Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: I'll Eat when I'm Dead


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I'll Eat When I'm Dead by Barbara Bourland
Rating: 6/10

When fashion magazine editor Hillary Whitney dies alone in a locked room at work everyone assumes it was the pressures of her job. Even if the coroner's report says that the rich woman who lived a ten minute drive away from the nearest Whole Foods died...of starvation. Her death is mourned and forgotten, until one day when a cop shows up at her coworker and friend Kat's office claiming that new cryptic evidence has appeared and that maybe her strange death wasn't caused by her high pressure job after all, that maybe something more sinister was at play. 

The best way I can describe this novel is that the poor thing is genre-confused. One some pages it feels like a cozy mystery story that wants to be taken seriously and so it throws in elements from a more gritty murder mystery but it doesn't quite dovetail. 

On other pages it picks up feminism, which felt like wearing a dress to a party that doesn't quite fit but it's your favorite dress so you thought you would try but instead you spend the evening getting pinched by small seams. It's not that the points it made weren't valid or important but they didn't flow well within the story. 

That's not to say it was a bad book-- parts of it were interesting, the world felt expansive, like there the characters existed in a wider world than you could glimpse through the pages of the book. I love when novels can achieve this feel. 

However other parts left me feeling let-down-- some of the interesting questions posed at the beginning of the book turned out to have super mundane answers that could've been found on page two if the cop bothered to ask them. The author tried to weave this feeling of mystery but that's not where she excelled at. She created interesting complex characters that could have had an interesting and complex book, had it not been muddled by the murder mystery plot. 

I hate being critical on these reviews because I don't want anyone to give up on this book simply because I thought the waters were muddied by too many genre-attempts. If you like a murder mystery which isn't as soft as a cozy murder mystery, but not so gritty as to be depressing, then give this book a try! Also if you are looking for a book with feminist themes and feminist characters then you might enjoy this novel. 

Let me know-- have you read I'll Eat when I'm Dead? If so, what did you think? Did you think it feel into a conventional murder mystery genre or did you think it tried to do too much? 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Best Books in 2017

This post brought to you by the Top Ten Tuesday series over at The Broke and the Bookish.
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Oh how could I ever choose I moaned to myself when I first saw this topic. I mean I've just read so many good books this year! 

Then I sat down at took a hard look at my read-books list on Goodreads. Yes, I've liked most books I read this year but really, which books did I love? Which books did the authors truly excel at the art of writing, the devilishly difficult task of intricate plots and exciting twists??

And then there were three. Three books that earned the difficult 5 star Goodreads rating on my account. Three books that I adore not only because I enjoyed reading them, but because they were so artfully created.

Let's get to these special books, shall we?

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Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

If 1984 and Catch-22 had a child, and that child went through a rebellious teenage phase, then the result would be this stunning, witty, and expansive novel. Part dystopian, part political satire, all amazing, this novel kept my eyes glued to every one of the 400 pages.  It's hilarious and depressing and fascinating all rolled into one.This type of novel was what Jasper Fforde was made for-- I can't imagine what it would be like to be in his mind.


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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

I'm not sure where I first heard about this short story. Maybe a John Green recommendation? Either way I'm so glad I stumbled upon this sci-fi tale. I love my science fiction to be inventive, to think of other civilizations and technologies so different from our own, and then to craft a story out of their foreignness and Binti was all of that and more. Clearly taking it's roots from the author's own Nigerian roots it is both wildly inventive and universal in all the right ways, as a young woman leaves her village to travel thousands of miles through dead space to claim her spot at a prestigious university.


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Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This is a novel I'm sure many of you are already familiar with, so I shouldn't have to work too hard to convince you of its beauty. It's medieval fantasy but without any of the heavy boring elements that can drag down other novels of that genre. It's fast paced-- honestly the 662 pages flew by in a matter of days. The writing is beautiful, the story line intricate without being confusing, and the characters are at once both intimate and foreign. I know it sounds like I'm just throwing words at you (and in some part I am) but I am trying to find the best combination of words that can explain how much I enjoyed this novel. Better yet, just go read it for yourself!


Whew!

That's wasn't as hard as I feared-- once I took a critical eye to my books these three books easily outshone the other novels I've read in 2017. Somehow, they all managed to have sequels-- the one for the Jasper Fforde novel won't be published till next year (maybe?), but the sequel to Binti was amazing and I can't wait to read the sequel to The Name of the Wind.

