Top Ten Tuesday: Anticipated Reads

Every Tuesday I will endeavor to write a post on the Top Ten Tuesday theme of the week, a weekly series created by The broke and the bookish.

I know it's trite, to exclaim that time is passing as if time could ever act any other way. But. Y'all. It's almost half way through 2017. I spent most of 2017 waiting for summer and now that it's here, I feel like I'm grasping at water. The long summer days have barely even begun and I already feel like I'm spending them too quickly.

But this post was not meant for me to puzzle and ponder about time-- instead I'm going to focus on an unequivocally exciting part of the future. Books to look forward to :) The theme this week is most anticipated books for the second half of 2017 and here we go:

Side note. Once again I'm being a rebel and only giving you five titles. Also, my interpretation of this theme is loose-- the books I read tend to be at least a decade old, I don't really follow new releases because I have my hands full with the past as it is! So these aren't books that will be released soon, just books that I'm super excited to read in what remains of 2017.

29430013 1. The Trespasser by Tana French
I can't believe even in the admittedly short life of my blog I have yet to rave about Tana French. Easily, hands down my favorite mystery/crime author ever, I adore her lyric prose and well developed characters. This is the latest novel in her very loosely defined series-- each book can be read by itself, as each one focuses on different main characters. I can't wait to read this one!

30556114 2. A Secret Courage by Tricia Goyer
I'm not sure where I stumbled upon this title-- probably searching through Goodreads-- but the description of a well-researched historical thriller with romance pretty much sealed the deal. I really enjoy reading novels that are set in the past if they are well researched. I like to feel like I'm actually learning something while enjoying a book.

1215032 3. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
I honestly don't know what took me so long to read Name of the Wind-- book one of this series. But when I finally buckled down to read it I instantly fell in love. You know an author is good when 662 pages fly by like they're nothing. I've been putting off reading this one because I'm weird and the idea of finishing the trilogy and not having another one to read is sad.

25953369 4. Hidden Figures by Margot Shetterly
I saw the movie and loved it. As a woman in science, I'm excited to read about the trailblazing women who went before me. I also read scarcely little non-fiction books so this will be a good change.

11138 5. Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis
This book has been on my to-read list for years and I don't know what's taking me so long. I'm looking forward to finding this at my library and finally reading it; I've heard so many good things about it.

Annnndd there you have it folks, five books that I hope to get my hands on and read before 2017 fades into 2018 ((and holy cow I'll be going into my fourth year of grad school this time in 2018?!)). What are you most anticipated titles for the rest of this year? Do you follow new releases or stick to old books?

Dear Sunday: Week One

This post was inspired by the weekly Sunday series over at caffeinated book reviewer.

Hello all, and welcome to my now week-old blog! It's been a busy week at work for me-- juggling my on-going research project (which is full of struggle and strife as always), working on another project (that has to be done and complete before the end of June), and starting a new coding project (any other coders out there? anyone else periodically want to light their computer on fire? no? just me? cool).

It's also been a busy week here at the blog! Between searching out new series to be a part of (any suggestions? I'm loving the Sunday Post meme, the Top Ten Tuesday Meme, and the Stacking the Shelves meme PS why are they called memes?), and exploring new blogs, I've been gathering more book recommendations than I'll ever feasibly be able to get to. Which is a lovely problem to have.

As you can see on the left, I'm in a weekly weaving class I picked up at a local art center and it's the coolest thing ever. It took two weeks (aka four hours of class time) to set up the loom, but now that we are in the actual weaving part of the weaving class I am having a blast.

It's Memorial Day Weekend here in the States but as a grad student I often compare my work to being a freelancer-- I don't have set hours but I have set tasks that need to be completed, so I'll probably join my coworkers at work on Monday. Still, this weekend has been a nice break (ignoring the whole storming part).

  • 05.30 Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated Books for the second half of 2017
  • 06.03 Stacking the Shelves 

Stacking the Shelves

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly series created by tyngas reviews where I talk about the books I've recently added to my ever growing to-read shelf.

Thank goodness that my to-read shelf is primarily a virtual one hosted by Goodreads because if it was a real shelf it would have collapsed under the weight of a collective mountain of books by now. And we wouldn't want that!

Image result for garden spells book 1. Garden Spells by Sarah Allen.
I saw this book while rummaging through the crowded shelves in the back of a local thrift store I just discovered. I was hoping it was on sale for half off (as it had a blue stickers and blue tags were half off that day) but sadly I had to pay full price. Seeing how full price was a dollar, I'm not complaining!

