Top Ten Tuesday – Need It. Now.

June 9, 2015 Meme 9


Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

These posts feel dangerous. Like I don’t have enough to read, now I have to go find out what’s coming that I ALSO want to read??? Yeah, I loved it.


Neverwhere, Author’s Preferred Text by Neil Gaiman – Yeah, I’ve read it a bunch of times. Don’t care. I always wanted more, so I’ll be (happily) reading it again.

The Marvels by Brian Selznick – I love Selznick and his storytelling style. He is always inventive and he always moves me.

Armada by Ernest Cline – I’ve made no secret of my love for Ready Player One (review). I seriously cannot WAIT for this book to come out.

shepherdscrownfablesfarewellfuriously happy

The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett – ::sobs:: I just, I can’t…ugh. ::sobs::

Fables 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham – I can’t believe it’s ending! I have some catching up to do, I but I still find myself looking forward to this last one. I can’t wait to see how they wrap it all up.

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson – I ADORED Jenny’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (review), so it’s a given I’ll be reading this one too. Well, most likely listening to it. I know she’ll read again and dude. It just makes it all the more awesome.


Best Boy by Eli Gottlieb – I’ve read, and loved Eli Gottlieb, before and this one sounds all kinds of Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime Excellent.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – BOY COLT! Sorry, couldn’t resist. I simply adore Ness, so it’s a given I’ll be reading this. Plus, the whole idea of featuring characters that are NOT the hero sounds so very appealing.

The Beautiful Bureaucrat by Helen Phillips – A book that seems to defy categorization? (Based on a couple of reviews I’ve read.) Yes please.


In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware – Every time I see this cover, and every time I read the description, I find myself drawn to it. A woman, known to some by one name and some by another, who never leaves her “nest,” and, judging by the description, one is never quite sure which “woman” is appearing at any moment in the text? Sounds brilliant.


Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. More HERE.



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

June 8, 2015 Books, Meme 6


Firstly, I want to thank everyone who posted…condolences…on the loss of our chickens. I never thought I’d be so attached to a chicken, but two days later I still find myself looking out the window to check on them and feel so sad when they are not there. Chickens are the sweetest animals – it is so surprising! MY chicken, Basil – the older one – gave me hugs and cuddled all the time. We miss her so and shall for awhile I expect. There is nothing sadder than watching your 11YO desperately search Google for ways to find a lost chicken.



Last week: This is the only book I finished last week! Luckily IT WAS AWESOME-SAUCE.


This week: I will finish both of these. I am so close! The are both incredible books, in completely different ways. Fire Shut Up in My Bones is going to break me. I’ve already cried several times. The Bees took a few minutes, but now that I’m down in the meat of it, I can’t put it down. I will probably finish it today.


Up next: Thanks to listening to The Bees, I’m curious about the ACTUAL lives of bees. I found Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop on Scribd and am thinking of reading it next. I’m also craving another thrilling read like Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson and am leaning toward The Girl on the Train. And I’m really chomping at the bit to read Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray, since I managed to snag an ARC.

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 // So Much Irritation Today

June 7, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 13

Right this minute | I’m cleaning out my iCloud because I am sick and tired of my phone telling me it’s almost full and I AM NOT BUYING MORE APPLE. Also my kids keep yelling ridiculous things at each other.

Feeling | Irritated. And also very sad. Both our chickens disappeared yesterday. I know one is dead, judging by the amount of feathers in the yard, but I’m giving up hope on the other one. It was the bigger one and she was a pretty tough cookie, but I also think she would have popped up by now if she was hiding. We are all very sad.

Reading | I was tearing through Fire Shut Up in My Bones but I haven’t had time to read all week. Boss is out at work for two weeks (lucky duck)

Listening | The Bees by Laline Paull. So crazy awesome. Orlagh Cassidy can officially read me anything.

Watching | I need a new show to binge watch. Any suggestions?

Blogging | Let’s see…. I shared my reading plans for the week and also shared the books I read in May. Check out the awesome list of books to read for The Estella Project, Season 3, again if you didn’t miss it. Lastly, I talked a bit about the completely AWESOME Cinnamon & Gunpowder by Eli Brown.

Promoting | The Estella Project!! Season 3! Great list of books! Read 2 or 3!

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

Hating | iCloud at the moment.

Eating | I had a banana.

Exercising | I’m actually exercising more. I’ve walked the trail near my house three times this week and hope to do it today as well.

Anticipating | My Sunday nap.

Meal Planning| I actually did it this week!

Meal #1: Garlic Pork with Mushrooms and Onions with Kale Ginger Rice. The original recipe calls for sugar snap peas, but they never go over well in my family, so I’m going to use mushrooms and onions instead. We have never tried kale either, so this will be an adventure.

