Monday, December 30, 2013

wow I read a lot of books this year

Discovering GoodReads at the end of 2012 changed my life! Well, maybe that's an over statement, but I love keeping track of books I want to read, what I've read, and that I can easily track how many books I read a year.

I made myself a goal to read 50 books this year. I've never counted before, and nearly a book a week seemed challenging but do able. I've always been a pretty active reader, and read every night before bed, but with this blog, and getting advanced reader copies to review, I've made it more of a priority.

With that being said, I was very happy to achieve and blow through my goal, reading 66 books in 2013!

2014 goal: 
   - read 75 books
   - read one or more Steven King books


Since there was a month or two this year in which I didn't read much, I'm upping my goal this next year, and fairly confident I can do it. Also, I've never read a Steven King book, and I've been wanting to lately, so why not make it a goal also. Anyone have a recommendation for a good book to start off with?

Wishing everyone a fabulous holiday season and a great 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Mad About a Boy by Helen Fielding - Book Review

BookMad About the Boy (Bridget Jones #3)
AuthorHelen Fielding
Genre: Fiction, Chick-Lit
Publisher/Publish DateKnopf Canada / October 15, 2013
Source: Public Library
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

Thirteen years have passed, and at the age of 51 Bridget Jones is thrown back into the world of dating, though now as a widow with two young children. Bridget meets a man over Twitter who turns out to be 29, though a lot of fun. She must decided if he fits in her life as a single mother, and learns about herself him the process with the help of her hilarious and crazy friends.

I loved the first two Bridget Jones novels, as well as the movies, and was excited when I heard Helen Fielding wrote a third book in the series. It's a bit of a jump in time, so it was interesting to see a more grown up Bridget, though maybe only a little bit more mature than before. This book has a similar tone to the first time, and includes most of her friends who we have already been introduced to.

I am in my 30's and relate more to Bridget of the first two books, but even though she is in her 50's and they comment on it a lot, she's the same funny, neurotic, weight obsessed, self-help book reading character, but with a little more soul.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill - Book Review

BookBeyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
AuthorJenna Miscavige Hill, with Lisa Pulitzer
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir 
Publisher/Publish DateWilliam Morrow / January, 2013
Source: Public Library
Pages: 416
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

Raised as a Scientologist, and the niece of the church's leader David Miscavige, Jenna Miscavige Hill decided to leave at the age of 21, breaking free of all she had ever known. Hill provides a unique, insider look at the secretive church. Her childhood was spent separated from her parents, days filled with labor and discipline, and forced to grow up at an early age.

It's shocking to hear what her parents allow to happen to her, and how different her childhood is from the average American. Her isolation from the rest of the world keeps her from knowing what is "normal" and keeps the rest of us from knowing the pain that these children are going through.

This book is a good companion to Going Clear, since this is a look at Scientology from the inside. A look at what the rules of the religion really look like when played out upon a family and the secrets and lies that the church is rooted in. The book is mostly about Hill's personal experiences, but give you a broad idea of the culture and inner workings of the church.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Book Review

BookSharp Objects
AuthorGillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DateShaye Areheart Books / September, 2006
Source: Public Library
Pages: 272
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

An earlier novel by the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects follows a Chicago reporter as she heads back to her home town to report on the murders of two young girls. She returns to her childhood home, staying with a mom that never knew how to be a good mom, and a much younger half-sister she barely knows and doesn't recognize at first. This novel is full of deep, interesting characters, who we discover as we move closer to learning who is behind the murders.

I loved Gone Girl, and was exciting to read more by Gillian Flynn. I was taking a little off guard with this book, but may have understood it better if I head read the synopsis before hand and had known what I was getting into. While I really liked the book, it takes a little while before you have all the clues to really understand the main character and her relationship with her family, which is at the core of the novel. This was the perfect book for a vacation, and helped me get through a few plane rides without getting too bored. The book moves fast and was riveting till the end.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Whale Warriors by Peter Heller - Book Review

BookThe Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals
AuthorPeter Heller
Genre: Non-Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DateFree Press / September, 2007
Source: Public Library
Pages: 288
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

At the bottom of the globe near Antarctica, there is a battle going on between Japanese whalers and activists (eco-pirates) who are trying to save the wales. The Farley, captained by Paul Watson who runs the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is out to stop whaling for good, by any means necessary. While whaling is mostly illegal, the Japanese get around the laws by saying they are doing it for research.

