The Best of 2014 – The Nonfiction

January 9, 2015 Books 12

Another day, another list! Honestly, I am so proud of my nonfiction reading last year. Every year I say I want to read more of it and last year I finally did. Nonfiction November helped, but I consistently did it all year. I feel it really enriched my reading for the year. Here are ten of my favorites.



  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain (my review)

Life changing. Defining.

  • Lives in Ruins: Archeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson

Informative and fun.

  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Lauren Hillenbrand

I learned so much about the Japanese side of World War II. I feel like I knew nothing about it until I read this book. Heartbreaking and inspiring.

  • The Dead Beat: Lost Souls, Lucky Stiffs, and the Perverse Pleasures of Obituaries by Marilyn Johnson

It feels weird to say a book about obituaries was fun, but good golly, it was.

  • Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach

I love Mary Roach. She makes the most gross subjects not only informative, but also fun.

  • Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory by Caitlin Doughty

I’m beginning to suspect a fascination with death? Probably not, but still, it’s all very interesting.

  • Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg

Interesting look at what it takes to open a restaurant, and the effects that can have on a marriage.

  • Call The Midwife: A Memoir of Birth, Joy, and Hard Times by Jennifer Worth (my review)

This look at a midwife’s life in London’s East End during the 1950s is nothing short of fascinating.

  • Touching the Void by Joe Simpson (my review)

Y’all, my body hurts just thinking about this book. What a wild ride. Exciting and a little scary.

  • Will Storr vs. The Supernatural: One Man’s Search for the Truth About Ghosts by Will Storr

This was just plain fun and a great read for the fall months.



Best of 2014 – The Fiction

January 7, 2015 Books 16

I am such a cheater. But hey, I read 132 books last year. And it IS my blog. So, here are my top 10 favorite FICTION books from last year.


Yep. This was my favorite. It has stayed with me all year and, believe it or not, I have it queued up to listen to very soon. I waited until 2015 to reread it. It was hard to wait.

  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I never got around to reviewing this one, dang it. There is SO MUCH I LOVE about this book! I have followed Maggie Stiefvater since she published her first book (I got it for Christmas that year!) and she just gets better and better. This story of wild (killer) horses, and races, and poverty, and sexism, and more, so much more, spoke to me on so many levels. It is, in my mind, her best novel to date. And yes, I’m putting it above The Raven Cycle books. Which is hard, but there you are.

  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones (my review)

Oh Ms. Jones! What TOOK ME SO LONG? And why haven’t I read another? {sigh}

  • Chains (Seeds of America #1) by Laurie Halse Anderson

Somehow I never review this and I am actually pretty upset about that. Isabel, a young slave who will do anything to obtain freedom for herself and her sister Ruth is pretty compelling. I have to get my hands on the sequel this year.

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time India by Sherman Alexie

This book. OMG you guys, THIS BOOK. I read it during the April readathon, which turned out to be the perfect time to do it. I did not want to put it down! Junior’s typical awkward journal to adulthood is complicated by his desire to break free of his reservation life and take his future into his own hands. This book is so beautifully written and so true. Just so true. Not to be missed. I will be rereading this.

  • Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

I tried, I can’t tell you how many times I tried, to review this book, but in the end, it hit too close to home. I was abandoned by my mother and left with my sick (not mentally, physically, but still) father who died when I was still young and raised by my grandparents. CeeCee’s story was so close to my own, I couldn’t see how to write about it, which I regret because the book is absolutely breathtaking. Oh, the tears. Lifelong favorite right here. And good Lord I have got to get myself to Savannah!

  • Ruby by Cynthia Bond

This book broke me. The hardest books to read can leave the largest impression. This one left a huge one.

  • The Green Mile by Stephen King

I have long loved the movie, but had never read the book, mainly because I figured the book would be sadder. Boy, I was right. John Coffey is one of my most favorite characters. Ever.

  • East of Eden by John Steinbeck

Epic. What. an. epic. This is another one of those books that can leave an impression. This one is everlasting. And Cathy? OMG What a piece of work. Most evil character ever? I’m leaning toward yes.

  • Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

I really like Sepetys. I mean REALLY. Her writing is gorgeous. She makes even minor characters feel important. Her sense of time is well established and her sense of place make you almost feel like you’re there. She’s on my One to Watch list for sure.



Top Ten Tuesday – Hey, I Wanna Read That Now!

January 6, 2015 Meme 13

or, Top Ten Most Anticipated Novels For 2015. Because, unfortunately, I didn’t have time to look up 10 debut novels. Of course, some of these may BE debuts, but again, I’m too  lazy to check. It’s so hard being this lazy.


Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman – Hello, it’s Neil Gaiman!!

Trigger Warning explores the masks we all wear and the people we are beneath them to reveal our vulnerabilities and our truest selves. Here is a rich cornucopia of horror and ghosts stories, science fiction and fairy tales, fabulism and poetry that explore the realm of experience and emotion.

The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac: A Novel by Sharma Shields – Shannon mentioned this just yesterday and I’m desperate to get my hands on it. GAH! I NEED IT NOW.

Eli Roebuck was nine years old when his mother walked off into the woods with “Mr. Krantz,” a large, strange, hairy man who may or may not be a sasquatch. What Eli knows for certain is that his mother went willingly, leaving her only son behind. For the rest of his life, Eli is obsessed with the hunt for the bizarre creature his mother chose over him, and we watch it affect every relationship he has in his long life–with his father, with both of his wives, his children, grandchildren, and colleagues. We follow all of the Roebuck family members, witnessing through each of them the painful, isolating effects of Eli’s maniacal hunt, and find that each Roebuck is battling a monster of his or her own, sometimes literally. The magical world Shields has created is one of unicorns and lake monsters, ghosts and reincarnations, tricksters and hexes. At times charming, as when young Eli meets the eccentric, extraordinary Mr. Krantz, and downright horrifying at others, The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac is boldly imaginative throughout, and proves to be a devastatingly real portrait of the demons that we as human beings all face.

Find Me by Laura van den Berg – It just SOUNDS GOOD.

Joy has no one. She spends her days working the graveyard shift at a grocery store outside Boston and nursing an addiction to cough syrup, an attempt to suppress her troubled past. But when a sickness that begins with memory loss and ends with death sweeps the country, Joy, for the first time in her life, seems to have an advantage: she is immune. When Joy’s immunity gains her admittance to a hospital in rural Kansas, she sees a chance to escape her bleak existence. There she submits to peculiar treatments and follows seemingly arbitrary rules, forming cautious bonds with other patients—including her roommate, whom she turns to in the night for comfort, and twin boys who are digging a secret tunnel.

As winter descends, the hospital’s fragile order breaks down and Joy breaks free, embarking on a journey from Kansas to Florida, where she believes she can find her birth mother, the woman who abandoned her as a child. On the road in a devastated America, she encounters mysterious companions, cities turned strange, and one very eerie house. As Joy closes in on Florida, she must confront her own damaged memory and the secrets she has been keeping from herself.

Get in Trouble by Kelly Link – One of my most favorite short stories ever is by Kelly Link. So I look forward to everything she does. Plus, endorsed by Chabon, Gaiman, and Russell? Yes please!

She has been hailed by Michael Chabon as “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction”; by Neil Gaiman as “a national treasure”; and by Karen Russell as “Franz Kafka with a better understanding of ladies’ footwear and bad first dates.”

The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter


The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman – No cover! {gasp} And this brief description is all I needed.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Dovekeepers and The Museum of Extraordinary Things: a forbidden love story set on the tropical island of St. Thomas about the extraordinary woman who gave birth to painter Camille Pissarro—the Father of Impressionism.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black – It’s new Holly Black! It’s a given!

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

The Season of Migration by Nellie Hermann – It’s about van Gogh! {squeal} He’s my favorite.

Though Vincent van Gogh is one of the most popular painters of all time, we know very little about a ten-month period in the painter’s youth when he and his brother, Theo, broke off all contact. In The Season of Migration, Nellie Hermann conjures this period in a profoundly imaginative, original, and heartbreaking vision of Van Gogh’s early years, before he became the artist we know today.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson – I love Larson. And, well this just sounds like a recipe for disaster:

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But theLusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds” and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship–the fastest then in service–could outrun any threat.

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman – Every time I see it, I’m intrigued, even though I’m sure this plot has been done before. But with a title like that….

In the aftermath of a devastating plague, a fearless young heroine embarks on a dangerous and surprising journey to save her world in this brilliantly inventive dystopian thriller, told in bold and fierce language, from a remarkable literary talent.

My name be Ice Cream Fifteen Star and this be the tale of how I bring the cure to all the Nighted States . . .

How about you? What 2015 debuts (or just plain new books) are you anxious to read?


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



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

January 5, 2015 Books, Meme 14

PicMonkey Collage

Happy Monday!!!

