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

July 6, 2015 Books, Meme 10


19351043 lifefromscratch

Last week:

What a week last week was. I went to the beach over the weekend, then left my family behind to COME BACK TO WORK. Which is great, because I have a job, but also I HAD TO LEAVE MY FAMILY. It was hard. But hey, I got my first PAID DAY OFF, because YO! I GOT HIRED!!! ::happy dance::

So, you’d think I got a lot of reading done, at least, with the family gone right? WRONG. I finished my last two books, Nimona (Kicks. Ass.) and Life From Scratch at the beach and on the way home respectively. Somehow, when given too much freedom, my brain shuts down. I did more cooking than anything else, which yeah, is odd since I was home alone. But I made jellies so I didn’t really need them for that anyway. lol

Anyhoo, I couldn’t find a new book until yesterday and I had to push myself to do it. Typical. I’m reading great books now. See this week.

theshore barbariandays weneednewnames

This week:

You guys were SO RIGHT about The Shore. Much better in print and there’s that handy family tree in the front too. Loving the heck out of this book.

I figured summer, at the beach (at the time) was the best time to read William Finnegan’s book on his surfing life. Just getting into it but am surprised at how much I’m enjoying it.

And, after going through a stack of books, I peeked at We Need New Names and was sucked it. To the tune of 70 pages before I finally passed out last night! The lack of quotation marks isn’t even bothering me!

littleparisbookshop everythingisperfect lairofdreams

Up next:

A book apothecary? In Paris? SIGN ME UP.

Everything is Perfect When You’re a Liar was on my summer reads list. Figure I better get on it!

I have to find out what is going on with Evie O’Neill, my favorite Diviner. Sounds like many more supernatural shenanigans. I expect no less from Libba Bray.

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

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

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




I have to pick 10? Favorite books, so far, this year.

July 3, 2015 Blogging, Books 6

You guys! Never in my 10 years of blogging or in my 15 years of tracking my reading, I don’t think I have ever read 90 books by the halfway point in the year. It. Feels. AWESOME.

However, it makes it really hard to pick 10 favorites. I have read so many great books! I can’t imagine how much worse it will be at the end of the year. So, I’m dialing it up to 11. Here are my 11 favorite books, so far, in 2015.


Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow – this gorgeously written book damn near broke my heart. I cried several times. Love love love it.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson – I literally finished this book YESTERDAY. Kick ass girl who can shapeshift into any form she wants? Honor, loyalty, love? Check, check, check.

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh – YOU GUYS. I can’t tell you HOW MUCH I identified with this book. I just LOVED IT. Loved it. Seriously, DO YOU GET IT? I LOVE THIS BOOK. I need to reread it now.


Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsey – This has been my year for nonfiction. I’ve read more this year than I’ve probably read in the last 10. I LOVE it. And Anna Lyndsey’s story, of being confined to her pitch dark house because of extreme photosensitivity, is easily one of my favorites. The writing is gorgeous, the story moving. It’s a winner. Even if it makes me so very sad. (my review)

It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario – Wow. Another nonfiction book! And wow, what a story. Addario is a war photographer who has visited so many war-torn countries and covered so many wars. I learned more from her about these situations around the world than I probably ever have from a newscast. Such a great book.

Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley – Friends, I’d like to you meet Katie. Katie, friends. Katie is my new best friend. That lives in a book. I LOVE HER, OKAY? She can cook, she has a house spirit who looks like a really blonde Björk, and she completely ROCKS. Don’t judge me.


The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro – My first experience with Ishiguro and it was magical. (my review)

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – OMG this blew my socks off, skirt up, I went head over heels. (my review)

Cinnamon & Gunpowder by Eli Brown – Fiery redhead pirate women FTW! Goodness, this book was fun. (my review)


The Martian by Andy Weir – Edge of my seat CRAZY suspense. LOVED. IT.

An Untamed State by Roxanne Gay – Holy cow what a novel. Powerfully, yet poetically written, this book broke my heart. (my review)

How about you? What have been your favorite books so far this year? Why?





