Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Sunday Salon

Good Sunday Afternoon! I'm slowly coming back from my break. Last Sunday my husband and I rode in the Chicagoland Ride for Kids on our motorcycle. This ride benefits The Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and has become one of our favorite rides. We rode 140 miles roundtrip which is nothing when you think about what these kids and their families are going through.

This week I managed to finish The Glass Castle by Jeanette Wells for bookclub and was less than thrilled with it. I felt there was no emotion in the story. I am amazed that she came through her childhood so well. I will have a review up this week.

I have about 50 pages left of The Questory of Root Karbunkulus which was sent to me by Pump Up Your Book Promotion. I have to finish it today and get my review posted. I am so behind.

On top of having a mounting tbr pile I threw my back out today and this is the first time I have gotten up. I have been doing way too much! The worst part is when I am in so much pain I cannot concentrate on reading. I am not traveling this week so I will be able to get some reading and reviewing done! Yeah, it's about time!

I hope everyone has a great reading week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I've Been Awarded!

Wisteria over at A Bookworm's Diner has nominated me for a Brilliant Weblog. How exciting! Thank you Wisteria.
I have just been nominated by Wisteria at A Bookworm's Diner. Here are the guidelines given to me: Once an award is received, the rules are as follows:
1. Put the logo on your blog.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you.
3. Nominate at least seven other blogs.
4. Add links to those blogs on your blog.
5. Leave a message for your nominee on their blog.
My nominees (In NO particular order):
1. Wisteria over at A Bookworm's Diner
2. Naida over at The Bookworm
3. Tracee over at Amateur de Livre's Weblog
4. The ladies over at The Friendly Book Nook
5. Jen over at Devourer of Books
6. N Baker over at Book Escape
7. Natasha over at Maw Books

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Sunday Salon

Good Sunday Afternoon Everyone! I seem to have taken a hiatus from blogging. Last week we had 3 parties so by the time Sunday rolled around I was exhausted. This week we went to Wisconsin for the weekend and just got home.

Unfortunately, my reading has also taken a "mini-vacation". I have several books that I have to read this week for review and bookclub. I hope to be back full force this week! The weather is going to get really hot and humid and there is no better way than to stay cool with a good book and air conditioning.

I really did not anticipate this Summer being very busy and thought I would continue on the pace I was working on. Has anyone else felt their reading pace slowing down with Summer here?

Have a great Sunday everyone!

Monday, June 30, 2008

June Wrap-up

I was inspired to check my monthly progress for June from Naida over at The Bookworm. June was somewhat of a disappointment, with only 5 books read. That bring my total to 36 books for 2008. I was hoping that I would surpass 50 which I most likely will but not by much. I was on a very good pace until Summer hit! Anyway, here is my June recap:

Blackwave by John and Jean Silverwood
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The Dangerous Joys of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories by Pagan Kennedy
Matrimony by Joshua Henkin

I have been very fortunate to receive many books this month and now need to kick my reading up a notch! I have about 50 pages left of The White Mary so hopefully I can sneak that in before July officially begins.

Literature Map

I saw this fun site on Librarything today and thought I would post on it. You type in your favorite author's name and it aligns authors who are similar. How fun! Here's an example, I typed in Jane Austen and it mapped up to Harper Lee, Tolstoy, Maeve Binchy, C.S. Lewis, Charlotte Bronte, Edith Wharton and Charles Dickens to name a few. Give it a try!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Great Book Giveaway

Trish over at Hey Lady Whatcha Reading is having a HUGE giveaway! Hachette Book Group has graciously given her 14 books to giveaway in honor of Summer. The best part is up to 5 people can win totaling 70 books to giveaway!

There are several ways to enter so be sure to check it out and tell her I sent you!

Sunday Salon

Good Sunday Morning! I managed to finish one book this week, Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. It was a quick read and very reminiscent of my college years. Last night I started White Mary and was immediately drawn in. So far it is fantastic and will probably make it to my top 5 reads of 2008 along with The Gargoyle.