Fighting to stop whaling is part waiting (it can take weeks to find the ships), and part high action. Watson has previously sunk eight whaling ships and the Farley is outfitted with a seven-foot blade on the bow, bottles of smelly acid to throw aboard whaling vessels, and water cannons.

Peter Heller joined the crew on season and experienced first hand the joyous and dangerous parts of being part of Sea Shepherd. He does a great job at presenting the story without strongly taking sides. It's a great book if you are interested in what's happening with whaling without someone preaching to you.

I originally head about the Sea Shepherd on Animal Planet's reality show, Whale Wars, which has been following them now for five seasons. It's a fascinating show, and while I may not agree with all of their tactics I find their tenacity and idealism fascinating to watch.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

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Monday, December 2, 2013

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - Book Review

BookThe Husband's Secret
AuthorLiane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DatePenguin Books / April, 2013
Source: ARC from publisher
Pages: 416
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

I was first introduced to Liane Moriarty when I read her book What Alice Forgot, and was happy when I realized this ARC sitting on my bookshelf was also by Moriarty. I've always been a big fan of chick-lit authors like Marian Keyes, but I enjoy that Moriarty's novels are just a little more serious. I'd call it light-hearted drama.

The Husband's Secret follows the lives of three women. Cecilia, the main character, discovered a letter written by her husband labeled "read if I die." Upon learning that it was found, the husband rushes home from his work trip, making Cecilia even more curious that secrets lie in the letter. As the novel continues, the three women's lives start to entwine in some startling ways.

I won't say much more, since I don't want to give the "secret" away, but I will say the pay off it worth it. While Moriarty provides clues, it's hard to guess what the secret is before it's revealed. At least for me it was. The novel is told from three different point of views, which makes it a little confusing at times, but I think this was the best way to tell each women's story in a personal way.

Loved this book, and look forward to reading more by Liane Moriarty.

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but it in no way effects my review of the book. Please note that we receive affiliate income from any books purchased at Amazon.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

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Friday, November 29, 2013

The Vast Unknown by Broughton Coburn - Book Review

BookThe Vast Unknown: America's First Ascent of Everest
AuthorBroughton Coburn
Genre: History 
Publisher/Publish DateCrown / April, 2013
Source: First Reads/GoodReads
Pages: 320
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

It's no secret that I love books about Everest. While in some ways the stories are all fairly similar, this one tells of America's first assent. Back when climbing Everest was still very new, and a lot more challenging and complicated than it has become today.

America's first expedition team, in 1963, was made up of a young, free-spirited, independent group of climbers, many of whom worked as guides in the Tetons. The climb was a mix of their own hopes of dreams of summiting as well as political and international strategy. In many way the goal of summiting mimicked the space race, which was happening during this time period.

It was not an easy climb. A life was lost. An attempt to summit by a new route was unsuccessful. But their journey made an impact on American climbing and on the lives of each man involved. Coburn does a great job following up with the climbers, showing us the path each of their lives took in the years following their Everest climb.

Thank you GoodReads for a signed copy!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

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Monday, November 11, 2013

Night Film by Marisha Pessl - Book Review

BookNight Film: A Novel
AuthorMarisha Pessl
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DateMilkweed Editions / September 3, 2013
SourceARC courtesy of publisher
Pages: 256
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

(This post may be a bit spoilery, sorry.)

Creepy. Gripping. Insightful. Gritty.

After a wrong turn in an investigation into the mysterious life of cult-horror-film director Cordova leaves him disgraced, Journalist Scott McGrath hoped he has left that story behind for good. But the suicide of his daughter Ashley draws him back into his investigation. His search leads him to meet two witnesses, that become part of his team, and the story leads him on a journey through belief and unbelife. McGrath risks a lot in search of the truth, which in turn he may never be able to find.

I was attracted to this book because of it's use of images, and screen shots of web pages, and other "interactive" elements. They never came off as gimmicky, but actually enhance the story. (see the reviews on GoodReads for photos of the inside pages). Though I wasn't expecting the novel to be so dark, including satanic rituals, mysterious bridges, and lots of twisted characters.

