Ten Favorite Posts from the Last Ten Years

February 26, 2015 Books 5

ten

In ten years of blogging, I have wrote a LOT of posts. This will be my 1,902nd post, to be precise. I’ve had some popular ones, mostly giveaways and anniversary posts. I thought, to continue my anniversary celebration, I thought I’d share 10 of my favorite posts from the last 10 years.

1. Virtual Advent Tour, 2009 – a collection of favorite Christmas songs

2. My review of The Help by Katherine Stockett was a surprise favorite book. I didn’t think I’d like it, but as it happens every once in awhile, the hype was right.

3. My review of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was one of my most visited posts ever. It was a fun book at the time, but I got tired of mash-ups super fast.

4. I first read The Little Stranger in 2010 and was completely blown away. I love the picture I took of the book for my post! I forgot I used to take pictures for my reviews. Maybe I should get back to that….

5. My review of Room by Emma Donoghue has the most comments of any post on my blog. I was so surprised to see that!

6. My interview with Barbara Rosenblat for Audiobook Week in 2010 was a fun experience. She’s is quite a character.

7. In 2010, I shared a recipe for Strawberry Rosemary jam for Weekend Cooking. Man, that stuff is so good! I’ll have to make some more come strawberry season.

8. Also in 2010, I read and reviewed The Color Purple. That was an amazing audiobook production. Having Alice Walker read her own book was a stroke of genius.

9. And then, there was the time Andi and I read Madame Bovary together. That. Was hilarious. I love reading books with my Andi.

10. It’s so hard to pick just one more post. I interviewed Melissa Wyatt for NerdsHeartYA in 2010. I interviewed Audrey Niffenegger in 2009. I MET NEIL GAIMAN in 2012. I’ve shared a pregnancy and a miscarriage, I went through the loss of my birth mother and my grandmother. I found my best friend. I have shared my kids growing up, our adventures in the wild, our pets, gardens, food, everything. This blog has been such a huge part of my life. I’m so thankful you’re along for the ride.

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Ten Years Is A Long Time; a Celebration of Blogging and a Mission Statement

February 25, 2015 Books 30

ten

That’s right. Sometime around now is my ten year blogging anniversary. I don’t remember the day I started, I just know it was around the same time Andi started hers.  It wasn’t even my first, but my second, or maybe even third attempt at blogging. It was a rough start. I’m almost embarrassed by my backlog (and am often tempted to delete it!). But it grew, and I grew, and even though I’ve never been a major book blogger (thank God), it’s been a happy home.

In light of the general craziness going on in book blogging right now, I almost didn’t post for my anniversary, but ten feels too big to let just go past. Things have been rocky this year. We’ve already had plagiarism scandals, favorite bloggers quitting, and a general malaise flooding our small community. Honestly, I even entertained the thought of quitting a couple times as well. My readership is down. My spirit is sore. Reading is (sometimes) a chore. Yet, there are so many good things. I met my best friend in the whole wide world because of blogging and finally got to meet her (and be in her wedding!) last year. I’ve made many lifelong friends that I care about very much. I know about their families, their favorite books, and their lives. I wouldn’t give that up for the world. I still love discussing books and listing books and just being the bookish self I am.

As I look ahead, I honestly expect much of the same. We are a drama filled group. I can hope for some peace and happiness for our community, and we will have it again, but we’ll also still have the drama. I will continue to do my damnedest to stay out of it. I have no desire for my blog to be any bigger than it is, so my social media presence will remain small (for the blog anyway). I am seriously considering moving away from reviewing books as, well, basically no one reads them and that’s fine. Reviewing can be stressful for me and I’ve never felt very good at it. I will still discuss the books I read, but in a different way – a way yet to be determined. I will continue to mix in other parts of my life like the podcasts, the learning, and perhaps more. Perhaps less.

Mission Statement:

I’m going to do what makes me happy.

So, to celebrate? I really feel like a giveaway is in order! I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to Amazon or B&N OR for the international readers, any book under $25 from The Book Depository. This will run until next Wednesday and is open internationally. I’d love for you to leave a comment telling me how long you’ve been following me or how you found me or, even better, tell me about a book you read because of me! Thank you for reading and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Top Ten Tuesday – Pure Heroine Worship!