Meal #2: Sauerkraut and kielbasa with home fries. One of my kids favorite meals. Their reward (and mine!) for trying kale.

Meal #3: Tilapia with Chili Lime Butter, roasted broccoli, and parmesan garlic (GF) noodles. I have to eat more fish, so….

Meal #4: Grilled cabbage, squash casserole, and grilled peaches with honey and ice cream. All this came from the farmer’s market Saturday. CAN’T WAIT. I love this time of year!



Reading Notes: On pirates, food, and other nautical adventures

June 5, 2015 Books 5

Reading Notes: On pirates, food, and other nautical adventures
A gripping adventure, a seaborne romance, and a twist on the tale of Scheherazade—with the best food ever served aboard a pirate’s ship

The year is 1819, and the renowned chef Owen Wedgwood has been kidnapped by the ruthless pirate Mad Hannah Mabbot. He will be spared, she tells him, as long as he puts exquisite food in front of her every Sunday without fail.

To appease the red-haired captain, Wedgwood gets cracking with the meager supplies on board. His first triumph at sea is actual bread, made from a sourdough starter that he leavens in a tin under his shirt throughout a roaring battle, as men are cutlassed all around him. Soon he’s making tea-smoked eel and brewing pineapple-banana cider.

But Mabbot—who exerts a curious draw on the chef—is under siege. Hunted by a deadly privateer and plagued by a saboteur hidden on her ship, she pushes her crew past exhaustion in her search for the notorious Brass Fox. As Wedgwood begins to sense a method to Mabbot’s madness, he must rely on the bizarre crewmembers he once feared: Mr. Apples, the fearsome giant who loves to knit; Feng and Bai, martial arts masters sworn to defend their captain; and Joshua, the deaf cabin boy who becomes the son Wedgwood never had.

Cinnamon and Gunpowder is a swashbuckling epicure’s adventure simmered over a surprisingly touching love story—with a dash of the strangest, most delightful cookbook never written. Eli Brown has crafted a uniquely entertaining novel full of adventure: the Scheherazade story turned on its head, at sea, with food.

Y’all, I’m not sure what’s going on, other that some fantastic nautical book serendipity, but I read two books about pirates in the space of a couple of months. One was fiction, one was non, but both were fantastic. Today, I want to talk about the fiction one: Cinnamon & Gunpowder by Eli Brown.

It is no great secret that cooking is, in essence, seduction.

It feels slightly ridiculous to call a book a feast of words, but Brown. You GUYS. This dude can write and write ridiculously well.

Never have I seen such a motley assemblage of characters. Except that we are at sea, I would believe that I had been abducted by a traveling circus. There are men here of every hue and size, also men whose race cannot be determined due to the indigo tattoos that cover their faces and arms. There are men with bullrings through their noses, with turbans large enough to hide a samovar, with gold thread braided into their hair, with scimitars lashed to their hips; some with teeth sharpened to points, some with no teeth at all. Many of the men have lost fingers, one has no ears, and not a few of them sport blistered patches upon their faces, necks, and forearms.

Can’t you just see them? Standing on the deck, a ragtag group of rascals, ready to pick your pocket, run you through, and toss you overboard? And what a motley crew Captain Hannah Abbot has. Yes, Hannah. She’s a woman. And what a woman. Redhead, hot tempered, woman. A woman of – many – appetites. That’s why as the crew is on a mission to run through an enemy, she also steals his chef. Owen Wedgwood, timid chef, connoisseur of all foods fine, and widower finds himself kidnapped and on a pirate ship. To live, he must prepare exquisite food for the Mad Hannah Abbot every Sunday, with what food he can find on board or procure for himself.

It is a challenge.

Without another word, we began to eat. I was hungry, but no appetite would excuse the way we set upon those dishes. We shoveled food into our mouths in a manner ill befitting our fine attire. Bears would have blushed to see us bent over our plates. The pheasant, still steaming from the oven, its dark flesh redolent with the mushroom musk of the forest floor, was gnawed quickly to the bone. It was a touch gamy – no milk-fed goose, this – but it was tender, and the piquant hominy balanced that wild taste as I had hoped it would. The eggs, laced pink at the edges and floating delicately in a carnal sauce, were gulped down in two bites. The yolks were cooked to that rare liminal degree, no longer liquid but not yet solid, like the formative moment of a sun-colored gem

When it comes to food, Owen is a poet as well as a magician:

Some foods are so comforting, so nourishing of body and soul, that to eat them is to be home again after a long journey. To eat such a meal is to remember that, though the world is full of knives and storms, the body is built for kindness. The angels, who know no hunger, have never been as satisfied.