What about you?? What were your favorite books of 2017? Let me know in the comments and link to your post if you also participated in this series!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Dear Sunday: Five Weeks?!

Dear Sunday is my weekly post participating in the Caffeinated Book Reviewer series. 

When I started a draft for this post, I figured that it had been probably one month since I started this book blog and that seemed like a good time to sit back and reflect.

 
I was surprised to see that I'm actually heading into my sixth week blogging! I have five weeks of blogging behind me-- I swear, this summer is flying by. Too soon the winds will change and these wonderful long days will shorten. I was asked recently where I planned on living once I get my degree and I gave my usual hodgepodge list: Montana, Canada, France, Arkansas, who knows. But if I do planned to be wooed by the soaring landscapes of Montana/Canada I need to work on my winter attitude. I love snow and winter weather-- if and only if there is zero chance I'll be asked to drive in it. If all I have to do is sit and admire a winter landscape we're good. Any more and we have issues.

This week's photo: we have a new crock-pot recipe that was delicious, even if it made enough for an entire army annd three books I read this past week!

But back to the books!

Five weeks! Okay, so what exactly have I done in those five weeks?

Memes Participated in: Sunday Post, Top Ten Tuesday, Stacking the Shelves

Tags: Seven Deadly Sins (self-tagged), Mid-Year Freak-out (tagged by Inspiration Pie)

Reviews: Talking As Fast as I can, The Lost Girls, Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor, Best of All Possible Worlds, First Grave on the Right

The biggest surprise with this blog is two-fold: one) the community. I know, how sappy, but I was so pleasantly surprised by the response of the book blogger community to my little ol' blog (I love every view and comment!). Also, I love finding new favorite blogs to follow-- my to-read list has really exploded since starting this blog! The second thing that really surprised me was how much I love Bloglovin' as a way to keep track of all the blogs I want to follow. I've tried using Bloglovin' before but never really found it too useful-- until now.
[[let's be honest, the main purpose of this list is to look fondly back on what turned out to be a surprisingly productive week here!]]
Whew! I'm proud of that list. Five posts in seven days-- who knows if this is a number I'll keep up with. No promises. This upcoming week is the week before my move and there are a ton of adult of stuff (renter's insurance, internet set up, etc) that I still have to do but I'm super excited about my new apartment! 

[[maybe. stay tuned]]
  • TTT: Best Books in 2017 ((how am I ever going to write this one??))
  • Review: I'll Eat when I'm Dead ((I have all the opinions on this one))
  • Maybe a stacking the shelves? I should probably wait to stack my shelves until my shelves have been moved into my new place...we'll see! 


     

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: More Series

Welcome back to another episode of Stacking the Shelves, my participatory post in Tyngas's Review weekly series. Let's take a look at what books I picked up at the library this week!


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Where Two Seas Met by the Morris people

I read all of the Cheney Duvall M.D. series and am super excited to start the series that follows, Cheney & Shiloh The Inheritance series. I don' think I've ever read eight books (with three to go) about the same cast of characters and I'm not complaining. 


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A Study in Death [[Lady Darby #4]] by Anna Lee Huber

Okay so this was actually super exciting-- I fell in love with the Lady Darby series a couple years ago and actually bought (I know, right??) the (at the time) latest book to read on vacation since it was too new for my library to have it. Fast forward a couple years and I had all but forgotten all about Lady Darby until I randomly stumbled upon the book on Goodreads and was shocked to see that two new books had been published in the series! 


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When Breaks the Dawn[[Canadian Wilderness #3]] by Janette Oke

The books in this series are short so I decided to pick up number three while waiting for some exciting books on hold to come in.

Speaking of books on hold...



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I'll Eat when I'm Dead by Barbara Bourland

I mentioned earlier that I was waiting on some books on hold and some of you mentioned that books on hold always came in at once-- and that definitely happened to me! Like the day after my library run I get an email telling me that the books I had put on hold just came in. 
I'll Eat when I'm Dead is a murder mystery that I heard about on someone's blog and decided to give it a go. So far it's...interesting, I might put up a review once I've finished it! 



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This is a book I'm super excited to get to-- I've heard such good things about it! It was also a on-hold book that came in this week. I'm a fan of sci-fic, especially if it's super novel and inventive. I'm working my way through (perhaps) too many books right now, but when they're finished, I'm jumping into this one. 