I'm still a little uncertain about how I feel about this book. I was enraptured by it, finishing the 580 page novel in just a few days. And though the book tried to have a clear take away, I'm not sure if I got that personally from reading the book.

I felt that while the tone of the book wavered from comical (i.e. buddy cop) to way intense and creepy, plot plows a consistent path that never wavers. But maybe this is more like life. There are funny moments, and there are scary moments.

My favorite part was the first 2/3rds of the novel. I just wasn't satisfied with the ending. I didn't feel like much was truly answered.

I'm really interested in reading her other book Special Topics in Calamity Physics. Anyone read that? What did you think? Anyone else think this could make a really great movie?

Now I'm off to go read a fun and light-hearted book to cleans my palette (and mind).

What did you think of Night Film?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

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Friday, November 8, 2013

Let Him Go, by Larry Watson - Book Review

BookLet Him Go: A Novel
AuthorLarry Watson
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DateMilkweed Editions / September 3, 2013
SourceARC courtesy of publisher
Pages: 256
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

This book is a lot more serious, and slow moving than I usually read, but I got a free copy of it and figured I'd give it a chance.

Set in North Dakota in the fall of 1951, two grandparents go on a search to find their grandson. After the death of their son, his wife remarried, and they are concerned for the boys well-being in the care of his new father. As they travel through the bleakness of North Dakota that meet some helpful folks, though also run into some tough situations.

As plot carries you through the book, you sense the impending climax from the beginning. The author, Larry Watson, molds realistic and relatable characters, and it feels like you are sampling reading someone's life story. Beautifully told, though a little narratively dry for my taste.

Monday, November 4, 2013

What Alice Forgot, by Liane Moriarty - Book Review

BookWhat Alice Forgot
AuthorLiane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DatePanMacmillan Australia / January 2009
Source: Local Library
Pages: 487
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

At twenty-nine, Alice is married to a wonderful husband, looking forward to the birth of her first child.

But after falling and hitting her head during a spin class she wakes up to learn it's ten years in the future and she's lost ten years of memories. Now with three kids, a sister that seems really distance, and a mom that's been remarried, Alice has a lot to learn about her life at 39.

What Alice Forgot is a fun novel, with a lot of heart. We get to experience the funny parts of losing her memory, along with the heartbreak. As Alice reconstructs the past decade, she discovers some dark sides to herself, and has to decide if she wants to take the risk to change the bad decisions.

I'd compare this book to Bridget Jones Diary, with a little less absurdity and a little more reality thrown in.

With books like these I think about how I would feel in her shoes? How different would my life look? How crazy would it be to wake up and have a 9 year old calling you mom, and you have no memory of having a child? 

Saturday, November 2, 2013

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Saturday, October 26, 2013

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting Rooted in New Zealand - Author Interview

At 26 Jamie decides to move from California to New Zealand to escape men (there are 100,000 fewer men than women there), and to discover something new. There she befriends a famous model, works a series of odd temp jobs and learns a lot about herself.

A pleasant, easy and heart warming travel/life/dating/work memoir. Honest and real, no part of her story seems contrived or forced. Jamie welcomes you to experience it all along side her. Reading the book felt like chatting with a hilarious and emotionally honest best friend.

The author Jamie Baywood was kind enough to ask a few of my questions. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.

In one sentence how would you describe your book? 
The best way I can describe Getting Rooted in New Zealand is a funny travel memoir or an accidental true love story in a comedy of errors. 

You mention that during some of your temp jobs, you spent your time writing about your coworkers and experience on the job. Was that content the beginning of this memoir? 
Yes, absolutely. I consider myself an accidental author. I didn’t go to New Zealand with the intentions of writing a book about my experiences there. I didn’t start keeping a diary or writing until I moved to New Zealand. I wrote to keep in touch with friends and family. I had funny experiences that I had trouble believing were true. I wrote the stories down to stay sane. I wrote situations down that were happening around me and shared them with friends. I saved the emails that eventually became my book. The stories made people laugh so I decided to organize the stories into a book and publish in the hopes to make others laugh too. 