How is your year going so far? Mine’s going great! I’m finally on the mend and I’m STILL reading! In fact, I’ve already finished two books! On January 1st, I devoured The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss. It was a great way to begin the year.  The next book, Caveat Emptor by Ken Perenyi, was an impulse buy during Amazon’s holiday sales. I’m glad I got it on sale. It was hilarious, to me, probably in a way unintended.

Now, I’m reading devouring The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin. I actually staying up late last night to read more of it. I would have stayed up longer, but dang it, I had to work today. {sigh} I’m listening to The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. I decided it was time to push on through whatever is blocking me on this book. I know I’ll love it, so I’m giving it one more try. Don’t worry, if I have to I’ll drop it. But so far so good!

Up next is An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay. I’m reading it with my Andi!

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

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

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




My Year in Books – 2014

January 2, 2015 Books 15

Holy cow y’all and Happy New Year! I enjoyed my break, but I missed you guys. Now, let’s see if I can get back into the swing of things. I figured I’d start with the traditional run down of the past year. How did I do?

Thanks to an extended holiday from work for the holidays (did I mention I love working for the university?) and a very extended bout with a vicious virus (this, I did not love), I had a LOT of reading time. I read 20 stories in December you guys. TWENTY. It brought my yearly total to 132. My goal was 100.

I am pleased.

I didn’t really set myself any goals for the year and I’m doing the same this year. It’s a Free Range Reading year y’all. I’m going to read what I want, when I want, and that’s that. No challenges (except RIP and Once Upon a Time. That’s tradition.). Just good, old-fashioned, reading whatever the hell I want.

It worked last year.

So, last year. Stats. Because we all loves stats, right? And lists. Lists are later. Like, next week.


Men Vs. Women – 79 ladies and 53 gents. I’m happy with this.

Format – I’m satisfied, but I’d like to read more books from my shelves.

Books – 39
ebooks – 62
Audiobooks – 30

Type of Story – I’d like to get in more short stories, nonfiction, and classics. I’m really pleased I read so much more nonfiction!

Fiction – 47
Nonfiction – 20
Short Stories – 8
Graphic Novels/Comics – 46 (Holy Rusted Metal BATMAN)
Classics – 9

Go me! What did your reading year look like? Are you looking to change anything in 2015?




Break Time

December 15, 2014 Books 10


Image Credit: Irene O’Garden

Y’all. I gotta take a break. Normally, this time of year is a little bit more chill for me, but with the new job, plus Christmas commitments, homework, cooking cooking cooking, I’m slammed. Something’s gotta give. And I have no spare time to blog, let alone think of things to blog about, comment on others posts, etc. Plus, I’m still having trouble finding my heart in blogging. So, blogging gives. I want to use what little spare time I have to read. I’ll be around your blogs, hopefully, but not here. I’ll still be on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, of course.

See you in the new year with hopefully more mojo. And time. Happy Holidays and I LOVE YOU GUYS.



A Month of Favorites – 6 Degrees of Separation?

December 4, 2014 Books 3

6 Degrees of Separation {with a fave book} - linking up with Annabel Smith

Yeah, so, I’m not exactly sure how to play this game… Apparently, I start with this book:


and link it to another book through 4 other books. Am I right? I hope so, cause that’s what I’m going with. So, I’m going to attempt to get to one of my favorite books this year; The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater. It seems random enough!

So. I’ve never heard of The Narrow Road to the Deep North, but SAYING The Deep North makes me think of The Deep South, where I am from (well, not exactly DEEP, but whatever), which immediately made me think of a book I listened to earlier this year, and loved, Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal makes me think of DOLLS, surprise! Thinking of DOLLS, leads me to Doll Bones by Holly Black; a favorite from last year. Holly Black also wrote The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, one of the few vampire novels I’ve enjoyed in the last couple of years. Holly Black has also written some of my favorite novels about faeries and this leads me to to my last link, which is The Scorpio Races. The first book I ever read by Maggie Stiefvater was also her first published book; Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception (Books of Faerie #1) by Maggie Stiefvater.


So, there you have it. The Narrow Road to the Deep North to The Scorpio Races. Hey, that was kind of fun!

What books would you have used to link those two books?



A Month of Favorites – 10 Fave Book Covers

December 3, 2014 Books 14


10 Fave Book Covers – link-up hosted at Traveling with T

OMG this will be so hard.


1. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins // 2. The Flame Alphabet by Ben Marcus // 3. Grimm Tales for the Young and Old by the Brothers Grimm, retellings by Philip Pullman // 4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald // 5. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark


6. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov // 7. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote // 8. The End, or Something Like That by Ann Dee Ellis // 9. Maggie’s Harvest by Maggie Beer (my son picked this one out) (he has good taste) // 10. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

So, apparently I like really simple or really colorful! What do you think? What are some of your favorite covers?