Whew! Okay, y'all, I think my eyes were metaphorically bigger than my stomach (brain?) this week. To be fair, I picked up the first three books before I knew my holds would be coming in. It'll take me a while to make my way through this crop of books, so no guarantee when I'll next stack my shelves! 

What about you? What books did you pick up this week? Do you ever walk out of the library with too many books?? I'm going to try and be disciplined and read all my books before even thinking of checking out other books..we'll see how that goes!  

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: First Grave on the Right

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First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Genre: Paranormal
Rating: 6/10

It's not easy being Charlie Davidson-- first off having parents that would name you thus would definitely be a burden. Secondly she happens to be the grim reaper which is sort of a learn-as-you-go type of job full of dead people who sometimes request her PI skills to solve their murders.

I have strong mixed feelings about the book-- it's definitely a love hate thing going on here. There are parts of it I love-- the narrator has a strong, witty voice, the plot is fast paced-- and parts I hate-- the narrator thinks she's so witty the one-liners nearly dominate the story line, the story line itself is a little confused as to what it is.

Charlie is funny-- and the problem is she thinks she's hilarious. You could cut out half of all the one-line jokes dotted through the text and the book would be much better. When you start reading it's funny-- 200 pages later, it's a little less funny.

I alternated between liking Charlie and finding her absolutely insufferable. She has a chip on her shoulder the size of Newfoundland and the woe-is-me act can get repetitive for me. She honestly does have a lot to complain about-- but sometimes I want her to stop actively trying to piss off everyone around her.

The plot, while fast paced, reached a bit too far, and tried to do a bit too much. It's an easy problem for the first book in a series-- the author wants to set up bigger story arcs while also creating one that will start and finish in this book alone.

I thought there were some troubling non-consensual problems in this book. At the beginning of the book we find out that some dude has been coming to her in her dreams to sleep with her-- and she is in no way complaining about this turn of events. (**mild spoiler y'all**) We find out later that the mystery dream dude is a guy she met while in high school-- a guy who nearly sexually assaulted her and threatened to rape her. But the text focuses more on how hot he was as opposed to, you know, the problem with sleeping with a guy where in the only other interaction you had with him he threatened to rape you. I just want Charlie to talk about that-- to say something other than how sexy he was, to explicitly say how even though their first interactions were non-consensual, now they are consensual. I know this is a minor thing for most people-- I haven't read any other reviews that even bring this up-- but it was something that bothered me when I was reading this book. And maybe I'm being too nit-picky-- I mean she's clearly (kind of?) consenting now, so what's the big deal? Still.

Overall this book kept my interest, made me laugh out loud, and made me roll my eyes. If paranormal/urban fantasy books are your thing I would say definitely give this one a try-- it's a love hate book so while it was not my cup of tea, it just might be yours.

Have you ever read First Grave on the right? If so, what did you think? 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Mid-Year Freakout Book Tag

1. The best book you've read so far in 2017

You guys. I hate to be conventional but there's just no way to choose an answer to this! I mean there are books that were the best in shocking twists (Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde) and then there were books that were the best in creativity (Binti by Nnedi Okorafor) and then there were books that were the best in that they introduced me to series that I love (The Stars for a Light by the Morris people). So yeah. That's my answer? 


2. Your favorite sequel this year

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A City Not Forsaken by the Morris people

So this isn't technically a sequel it's more like...a sequel to a sequel? Anyhow, the third book in this historical fiction series was really well done. I loved the character development, how something tragic that happened in the previous book really effected how the characters acted in this one. 
I will probably write a post devoted to the pros and cons of this series-- it's one of those books where there are things I love and things that I could rant for hours on to anyone poor passerby who stops to listen.

3. A new release that you haven't read but really want to

32284000 the night the lights went out by Karen White

I don't have many books on my to-read list that have been recently published so it's not that this is a book I'm super pumped and excited about reading holy cow but it is a book that I thought looked interesting, and it was released this year. And it has great reviews on Goodreads!





4. Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

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Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave


I'm a big YouTube fan-- my subscription list is ridiculously long. This novel, about an online celebrity whose perfect life is reveled to be well, not perfect, seemed right up my ally. I've never followed new releases before and I am not liking this whole having to wait for a book to be published thing. 




