charming, willful girls – all struggling for survival in the aftermath of natural catastrophe magnified by political callousness and brutal neglect. Peter Behrens transports the reader to another time and place for a deeply-moving and resonant experience. The Law of Dreams is gorgeously written in incandescent language that unleashes the sexual and psychological energies of a lost world while plunging the reader directly into a vein of history that haunts the ancestral memory of millions in a new millennium. My Thoughts: This i

Top Ten Favorite Passages from Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish This week's topic is:  Top Ten Favorite Passages from Books (Ok, really it's favorite quotes but most of my favorites are long so I am going to make it passages) 1.) "...So I ask them if they believe in God.  And if they say they do-I know they don't believe in life.'  'Why?' ' Because, you see, God—whatever anyone chooses to call God—is one's highest conception of the highest possible. And whoever places his highest conception above his own possibility thinks very little of himself and his life. It's a rare gift, you know, to feel reverence for your own life and to want the best, the greatest, the highest possible, here, now, for your very own. To imagine a heaven and then not to dream of it, but to demand it.'" From We the Living by Ayn Rand 2.) “Mr. Montag, you are looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going a long time back. I said nothing

Review: "Shadow and Bone" by Leigh Bardugo

From Goodreads:  Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee. Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart. My Thoughts:  I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  I was immediat

Stacking the Shelves (2)

Stacking the Shelves is a new meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews .  It's a great way to showcase the books you receive during the week and check out some really cool blogs. This week I received two books.  Honestly, I should not have picked up any but NetGalley sucked me in while I was bored at work.  I have been going back to my old favorite, historical fiction, and these ones look pretty good.      From NetGalley:  The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd Days of Splendour, Days of Sorrow by Juliet Gray What books did you pick up this week?

Review: "The King's Concubine" by Anne O'Brien

From Goodreads:   One marriage. Three people.  Proud king. Loving wife. Infamous mistress. 1362, Philippa of Hainault selects a young orphan from a convent. Alice Perrers, a girl born with nothing but ambition. The Queen has a role waiting for her at court. ‘I have lifted you from nothing Alice. Now you repay me.' Led down the corridors of the royal palace the young virgin is secretly delivered to King Edward III - to perform the wifely duties of which ailing Philippa is no longer capable. Power has a price, and Alice Perrers will pay it. Mistress to the King. Confidante of the Queen. Whore to the court. Her fate is double edged; loved by the majesties, ostracised by her peers. Alice must balance her future with care as her star begins to rise - the despised Concubine is not untouchable. Politics and pillow talk are dangerous bedfellows. The fading great King wants her in his bed. Her enemies want her banished. One mistake and Alice will face a threat worse than any malicious wh

Review: "Catherine the Great" by Robert K. Massie

From Goodreads:  Born into a minor noble family, Catherine transformed herself into Empress of Russia by sheer determination. Possessing a brilliant mind and an insatiable curiosity as a young woman, she devoured the works of Enlightenment philosophers and, when she reached the throne, attempted to use their principles to guide her rule of the vast and backward Russian empire. She knew or corresponded with the preeminent historical figures of her time: Voltaire, Diderot, Frederick the Great, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria, Marie Antoinette, and, surprisingly, the American naval hero, John Paul Jones. Reaching the throne fired by Enlightenment philosophy and determined to become the embodiment of the “benevolent despot” idealized by Montesquieu, she found herself always contending with the deeply ingrained realities of Russian life, including serfdom. She persevered, and for thirty-four years the government, foreign policy, cultural development, and welfare of the Russian people wer

April Wrap Up

Jeez, April was not a good reading month for me!  Work was super crazy and training for the half marathon kept me really busy so I definitely didn't read very much this month.  I also kind of hit a blogging slump so my posts haven't been as regular as usual.  I even missed my blogoversary on April 19!  Numbers wise, I only read 8 books this month which brings my total for the year to 45.  I don't think I have read so few books in a month in a really long time.  I did make progress on all of my challenges so I am pretty happy about that.  I also met one of my goals for the year by completing my first half marathon.  So the month wasn't a total waste...except all the time I had to spend at my sucky job. I am kind of mad at myself because I haven't been doing a very good job of reading books I own.  At the beginning of the year, I had 81 books on my shelves that I needed to read.  As of today, I have read 11 of them.  This isn't very good.  I am trying not to buy