I’ve had this pain. To tell you it will go away would be a lie. It will never go away. But, if you live long enough, it will cease to torture and will instead flavor you. As we rely on the bitterness of strong tea to wake us, this too will become something you can use.


As it ferments, kraut whispers alchemical secrets. In two days, it will smell as agreeable as an old pillow still warm from night’s use. In five days it will smell like a horse run to foam. The odor will then lessen as the vegetable begins its tart transformation. It will be good to eat in two weeks, but at five weeks it will reach the zenith of its power, its taste a violin bow drawn across the tongue. After six weeks it will err slowly toward slime. Like hams and men, it gets better with age only to a point.

And oh my goodness, is it a delight. This book is just so. much. fun. I love food. I love pirates. A book with the two together is like a dream come true. I almost wish I had read it this summer, because the only way it could have been more perfect is if I had been reading it with my toes in the sand.

Seriously, if you need a fun, swashbuckling adventure for your summer, this book is it.



The Estella Project, Season 3 is here!!

June 4, 2015 Books 4


It’s here! It’s here! The list is here!!! For the third year in a row, we (The Estella Society) have solicited books. Specifically THAT book. The book you would put into every hand if you could. Every year brings a list of fantastic books; I haven’t read a bad one yet! And this year’s list is absolutely stellar:

  • Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
  • The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle
  • Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen
  • The Martian by Andy Weir
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple
  • Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
  • The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
  • When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
  • Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
  • Girl in the Dark by Anna Lyndsay
  • It’s What I Do by Lynsay Addario

What next? Go forth and read! Choose 1, 2, 3 or MORE! As you finish a book, feel free to comment on our post at The Estella Society or to share your review with others. The challenge wraps up September 1st. And don’t forget to share thoughts on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #EstellaProject3.

Incidentally, I plan to read Alias Hook, Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, and Seconds. And I hope hope HOPE to get a start on The Lord of the Rings.

How about you? Care to join us?





Monthly Wrap – May 2015

June 2, 2015 Books, Monthly Wrap Up 6

Goodness, May. What a month we had. It was so crazy busy, I hardly know where you went! I’m still not sure where I got all this reading done, because I could barely read a thing for about half of you. Wow. So, what happened?

66. Alex + Ada, Issue 14 by Jonathan Luna
67. Wayward, Issue 7 by Jim Zub
68. Feeding a Yen: Savoring Local Specialties, from Kansas City to Cuzco by Calvin Trillin
69. Pirate Hunters: Treasure, Obsession, and the Search for a Legendary Pirate Ship by Robert Kurson
70. Rutabaga the Adventure Chef by Eric Colossal
71. Act of God by Jill Ciment
72. Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson
73. The Long Walk by Stephen King
74. The Fade Out, Issue 6 by Ed Brubaker
75. Lumberjanes, Issue 14 by Noelle Stevenson
76. It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario

11 books! Pleased. As. Punch. And so many were great, I’m hard pressed to pick a favorite. Pirate Hunters stands out because I just love all the swashbuckling and daring-do. Plus, Robert Kurson is one of my favorite nonfic writers and I’m so glad he has a new book coming out. More on this one soon. Before I Go to Sleep was a HUGE surprise. I don’t normally read the thriller/mystery type of book, which this one most definitely is, and I seriously could not put it down. I listened to all 11.5 hours in 2 days. Rutabaga was a LOT of fun. Really, I had a great month. I couldn’t be more pleased. I hope June is just as amazing.

How was your month? What was your favorite book?



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

June 1, 2015 Books, Meme 11



Last week: Last week, I finished It’s What I Do by Lynsey Addario which I found to be extremely informative and very hard to put down. I also read a couple of comics: Lumberjanes #14 and The Fade Out #6. SO GLAD to see Lumberjanes starting a new arc!


This week: I started Fire Shut Up in My Bones by Charles Blow last night and holy spotted sparrow the writing. Incredible. I’m listening to The Shore by Sara Taylor and, honestly, I’m questioning if I should be listening to it. I’m thinking I need to be reading it. I keep getting lost. I’m going to give it one more go, give it my undivided attention, and see what happens. I really want to listen, because I love the narrators (Jenna Lamia and MacLeod Andrews), but I want the story, so I will get it the way I need to.

Lastly, I gave up on finding Comfort Me With Apples by Ruth Reichl (it is lost somewhere in this crazy house), so I’m looking for a third book. I’m leaning toward These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly. I got an eARC through NetGalley and I love Donnelly’s YA fiction.