5. Your biggest disappointment


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Reader, I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier

I heard about this anthology of short stories all inspried by the (apparently) famous line from Jane Eyre: Reader, I married him. Now, I'll admit, I have no recollection of readering Jane Eyre. I vaguely remember watching the movie in high school English class which means I probably read it at some point? I don't know, the jury's still out. Anyway! I never read short stories so I thought this would be a cool way to get more short stories in my life. I only made it through maybe half the book before giving up, as I had quite strongly disliked every short story in it. It was such a cool idea I was disappointed I didn't like it.


6. Biggest surprise of the year
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Something Rotten AND Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Man. This author. The way he wraps up plots and has last minute twists that never feel contrived yet always take me by surprise....he's talented for sure. 




 
7. Favorite new to you or debut author

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Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This guy is by no means a debut author (I don't think? yeah no, I just checked, and his first book was published in 2007....) but he is for sure a new favorite of mine. My friends had raved about Name of the Wind for years but the sheer size of the book deterred me from trying it until-- this is embarrassing-- I heard that Lin Manuel Miranda was contracted to help write songs for the upcoming movie and then I was like man I must read this book. And then I was like man what took me so long?? It was amazing and I look forward to the rest of the trilogy. 



8. Your new fictional crush
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The Stars for a Light by the Morris people


I'm going to have to say the love interest of this series, Shiloh, is my new fictional crush. He has his issues but I would def date him. 






9. New favorite character

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Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
I'm going to double up on a book and say that the main character, Kvothe, is my new favorite character :) man that was such a good book...








10. A book that made you cry

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The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

This is a little bit of a stretch because there's only one book that's ever made me cry and I didn't read it this year. However, I can't think of any other book that's even come close to making me cry so I had to include it. 







11. A book that made you happy

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Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn

When my friend told me she had found a new favorite murder mystery series and that it was set in 1920s England, I knew I had to give it a try. Which I did, and promptly became addicted. It made me happy to discover a fun, well done series to follow. Bonus point: my library has almost the entire series on audiobook so I've enjoyed listening to the misadventures while on my morning commute. 



12. Your favorite book to movie adaptation that you've seen this year
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 Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling

Hands down adored this movie when I saw it ((maybe in December? or was it even earlier? oopps....let's just ignore that little issue of timing and say that this movie was amazing))





13. Favorite book post you've published this year

I have to admit I really enjoyed writing my Seven Deadly Sins book tag.

14. The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year

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Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
This one will be a little bit of a stretch because, as I've mentioned before, I don't really buy books. However! I got this book at the library and the cover is just gorgeous. Also it's an amazing, inventive sci-fi short story that everyone should go read now.






15. What are some books that you need to read by the end of the year


My to-read list is literally over a hundred books long so I'll save you and only list a few I want to get to. 


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I'll Eat When I'm Dead by Barbara Bourland
Among the Lesser Gods by Margo Catts

Whew! That's it! Thanks so much to The Inspiration Pie for tagging me :) 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

TTT: Series I Want to Start

Hello and welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday, a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme: series that I want to start but haven't. 

I'll admit, I have mixed feelings about series, especially long ones. On the one hand, I love when authors have more time and space to develop characters and relationships which can often times feel rushed crammed into the space of one novel. 

On the other hand, long series can feel like ruts, canyons I fall into and get so preoccupied with, that I forget that there is an outside world, aka other books to read. This all being said, there are series that I want to start, but haven't found the time yet. 

To the books! 
23848232 Come Hell or Highball by Maia Chance
I came across this author reading a review on iwishilivedinalibrary's blog. It looks promising, a murder mystery series set during Prohibition. But. Y'all. I read so many murder mystery series I'm worried I'll soon get sick of them. Most murder mysteries require normal people to just stumble over dead bodies at an alarming rate-- I mean I can only suspend my belief so much ((I'm looking at you Daisy Dalrymple!)). I used to read more Victorian-era murder mysteries, until they started to feel very formulaic. 

26521489  A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray
Same song, different verse. (ha ha I had a physics teacher in undergrad who liked to say that) It looks like an interesting murder mystery but I think I need to space out my murder mystery reading.