Monthly Wrap Up – June 2015

July 2, 2015 Books, Monthly Wrap Up 11


Dear June,

Wow. I mean, wow. I honestly thought we wouldn’t get along at all. I mean, you bring the beginning of summer and with it the garden, kids out of school, and that general malaise I usually get this time of year. You really bowled me over though. 11 books? 3 comics? And all of them really REALLY good? Great even? I mean, there isn’t really a bad book in the bunch!

77. Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life (Scott Pilgrim #1) by Bryan Lee O’Malley
78. The Bees by Laline Paull, read by Orlagh Cassidy
79. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
80. Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles M. Blow
81. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, read by Helen Macdonald
82. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
83. Wayward, Issue 8 by Jim Zub
84. Alex + Ada, Issue 15 by Jonathan Luna
85. His Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, read by David Thorn
86. The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler
87. Lumberjanes, Issue 15 by Noelle Stevenson
88. The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips
89. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
90. Life from Scratch: A Memoir of Food, Family, and Forgiveness by Sasha Martin, read by Andi Arndt

Favorites for the month? I don’t think I can pick one. Fire Shut Up in My Room was completely gut-wrenching and phenomenal. H is for Hawk was breathtaking. I knew without even opening Seconds that I would be meeting a kindred spirit within its pages. The Book of Speculation was completely in my wheelhouse (seriously, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?). So was The Beautiful Bureaucrat. Nimona was EVERYTHING I thought it would be and MORE. Thank you peer pressure. I was so so so sad to see the end of Alex + Ada and Lumberjanes just gets better with every issue.

June. You took the cake and ate it too. I can’t wait to see what July brings.



Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen King

June 25, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 4 ★★★★½

Reading Notes: On a Long Walk with Stephen KingThe Long Walk
by Stephen King
Published by Signet
on July 1979
Genres: Horror
Pages: 370
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as The Long Walk. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying...

100 boys. 100 boys, assembled on a hill in Maine. They are from all over the country. They don’t know each other, have never even seen each other before. But they are about to embark on a journey, a journey where only one will come out alive, for they are to walk. Walk until there is only one boy left standing. Along the way, profound things will be learned, friendships will be made, and at the end…does anything really change?

I’m so take it or leave it with King. And it’s not because I don’t think he’s a fantastic writer. I do! I looooooved The Stand. I’m so terrified of The Shining that I am 99.9% sure I will never touch it, even with that proverbial 10-foot pole. I thought Misery was tolerable (I was a teen when I read it, so I really barely remember it). I adored his book On Writing. The movie Pet Sematary threatened my relationship with cats for quite some time and I am a cat. lover. In short, I’m never quite sure where I stand on the guy. Basically he warms by belly in anticipation and chills my blood with apprehension.

So, when I read this book was compared to The Hunger Games, I was unsurprisingly interested and wary.

And, as these sorts of comparisons usually go, I found it remarkably different from The Hunger Games and I was completely okay with that. In many ways, The Long Walk isn’t as political. The reader is never told exactly why these boys walk every year. There is no feeling that they are a sacrifice. There is no visible government, other than the Major and the soldiers who follow the boys, and kill them when they fall. There is obviously a winner and the winner does win a prize (seemingly of a large sum of money). The focus of The Long Walk is more on the boys, their thoughts, their feelings, the process of the long walk and what it does to their minds and bodies. I’ve never really thought about it, but walking, without stopping, at a certain speed, for a long period of time would wear on your body and your mind.

In short, I know I would go completely nuts.

This book was more thought-provoking and interesting than I anticipated and I’m actually really glad I read it. I’m glad Uncle Stevie and I are starting to see things the same way. I appreciated that nothing really changed. No governments were overtly challenged, no minds were changed (except those boys), and the reader can imagine that the same thing will happen next year, and the next, and the next. Sometimes things don’t have to be all wrapped up in a bow and I love the occasionally ending that embraces that. Way to go Uncle Stevie!