Image result for lady maybe 2. Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen
I had picked up a couple books at my local library and was wandering back through the shelves to leave, when this cover caught my eye. I've read a few too many Victorian-themed novels but this one had a very intriguing premise -- amnesia, lies, mystery!-- so I figured I would give it a go one day.

Image result for the dream keeper's daughter 3. The Dream Keeper's Daughter by Emily Colin
I've read a couple of time-slip novels-- stories were the protagonist finds themselves, or someone they know, mysteriously slipping back/forward in time and I've always found them intriguing. So when I saw this title on iwishilivedinalibrary's blog, I knew it had to go on my list.

Image result for the girl who knew too much 4. The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Annddd finally we have this novel set in the 1930s, which I also heard about through iwishilivedinalibrary's blog. I'm currently working my way through a 1920s murder mystery series and loving it, so I thought it might be fun to branch out and check out this one set in California.

And that's it! (for this week at least) Tell me, what books have recently gone on your literal or metaphorical to-read shelves? Anything I should check out?

Talking As Fast as I Can: A Review

Image result for talking as fast as i can
Talking as Fast as I Can
by Lauren Graham
Rating: 8/10

If you haven't lived under a rock for the past ten years, then you probably have heard of the wildly popular show Gilmore Girls. I'll admit it took me ages to get around to watching the series-- my friend would always talk about it and Gossip Girl  at the same time and I somehow convinced myself that they must be the same type of shows aka not my type of shows. 

Boy was I wrong-- when I finally meandered over to the series on Netflix I immediately fell in love with the quirky Lorelai Gilmore and the fast paced witty conversations that flew back and forth between her and her daughter; it was like watching a tennis game on steroids. 

And, like every other fan, I was cautiously optimistic about the new series when Netflix announced that finally we would get to catch up with all the fictional characters of Stars Hollow. And then the series came out. Let's not talk about that. After all, this post is about the autobiography, not the devastating let down that was the reboot of a beloved tv show. 

In her book, Lauren Graham talks about the weird blurring of lines between an actress and her character that can occur after years of playing the same role. As an audience member I also find it hard to stop myself from seeing Lauren as Lorelia but y'all. They are like the same person. When she was telling stories about her and her husband I swear it just sounded like Luke and Lorelia got married. 

The book was hilarious and fast-paced. It touches on her childhood, her life on an houseboat, her struggles as an actress, her failed auditions. In fact the parts that I like best had nothing to do with her run on Gilmore Girls. Don't get me wrong-- I loved hearing about the show. But what made this book fun, what made the pages fly by, was her spark and personality, her sense of humor, not the tell-all behind-the-curtain-exploits of the show. She did, for the sake of the book, go back and watch every old episode of the show and talk about them-- I loved when she pointed out all the little things that date the show and remind me that even though the series feels timeless, it definitely marks its age now and then. 

At this point you might be wondering why only eight stars?? I've described a witty autobiography that I think everyone who is a fan of the show should check out. It's not ground breaking or astonishingly profound, but it is an enjoyable laid back read. Aka an 8 out of 10. A perfect lazy Sunday book. 

Let me know-- have you read Talking as Fast as I can? If so, what did you think? Did it make you laugh out loud (totally, I think she's hilarious)? Did you enjoy the old photos of her? What autobiography should I read next? 

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Reads

Hello there and welcome to my first official book-ish blog post! Every Tuesday I will endeavor to write a post on the Top Ten Tuesday theme of the week, a weekly series created by The broke and the bookish. This week's theme? Summer Reads Freebie and I have a five (I'm such a rebel) must-read summer books for you to take to the beach or wherever you might find yourself.

I'll admit, I've only been to the beach twice-- I'm proudly from a landlocked state and when I was a child I was obsessed with going to the ocean. It seemed exciting and fun and what everyone else did on their summer breaks. Much to my disappointment, I didn't really see the ocean until I was senior in college, grown out of my childish fancies. The water was shockingly cold, the waves pulling on my legs with such strength that I realized the phrase I like long walks on the beach was a lie people tell others who haven't been to the beach.

Don't get me wrong-- I loved the ocean and getting to splash around in its just wasn't what I expected *waits for the gasps of horror from the beach lovers*. My second visit to the ocean didn't endear me any more, the rough waves holding me underwater until I realized that I just wasn't a beach type of girl. I'm more of a calm-waters-that-don't-house-sharks-and-death type of a girl.

So, if you're like me, then you'll be taking your summer reads to a less shark-infested-pull-you-into-its-dark-depths type of location. Let's get onto the books!