I also started The Watercooler Effect yesterday which is a study of the psychology of rumors. So far it is very interesting. My only complaint is that it is a bound manuscript so the text is very small making it very difficult to read but I'll get past that, hey it was free!

Congratulations to all of the 24 hour read-a-thon participants! I wish I would have found out about it sooner, I would have loved to participate. Although I am not sure how my husband would react to me reading for 24 hours straight!

Unfortunately, this week will not be a great reading week. I have neglected laundry and housework long enough and really need to take care of that today. This week we are having 3 barbecues, yes, I know crazy! This has become an annual event over the 4th of July. Our town has a festival that we can walk to with live music and a beer garden so we usually bbq here and then walk over to the fest. I did take two vacation days this coming week so hopefully I will sneak some reading in somewhere!

That's it folks, I hope you have a great reading week!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Addictive Blog Award

Naida over at The Bookworm was kind enough to award me with her addictive blog award. Thanks Naida! Head on over to her blog to read her great reviews and see what she is crocheting.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Review of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin


Joshua Henkin


Matrimony is the story of Julian Wainwright and Carter Heinz who meet at Graymont College. Julian and Carter come from different worlds, Julian the son of wealthy New Yorkers and Carter the son of working class parents from California. Carter meets and falls in love with Pilar and Julian meets and falls in love with Mia. The two couples develop a friendship and spend much time together in college.

Senior year, Mia's world is crushed when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. This sends her looking for security with Julian and the two marry shortly before the end of their senior year. Carter spends most of his time trying to make Julian feel bad about where he came from. Always throwing comments about being a "trust fund baby" his way. He always feels inadequate to Julian and this is his own doing.

Things come out into the open when Julian visits Carter for his law school graduation and a dirty little secret is revealed. Julian's whole world is crushed when he finds this out. He and his wife separate. Julian spends the next few years soul searching and finds forgiveness.

This story was very reminiscent of friends of mine from college. Sadly, my friends did not end up the way that Julian and Mia did. I am sure many people can identify with the main characters and the issues that they face. I would have liked another chapter going into Julian's reconciliation with his parents and his relationship with Carter. Overall, this was a good, fast-paced book that brought back many memories from my own college experience.

Joshua Henkin has been kind enough to offer an autographed copy of the paperback when it is released in August so stay tuned for your chance to win!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sunday Salon

Good Sunday Morning! This week I managed to finish The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories by Pagan Kennedy and really enjoyed it. My full review is below. Most of the stories were very inspiring and this was a welcome break from all of the fiction that I have been reading.

I am almost finished with Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. I hope to finish it today. Henkin has been gracious enough to offer a signed copy to giveaway so be sure to check back here in August for giveaway details.

Up next, The Fires by Alan Cheuse which is another book from Santa Fe Writers Project. I must start The Laws of Manu today, I must! I have been dragging my feet on starting this. I received it 3 weeks ago and only have 3 weeks to read and review it for Penguin Classics. It may take me 3 weeks to finish it!

While I was out of town this week my husband called me to inform me that our car was stolen from right in front of our house. Horrible! I felt so helpless being in another state while hearing this news but honestly what could I do here, drive around to look for my car? Unfortunately, my Ipod was in the car with 6 audiobooks loaded on it. I know, I should not have left it in the car and normally don't leave it in there but I was running late and honestly forgot about it. I know, my car was stolen and I'm complaining about my Ipod, sick, I can't help it! I also had 3 books in the car. Our insurance company said it will take 30 days to process the claim. This just sucks.

On another note, have you checked out the "Unsuggester" on Librarything? I had no idea about this feature until I read about it on koolaidmom's blog. Here are the top 10 books that Librarything does not see as a good fit based on the books listed in my library.

The new 'Mayflower' by Alan Villiers
The pleasures of God : meditations on God's delight in being God by John Piper
Benedict's way : an ancient monk's insights for a balanced life by Lonni Collins Pratt
The Purpose Driven Church: Growth Without Compromising Your Message & Mission by Rick Warren
Christian-theistic evidences (In defense of Biblical Christianity) by Cornelius Van Til
Brothers, we are not professionals : a plea to pastors for radical ministry by John Piper
The Radical Reformation (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) by Michael G. Baylor
The American College Encyclopedic Dictionary by Clarence Barnhart
The Passion of Jesus Christ: Fifty Reasons Why He Came to Die by John Piper
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

What are your "unsuggesters"?