What challenges did you face when writing this book? Was it hard to remember some of the details? Is it all based on journals? 
Most of the book was written as the events happened; it just took me a few years to work up the nerve to publish. To write my book Getting Rooted In New Zealand, I relied upon my personal journals, e-mails, and memories. Some of the names of the characters and organizations, but not all have been changed to preserve privacy. In February 2013, I organized my stories into a cohesive narrative. It went through several rounds of editing and then I published in April. 

I self-published through CreateSpace an Amazon company. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is available on the Amazon US and Amazon Europe sites. I would like to have the book translated into different languages. 

The biggest obstacle I am finding is book distribution, I would like to have the book available to purchase in New Zealand and Australia. I’m in the process of trying to get it printed and distributed in New Zealand and Australia through Booktopia.com.au, Bookworm.com.au and Whitcoulls. It’s been a struggle to find a way to properly distribute the book to New Zealand and Australia. 

While in NZ, you perform a monologue about an experience at your temp job. Have you done any more performance or live story telling since then? 
I had the opportunity to write and perform for Thomas Sainsbury the most prolific playwright in New Zealand. I performed a monologue about my jobs in the Basement Theatre in Auckland. I had never done anything like that before. The funny thing about that experience was Tom kept me separated from the other performers until it was time to perform. I was under the impression that all the performers were foreigners giving their experiences in New Zealand. All of the other performers were professional actors telling stories that weren’t their own. At first I was mortified, but the audience seemed to enjoy my “performance,” laughing their way through my monologue. After the shows we would go out and mingle with the audience. People would ask me how long I had been acting. I would tell them, “I wasn’t acting; I have to go to work tomorrow and sit next to the girl wearing her dead dog’s collar around her neck.” 

Besides the lack of men in NZ, moving from California what was the one biggest cultural impact?
Whenever I go back to California, I am always shocked by how busy, crowded and loud it is. Everyone is rushing around, there is so much traffic, and it just feels chaotic all the time. I was amazed with how quiet and unpopulated Auckland felt. People in Auckland would complain about traffic and I would laugh. 

California and New Zealand are roughly the same size. It wasn’t until I went to New Zealand that I understood how enormous America is.

New Zealand feels so safe. In California, I would carry pepper spray with me everywhere I went. I was always on edge living in California. It was amazing to me that in New Zealand the police didn’t have guns. I felt much safer as a single female traveling alone in New Zealand than living in California. 

The flip side of the feeling of being sheltered from the world in New Zealand was I felt isolated. There was a palpable feeling of being at the end of the world in New Zealand that at times I found overwhelming. 

I read you are working on a second book. Will this also be a memoir or a novel? (PS: I'm looking forward to reading it whatever it is) 
I’ve been living abroad for over three years. I lived in five countries; America, American Samoa, New Zealand, Scotland and now England. I plan to move again internationally in 2014, I’m not sure where yet. I plan to divide my books by the countries I've lived in. My next book will be about attempting to settle in Scotland. 

Any advice you would give you an aspiring writing wanting to write a memoir about their own life?
Be yourself. Some people are going to love you; some people will hate you no matter how good your book is. Believe in yourself, no one else is going to do it for you. 
_________________________________________________________

About the author Jamie Baywood: Jamie Baywood grew up in Petaluma, California. In 2010, she made the most impulsive decision of her life by moving to New Zealand. Getting Rooted in New Zealand is her first book about her experiences living there. Jamie is now married and living happily ever after in the United Kingdom. She is working on her second book. 

Jamie Baywood can be followed on the following sites: Facebook.com/jamiebaywood
Twitter.com/jamiebaywood
Pinterest.com/jamiebaywood
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7069448.Jamie_Baywood
amazon.com/author/jamiebaywood

Saturday, October 12, 2013

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink - Book Review


BookFive Days at Memorial: Life and Death in a Storm-Ravaged Hospital
AuthorSheri Fink
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher/Publish DateCrown / September 10, 2013
SourceARC courtesy of publisher, NetGalley
Pages: 560
Rating: 4.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but it in no way effects my review of the book.

This is a dark and upsetting book about the events that took place at New Orlean's Memorial Hospital during and after Hurricane Katrina. The doctor's and staff had to make tough decisions in a stressful situation which I think none of us can really understand.