February 24, 2015 Meme 8

or I couldn’t pick between Pure Heroine and Heroine Worship, so it became PURE HEROINE WORSHIP because WHY NOT? Hey, it’s late when I’m writing this. I can’t help it.

So. My favorite heroines.

But first, just what exactly DEFINES a heroine?

Do we go with:

a woman of distinguished courage or ability, admired for her bravedeeds and noble qualities.

or the second definition:

the principal female character in a story, play, film, etc.

If I was going to go by the latter definition, I’d be here all night because OMG THE HEADACHE of trying to pick 10 favorite principal female characters from books, am I right? I am going with the former. This is my list of the most kick ass fems I have met in all the books I’ve read. Well, at least the first 10 I can think of while I’m writing this up.

Gone with the wind

1. Say what you will, but Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind is wicked resourceful, crazy determined, and, well, just a all-round ball-busting broad. You can’t take this girl down because, after all, tomorrow is another day!

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2. Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is my girl, yo! A complete bookaholic with the ultimate life goal of reading every book in the library, she is a scrappy, clever, bright girl that you just can’t help rooting for.

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3. Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. Yeah, she starts out mousy, but it doesn’t take her long to find her backbone. Something about being turned into a 90 year old woman will do that to you, I suppose.

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4. Viola from The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness. Dude. Girlfriend crash lands on an alien planet, looses both her parents in the process, then meets up with a boy who literally cannot control the thoughts jumping out of his head AND SHE GETS UP AND KEEPS GOING. That. Is bravery.

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5. Tiffany Aching from The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett. A young girl who uses her wits and brains to get out of situations? That girl be powerful.

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6. Verity from Code Name Verity. I can’t. I just can’t. I can’t even begin to talk about all the feels this character gives me. SO MANY FEELS. And all of them of the weepy variety. I want her in my corner though. In My Corner.

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7. Mare from Mare’s War because I’ll be damned if I will ever miss an opportunity to push this book on you.

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8. Matilda from Matilda by Roald Dahl. She believed she could, so she did. That’s 99% of the battle.

hermione

9. Hermione from Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Because duh.

narnia

10. Lucy from The Chronicles of Narnia. Girlfriend fights for truth. What is harder than that?

Who are some of your favorite heroines?

toptentuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

February 23, 2015 Books, Meme 6

Monday

Y’all. I don’t know why I’m bothering. I’m reading the same stuff I was last week and IT. IS. DEPRESSING. Not that The Soloist isn’t good. Not that Geek Love isn’t weird. It is just still. there.  I am ready to be DONE already.

In the listening side, I’m listening to Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warnings, which is every bit as delightful as I expected. The man can do no wrong in my eyes. I was trying to listen to My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh as well, but it’s not working out too great on my phone. I think I’m going to have to burn it to CD. My phone doesn’t want to keep my place and Lord knows I can’t remember.

On deck, I STILL WANT TO READ The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac (will I EVER get there?). I was talking with a coworker about The Dresden Files series, which made me want to listen to the next book (for me) Proven Guilty (by Jim Butcher, read by Spike from Buffy aka James Marsters). I also want to listen to Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Robert G. Slade.

What are your plans for the reading week? Reading anything good?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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Stuff I Learned This Week

February 20, 2015 Listen Up 5

  • Isaac Newton defined the color spectrum pretty much as we know it today. – Stuff You Should Know Podcast – Rainbows: Delighting humanity since forever.
  • Attila the Hun died by drowning in his own blood. THIS IS A GREAT STORY. – Futility Closet – 045 – Crossing Africa for Love
  •  In the late 1700s, over 400,000 people died of smallpox each year. EACH YEAR. And many who did survive went blind. So get vaxxed people! – Futility Closet – 042 – The Balmis Expedition: Using Orphans to Combat Smallpox
Lucianus
  • In the 2nd century,Lucian of Samosata wrote what is considered by some to be the first science fiction novel. Called A True History, it’s about traveling to outer-space, alien lifeforms, and such stuff. He wrote it to be a “satire.” It’s very short. I found it on Project Gutenberg here. – Futility Closet – 038 – The Thunder Stone
  • In 1896, Alice Guy Blache made history. She became the first female motion picture director.  It was called The Cabbage Fairy. She has been all but erased from cinema history. She made over 1,000 films, but few remain. However, a documentary is being made about her life, called Be Natural – because she encouraged her actors to act natural, instead of the exaggerated acting styles of vaudeville and silent films.
  • Stuff Your Mom Never Told You – Episode – Hollywood’s First Female Directors