16343 The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie
I'm going to admit something: I've never finished an Agatha Christie novel.
I know, I know! It's Agatha Christie! Sacrilege! I just couldn't get into the first Ms Marple novel -- though now that I know the ending I'm tempted to try again (how weird is that??). I enjoy watching Monsieur Poirot ((the protagonist of this novel)) on Netflix so I need to give the book a try one of these days.


6555509 Faith by Lori Copeland
I'm torn between wanting to read this historical frontier romance and thinking that it'll be too cliche and hooky ((and of course it's the first in a series!)). Also starting the first in a series feels like an obligation-- I'm not only signing up to read this book, I feel like I'm signing up to get involved with yet another long series.


And that's it! This week I'm rebelling and can only think of four series that I have on my to-read list (The Mysterious Affair has been there for years) yet haven't managed to start yet!

What about you? Are the beginning books of series more likely to languish on your to-read list as compared to stand alone novels? Which series have you not got around to yet?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Dear Sunday: Rest Ahead

Hello and welcome to my weekly recap-- inspired by The Caffeinated Book series.

I'll save you the lamentations of a busy week. What I will say is that I had a blast this past week doing lab tours for elementary/middle school kids-- they were such a great group! I've done lab tours for kids in the past who I was just unable to get excited about the science we do. Luckily these kids were super involved and asked great questions. Almost enough to make me consider teaching kids. 


Ha ha. Just kidding. In my opinions teachers are nothing short of saints and I do not think sainthood is the path I want to take for my future. I am thankful that other people are willing to take on that job.

In other news, I've been working on my hand lettering and a new watercolor-esque technique that actually uses a Ziploc bag, some markers, and water! Bonus points to anyone who realized that I accidentally switched a word in the quote on the left. ;) 

But on to book news! My plan tomorrow is to hang out in my lovely local library and write this week's posts so if I sound a little hazy on the firm details on what's getting published when, that would be why. Luckily for me, this upcoming week is going to be (fingers crossed) a lot less busy which gives me more time to both read and write! 


                                                              

I didn't write a Stacking the Shelves post this past week because, well, I didn't stack my shelves with any books. I'm making my way through a non-fiction I wrote about in the last stacking the shelves and since I never read non-fiction, my progress is pretty slow. The other book I read this past week was part of a series and those always seem to fly by. Anyhow, I think I'll pick up a couple books tomorrow when I'm hanging out at my library. Most of the books I want to read are currently on hold--- thus the lack of new additions to my shelves. 



  • Maybe a book tag
  • Maybe a Top Ten Tuesday
  • Maybe both! 
    • the universe is an unknowable place
  • Probably a stacking the shelves
  • Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Well that was probably not the most helpful what to look forward to list I have ever written...looks like you'll just have to follow me on Bloglovin' to see what gets posted this upcoming week-- it'll be a surprise! For everyone involved. 

I hope your week is also a slower one! Unless you've had too many of those and want something busy in which case I'm jealous and hope to become you by the end of this week. 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Review: Best of All Possible Worlds

                                                     
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Rating: 8/10
Genre: Sci-fi


Where do you go, when your home planet is destroyed, when the majority of your civilization is wiped out? How do you keep your culture, everything you've known and loved, alive when most of its citizens aren't?

The Best of All Possible Worlds takes place on a planet that is a melting pot for all sorts of cultures and peoples who have no where else to go. Maybe their home planet was destroyed in war, maybe their home star expanded and engulfed their planet-- point being, they've got to find a new place to live. This novel follows to journey of one such stranded race, the Sandari, who go to this planet to help build a new colony, a small group of survivors intent of preserving their culture against all odds. 

I loved this book. The premise was interesting-- the main character works in the bureaucracy that it takes to run such a melting-plot planet, No one ever thinks of the red tape and paperwork it would take to run such an endeavor!

Is it derivative? Sure. Can you see what media (*cough* Star Trek *cough*) influenced the author's creation of the Sandari? Sure. Did that detract from my enjoyment of this novel? Not at all. 

I enjoyed the writing and felt that the romance was artfully done, even if it was something that could been seen from miles out. Have you ever read a book where you just knew that character A and B were going to get together, but that didn't stop you rooting for them and waiting for that to happen? 

The pacing had some issues, it stopped and started, months would pass suddenly and catch me off guard. The narrator was a bit immature at times, but I only rolled my eyes like twice so hey, easy enough to overlook. 