It looks like it is going to be another stormy day here in Chicago. I plan on curling up with a good book until the Cubs game starts. Game 3 of the cross town classic, hopefully the Cubs will sweep the Sox today! I hope you have a great reading week!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Review of The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories

The Dangerous Joys of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories
By Pagan Kennedy
Publisher: Santa Fe Writers Project
Release Date September 2008
The Dangerous Joys of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories are 15 short stories written by Pagan Kennedy. The main story is about Alex Comfort, author of the 1970s hit Joys of Sex. Kennedy interviewed Comfort's son Nick for the story and really dug deep into the heart of what inspired Comfort to write such a provocative book.
My favorite story was How to Make (Almost) Anything on Saul Griffith. Griffith is an MIT Grad student who is working on a machine to make eye glass lenses for third world countries. He realized after traveling to hand out used glasses to the poor that there was a need for this type of inexpensive equipment and set out to invent it. He is currently working on funding for production. The most inspiring part of his story is that he has created a cartoon for children to inspire them to invent things. When he was a child he would tinker around with miscellaneous items around the house to come up with some type of "machine". He feels that today's kids do not have this same desire due in part to our culture of video games. The comic strip gives the kids ideas on how to become inventors or "mad scientists" while using critical thinking and their imagination.
Kennedy really captured the passion of 12 everyday people who are trying to change the world. Often these people are overlooked and not given the credit they deserve for their work. All of them, in some way, are trying to make this world a better place for us. I really enjoyed reading this and look forward to other books written by Pagan Kennedy.
Special thanks to The Santa Fe Writers Project for sending me this copy for review. For more information please visit their website.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

Today's Tuesday Thinger Question(s): What's the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it? What's the most popular book you don't have? How does a book's popularity figure into your decisions about what to read?

The most popular book in my library is The Davinci Code with 23,291 members listing this in their libraries. I read it after much convincing by a co-worker a few years ago and thought it was ok. To be honest, I don't know what all of the hype was about. I have not seen the movie so I have no idea how it compares.

The most popular book that I don't have is Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with 32,518 members listing this in their libraries. I have never read any of the Harry Potter books. They are something that I would like to read I just have never gotten around to it. Some of my friends had reading parties when the last book was released. They literally sat around to read and eat with friends. I have to admit I felt a little left out but oh well!

I have read some popular titles such as The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns but read those long before all of the hoopla. I also read The Alchemist based on friends recommendations and hated it. I am not opposed to reading popular titles if they happen to peak my interest. Lately, my book club selections seem to be the most popular fiction that I am reading.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Review of The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Review of The Gargoyle

Andrew Davidson

Release Date August 5, 2008

Sent by Publisher Random House

In Andrew Davidson's first novel, he takes the reader on a roller coaster ride. This book is not for those with a weak stomach. Davidson's story begins with a drug addicted pornographer crashes his car after a night of partying. As his car goes off a cliff, he describes the whole accident and what he feels when his bones are broken and he is severely burned.

While in the hospital recovering from his injuries and burns he meets Marianne Engel who claims was his lover from 700 years ago. Marianne Engel is not your typical caretaker, however, she is a mental health patient. This begins the story of friendship and redemption as one man comes to terms with his life, his past and his future and finally allows love into his life.

Sound a bit far-fetched? That's what I thought before I read this but what I found was one of the best novels I have read this year. Davidson has such a gift for writing. Everything is made believable in this, his first novel. I will forewarn you that much of this novel is gruesome in his details of the burns and subsequent healing process. If you can get past that then you are really in for a beautiful love story. Andrew Davidson is definitely an author to watch out for!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday Salon

Good Sunday Morning and Happy Father's Day! It is storming outside so what a perfect day to stay indoors curled up with a good book. My husband is gone for the day golfing with his dad and I have the whole house to myself. Yay!