The Cabbage Fairy is on YouTube.

http://youtu.be/CYbQO6pwuNs

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Listen Up! Nerdette

February 19, 2015 Listen Up 7

nerdetteThat’s right, all my nerdy lady friends! There is a podcast out there for YOU and it is gloriously nerdy. And dudes, you can totally listen too.

Who: Tricia Bobeda and Greta Johnson; part of the WBEZ podcast family

When: Once a week.

How long: I’d say the average length is around 30 minutes.

What: All things nerdy! And girly! And nerdy girly! Or, as they say on their website:

It’s a safe space for nerding out about all the things you’re watching, reading, listening to and encountering IRL.

I love the framework of their podcasts. They start with an interview, anyone from astronauts, to authors, to comedians, and more. No one is safe! Guests include Roxanne Gay, Simon Rich, astronaut Chris Hadfield, Miranda July, Margaret Atwood, and so many, many more. Next, they talk an awesome lady nerd of history (or nerdy lady thing). They have covered many figures including Susan B. Anthony, lady spies of the Civil War, and the history of lady pockets. You’d be surprised how interesting the history of lady pockets can be. Last, their guest (and/or sometimes the hosts) gives homework! It’s usual to read such-and-such book or watch such-and-such movie, but it’s aways interesting. Oh! And THEN! The postscript! They feature nerdy confessions from listeners who call in. It just serves to help you realize, you’re not the only nerdy one out there.

Can you tell I love this podcast? It’s been around for awhile, so you can start slow or just dive right in and binge listen. I binge listened. And I still have a lot of episodes to go. So go on, give it a try!

Where: The Nerdette Podcast is on iTunes | Stitcher | SoundCloud. And also Downcast, which is how I listen to podcasts. I lurves it.

Yo! Strictly sharing! No payments going on here!

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First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

February 18, 2015 Books 6 ★★★★

First Frost by Sarah Addison AllenFirst Frost
by Sarah Addison Allen
Format: eARC
four-stars
It's October in Bascom, North Carolina, and autumn will not go quietly. As temperatures drop and leaves begin to turn, the Waverley women are made restless by the whims of their mischievous apple tree... and all the magic that swirls around it. But this year, first frost has much more in store.

...

Lose yourself in Sarah Addison Allen's enchanting world and fall for her charmed characters in this captivating story that proves that a happily-ever-after is never the real ending to a story. It’s where the real story begins.

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

-----

What is it about Sarah Addison Allen’s books? I would call them fluff, but they’re not. I could call them romances, but they are more than just that. I should call them magical realism, but that feels limiting. Her books are deeper than fluff, more than romance, with the lightest touch of magic…so, I guess to me, they defy categorization.

Mostly, they are like coming home.

And to come home to familiar, beloved characters, felt like an extra special blessing. I suppose it’s the fact I live in North Carolina and that I long for a little magic in my life. I love food and love the idea that food can magically affect your mood (which, I would say it does. Just eat some chocolate.). Allen makes the characters feel like family, or extra special friends. The characters from Garden Spells are particularly beloved as it was the first Allen book I read and I instantly fell in love with her writing. I’ve read it a couple of times, I love it so much.

Do you get the feeling I love this book and Sarah Addison Allen?

Hope so.

If you’ve read Garden Spells, I totally recommend you continue their story. They are older, but still magical…in more ways that one. The Waverly’s are a family worth revisiting. If you haven’t read Garden Spells, what are you waiting for? Pick it up, and this one, and experience the warmth that being a Waverly friend can bring and the simply beauty of Sarah Addison Allen’s writing.

Favorite bits:

“Sometimes its necessary to embrace the magic, to find out what’s real in life, and in one’s own heart.”