All in all, if you looking for a new sci-fic read, be sure to check out The Best of All Possible Worlds and let me know what you thought!

What are some of your sci-fic recommendations? 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Seven Deadly Sins Book Tag

I heard about this tag over on The Literary Huntress's blog. I obviously haven't been tagged (hello, blogging newbie over here!) but neither had The Literary Huntress so I'm going to follow her example and answers the questions anyway because I thought they were interesting!

Greed: What are your most expensive and inexpensive books? 

As previously stated, I don't really buy books so my most expensive answer is a bit of a veer off into left field. 

You see, there is this really old, semi-rare book that I fell in love with while I was in undergrad. I continuously checked it out of my school library for like two years and completely in jest briefly contemplated stealing it as a graduation gift (y'all I could tell when people checked out the book and I was the only one to read it in like thirty years. no one else loved it like I did.). I did seriously contemplate emailing the librarian and begging after I graduated but didn't. Instead I played a fool's game-- every time I went into a thrift store I would briefly scan the old books, wondering if one day my book would be staring back at me. Seeing as how my book was published in 1895 and I think only had one edition it was never going to happen. 

But once I was wandering through a thrift store with my book-loving aunt and I explained how I always kept half an eye out for this book. I had searched online but to no avail. She thoughtfully frowned and said she would look into it. 

A week later a packaged appeared in my PO box and when I opened it, Two Women Abroad fell out. It's a travel journal from 1895 from two self-proclaimed spinsters who, since they were wealthy, decided to travel through Europe and enjoy the art. I love it so much. I don't know how much my aunt paid for it (hopefully not much!) but I have a feeling that's the most expensive book I own.

Wow! I promise my answers from here on out won't be nearly as long! 

As for my cheapest books I have those aplenty. My most recent cheap purchase was Garden Spells which I picked up at a local thrift store for a dollar. 

Sloth: What books have you neglected reading due to laziness?

Man so many-- just take a look at my bookshelf! However there is one cool looking book I can't bring myself to even think of starting because it's stupidly long and that is Anathem. 937 pages y'all. Holy cow.

Wrath: Who is an author you have a love/hate relationship with?

I don't hold grudges so I can't think of any author that I have strong dislike for...BUT I am reading First Grave on the Right right now and while I'm mostly enjoying it, I have some strong opinions about the non-consensual sex that I feel like the author blithely skims over because the guy is cute. (?!) So while I think the writing is really witty I feel like she is not dealing well with a serious issue. 

Gluttony: What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

I'm sure I've said it before, but I don't really re-read books. I'll tell you though, if I did re-read books, holy cow I would devour A Madness of Angels over and over. ((Goodreads why doesn't this book have a 5/5 rating?!)) 


Lust: What traits do you find attractive in fictional characters?

Pretty much the traits I find attractive in real life: a guy who is kind, cares for others, good sense of humor, etc. This is starting to feel like a dating profile. Let's move on! 

Pride: What book do you talk about in order to sound like an intelligent reader?

Oo easy! Catch-22. I read it in high school and hated the process of actually reading it but loved having read it, if that makes any sense. 


Envy: What book would you like to receive as a gift?

See first answer. ;) Honestly I don't feel the need to own many books and now that Two Women Abroad is in my unlikely possession, there aren't any books that I really wish to get as gifts. 


And that's it! All the deadly sins covered. 

For those of you following my projected post timeline (bless your hearts) you'll realize that today's post was supposed to be a Top Ten Tuesday but honestly I couldn't come up with 5-10 novels that had strong father-child relationships so I decided to write this one instead. 

What would be your answers? Considering, dear reader, honorarily tagged and leave me a link to your own post! 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Dear Sunday: Busy Bee

Hello and welcome to my weekly recap-- inspired by The Caffeinated Book series. 

Whew!

This week y'all. 

I interviewed for, and got a part-time job I was really hoping to get. So say hello to the new custodian of my local church. :) This job, while great, turned out to be more involved than I expected, and this week has been jam packed. Luckily I'm working with the current custodian for the next few weeks before totally going solo. 

Add to that my normal activities and work and I've been struggling to get my posts up on time! For those playing along at home, my Thursday review actually went up on Friday but hey, at least it's up at all, right? Right. 

I'm glad we had this conversation.  

