Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday Tunes #4 - Tove Styrke

Top Ten Books I've Read This Year (so far)

Top Ten Tuesday is a wicked awesome weekly meme from the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

I have a feeling that this week will see more than the average number of TTT posts with at least a few books over ten. I know my post has thirteen total! But I almost feel like two of them shouldn't count since I put two books each from two different series on the list.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

From Goodreads: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.

Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.

Monday, June 22, 2015

2015 Popsugar Challenge REWRITE

Back in the early days of 2015, I had a plan. I was going to do the Popsugar Reading Challenge, and then I proceeded to pick out all 52 books based on my mood at that time. Now that we are nearing the half-way point for 2015, I thought it would be prudent to take a look at the challenge and see how I'm doing. Not surprisingly, in addition to reading a handful of the books from my challenge, I have also read a boatload of other books. And a lot of these books happen to fill criteria for this challenge, so I figured I would make my life a little simpler, and just substitute books where I see fit.

2015 Reading Challenge
Editing my original list

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day Fun

CA family (minus Kathy), L-R: Me, Riley, Laurie, Dad, Holly, Grandma
ME family, L-R: Abby, Me, Mom, Holly, James, Laurie, Grandma

Happy Father's Day to my super awesome dad & step-dad, as well as any other dads out there! I don't actually get to spend today with either of them, since my dad (Rick) is in California, where he lives, and my mom and step-dad (James) are visiting my aunt and uncle in Barcelona.

Growing up as a bookworm, both my dad and James were great about making sure I had all the books I could handle: my dad repeatedly let me buy books from the Scholastic catalog that came home with me throughout the school year, and James would take us to the library about once a week when we spent our summers in Maine. I'm so thankful that both of my fathers are readers (as are my mom and step-mom), because kids really do look up to their parents in the hopes of mimicking them. I had great examples to look up to! 

I thought it would be fun for Father's Day to ask them both a bunch a questions about their reading habits going way back, so here are their answers!

Name: Rick
Age: 56
Occupation: Small business owner

What book are you currently reading (or what is the most recent book you read)? Soldier XVII by Todd Brooks.
I like action adventure type of books in general and this book fits the category, except this is a Christian perspective of a soldier/spy. I won't tell you how the story ends since I don't know, the second book will continue where this one stops. Written by a Christian man who was kind enough to invite Laurie to live with his family while she finished college. Todd Brooks lives the kind of Christian life he writes about.

What is your favorite genre? Action adventure.  I also like biographies, particular biblical biographies.
​Like many guys, I like the doing things, battling evil, with character development to contrast the two.​

Do you have a favorite author? John MacArthur

My mother was a teacher and she would get Burroughs' publisher to donate paperback books to her school and I would get to read them all as well. 
Plus every summer vacation, my mom would encourage/require us to read twenty books
​, so that was a good time to access those which she had at her school.  The ones I liked a lot she would recommend them to her students.  Since she taught at a public school for​ boys that was their last chance to stay in the LA city school district (most were placed by the legal system in minimal security boys "home" next door to the school).  So I don't get that connection.

What was your favorite book growing up?​I grew up going to library every week, reading all the time.  The local library was very familiar to me and I would scan the shelves for ​books that would pique my interest. So, Tarzan/John Carter of Mars series, Hobbit/Rings trilogy and fictional sports books.  I read these books 5 times or so.
As a teenager, I got to the point of playing sports all the time instead of reading about them.

Do you have a favorite fictional character? No favorite 
really, but if I was forced to choose one it would be ​John Carter of Mars.

Do you re-read books you love? Yes, if it is a good book I read it at least twice​.  Many books are read 5 or 6 times.

When and where do you like to read? I love to read during "leisure" time.  Which often as an adult I have none of, but that requires I reorient my reading to priority items.  I try to read some Bible in the mornings. I really like being in a Bible study group, so I usually do that reading during my lunch hour. That is more likely a digital copy on my computer than a physical book.

Do you use an e-reader or tablet? If not, would you ever consider using one for reading? I do have a tablet and a number of books on it.  The genre of these books is "free" and interesting to me. 

What do you do if you start a book but can't get into it? Finish it? Or set it aside and look for something better? If it is an unfamiliar author, I might set it aside for a time but will get back to it two or three times.  A familiar author I probably keep going.

What makes you decide to read a book (recommendations, looks good at the bookstore, etc.)? Either they are gifts, or sometimes my family (they go to library every week) will bring me a book.  Otherwise I try to read something that my 15 yr old is reading, like the Maze Runner books.​

Name: James
Age: 49
Occupation: Art Teacher

What book are you currently reading (or what is the most recent book you read)? 'Transhuman' by Ben Bova

What is your favorite genre? Science Fiction

What are your top three favorite books?'Neverwhere', 'Anansi Boys', 'Stardust'.

Do you have a favorite author? Neil Gaiman.

What was your favorite book growing up? 'Tarzan of the Apes' -Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Do you have a favorite fictional character? Tarzan.

Do you re-read books you love? Yes.

When and where do you like to read? In the classroom, and at night before bed.

Do you use an e-reader or tablet? If not, would you ever consider using one for reading? Nope. Nope.

What do you do if you start a book but can't get into it? Finish it? Or set it aside and look for something better? If it doesn't tickle my fancy in the first 100 pages I abandon it.

What makes you decide to read a book (recommendations, looks good at the bookstore, etc.)? Looks good at the bookstore, or it's an author I'm familiar with that I wish to pursue.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: River Road by Carol Goodman

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Carol Goodman has been one of my favorite authors since I was in high school, which I wrote about last Thursday, so it's only fitting that I feature her next standalone thriller today.