Up next: I really want to start H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. The audio is on Scribd and it sounds so good! Plus, I still seem to be this nonfiction kick. It IS read by the author though, so I’m crossing my fingers she’s good. I’d also like to get to Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein, and Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle. And then, there’s all the graphic novels I need to pre-read for my daughter. I only have about 10 waiting at the library. It’s so hard to be a parent.

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 // Reading, Blogging, and Health

May 31, 2015 Currently, Miscellaneous 6

Right this minute | I’m having breakfast! And paying bills. I bet you can’t bet which one I’m enjoying more.

Feeling | Like I’d like to go back to bed.

Reading |I’ve been immersed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Darfur, and other such hot beds of political violence this week, with Lynsey Addario. Her book It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War is amazing. I was also reading Comfort Me with Apples by Ruth Reichl, but I can’t find it. I’ve looked EVERYWHERE. I’m going to have to move on soon. :(

Listening | I was listening to The Graveyard Book Full Cast Production by Neil Gaiman, but decided to hold off and listen to it with the kids this summer. So now, I’m listening to The Shore by Sarah Taylor. It is read by Jenna Lamia and MacLeod Andrews, two of my favorite narrators!

Watching | OMG I can’t remember the last thing I watched.

Blogging | Last week I shared some of the great reading I had lined up for the week, a list of 12 books I hope to read this summer, an adorable picture of my cuddly baby chicken, and a review of a YA book that I didn’t find completely cringeworthy.

Promoting | The Estella Project!!! Today is the last day to submit a book! The list of Must Read Books will go up tomorrow!

Loving | Everything and everybody. Except…

Hating | Cholesterol. Apparently mine is very high.

Eating | I had GF waffles with peanut butter and honey. Also a banana and some strawberries. According to labels, no cholesterol in sight.

Exercising | Apparently I need to do some. I have to loose some weight.

Anticipating | Getting my job? The job I’ve had for the last nine months was a temp job. I can finally apply for it! Cross fingers? BECAUSE I LOVE MY JOB.

Meal Planning | Can you believe I haven’t done it yet? I’m usually done on Thursday because I get groceries on Friday. I have no idea what we’re having. Any ideas? I AM OPEN TO SUGGESTION.



Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance Rubin

May 28, 2015 Book Reviews, Books, eBooks 1 ★★★

Denton Little’s Deathdate by Lance RubinDenton Little's Deathdate
by Lance Rubin
Series: Denton Little #1
Published by Knopf
on April 14th 2015
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Denton Little's Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day they will die. For 17-year-old Denton Little, that's tomorrow, the day of his senior prom.

Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. First hangover. First sex. First love triangle (as the first sex seems to have happened not with his adoring girlfriend, but with his best friend's hostile sister. Though he's not totally sure. See: first hangover.) His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton's long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters…. Suddenly Denton's life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.

Debut author Lance Rubin takes us on a fast, furious, and outrageously funny ride through the last hours of a teenager's life as he searches for love, meaning, answers, and (just maybe) a way to live on.

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.


You know, I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. I’ve been going through something of a book identity crisis. You see, I used to LOVE young adult books. Then I didn’t love them quite so much any more, but I still read my favorite authors. And then, I wasn’t feeling the pull to read my favorite authors (of YA that is) either. Yet, somehow, inexplicably, this book called to me from the shelf of NetGalley and I was like sure. What the heck. It might be good.

It was good.

But, just good.

In the world Denton Little lives in, everyone knows when they will die. Down to the very day. And everyone celebrates their death day, because, why not? Denton’s death date is, tragically, early. He will die on prom night, in his 17th year. Dude has been busy. So many firsts in his last days! As the book opens, Denton has his first hangover. Upon waking he discovers he’s had his first sex (and totally missed it because booze) which leads to his first love triangle (because dude has a girlfriend and sex was not with her).

Things are dramatic.

Then he discovers the beginnings on a rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? He’s disappointed. Because teenage boy.

If things don’t seem dramatic and crazy enough, things are about to get worse, when a strange man shows up at his funeral. Since you know when you’re going to die, you go to your own funeral. Fun times.


  • It’s funny. Very witty. Lance Rubin is quite the funny, witty, guy.
  • It is fast paced. I can see kids (boys especially) appreciating the quick action.
  • There’s a mystery. Mysteries are always fun.
  • The characters are fun. I’m saying fun a lot, am I not?
  • The sex isn’t handled lightly. The cheating isn’t either, which I appreciate. The drinking kind of is.
  • The adults are present, which is nice. Adults tend to go missing in YA.

All in all, it’s a fun read. Kids will love it. I finished it, which I think says a lot. I may even make an effort to read the next one. And, if I had a kind old enough for it, I would push it off on them.

Recommended, for those younger than me.