Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Books

The book from my brother and sister-in-law:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Got this as a Christmas gift.  So cute! One of my favorite presents this year!

The book from my mom:
Jane Austen's Letters

Can't wait to see if anyone else got me a book...a few more gift exchanges to go.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Color Coded Reading Challenge - COMPLETED

Here are the rules:
*Read nine books in the following categories.
1. A book with "Blue" in the title. -  Blue-eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
2. A book with "Red" in the title. - Redshirts by John Scalzi
3. A book with "Yellow" in the title.  - Yellow Flag by Robert Lipsyte
4. A book with "Green" in the title. - The Green Mile by Stephen King
5. A book with "Brown" in the title. - Brown-Eyed Girl by Mariah Stewart
6. A book with "Black" in the title. - Black City by Elizabeth Richards 
7. A book with "White" in the title. - The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
8. A book with any other color in the title (Purple, Orange, Turquoise, Pink, Magneta, etc.). - Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.). Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Black

Black City (Black City, #1)Black City by Elizabeth  Richards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow...that was some end to the book!

I wasn't too sure about reading this book, it sounded interesting but the reviews already posted were less than positive.  I gave it a shot anyway (hey I needed a book for this color and the year is nearly over!).  It seemed similar to quite a few dystopian novels already out but it has it's own feel.

The point of view goes back and forth between Ash and Natalie, each narrating full chapters at a time.  Towards the end it's a quick back and forth of the same events which adds a punch to the unfolding scene.  This really worked for me, I was very choked up while reading the end of the book (which is the reason for my initial response above!).

I will be reading the other books in the series, I need to know how this story plays out.  Even though it was similar to other novels, I still got pulled in by the characters and I really wanted to know what happens to them.  The love triangle with Ash, Natalie and Evangeline, was a little weird but not a complete turn off.  The world building was nice and Elizabeth Richards even gives a good reason why Ash's heart (think unbeating vampire heart) doesn't beat but he's still functioning.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Memoir Mini-Reviews

Yes, Chef: A MemoirYes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first heard of Marcus Samuelsson when he competed on Top Chef Masters.  That was right around the time, I started to become addicted to The Food Network and other cooking show/channels.  It was the start of my journey on the road towards mini-foodie. This was a look at Marcus' life and the road he took to get where he is now.  It's a great look at the life of a chef especially one of color who has had a hard road to travel.

The book is really descriptive in the details of the food and taste experiences.  I wanted to be rollerblading (even though you wouldn't ever catch me on a pair) through NYC and trying the different foods from all the cultures that make up the city.   When he talks about Ethiopian food, I'm back in grad school (1st time) and we're headed to the Ethiopian restaurant for some Doro Wat (mmm yummy).

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of AnxietyMonkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel B. Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Monkey Mind is a term used by Buddhist to describe an unsettled mind.  It perfectly describes the mind of a person who battles anxiety.  If you deal with anxiety on a regular basis, and it doesn't have to be anything too extreme, you have probably experienced an unsettled mind.  I experience mine at night, when all I want to do is fall asleep and all my mind wants to do is play back the days events, or that time in college when...or that time when I did...  It can be a long night when that happens.

In Monkey Mind, Daniel Smith recounts his battles with anxiety and tries to pinpoint the cause of his unsettled mind.  He talks about his struggles with living with high anxiety and its effects on his job and his love life.  It was hard to get through the beginning of this book, but once you get past the tough stuff (rape) I really started to connect with his experiences.


I recommend both of these if you want a short, interesting memoir to read!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Break Reading!

The semester is over and as much as I enjoyed reading those global novels, I can't wait to put a dent in my To Be Read bins in my room!

I have a stack ready to go and hope to get through them all before Term 3 starts in January.

Here's what I have planned:

Play by Play Series by Jaci Burton
  • #3 Taking a Shot
  • #4 Playing to Win

Highlander Series by Janet Chapman (this is one I started a long time ago and just recently realized there are 2 more books)
  • Secrets of the Highlander
  • A Highlander Christmas
  • Highlander for the Holidays

Puffin Harbor Series by Janet Chapman (again read the first book forever ago)
  • The Dangerous Protector

The Windham Series by Grace Burrowes
  • Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal
  • Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight
  • The Courtship

Color Coded Reading Challenge
  • Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Other Novels
  • A Seal at Heart by Anne Elizabeth
  • Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole
  • Orleans by Sherri L. Smith (ARC book due out March 2013)

Reading for CNJ_JASNA
  • The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan
  • The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
  • Becoming Elizabeth Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
  • What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan
  • Mr. Darcy's Letter by Abigail Reynolds
  • A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds
  • All My tomorrows by Colette L. Saucier

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Trailer Thursday - The Saint Who Would Be Santa Clause

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus

 by Adam C. English

I saw a link for the book trailer in The Shelf Awareness Pro newsletter for Tuesday, December 4th.  After watching the trailer and reading the description thought of The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn. I enjoyed reading those and I would really like to know more about St. Nicholas.  I have the book on hold now just to wait to read it!

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra 
With his rosy cheeks and matching red suit—and ever-present elf and reindeer companions—Santa Claus may be the most identifiable of fantastical characters. But what do we really know of jolly old Saint Nicholas, "patron saint" of Christmastime? Ask about the human behind the suit, and the tale we know so well quickly fades into myth and folklore. 
In The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus, religious historian Adam English tells the true and compelling tale of Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra. Around the fourth century in what is now Turkey, a boy of humble circumstance became a man revered for his many virtues. Chief among them was dealing generously with his possessions, once lifting an entire family out of poverty with a single—and secret—gift of gold, so legend tells. Yet he was much more than virtuous. As English reveals, Saint Nicholas was of integral influence in events that would significantly impact the history and development of the Christian church, including the Council of Nicaea, the destruction of the temple to Artemis in Myra, and a miraculous rescue of three falsely accused military officers. And Nicholas became the patron saint of children and sailors, merchants and thieves, as well as France, Russia, Greece, and myriad others. 
Weaving together the best historical and archaeological evidence available with the folklore and legends handed down through generations, English creates a stunning image of this much venerated Christian saint. With prose as enjoyable as it is informative, he shows why the life—and death—of Nicholas of Myra so radically influenced the formation of Western history and Christian thought, and did so in ways many have never realized.
Baylor Press