I finished up The Gargoyle this week by Andrew Davidson and loved it. I will have a review up today. This book is in my top 5 for 2008. The subject matter is far fetched but underneath it all is a beautiful love story.

I have several books waiting to be read this week that are up for review and I still have my bookclub book The Tea Rose waiting to be read. I will be out of town this week so I will miss out on the bookclub discussion but still want to read this. At least the pressure is off!

Today I will most likely start The Dangerous Joys of Dr. Sex by Pagan Kennedy and The Aviary Gate. We'll see how those two work out. I was reading at a steady pace this year until May and everything went downhill because of work. My travel schedule has let up a bit but not much. I will be gone for four days this week visiting lovely Pittsburgh for work.

Well that's it for today folks. I am off to change the laundry and take a Claritin and then will grab a book and enjoy the day. I wish you all a good reading week and Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Review of Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan

Songs for the Missing
Stewart O'Nan
Release Date October 30, 2008
Barnes and Noble First Look
Songs for the Missing is the story of one family's tragedy as they deal with their daughter Kim's disappearance. This was the first book that I have read by O'Nan, I had read many great reviews on Late Night at the Lobster and Circus Fire that my expectations were pretty high.
The book starts from Kim's point of view and describes her last day with her family. Each chapter then flips points of view, I was confused a few times as to who was narrating the story! A few times I actually had to go back to reread the first few paragraphs to figure out who was telling the story.
I have no first-hand experience with the disappearance of a family member, however, I found some of the story unconvincing. Kim's mother, for example, turned into a media magnet and had to carefully consider everything she said in front of the media. Perhaps this is what society has taught us. I felt that she should have been a bit more emotional that her daughter was missing! Because of this I was unsympathetic toward her and really started to not like her.
I felt sorry for Kim's little sister. I thought she was old enough to deal the reality of her sister's disappearance. Her parents protected her throughout the story. Again, having never gone through this I may be off the ball here.
Overall, this was not a terrible book. I would have liked to see more character development and the story told from one person's point of view.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

Today's question is about tags- do you tag? How do you tag? How do you feel about tagging- do you think it would be better to have standardized tags, like libraries have standardized subject headings, or do you like the individualized nature of tagging? What are your top 5 tags and what do they say about your collection or your reading habits?

When I started on Librarything I was just looking for a place to keep a log of what I was reading in a given year. Because of this my tags are labeled by year, TBR, ARC, audiobooks, etc. My top tags are TBR and 2008 list.

I really need to go and revise my tagging method and will do this someday but for right now this is what works for me. It's also very easy for me to find things this way. I am amazed at the elaborate tagging methods some people use.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A day late and a dollar short...

seems to be the theme lately. Since I missed my Sunday Salon post yesterday I thought I would post an update on my projects for this week. When I arrived home last week from New Orleans there were 7 packages of books waiting for me. I finished Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan and started The Gargoyle which I can't put down.

I was not all that thrilled with Songs for the Missing. I am behind in my reviews but will have them posted this week.

How do you choose what to read next? Do you read books in the order you buy/receive them? Do you have to be in a certain mood to read something? Lately I have been trying to read things in the order I receive them. I have committed to reviewing books so I feel that I owe a review in a timely manner.

I hope you have a great reading week!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Review of Black Wave

Black Wave

John and Jean Silverwood

Early Reviewer Edition

On Sale July 1, 2008

Jean and John Silverwood have it all, a beautiful family and a thriving business in California yet they felt something was missing. Both Jean and John spent a large part of their young adult life traveling and sailing. They always knew they would one day return to the sea. With four young kids in tow they decided to spend their retirement savings on a sailboat, Emerald Jane, to travel the world.

Black Wave is their story of sailing around the world and what happens one fateful night when they struck a coral reef and almost lose it all. The first half of the book is told from Jean's perspective. I thought much of the first section was repetitive. The second half was told from John's perspective. John went into great detail on another tragedy at almost the exact same point. While it was interesting to read this eeery similarity I wanted to hear more of his perspective on giving up everything to sail around the world. Jean went into this in her section but I felt she was only speaking from her point of view.