Once again, my plan is to devote a solid chunk of time this week and try and write multiple posts so that I'm not scrambling the night before a post should go up (ha ha not that this post was written late Saturday night...of course not. not at all. I plead the fifth). 

This upcoming week also promises to be busy-- what is this? I thought summer was supposed to be less busy! I did not sign up for this. I'm giving a lab tour to some middle-schoolers on Monday which should be fun. Our lab isn't super cool or sparkling or full of uber-science-y stuff but still, I try to make it exciting because I think what we do is exciting. 

A week ago or so my mother gave me 1969 Betty Crocker cookbook she stumbled upon in a thrift store. It's sort of a tradition in my family to use this classic never-fail cookbook. It's full of gems, delicious recipes, and great statements such as "The thoughtful wife has a simple beverage (cold in summer, hot in winter) ready for her husband when he comes home at night." ;) I have a rapidly growing list of recipes to try-- it is really a great, detailed cookbook. The cake pictured above is their streusel-filled coffee cake and y'all, it does not disappoint. 

Anyway! On to most book-related topics!







(maybe. the universe is a chaotic and unknowable place. much like my schedule)


 How was your week? Are summers any more relaxed for you (like they are supposed to be for me)? Are you a thoughtful wife who has a weather appropriate drink ready for your weary husband? :P

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stacking the Shelves: An Eclectic Mix

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.

So last time I wrote a post for this meme (seriously though y'all, meme? why?) I included all books that have been added to my to-read list. This week, I thought I would focus more on the books that have recently come into my possession to read (I think that is the actually point of the series..oops). 

I'm an odd book blogger (if I can even call myself that! I feel like there is a minimum number of posts one must write before one is officially a blogger) in that I don't buy books. Partly because I'm on a budget and partly because since I don't re-read books, I don't see the point in owning them.

There are, of course, a few exceptions to this rule-- books that mean something special to me, books I don't want to send back to the library. But besides those (ooo, maybe I smell a future blog post?), I am content with getting all my books from my friendly neighborhood library. After all, any novel that I'm itching to read and that doesn't currently sit on their shelves, I can get through inner-library loans for the low, low price of fifty cents. (what a bargain!)

But back to the point of this post: what treasures did I pick up a my local library this week?

876360 Island of the Innocent by the Morris (library)
By the way, the synopsis on Goodreads for this novel is my type of synopsis-- as in it barely tells you anything about the plot.

8788554  First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (what an interesting first name!) (library)
I saw book #39, or whatever number she's on, on someone's blog and they really seemed to be enjoying the series. It sounded cute so I decided to pick up the first book.


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 A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains by Isabella L. Bird (library)

I rarely read nonfiction, and it's something that I want to work on. I stumbled upon this travel journal while looking for a book about a local trail system. I was debating picking up Lewis and Clark's travel logs which I just spotted. On of the one hand, holy cow, talk about founding adventurers. On the other hand, I was worried it would be a bit dry. While I was debating, I spotted this book and picked up. After reading the intro paragraph I was hooked.


And there we have it! I've got historical fiction, I've fantasy, and I've got nonfiction travel memoir! Tell me, what books did you pick up this week?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Review: Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor

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Rating: 8/10

When I first came across this book, I was quite skeptical. After all, it was a murder mystery with Jane Austen as the main character. Could I really expect good writing and a well-crafted plot with the author so busy with writing from the perspective of a famous author?

Luckily my suspicions were unfounded. The novel turned out to be an interesting read-- the author did her best to write in Jane Austen's style. As I am not an expert I can't tell you how well she achieved that goal but I can say that it read more like a Jane Austen novel than your typical murder mystery series. The style was formal without the impersonal feel that historical novels have for me.

The premise was cute-- the novel is portrayed as a lost diary of Jane Austen, and there are editor notes to help you keep up with things such as titles (literally the most confusing thing ever) and land ownership and inheritances. What I didn't like what that the editor notes also extended to characters-- they drew parallels between certain characters in this novel and characters that Jane Austen created. The problem with this is that it completely colored the way I saw them. By calling someone a Darcy, for example, I know that while they might seem gruff/mean/cruel, they actually have good intentions-- and therefore ruins the suspense of 'are they one of the good guys'.

You can read the synopsis if you want on Goodreads, but I have an odd preference to read as little as possible about a book before I read it. I love being surprised by the plot-- sometimes a synopsis will give away all sorts of cool things that I would rather discover by reading. So, if you are like me here's what you need to know: it's a fun premise, well paced, and overall, a unique murder mystery novel.