Image result for talking as fast as i can
by Lauren Graham
review coming soon!
As I imaged myself in the most improbable situation of lounging on the beach, I realized that rather than getting tangled in the intricate plots of a murder mystery, maybe I would want something easier to put down randomly ((when the sharks attack)) and pick up at a later point in time without any confusion. 

Thus, the autobiographies! 

Image result for only pirate at the party
by Lindsey Stirling and Brooke S. Passey

You see, biographies are easy to put down when your friends want to go grab food or drinks or, you know, be social. These books are fun and engaging but not in a hide-yourself-away-from-society type of way (though if that's your type of vacationing, power to you! Just maybe these won't be your perfect vacation books). 

I love Lindsey Stirling from YouTube and was not disappointed in her autobiography-- it was fun and enlightening to see the crazy curving path that led her to where she is today. It talked about her struggles-- I would hate to be so vulnerable as a writer, but I love it when people talk about their mental struggles and all the setbacks that you don't see when you are watching the end result.

Image result for let's pretend this never happened
by Jenny Lawson

I'll go ahead and admit it. 

I didn't finish this book. I know, I know, how could I ever recommend it?? However, the reason I didn't finish this book was not because it wasn't funny. It was hilarious laugh-out-loud-until-people-in-the-airport-think-you're-crazy funny. I have this whole theory about taking a break after finishing a book to allow you to process before jumping into a new book, a theory that I threw out with this book and started it the second I finished another book. It's a thing. I'm complicated. Long story. Point is-- this book is great, a satirical sacrilegious autobiography.  

Okay, when I was taking this imaginary stroll on a beach I realized that while books were great, sometimes the point of being a cool new location was to, you know, see the cool new location. 

But maybe you want to have both! And you safely can have it all with *drumroll* audiobooks. 

written and read by Tyler Oakley


Tyler Oakley reading his book  Binge is kind of the best thing ever. He's a YouTube celebrity with a great sense of humor and a knack for telling funny engaging stories. Do yourself a favor and get the audiobook version of this from your local library (or like spend money or whatever) as opposed to just the book. Either works but I loved listening to him read the book. 

Image result for hannah hart buffering
written and read by Hannah Hart

And lastly is an audiobook I can't wait to get my hands on and listen to. I think Hannah Hart is hilarious and I can't wait to listen to her stories-- perfect for the long drive home on my hypothetical summer vacation. 

And that's it! Five books to check out during your summer vacation. Man I miss actually real month-long summer breaks that I had while in school. But oh well! I can't even complain, as a grad student I only have one foot in the real world (as I do have a job researching and teaching) and one foot still in academia (my hours y'all. so good). 

What books did you put in your possibly-real beach bag? Which summer reads do I need to check out? Does anyone unequivocally like beaches? Inquiring minds need to know.

Dear Sunday: Welcome!

This weekly series was inspired by Caffeinated Book Reviewer

Dear Sunday:

This is it. The first post. My electronic first impression. No pressure or anything....

Each Sunday I take a second to look back at what happened during the past week. What posts I wrote (which makes little sense this Sunday, seeing how it is also my first. post. ever), what books I finished, what frustrating-why-do-i-live-my-life-like-this moments happened during the course of my research (as those are sadly a dime a dozen), etc. A little snapshot of my life both on and offline for your perusal.

But perhaps I'm getting a head of myself! As this is my first ever post you might be asking yourself any of the following reasonable questions: where in the world did I end up? why are the cubs only ranked third in their division when they are clearly the superior team? what does this barely existent newborn blog even talk about? 

Questions to which I'd answer: books *spreads arms grandly*.

Oh, sorry, you want a bit more detail? Fine, fine, whatever.

You see, I've always been in love with books. I remember lugging home piles of books from the library as a child, always feeling like I was stealing something wonderful as I walked out with all these exciting stories just waiting to be told.

And while I take considerably smaller stacks home from the library nowadays, not much else has changed. I still firmly believe in running away from reality and diving into books especially when reality consists of failed experiments, or advanced quantum mechanics courses, or having your best friends be inconsiderate enough to live hours away.

Participating in the Goodreads book challenge has been a great motivator to get me back on track. During the first year of grad school reading was pushed to the sidelines as my life was flooded with other responsibilities and stresses. But the idea of a challenge-- a reading goal that I constantly want to beat (did I mention I was competitive?)-- has caused me to be more conscious of how I'm spending my free time, trying to curb the hours of YouTube to devote more time to my stack of to-read books.

So what do you, my new friend, have to look forward to? I'm glad you asked. Book reviews, recommendations, existential crises , and more all geared to helping you find your new favorite book.

  I can't wait.