Reading Notes: What I’m reading

June 23, 2015 Books 12

Since I flaked out yesterday (read, I was too hot because our air is broken. Picture me lazing around with semi-naked boys waving big leaves at me please.) and didn’t post what I was reading for the week, I thought I’d do a thorough job here today while it is still cool enough to breathe.


speculationFirstly. Did you hear we had a flash readathon this past weekend? It was great. I didn’t read the WHOLE time, which was also nice, but I did get quite a bit read. Since The Book of Speculation came out this week, I was mainly read it, to catch up and hopefully post on it this week. I would up reading almost all of it and hope to finish it today. It’s about a family of circus-type performers and I’m enjoying it a hella lot more than I did Geek Love, lemmetellya. I don’t always love the going-back-and-forth-in-time plot device, whatever that is called, but it works in this book. Full review later this week. I hope.

secondsI also read THE MOST EXCELLENT GRAPHIC NOVEL EVER during the readathon. Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley completely ROCKED MY SOCKS OFF. You guys, I met my new book best friend last night. Katie is sassy, brassy, and loooooooves to cook. And mess with time lines. Goodness gracious holy moley baloney this book was tons of fun.

I managed to rock a couple of single issue comics too. I sobbed over the end of Alex + Ada (DOES IT HAVE TO BE OVER????) and continued to wonder just what the heck is going on in Wayward. All in all I very much enjoyed the flash readathon. Can we have another?

temeraireAfter finishing the EXCELLENT H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald, I started the audio of Her Majesty’s Dragon by Naomi Novik, the first of the Temeraire books. I thought to myself, “Self, H is for Hawk was all kinds of excellent, I better get something completely different.” Boy, did I. I have like, literally, 5 minutes left in the book and I’m still not sure I like it. Judging from the reviews on Goodreads, and I’m judging by the stars here, I am most definitely missing something. Even one of my favorite authors, Patrick Rothfuss, loved this book. I’d better reread it in book form sometime down the road.

barbariandaysUp next, I’m leaning toward reading Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan 1) because I’m going to the beach next week, 2) it sounds out of my wheelhouse (what does that even mean? seriously? I hear it all the time. Must look up.) and 3) it also sounds really good. I picked up a slew of books at the library yesterday and both Citizen: an American Lyric by Claudia Rankine and Against the Country by Ben Metcalf are really calling to me. I’m thinking of listening to The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye next, but I’m also leaning toward more Flavia adventures with A Red Herring Without Mustard. Somedays, it is so hard to pick.

What are you reading this week? What’s tasty?




Reading Notes: Some More Thoughts on Pirates and Adventure

June 18, 2015 Book Reviews, Books 3 ★★★★★

Reading Notes: Some More Thoughts on Pirates and AdventurePirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship
by Robert Kurson
Published by Random House
on June 16th 2015
Genres: Biography, Mystery, Nonfiction
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
A thrilling new adventure of danger and deep-sea diving, historic mystery and suspense, by the author of the New York Times bestseller Shadow Divers

Finding and identifying a pirate ship is the hardest thing to do under the sea. But two men—John Chatterton and John Mattera—are willing to risk everything to find the Golden Fleece, the ship of the infamous pirate Joseph Bannister. At large during the Golden Age of Piracy in the seventeenth century, Bannister’s exploits would have been more notorious than Blackbeard’s, more daring than Kidd’s, but his story, and his ship, have been lost to time. If Chatterton and Mattera succeed, they will make history—it will be just the second time ever that a pirate ship has been discovered and positively identified. Soon, however, they realize that cutting-edge technology and a willingness to lose everything aren’t enough to track down Bannister’s ship. They must travel the globe in search of historic documents and accounts of the great pirate’s exploits, face down dangerous rivals, battle the tides of nations and governments and experts. But it’s only when they learn to think and act like pirates—like Bannister—that they become able to go where no pirate hunters have gone before.

Fast-paced and filled with suspense, fascinating characters, history, and adventure, Pirate Hunters is an unputdownable story that goes deep to discover truths and souls long believed lost.