Let me know: have you heard of this series before? How do you feel about novels that use historical people? Do they make you wary?

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Mystery Additions

This post is part of a series hosted by the Broke and the Bookish

I never thought I would fulfill the age old tradition of turning into my mother. 

Well not that the tradition is for all daughters to turn into my mother--that would be weird. 

But here I am, the older I get, the more mystery books I read until one day I'll look into the mirror and see my mother. You see, her favorite book to curl up with is a paperback mystery. I've become entangled with a few mystery series and when not reading those, I've attempted to branch out into new mystery/mystery series. Below are five ((I know, I know, why even bother calling these Top Ten Tuesdays?)) murder mystery books that I've added to my TBR list. 

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I mentioned this one in my first Stacking the Shelves post but I thought I would throw it in here too. It's a murder mystery set in 1930s California. 



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A Dangerous Crossing by Rachel Rhys
If this tells you anything, the Goodreads synopsis starts with about three paragraphs of brilliant praise for this novel by everybody and their mother. It's set in 1939 just before the war and sounds really interesting-- but to be honest I just fell in love with the cover first. Like all y'all famous people can ramble all you want about how great it is but I was swayed by that cover. 


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A Most Extraordinary Pursuit by Juliana Gray
This murder mystery involves exotic locations and archaeology-- sign me up! Some of the Goodreads reviews are a bit...unenthused, but I'll give it a go (someday, let's me honest, my TBR is a bit out of hand). 


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Murder with Puffins ((Meg Langslow #2)) by Donna Andrews
This is a murder mystery series my friend introduced me to a couple months ago. The main character is a blacksmith-- how cool??-- and her large rambunctious impossible family factors heavily into the stories. 


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Jane and the Man of the Cloth ((Jane Autsen Mystery #2)) by Stephanie Barron
Check out my review of the first book on Thursday!
When I first heard about this series I was skeptical. It kind of sounded like Jane Austen fan fic and while that stuff can be amazing (Lizzie Bennet Diaries anyone??) it can also be a bit...odd. Luckily I really enjoyed the first book, it's about time to check out the second.


And that wraps it up! I'm trying to keep my to read list a manageable list-- difficult to do with all the amazing books I'm hearing about through other blogs! But anyway, thus the five books instead of ten. Heaven help me, I don't need to go out and seek even more murder mysteries to add to my list! I need to make my way through these first :) 

What about you? What genres have you been getting into recently? Have you watched the Lizzie Bennet diaries? (do yourself a favor and watch all 100 episodes right now)



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Dear Sunday: Week Two

Hello and welcome to my weekly recap-- inspired by The Caffeinated Book series. For my first week, I wrote all my blog posts one Saturday at my local library. This week I didn't have a chunk of time ((*shudder* I'm working on a horrible coding project and one of my variables is chunk and I never want to see that word again)) to do that, so it was surprisingly difficult to get everything written on time. And this weekend has also been busy. I'll have to devote maybe Tuesday night and hide out in a coffee shop and get everything written.

This week at work has been...a week. The problem with going into single-molecule biophysics is that when you run experiments with, you know, single molecules, it can be a bit random. Getting different results on different days doesn't necessarily mean you're doing something wrong, the conditions could have minutely changed from day to day giving you different results.

It sucks but it's something I'm trying to get used to. In other news I stopped watching so much YouTube and finally finished Something Rotten which was sitting unread on my coffee table for an unreasonable amount of time. Has that ever happened to you? You know you're in the middle of a good book, but sometimes the motivation to put down the TV remote (metaphorically) is just not there?

The picture on the left is at a local botanical garden sponsored by an insurance company (I know!) and it is gorgeous. Now for the links!

  • Top Ten Tuesday:10 Books From X Genre That I've Recently Added To My TBR List
  • Stacking the Shelves ((hopefully, for those playing a long at home I missed it last week!))

As I've found out, the 'coming up on the blog' is a projected timeline-- I might find a cool series I want to be a part of, or a book I realize I just have to review, etc etc. Follow me on Bloglovin' if you want to get notified of my new posts! Or just come here every day, the choice is yours :) 

How was your week? Do you ever get wrapped up online and fail to get back to the a book you know you'll enjoy?