“Oh, please. Everyone in this town always says that, like you have to be born here to understand things. I understand plenty. You’re only as weird as you want to be.”

“She finally understood that, no matter how hard you try, you can’t make someone love you. You can’t stop them from making the wrong decision. There’s no magic for that.”

“She couldn’t change who she was, and she no longer wanted to, even if she could. She knew that who you are is a stone set deep inside you. You can spend all your life trying to dig that stone out, or you can build around it. Your choice.”

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Top Ten Tuesday – 99 Problems and a Book Ain’t One

February 17, 2015 Meme 5

It’s TEN! Or, Ten Book Related Problems I Have.

1. There are SO MANY BOOKS. These are the books I really really really want.

2. My TBR overflows. This is books I actually own.

3. Time. That elusive element. I never have enough of it.

4. Power. The machines need it. And run out. Constantly….

5. Light. Or, I can’t read in bed because people can’t seem to sleep with a light on. How rude.

6. Shelf space. And/or memory, for the electrical stuff.

7. Money. You know that quote? The “When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes” – Erasmus? quote. Dang it, I have little mouths to feed. They have to come first. Most of the time. ::joke::

8. Attention span. Some days I just don’t have one.

9. Readers. I have few in my NON ONLINE LIFE and the ones I do don’t read like me. They read that popular, mainstream…STUFF. So depressing.

10. I can’t carry the cute little purses I love because a book or two won’t fit in them.

What are some bookish problems you have?

toptentuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading This Week?

February 16, 2015 Books, Meme 7

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Hey! Would you look at that? The Soloist is STILL ON MY LIST. Never fear my friends, I’m about halfway finished with it. My God, what an amazing book. So sad. So inspiring.  I tore through half of it yesterday and, if the weather does what they are saying it will, I expect I’ll have some extra time this week to tear through the rest.

In Geek Love news, I’m still working my way through it. It’s one of those books that…well…feels long even if it isn’t. What I mean is, I can sit down with it for an hour, feel like I’m reading at a pretty good clip only to look up and see I’ve only advanced 5%. Good thing I’m still enjoying it.

Since I finished The Man Who Touched His Own Heart last week (excellent audio!), after much hemming and hawing, I started Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; I would listen to that man read anything. ANYTHING I TELL YOU.

On deck, I’m thinking I’ll finally start The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac by Sharma Shields. I also really want to start Pepper: A History of the World’s Most Influential Spice by Marjorie Shaffer, another book I bought with my birthday money (The Soloist is the other). And in audio, I’m thinking My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh, if I can manage to get it on my iPhone. It’s an audio ARC and I’m no good with iTunes.

What are your plans for the reading week? Read anything good last week?

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

It’s Monday, What are you Reading is hosted weekly by super-awesome Sheila from BookJourney.

 

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The TBR Tag!

February 15, 2015 Books 7

books

The TBR Tag!

I was tagged my best bud Andi from Estella’s Revenge. My internet has been down all week and lazy me didn’t write anything anyway, so… this is good timing

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile? I am terrible at this. Sometimes I put books in Goodreads right after I buy them, but most of the time, I only add it once I start reading it.2. Is your TBR mostly print or eBook? I’d say, right NOW, it’s pretty even, but it’s steadily skewing toward eBook. Damn you Amazon and your fantastic sales.3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next? My reading tendencies are in my blog name. I am capricious. I read whatever trips my trigger at any given moment.

4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest? Oh my gosh, I have no idea. The earliest book on my Goodreads TBR is Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl.

5. A book you recently added to your TBR? The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng.

eveningmists

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of it’s beautiful cover. Ha! SO MANY. It would be easier to say which book is on my TBR with an ugly cover. I’m such a cover whore.

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading. What? I PLAN ON READING THEM ALL. SERIOUSLY.

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for. Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein.

blackdove

9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read but you. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. 

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read. The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac: A Novel by Sharma Shields. SOON. Very, very soon.

12. How many books are on your Goodreads TBR shelf? Um….1,080… THIS DOES NOT MEAN I OWN THEM ALL. My TBR shelf on Goodreads serves as much as a wishlist as a TBR list.

I’m not going to tag anyone, but if you choose to do this, please let me know!

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