I would have also liked to read about their kids and how they dealt with the aftermath of this horrible accident. Perhaps they will save that for another book. Overall, this was a good book, Jean has a gift for story-telling. I admire their courage for actually living their dream at a point in their lives where they could actually enjoy it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Sunday Salon

Hi Everyone, I apologize for missing my Sunday Salon post yesterday. I am in New Orleans for work and did not have a chance to post. It is hot and humid here this week with record temps reaching 90 degrees and 50-60% humidity. When I left Chicago it was in the 50s so I was not used to this humidity and heat.

I started reading Songs for the Missing by Stewart O'Nan on the plane and haven't picked it up since Friday because of work. I am hoping tonight will be an early night and I'll be able to read . This is my last big trip for a while (thank god!). I will be traveling but not gone for 6-7 days at a time.

My husband told me that my Penguin Classic, The Laws of Manu arrived on Friday so I will be starting that when I get home. I have six weeks to read and review this on the Penguin Classic blog. There are two other packages waiting for me at home, yay!

That's it for this week. I hope to be back next week well rested and back to reading. Have a great reading week!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tuesday Thingers

The question this week is, how many books do you have catalogued in your Librarything account? How do you decide what to include- everything you have, everything you've read- and are there things you leave off?

I currently have 178 books cataloged which is nowhere near what I own. I started adding all of the books I own and tagging them appropriately, although my tagging method to start is pathetic. I got about a quarter of the way through my books and just stopped. I couldn't keep up with chatting and entering my books! Joy over at Jlshall has inspired me to order a cuecat which I hope to do this evening. I also have to pay for my account as I will soon be at 200 books.

I include everything. I was originally using LT to keep track of what I read in a given year but have found so many books that I want to read I decided to just add those as well. I hope to tag those separately soon. I admit I have gotten rather lazy with my cataloging which is fine with me because the books aren't going anywhere!

I now can access my LT account on my phone which is very helpful when I am browsing the bookstores. That way I do not buy duplicate books which I have done from time to time.

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Sunday Salon

The Sunday

Good Sunday Morning and Happy Memorial Day weekend to my fellow US readers. This past week I finished The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton and loved it! I will have a review up shortly.

Last night I started Black Wave by John and Jean Silverwood. This is an ER book that I received from Librarything. It is a true story based on the Silverwood's adventure at sea. I am only 50 pages into this and really don't know how I feel about it yet. John and Jean Silverwood had spent their youth around the sea and always knew they wanted to go back to it. One day, they packed up their four kids, who thought they were crazy, and set sail across the world. This is the story of what happened one fateful night that changed their lives forever.

Also on the agenda this week:

The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman (ARC)
The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly (Bookclub)
Songs for the Missing by Stuart O'Nan (Barnes and Noble First Look club)
Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs (Sent by the publisher)

And of course, Middlemarch by George Eliot which is taking me forever to get through. I am only reading about 20 pages at a time so at this rate I will have it finished in August!

Today I will have the house to myself since my husband is golfing, yay! In between laundry, I will hopefully be making a dent in my ever growing tbr pile and writing a few reviews.

Have a great day reading!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Review of The Wednesday Sisters

The Wednesday Sisters

Meg Waite Clayton


Early Reviewer Edition

Kath, Frankie, Ally, Brett and Linda are The Wednesday Sisters. They met in a park in CA in the late 1960s and developed a close friendship which spans over 30 years. These 5 women couldn't be more different but soon realize that they share an affinity for literature and share a secret desire to write.

I really identified with Frankie. I am from Chicago and grew up in the 70s so I really appreciated all of the references to the Cubs and Northwestern University but more importantly I felt that the author really captured the Midwestern "mentality" of the era.

While reading I couldn't help but be reminded of all of the hardships my mom went through as a young woman in the 60s and 70s. She divorced when I was young and was an outcast at my Catholic Elementary School. I can see why Kath stuck it out! She was not able to go to college for the same reasons as Frankie.

There were times when I laughed out loud and had to hold back the tears while reading. Meg Waite Clayton really captured the bond that women have when they develop meaningful relationships and friendships. I can't wait to pass this book on to one of my Wednesday Sisters!

