Showing posts from April, 2014

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Title: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Author: Cheryl Strayed
315 pages, published March 2012
Genre: Biography/Memoir
Source: Borrowed from the Library

I'm relatively new to Cheryl Strayed as an author. I read Tiny Beautiful Things  and liked it, but didn't love it. Perhaps it was the style of the book (all in letters) that didn't work for me. However, a friend and fellow blogger Christina at The Wordy Rose has been raving about how fantastic Wild is for months --and now that I've read it, I completely understand why. It quickly made its way to my list of favorite books!!

When Strayed was 22, her life fell apart. She lost her mother to cancer. Because of the grief, her family was torn apart.  To make it worse, she went through a divorce. Four years later, she made an impulsive decision to hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail  (PCT) from the Mojave Desert in California to the Oregon/Washington border all by herself.  Though she had no experienc…

Bout of Books 10!

While browsing through other book review blogs that I like, I came across another reading challenge on the blog My Life in Books. I loved participating in Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon (read about my readathon experience here) and I am eager to participate in more challenges like this and networking with other book bloggers.

The newest Challenge I'm signing up for is Bout of the Books 10!  What is the Bout of Books? Here's their official blurb from their blog:

"The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 12th and runs through Sunday, May 18th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 10 informati…

Readathon Report!

Well friends, I participated in my first Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon! As I mentioned in my post last week, I spent the weekend at a beach house with some friends this weekend, so it was a perfect spot  for reading!!

Due to the fact I was with other people, I didn't get to read as much as I ideally would've liked--but still read over 300 pages combined during the read-a-thon! I snacked on Pepsi, chips, popcorn, and all kinds of goodies throughout the day :) Here's what I read:

1. Finished "Wild" by Cheryl Strayed. Review on the blog later this week!

2. Continued working my way through "Winter's Tale" by Mark Helprin.  It's a long one--700+ pages in the edition I have--and I've been reading chunks of it throughout the year. Determined to finish it! Read just over 100 pages in it during the read-a-thon. It's a pretty dense read, but excellent so far!

3. Started "For All Their Lives", a nice, easy romance novel by Fern Michaels t…

Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon!

Yesterday I saw another book review blogger that I follow, My Life in Books, post about a 24 hour reread-a-thon called Dewey's 24 Hour Readathon.  They host two read-a-thons a year, one in April (coming up this Saturday the 26th) and one in October. The goal is to read as much as you can in the 24 hour period of the read-a-thon day (starting at 5am Pacific Time), post to your blog about what you're reading, visit other blogs of those participating, and participate in mini-challenges throughout the day. How could I resist? I immediately signed up!

I'm going to the beach this weekend with some friends and the goal of our weekend is to relax and hang around the beach house, so it will be a perfect time for a read-a-thon.  Of course, I was planning on reading anyway :) I will be posting a full blog about my day on Monday (goal is to unplug a bit at the beach house) but I will instagram  updates about the books I'm reading throughout the day on Saturday. I was planning on p…

World Book Night 2014 Part Three: My Day as a Book Giver!

I did it! I completed my first WBN Book Giving experience! It was definitely an exciting and memorable day!

I work for a small public liberal arts university in Oregon, and live in a neighboring small town. So the community I l both live in and work in are small communities.  The university I work for has a large (approximately 50%) population of first generation college students--meaning neither of their parent's earned a Bachelor's degree.  I was excited at the prospect of handing out free books in these small communities!

Above: my tote bag of books, and a shot of my book, Eleanor Brown's "The Weird Sisters." I love the cool WBN covers!You can read my review of The Weird Sisters here!

The first books I gave out were to some of my surrounding neighbors--I put the books in a plastic bag and dropped them off on their front porches before leaving for work this morning.  I would've loved to see the looks on their faces when they found their free book! I also g…

The Here and Now


Title: The Here and Now
Author: Ann Brashares
256 pages, published April 2014
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Source: Borrowed from the Library

I've been reading a lot of young adult (YA) fiction lately. I really enjoy the genre in general, and have been reading it a lot because so many have been made into movies--The Hunger Games, the Divergent series, The Fault in Our Stars. I really enjoy Ann Brashares' books--most recently I read "My Name is Memory" (contemporary adult fiction) and loved it. So when I saw that this book was coming out, I immediately wanted to read it.

Seventeen year old Prenna immigrated to New York when she was twelve--not from a different country, but from a different time. She came from nearly 100 years in the future, where a mosquito-bourne illness has caused the Blood Plague, killing millions. Prenna and many others were able to escape through time travel back to 2010, and they must follow strict rules: never reveal where they're from, ne…

Shine Shine Shine


Title: Shine Shine Shine
Author: Lydia Netzer
336 pages, published July 2013
Genre: General Fiction
Source: Purchased for myself

I picked up this book at Target. The cover looked interesting, the back cover indicated it had many honors including a New York Times Notable book, Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist, Publisher's Weekly Best Book, and Library Journal Best Book. The synopsis looked interesting. So I thought, why not give it a try?