From Goodreads: From the award-winning author of The Lake of Dead Languages comes a chilling new psychological thriller about a professor accused of killing her favorite student in a hit-and-run accident.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday, AKA My TBR for July/August

Top Ten Tuesday is a wicked awesome weekly meme from the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish
This week's prompt for Top Ten Tuesday is 'Top Ten Books on my TBR for Summer 2015,' but since I've posted twice this month about my June TBR (here and here), I figured I would just go ahead and post my TBR for July & August (read: way more than 10).

Monday, June 15, 2015

June TBR Check-In

June has officially been the month of cleaning up my "Currently Reading" and "Need to Restart Piles," and since we have finally reached the middle of the month I thought it would be a good time to check in and report my progress. So without further ado, here's my original list:

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Throwback Thursday #4 - The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman
Pages: 390
Publisher: Ballantine
Publication Date: January 2, 2002
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Source: Purchased

Synopsis (from Goodreads): In the evocative tradition of Donna Tartt’s first novel, The Secret History,comes this accomplished debut of youthful innocence drowned by dark sins. Twenty years ago, Jane Hudson left the Heart Lake School for Girls in the Adirondacks after a terrible tragedy. Now she has returned to the placid, isolated shores of the lakeside school as a Latin teacher, recently separated and hoping to make a fresh start with her young daughter. But ominous messages from the past dredge up forgotten memories that will become a living nightmare.

Since freshman year, Jane and her two roommates, Lucy Toller and Deirdre Hall, were inseparable–studying the classics, performing school girl rituals on the lake, and sneaking out after curfew to meet Lucy’s charismatic brother Matt. However, the last winter before graduation, everything changed. For in that sheltered, ice-encrusted wonderland, three lives were taken, all victims of senseless suicide. Only Jane was left to carry the burden of a mystery that has stayed hidden for more than two decades in the dark depths of Heart Lake. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
Yesterday's Top Ten Tuesday post was all about 2015 books that we are still waiting for, but I've also got my eye on quite a few books scheduled for a 2016 publication. One of these books is The Forgotten Room, by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig. You might recognize a couple of those names from yesterday's post, since Beatriz Williams and Lauren Willig each have two books coming out later this year (I just realized they kind of dominated yesterday's post!). 

P.S. I Still Love You - Review

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
Pages: 337
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: May 26th 2015
Genre: YA/Contemporary

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.
When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so amazing. 

My Thoughts: 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tuesday Tunes #2 - Summer Concerts

I love listening to music as much as I love reading, and buying tickets to concerts is one of my favorite ways to spend money! I am planning on several fun shows, so I thought I'd share with you some of the music I'll be hearing live.

The first event on my schedule is the 42nd Annual 2015 Old Port Festival, scheduled for this coming Sunday, June 14. This whole day is so much fun; Portland's Old Port is closed off to all traffic, and the neighborhood turns into this huge party with food, music, and various activities for kids. There are vendors from many of Portland's favorite restaurants and food trucks, as well as booths with local artists and artisans, and there are live music stages set up across a several-block radius. I've already planned out which stages I need to be at throughout the afternoon to catch the artists I want to see: Jacqui Lee, Andrew McMahon, Rachel Platten, The Veronicas, and Spose. I'm so lucky to live in such a great city, and I am very excited to see such a high-quality line up at no cost! As of right now, the forecast calls for a sunny Sunday with a high of 74 deg., but these things can change pretty rapidly in New England, so I'm going to keep my fingers crossed!

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases for the Rest of 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a wicked awesome weekly meme from the ladies at The Broke and the Bookish.

     There are so many books that have already been released this year that I haven't read yet, so I'm a little daunted by the quality of the books scheduled for release in the latter half of this year. It was really hard to narrow the list down to only 10 favorites, and it would be really hard to list them in any order other than the one in which they are scheduled for release. And here they are!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015


Top Ten Tuesday is a wicked awesome meme brought to us by the lovelies at The Broke and the Bookish.

I have pretty mixed feelings about adaptations. Sometimes they're wonderful, like Harry Potter, Call the Midwife, and a good chunk of the series from Masterpiece Classics. On the other hand, some of my favorite favorite books have been slaughtered, like Ella Enchanted and Ender's Game. And sometimes I can't really decide how I feel: I loved Neil Gaiman's Stardust, and my whole family went to see it in theaters, but there were definitely parts of the movie that did not track at all with the book. But overall, I still enjoyed it! I know it can be tricky to adapt a book for movies/TV, and I definitely don't want any of these adapted just for the sake of having the movie or TV show. I only want them if they are done right!

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Struggle to Finish Books

I have a problem. I realized it this morning while I was fighting with the stupid Scribd app, trying to download a stupid audiobook. Fine, the book is NOT stupid - it's The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig (book 8 in the Pink Carnation series, which I happen to love). The Scribd app routinely raises my blood pressure, so I'm totally ok sticking with "stupid" on that count. But the problem I'm writing about has nothing to do with Scribd. I realized that the book I was downloading was the fourth audiobook I have saved on my phone. That seems excessive, especially since I can only listen to one at a time. And then that got me thinking: I have EIGHT (8!!!) books on my "currently reading" shelf on Goodreads! I just took another look at them, and apparently I am over 60% finished with half of them. Why, oh why, must I continue to start new books instead of finishing whatever books I'm already reading?