Click here to see more great reviews of The Wednesday Sisters. Edited to add that Meg Waite Clayton linked my review to her blog. Very exciting!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Review of Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Vladimir Nabokov

Finished May 13, 2008

Description: When it was published in 1955, Lolita immediately became a cause célèbre because of the freedom and sophistication with which it handled the unusual erotic predilections of its protagonist. But Vladimir Nabokov's wise, ironic, elegant masterpiece owes its stature as one of the twentieth century's novels of record not to the controversy its material aroused but to its author's use of that material to tell a love story almost shocking in its beauty and tenderness. Awe and exhilaration–along with heartbreak and mordant wit–abound in this account of the aging Humbert Humbert's obsessive, devouring, and doomed passion for the nymphet Dolores Haze. Lolita is also the story of a hypercivilized European colliding with the cheerful barbarism of postwar America, but most of all, it is a meditation on love–love as outrage and hallucination, madness and transformation.

This was the most disturbing book I have ever read. The story of an older man, Humbert Humbert's obsession and "love affair" with the 12 year old nymphet Dolores Haze. While the subject matter was grotesque the writing was beautiful. Nabokov first wrote Lolita in English which was not his native language (Russian). I have to admit that I actually laughed out loud in a few parts because of his sarcastic wit. When he asked, "why do these people guess so much and shave so little?"

This was the first book I have read for the 1% Challenge to read 10 books from 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. 1 down and 10 to go!

Thinging Through Tuesday or Um Wednesday

Hi everyone! My name is Erin, I am 35 years old, married with no kids (yet). I do have a little dog who you will see on my LT profile page. I travel for my job and am gone every week to one of eight states that I cover which is where I get most of my reading done.

I joined LT as a way to get organized and keep track of my library. I had no idea my joining LT would turn into a new obsession! I have not entered all of my books yet because I have been too busy joining groups and starting a book blog! I have met some great people on LT and have had many great recommendations.

This week I received my ER copy of The Wednesday Sisters which I started last night and had a hard time putting it down! I finished listening to Lolita today which was very disturbing. I will have a review up shortly. I am also reading Middlemarch for a group read on LT but have not gotten very far.

I look forward to getting to know everyone and will be posting links as soon as I have time. Have a great week!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Sunday Salon

Happy Mother's Day everyone! This will be a very short post today as it has not been a productive reading week. I gave up on listening to Outlander. I hope that this is one I will enjoy reading because I have read so many good things about it. I just did not like the narrator's voice!

I did manage to read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll. One of my coworkers is obsessed with Alice and having never read it I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. I enjoyed it but still don't understand the obsession!

I am currently reading Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. My mom recommended this to me after reading it for her book club. So far so good, I am not far enough in to really have an opinion yet. I started Middlemarch, got to Part II and have not picked it up again.

This will be a busy week for me work wise so I am not sure how much reading I will actually get done. I have a few Early Reviewer books I am waiting for and have to review so those will be moved up.

Short and sweet today. I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Sunday Salon

Good Morning! It finally feels like Spring in this part of the country. The sun is shining and my plants are starting to come alive again. Yay! On the agenda for today, Spring clean-up in the backyard, give the little dog a bath and laundry. I'll try to squeeze some reading time in there too!

This week I finished listening to World Without End, wow, what a book! I started listening to Outlander after reading so many wonderful things on Librarything and am very disappointed. My problem with this book is the narrator, Davina Porter. Her voice is slightly irritating me. I have only listened to two hours of this so I will give it another hour and then will give up listening to it. I have had this happen a few times where I just could not follow the narrator because of their voice but then read the book and loved it.

I finished reading Year of Wonder by Geraldine Brooks last night and am now a huge fan of hers. I might try to run out and buy March today. Her writing is beautiful. She takes such a tragic story and turns it into a story of survival and hope.