The book is primarily about two people--Sunny and Maxon. They grew up together, fell in love, got married, have a young autistic son, and another on the way. At the beginning of the book, Maxon, a scientist (who appears to have autism as well--but no diagnosis is mentioned) is an astronaut lost in space on a mission to the moon, while Sunny's struggle to be the perfect wife falls apart. Sunny was born with no hair--no hair, eyebrows, or eyelashes. She's spent years hiding under wigs and false eyelashes and eyebrows. Then, her secre…

World Book Night 2014 Part Two: Review of The Weird Sisters

Title: The Weird Sisters Author: Eleanor Brown
320 pages, published January 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction

Welcome to my second blog post of my World Book Night series! In this post I will review my WBN book, Eleanor Brown's "The Weird Sisters." As a Book Giver, I got to pick my top three choices of WBN books to give away, and this book easily made my top three based on the synopsis of the book.  Despite the mixed reviews on Good Reads, I was eager to read this book (and now, to give it away!).

The Andreas family shares a love of reading and learning.  The father, a well known Shakespeare professor, named his three daughters after Shakespearean characters, and speaks almost entirely in verse. When their mother becomes ill with breast cancer, the three grown daughters return home to help care for her and run away from their own troubles. Rose (Rosalind), the oldest, is having doubts about her upcoming marriage when her fiance is offered a year long…


Title: Moloka'i Author: Alan Brennert 384 pages, published October 2004
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased for myself

I read this novel in December 2013 and absolutely fell in love with it.  It instantly became one of my favorite books of all time.  I have to share with you all why I love this book so much, and why you should go to the library, bookstore, or go online right now to get yourself a copy of this book!

Let me start by saying I have quite the love affair with the state of Hawaii.  A love affair in the sense that my soul aches daily for the laid back lifestyle, tropical breezes, pristine beaches, the WARMTH. The Aloha Spirit.  I first visited Hawaii when I was five (but don't remember it).  Most recently I went to Maui with my husband in September 2012 and in December 2013 with my Mom. I can't wait to go back, and I WILL be going back!

Anyway, back to the book! I first heard of this book while in Hawaii in 2012 with my husband. Our condo had a large co…

World Book Night 2014: Part One

Last year, my friend, coworker, and blogger at Double Stacked Bookshelves introduced me to the World Book Night organization. It is an absolutely fantastic program! WBN originated in the UK in 2011, and brought to the US in 2012.  Each year, approximately 30 books from varied genres are chosen, authors of the books waive their royalties, and publishers agree to pay the coast of printing the WBN special editions of the books--all in the name of "spreading the love of reading, person to person." The goal of the program is to get books in the hands of light or non-readers, encourage literacy, and get people in the community excited about reading.

These books are given out completely free by volunteer Book Givers on April 23 of each year. Why April 23? Three reasons: 1) UNESCO's International Day of the Book 2) It's Shakespeare's birthday and 3) it's the anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes (author of Don Quixote). To commemorate Cervantes' life, …

Dark Places

Title: Dark Places
Author: Gillian Flynn
345 pages, published May 2009
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary
Source: Borrowed from the Library

I rarely read mysteries or thrillers.  I generally dislike books that are too bloody/gory or violent. However, several of my friends read Flynn's newest novel, "Gone Girl" and had good things to say about it, and so I read it for book group back in December.  Despite my rarely reading or liking this genre, I gave it a try and actually really liked Gone  Girl.  Crazy psychological thrillers are one part of the genre  I can get into, and Gone Girl was definitely crazy and psychotic!  So, after enjoying Gone Girl and hearing numerous positive things about her other novels, I decided to read Dark Places.

In 1985 when Libby Day was seven, her mother and two sisters were murdered. Libby was able to jump out a window and flee the scene. Weeks later, she testified that her 15 year old brother, Ben, committed the murders, landing him in…

Blog Hop!

This is a new blog adventure for me, but my friend Erin over at Sutematsu asked if she could tag me in a "blog tour" where I answer questions, tag other blogger friends, and share the blog love! Here are my answers:

What am I working on? In viewing other bloggers' posts who've done this Q&A...I realize my answers will be a bit different.  I'm not working on a novel or big writing project. I've attempted NaNoWriMo once and failed miserably. My main focus right now is writing book reviews for the blog--trying to have a stock pile of reviews that I can add one at a time to the blog when I'm still reading books for future reviews.  I do love writing--though I feel my strength is academic writing, research writing, and potentially non fiction. I've always said I'd love to write a book, but the idea for one hasn't struck me yet.
How does my work differ from others of its genre? In this case--I'm going to change the question to: How are my boo…

The Year of Magical Thinking

Title: The Year of Magical Thinking Author: Joan Didion 227 pages, published February 2007 Genre: autobiography/memoir
Source: Borrowed from Library
In College Prep Junior English I was first introduced to Joan Didion.  One of our first assignments of the year was to read her essay entitled "The Santa Ana." For some reason (my fantastic English teacher, perhaps?) passages of Didion's writing stuck with me and I still remember bits and pieces of that essay to this day, despite never reading anything else by Didion since. However, I'd heard good things about this book, it was on my "to read" list, and last week decided to check it out from the library.
This book is a memoir that Didion wrote during the year after her husband John died suddenly of cardiac arrest in December 2003. During that time, their daughter  was ill in the hospital with what seemed to be flu, then pneumonia, then complete septic shock.  She was in a medical induced coma at the time John…

Library Book Sale!