Located in the downtown area, the hospital's buildings were not effected much by the hurricane, but the resulting floods lead to power outages and flooded some of the generators. The staff felt abandoned by the city and state government and wasn't getting a fast response from their parent company. This left them in a city that was supposedly under marshal law, trying to make the best decision for their patients as well as themselves. They had no clue how long it would take to get evacuated, what was happening outside of the four walls of the hospital, and how safe they were in the building. There was little sense of who was in charge and decisions had to be made on the fly.

This book is packed with information and Fink did an amazing job of interviewing and weaving together what happened during those five days after the hurricane. While we may never have answers to some of the larger questions of why certain decisions were made, this book doesn't take sides.

Not knowing a ton of what happened during Katrina, I found this very fascinating and eye opening. It's a compelling story, and one that I am glad is now being told in detail.

*Please note that we receive affiliate income from any books purchased at Amazon.

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Orange is the New Black - Book Review

I just noticed that I never posted about what I read in August.... and I actually have no clue what I read (besides the book below) in September. Woops. I haven't meant to be so MIA here lately, but my current job is keeping me quite busy, but hopefully soon I will back and posting here more often. 

BookOrange is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
AuthorPiper Kerman
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher/Publish DateSpiegel & Grau / December 2009
Source: Public Libraru
Pages: 298
Rating: 4.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

Not sure exactly when I first heard about this book, but after watching, and really enjoying the Netflix miniseries based on this book, I had to read it.

Piper Kerman made some mistakes as a young twenty-something that come back to haunt her 10 years later. After being convicted of smuggling drug money, she is sentenced to 15 months at a federal correctional facility in Danbury, Conn.

In prison Kerman must learn the rules, both those from the officers and the informal rules set up by the inmates. She learns how to live peacefully, though not always successful, while in such close quarters to 1,000 women. Prison is such a unique situation, that they create their own cliques, guidelines, and traditions to help pass the time and not go crazy.

I appreciated Kerman's openness about her experience. The utterly ridiculous way of life in the prison, and how it does little to rehabilitate or prepare prisoners to live successful lives once they leave. As well as the surprisingly cheerful and heartfelt experiences and relationships she had with fellow inmates. She was able to connect and make deep friendships as she was open to the experience, and accepting of the mistakes she made that lead her there.

The book opens you eyes to the lives of the prisoners she meet, who it's easy for us to stereotype and make assumptions about.

If you have only watched the miniseries I recommend you read the book too, since there are some differences, and a few main plot points are not events that happened in her real life.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

SF in Portland

A few weekends ago, over Labor Day Weekend, a couple of my best friends from San Francisco came to visit me. Honestly I think they came half to see me, and half to see Death Cab for Cutie in a special show performing Transatlanticism in it's entirety. I've been learning iMovie, so I put together a short video of the weekend festivities. Enjoy.


Saturday, September 14, 2013

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

never run out of books to read

The other day my friend pointed me to a really amazing new service that I think you fellow book lovers might be interested in. Oyster is like Netlflix for eBooks. It seems to be in invitation only stage, and only works with iPhone and iPod Touch, but hopefully soon they will include iPads, Nooks, and other e-readers.

"Oyster offers unlimited access to over 100,000 books for $9.95 a month, with new titles added all the time."

I am a huge fan of free, so will be sticking with the local library and the hard copy and ebooks they offer, but I am sure there are plenty of people who this will help encourage to read more.

PS: This is not a sponsored posted and I am not being compensated, just think this is a really awesome idea.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card - Book Review

BookEnder's Game
AuthorOrson Scott Card
Genre: YA, Sci-Fi 
Publisher/Publish DateTor Science Fiction / 1985
Source: Public Library
Pages: 324
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

I have been hearing so much about this book lately, probably since there is a movie of it coming out this year, I decided I better see what all the fuss about.

If you have been living in the woods like me, here is the premise of the story: Ender is the third child in a world that usually only allows two per family. After surviving two wars with "bugs," the world's focus is on creating an army that can defeat them for good, allowing humans to live in peace. All kids are monitored from birth to see if they have what it takes to go to battle school, and Ender is special and is chosen to go. 

Most of the book focuses on the tests and knowledge he learns at school. Orson Scott Card created a word that is twisted and focused on violence, and describes technology that isn't too far off than some of what we have today.