Last night I started The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde not knowing what to think based on the front caption of the book "Filled with clever wordplay, literary allusion and bibliowit, The Eyre Affair combines elements of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawking and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But its quirky charm is all its own." -The Wall Street Journal. I am not a fan of Monty Python, haven't read any Harry Potter (I know, I know, it's on the list), read one Stephen Hawking book several years ago and have never read any Buffy the Vampire Slayer books. So, what am I doing reading The Eyre Affair? I have no idea. I needed a change of pace from all of the historical fiction I have been reading lately and this fit the bill. I am only 50 pages in and am already sucked into it. Fforde is very clever indeed.

This week, thanks to Devourer of Books, I signed up for the Penguin Classics Blogging Challenge and will be getting The Laws of Manu by anonymous. I am pretty scared about this one! Penguin sends the book to you free of charge for committing to post a review within six weeks of receipt.

That's it for today. I hope you have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Review of Year of Wonders

Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks

Finished May 3, 2008

When the plague rips through a village in England in 1665 it tests the strength of the town's people beyond our imagination. Anna Frith is 18, widowed and left with two young children when her boarder contracts the plague. This sparks the rampant spread of the disease and Anna's quest to survive.

The book spans one year 1665-1666 and is based on the true story of the devastation caused by the plague in the English village of Eyam. The village is quarantined from the outside world for one year to stop the spread of the disease. There were plenty of opportunities for Anna to give up everything but she carried on caring for the sick and dying. She formed and unlikely friendship with the rector's wife, Elinor. She watched her abusive, alcoholic father's demise and her step-mother lose her sanity.

Geraldine Brooks does a wonderful job with telling this story. Her writing is simply beautiful. I will add her other novels; March (2006 Pulitzer Prize Winner) and People of the Book to my TBR list.

1% Well Read Challenge

The challenge is to read 10 books from 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. You have from May 1, 2008 through February 28, 2009. I have slowly been working on this list so I was glad to see the challenge. To enter the challenge click here. You may change your list at any time. This is my first challenge! I actually have all of these books with the exception of The Shining on my shelf.

The 10 books I have selected:

1. Middlemarch - George Eliot
2. North and South - Elizabeth Gaskell
3. Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
4. Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
5. The Shining - Stephen King
6. The Poisonwood Bible -Barbara Kingsolver
7. Persuasion - Jane Austen
8. Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro
9. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov finished 5/13/08
10. The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Free Penguin Classics

Devourer of Books posted about the Penguin Classic giveaway for bloggers. All you have to do to enter is go to Penguin Classics. You simply enter your e-mail address, mailing address and create a user name and password. Penguin Classic then e-mails you with the book selection title. You agree to review the book 6 weeks from receipt of the book.

I will be receiving The Laws of Manu by Anonymous which was first translated into English in 1794. While this is not a book I would have selected myself I am excited about the opportunity to read something I would not have read otherwise.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Review of World Without End

World Without End
Ken Follett
Audiobook read by John Lee
44 hours and 53 minutes long
Release Date: 09-25-2007

World Without End is the follow-up to Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth although this book takes place 200 years later. The story is centered around the town of Kingsbridge. As in Pillars of the Earth, building is at the center of the story along with the priory, nobility, love, greed and mystery.

This was by far the longest audiobook I have listened to but well worth every minute. John Lee has such a beautiful voice that listening to him made the hours fly by. When I read Pillars of the Earth there was a lull at the half way point and thankfully I cannot say the same for World Without End.
I wish there was a third book that I could jump right into! I really cared for some of these characters. If you like historical fiction mixed with a bit of romance and a bit of mystery then this book is for you. I also highly recommend the audiobook, John Lee is fantastic.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sunday Salon

My apologies for being so late with this post. Not much going on today other than work. This is my busiest time at work from now until the second week of June. I will be working most weekends which I normally do not do so I will not have much time to read.

I did make progress this week on World Without End by Ken Follet. I have one part to go on the audio book. This was the longest audio book I have ever listened to but it has gone by so quickly. The stories are interesting and the reader is by far the best I have listened to. I am slowly making progress on Middlemarch for the group reads group over on Librarything.

I have not made any book purchases this week which makes me feel as though something is amiss in my life. I love to walk around book stores, I feel so comfortable among all of the shelves of unread books. Hopefully I will have some free time tomorrow night when I am out of town to do this.