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


Is there anything better than a good pirate book? Especially in the summer? Arrrr! I didn’t think so.

Way back when, I read a fantastic book about German U-Boats and deep sea divers called Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson. One of the divers, John Chatterton, may perhaps be familiar to you? If not, you are missing the adventures of one of the last, great adventurers.

John Chatterton (born 1951) is an American wreck diver. Together with Richie Kohler, he was one of the co-hosts for the History Channel’sDeep Sea Detectives, for 57 episodes of the series. He is also a consultant to the film and television industries and has worked with 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, and CBS. – From Wikipedia

After reading Shadow Hunters, I (and my extension, my husband, being the history nuts we both are) became obsessed with deep sea diving. We watched Deep Sea Detectives and other such shows frequently. I read Kurson’s next book, Crashing Through; A True Story of Risk, Adventure, and the Man Who Dared to See, even though it had nothing to do with diving, because I just loved his writing. In other words, I really loved the book, the author, and the topic. So imagine my delight when I saw that not only did Robert Kurson had another book coming out, but it featured John Chatterton again! And pirates! Yo ho!

Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship has it all. Adventure. History. Danger, greed, and of course, riches. Pirate riches. Gold doubloons, cannons, fine china, and more. I appreciated it all. The reading is fast paced. The research meticulous but not so didactic that it bogs everything down. The tension exquisite. And all to find, not on the ship, but the man who manned it; John Bannister, gentleman pirate. Bannister, lost to history and other pirates more famous, was a singular man with a fascinating story.

One feature of all of Kurson’s books are of man’s determination to be more, to push themselves to be more, than they ever thought possible. In Shadow Divers, Chatterton, Kohler, and company risk their lives to dive to unthinkable depths. Mike May, from Crashing Through, was blinded at the age of three, yet he went on to break records in downhill speed skiing, he joined the CIA, and became a successful business man, inventor, and family man. And again, in Pirate Hunters, Chatterton is thought by many to be too old to be diving at such depths. Now in his sixties, he does it anyway, risking his life, to find the impossible; a real, authenticated pirate ship and make history for finding the actual SECOND pirate ship ever to be found (and authenticated). In my mind, this outlook on life can be inspiration for anyone who wants to be more than they think they can be. Just get out there and do it!

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of this fantastic book. It will look great in your beach bag!




Top Ten Tuesday – My Summer TBR

June 16, 2015 Meme 14


Ah…summer reading. I can’t help but think of my youngster days when I did nothing but lay outside in the sunshine and read, read, read. It was hella bad for my skin but damn it was fun. I miss those days so much….


Since I sort of feel like I’ve already posted a version of this list already, I’m going to put a spin on it and share what I hope to read with the kids this summer:

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – This is already in progress and they seem to be loving it.

2. Wildwood by Colin Meloy – I really enjoyed the audiobook. Also, strong female character? YES PLEASE. (The boy character ain’t that bad either.)

3. A Hat Full of Sky (Tiffany Aching #2) by Terry Pratchett – We listened to The Wee Free Men last year and the kids (especially my girl) loved it. So much so that she now carries string around with her everywhere and if you don’t know why, perhaps YOU need to read this series too. We can’t wait to continue the series. I’d like to get them all caught up before The Shepherd’s Crown comes out later this year.

4. 100 Cupboards by N. D. Wilson – Doors in the ceiling leading to different worlds? Damn! I wish this had been around when I was a kid!

5. Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke – I loved this book and I really think my son will too. And the daughter. Such an adventurous book.

6. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis – I read my copies to pieces when I was a kid. It’s high time I got them started on these as well.

7. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer – Some girls in my daughter’s class have been working on a “book” with her and it sounds very Artemis Fowl-ish. So I thought she should hear this. LOL

8. The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson #1) by Rick Riordan – I know I am not the target audience for these books but geez louise y’all but I love it. I want them to love it too. SO MUCH. (ImayloveitmorethanHarryPotter. ::gasp::)

9. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling – Speaking of Harry…. I cannot get them interested in these books. I do not understand this.

10. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh – My daughter, who has her own spy kid she devised herself, has not read this book. I must fix this.

Any suggestions for other books I can read with the kids this summer? I’m all ears!


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



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

June 15, 2015 Books, Meme 9



Last week: I had a GREAT reading week last week. I finished The Bees on Monday and headed right into H is for Hawk (see below). I wrapped up Fire Shut Up in My Bones Friday and it was amazing. Then Saturday I gulped down This One Summer which was just absolutely perfect.


This week: I’m listening to H is for Hawk which is absolutely fantastic. It’s read by the author and she has a great voice and a great way of telling the story. I am really enjoying it. I hesitated to put War of the Encyclopaedists on here, since I’ve only read the first chapter, but I’m being brave and hoping it sticks. If it doesn’t, I have plenty to move on to. Ha! Lastly, after reading The Bees, I wanted to find out more about how bees actually live, so I started The Beekeeper’s Lament. So far, it hasn’t really told much about the life of bees, more about the life of beekeepers, but it is still really interesting.


Up Next: By some MIRACLE, I managed to score an eARC of Patrick Ness’s new book and I seriously can’t wait to sink my teeth into it. For my next nonfiction read, I’m leaning toward Cathedrals of the Flesh. There is just something so very weird about a book about baths, right? Right? Also, I’m not sure what to listen to next. Perhaps What If? by Randall Munroe? Absurd hypothetical science questions AND it’s read by Wil Wheaton? I AM SO THERE.

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

It's Monday What Are  You Reading

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




Currently // AHHHH!

June 14, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 9

Right this minute | I’m having a chai latte and making a list of the Anna Pigeon (by Nevada Barr) books. I have hooked my uncle on them and I can’t remember which ones he has. I’m trying to find the missing ones on

Feeling | Extremely anxious. I sometimes have anxiety problems and today isn’t a good day. Plus, I’m really annoyed that I can’t search the books I’ve received from Paperbackswap. Or at least can’t figure out how to. And that our internet so completely STINKS. It is soooooooooo slooooooooow.

Reading | I think I will concentrate on The Beekeeper’s Lament today. It will probably get me all worried about the bee situation in the world today, but it’s crazy interesting.

Listening | The family is listening to The Graveyard Book Full Cast production. Judging by the amount of times the kids told each other to shut up, I think they are enjoying it. I am listening to H is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald, which is just wonderful.

Watching | I watched the pilot of Casanova last night. It’s going to be on Amazon. It has Diego Luna who is WHOA. Hella sexy.

Blogging | Well, as usual, I discussed my weekly reading on Monday. Tuesday was a list of books coming out later this year that I KIND OF NEED NOW and Wednesday, I reviewed The Library at Mount Char, which was crazy good. The rest of the week was so busy I completely flaked out on blogging.

Promoting | The Estella Project, Season 3! Such a great list of books!

Loving | Peace and quiet. When I can get it.

Hating | Unexplained rashes. I have one and it’s driving me INSANE.

Eating | GF waffles and peanut butter. Breakfast of champions. Or people who have no other food in the house.

Exercising | I managed to walk the trail three times this week. In the cut-it-with-a-knife humidity.

Anticipating | GETTING HIRED NEXT WEEK. Cross fingers please!

Meal Planning|  Ugh. Again? Can I just eat out all week? We’re having a heat wave here!

Meal 1: Hubby is going to make his tilapia (I have no idea what his recipe is, but it’s good and involves no work from me) with buttered (gf) parmesan noodles. I’m going to throw in a vegetable; perhaps roasted asparagus? If I can stand to turn the stove on?

Meal 2: Grilled chicken breast tenders with the kale garlic rice I didn’t get to make last week, plus a veg. Possibly squash. I have some in the garden that will hopefully be ready soon. I know, grilled squash!

Meal 3: I’m thinking some sort of breakfast thing. Like a casserole. Like this? Yes, I’d have to turn the oven on, but I can get it ready before hand and just pop it in. Maybe can even get the hubby to pop it in before I get home???