A Month of Favorites – 5 Faves by Theme

December 2, 2014 Books 10


2 – 5 Faves by a Theme {eg. Audiobooks, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Mysteries, Books with Surprise Twists, Surprise Endings, Non-Fiction, Books That Made You Cry, Laugh Out Loud, Cringe, Book Boyfriends That Stole Your Heart, Apocalypse, Dystopian, Best books with kick ass girls, favorite siblings, couples, friends, most hated and loved villains} – link-up hosted at Girlxoxo



1. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, read by Anthony Heald // 2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton // 3. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, read by Neil Gaiman // 4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, read by Davina Porter // 5. The Wee Free Men (Tiffany Aching #1) by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs



1. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain // 2. 84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff // 3. Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See by Robert Kurson // 4. Touching the Void by Joe Simpson // 5. Faery Tale: One Woman’s Search for Enchantment in a Modern World by Signe Pike

Books That Made Me Cry


1. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd // 2. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling // 3. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness // 4. The Green Mile by Stephen King // 5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Most Loved Villains


1. The Mayor in The Chaos Walking series by Patrick Ness // 2. The Angel Islington in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman // 3. SPOILER in Fables by Bill Willingham // 4. Dracula in Dracula by Bram Stoker // 5. The Other Mother in Coraline by Neil Gaiman

I Tried, But Couldn’t Do Read It


1. The Martian by Andy Weir // 2. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld // 3. The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon 4. The Supernatural Enchancements by Edgar Cantero // 5. O, Africa by Andrew Lewis Cohn

How about you? Have any books you could add to my lists?



A Month of Faves – Introduction

December 1, 2014 Books 15


Hello and Welcome to “A Month of Faves!” All December-long, Estella’s Revenge,  Girlxoxo, and Traveling with T will be sharing fave bookish (and sometimes non-bookish) experiences from throughout the year AND they want ALL OF US to join in! These lovely bloggers have been around long enough to know, IT IS HARD TO BLOG IN DECEMBER. So they came up with a list of blog topics to carry me (and you!) into the new year with as little stress as possible.

Are they not fab?

See here to get the full list and join in!

{whispers *they are also giving away prizes!!!!*}

1 – Faves Month Introduction – About YOU and Your Reading this year (eg. fave genre, fave author, how you read (percentage (%) physical, eReader, audiobooks), when you read, what genre did you read the most from this year, which author was most prolific on your reading list, how many books did you read, give us a clue about what your fave book read this year is – but don’t tell us – let us guess!) – link-up hosted at Girlxoxo

Hi! My name is Heather! Somehow, I have read a lot of stories this year! Right now I’m sitting pretty at 113 stories read and am hoping to make it to 120. Why do I say stories instead of books? Because I partake in diverse ways of “reading.” I read comics, graphic novels, audiobooks, ebooks, hardcovers, softcovers, paperbacks, picture books (although I didn’t list those this year), and more I’m sure. So, stories. Not books.

I have to say, as I get older, I’m not sure I have a fave genre, author, or anything of the sort. Plus, as I’ve said before, I despise classifying books into genres. I think it narrows the playing field and ensures some won’t try a book because “they don’t read fantasy/women’s fiction/chick lit/westerns, etc. I do have particular authors I seek out more than others (hello Neil Gaiman!), but I really just read whatever grabs my attention. I don’t have the time to waste on a book that is boring the crap out of me any more. I made a resolution not to fool with anything that is frustrating, boring, annoying, or anything I’m not LOVING! And I can see the difference. I’ve read 113 books this year. I can’t think of many that I truly hated (except for you Phantom of the Opera. I still hate you with a passion.). With only the occasional hiccup, I have had one of the best reading years I’ve had in quite awhile.

That SAID, I did seem to grab comics and graphic novels a lot this year. 37 of out my 113 books were either graphic novels or comics. And dude, the year ain’t over yet.

Here’s my break down:

Graphic Novels/Comics – 37
Audiobooks – 22
Fiction – 101
Young Adult – 24
Nonfiction – 12
Classics – 9

My most prolific author read is Noelle Stevenson, thanks to 8 Lumberjanes comics. She is followed closely by Brian K. Vaughan with 7, thanks to Y the Last Man and the Saga series. He will catch up, but I don’t know if he’ll pass.

My favorite book? That’s too be decided. My next book could be my favorite! But as of RIGHT THIS MINUTE, I would say *** ********** by **** ******.