I am still waiting my Early Reviewer copy of The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. Hopefully this will come this week. I can't wait to read this one!

My book club selection this month is The Tea Rose. I am looking forward to this one as well. A few people have read it already and had great things to say about it. The last two months have not been very good as far as selections go. Last month was Honeymoon With My Brother which nobody enjoyed. Most of our group enjoys historical fiction which is right up my alley but there are a few who would rather read Danielle Steele which just does not appeal to me. How do other groups make their selections? Do you feel like some people really take time to research the book before the selection is made? I always research the book before making the selection. I want to make sure that it would be a book worthy of discussing. Others simply look online and select the shortest read which really annoys me. It may be a short read but not worth discussing.

Have a great week everyone! Happy reading!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Review of Duchess A Novel of Sarah Churchill

Duchess A Novel of Sarah Churchill
Susan Holloway Scott

Finished April 25, 2008

Thirteen and penniless, Sarah Jennings, arrives at the court of Charles II full of ambition. Here she meets Princess Anne whom she carries on an intimate friendship for many years. Sarah also wins the heart of John Churchill at court after refusing to become Charles' young mistress. She has met her match in John, he too is full of ambition.

Duchess is a historical account of the life and times of Sarah and John Churchill. They were partners in every sense of the word. They had a very loving and intimate relationship. This is much more than a great love story, it is the story of a woman who overcame every obstacle that was thrown her way to save herself and her family.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Find Your Magic Farworld Blog Tour

I received confirmation today that I will be participating the the J Scott Savage blogtour. The first book of the series is titled Farworld - Water. The books will be running on the tour July and August. There will be a review posted here and a contest to go with it. The author will also be stopping by for a Q&A session. Check out the details on this blog tour here at J Scott Savage. Stop back in July for info on the contest and interview.

Monday, April 21, 2008


Courtesy of In Bed With Books the following books are being given away for leaving comments: Wake by Lisa McMann and The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle. Hurry, the winner will be announced May 1st.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Sunday Salon

What a week! I have finally taken the plunge into blogging. I have wanted to do it for some time but did not have the time to update and keep current until now. I am overwhelmed by how many blogs are out there and find myself reading them instead of the mounting tbr pile I have.

This was not a good reading week for me due to work conflicts. I did start Middlemarch for a group reads group over on Librarything. I have to say that I was disappointed when I started it but now am at a point where I am starting to enjoy it. I was in agreement with all those who were calling it Muddlemarch.

I am about half way into World Without End by Ken Follett which I am listening to on audio. Very enjoyable so far. I hope to finish it this week as I have a long road trip to Ohio, Indiana and Wisconsin for work. I will have to download a few others just in case!

I entered my first contest from Amater de Livre's blog and won The Poetry of Murder! How exciting.

I am off now to finish my last load of laundry, go for a motorcycle ride with my hubby and then hope to get some serious reading time in today. Have a good week everyone!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Blogging World

Well if you can believe it I really have no idea what I am doing on this blog or any other blog for that matter. I am embarrassed to say that this is all new to me. I have not had time to really put my arms around this so I am jumping right in.

I have been visiting several blogs today to see how they "set" their sites up and have come across several contests and challenges. Are these contests legitimate? I understand that a blog is pretty much an online journal. Now I have to figure out how to go about searching for blogs and listing some that I have enjoyed reading.

This is going to be an adventure!

I have been reading some posts on the group boards and now see it is inappropriate to list blog lists without permission from the owner, is this true? If so then I apologize for listing your blog on my site without permission.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Venetian Mask by Rosalind Laker

Advanced Reader Copy

The Venetian Mask is the story of two friends, Elena and Marietta who meet while at a school for orphaned girls, the Pieta. The story is about their strength as they face life without family only to rely on each other. They marry men from two families who have been rivaling for years and are forced to carry on their friendship behind their husbands' backs.

While I would not say this is the worst book I have read I would say it is not the best. I was not captivated by the story as I thought I would be from reading the description. The author focused on areas that I found to be insignificant to the story. It had more of a romance novel feel than that of historical fiction.