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but I really enjoyed this, and maybe in this century some of what he writes doesn't seem so out of this world. This is a young adult book, and the characters are really young, but I think the topics are great for discussion and consideration for all ages.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - Book Review

We have Always Lived in the Castle
BookWe Have Always Lived in the Castle
AuthorShirley Jackson
Genre: Fiction
Publisher/Publish DatePenguin Classics / 1962
Source: Public Library
Pages: 146
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

Dark, melodic and poetic, We Have Always Lived in the Castle, tells the story of two sisters and their wheelchair bound uncle who live together in the house where the rest of their family died. I don't want to give too much away, but fairly early in the book you learn that one of the sisters was accused and tried for poisoning 4 family members. They live on a large peice of property that they have closed off to the world, and only one of them ever leaves, to pick up groceries on her bi-weekly. They have a couple family friends who visit them, but other than that, they have closed themselves off to a world they find hostel.

I wasn't familiar with Jackson's writing but was recommended it, and was glad I picked it up to read. The copy that I got not only have a pretty awesome cover by Thomas Ott (see above), but also a great introduction by Jonathan Lethem that informed my about Jackson as an author. Lethem explains that parts of Jackson's personality highly influences these characters, helping me appreciate the story better.

Jackson is best known for her short story, The Lottery, so if you are curious, that would be a good start into reading this author. I highly recommend this book, and it's short, so doesn't take too long to read.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Cuckoo's Calling by J.K. Rowling - Book Review

BookThe Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1)
Author Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym), J.K. Rowling
Genre: Mystery
Publisher/Publish DateMulholland Books / April 30, 2013
Source: Local Library
Pages: 455
Rating: 4.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

I requested this book from the library as soon as it was revealed that J.K. Rowling was the offer. It was a good thing I was so fast, a week later there were 600+ holds on the book.

While I don't read too many crime novels, I do enjoy crime shows, and found this book hard to put down. Rowling did a great job of creating a complex mystery and I didn't even have a clue who was guilty until it was revealed.

The main character, Detective Cormoran Strike, hires a temp assistant, Robin, who I am assuming will be a character throughout the series (more books are planned). But I felt she lacked any development, there were just hints at her life outside the office, so I am looking forward to her being a large part of the story in subsequent novels.

Overall the novel is fairly light though touches on deeper issues, and I'm really looking forward to reading more about Strikes detective agency and seeing what other mysteries he solve.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Craft Party courtesy of Brit + Co

This weekend me and my sister invited a few friends over for a craft party. Brit + Co provided us with some craft kits for making makeup bags and some nail polish to decorate them. We had a ton of fun, as you can see in these photos:)

I'm thinking I need to plan another craft party in the fall!

Friday, August 23, 2013

More from Connie Willis - Novella Review



On Wednesday I posted a general review of Connie Willis' collection of short stories, The Winds of Marble Arch, and today I am back with two more reviews.


The Last of the WinnebagosOut of the four novellas I read, this on was my favorite. It's set in a time when animals are dying off, roads and cars are changing drastically, and technology is taking over the job of newspaper photographers (ok, that last one seems to be happening already).

David McCome is a reporter and photographer on route to report on the last RV on the road. RV's are banned in all but four states and relegated to only driving on the old undivided multiways.

On his way he passes a dead jackal on the road, bringing back memories of his old dog and the day he died. The story weaves in many side stories and mysteries, with a satisfying ending.


Even The Queen
In a futurist setting, Traci's daughter joins group called the Cyclists. In recent history women have made strides to become more like men, remove third-person singular pronouns and use words like "herstory." but this pre-Liberation women's groups wants to go back to the core of who they are as women. They want to have their periods again. 

It seems that during the liberation women decided to implant a shunt to free them of their monthly cycle and all the negative effects of it. So now, the alternative thing to do, is to have the shunt remove and get back to nature.

As Traci's mother-in-law bring the family together to try and "save" the daughter, there is humorous debates over the pros and cons of having a menstrual cycle, and beautifully written dialog among the women of the family.

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I'd recommend this book for people who like science fiction or short stories, or anyone else to wants to read. Luckily the short stories don't take too much commitment, and if you don't like it, you probably will be done in a few pages.

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!