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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 10

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

The Lost Crown by Sarah Miller (Atheneum, 2011)

My blurb: So confession, despite the fact that my degrees are focused on American history and my personal interest is in British history, I am also very interested in Russian history. Specifically that of the last czar Nicholas II and his family. This is a book told from the different perspectives of his four daughters and it’s so incredibly sad because they were all so very young when they were killed.

Popular by Maya Van Wagenen (Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2014)

My blurb: I was drawn to this book because of the cover and I never would have expected it to be written by a 15 year old because it’s so very well done. It’s non fiction first of all and Maya writes about her experiences going from not noticed at all in school to becoming one of the friendliest and popular girls in school simply by following rules from a 1950s teen self help book. Each chapter is based on a chapter in that 50s book from skin care to posture to clothing. It’s a great read for any age.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015)

My blog: First off my attempts at reading POC authors this year has gone horrible. I’m not really sure if I’m unconsciously choosing white authors or if that’s just what is really dominating the shelves but this book was only the 4th by a POC author for me this year. That being so it’s absolutely fantastic. A historical YA about two POC characters (an Asian girl and an African-American girl) out in the wild west? Yes please.

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Random House, 2011)

My blurb: I talked a bit about this already on the blog but I had a BLAST reading this book. My “book club” decided to read it and I’m really glad because it’s been recommended me for a while and I kept putting it aside. Basically if you grew up in the 80s and know a lot about pop culture this is the book for you. It was so fun reading it too! Granted some of it seems a bit like name dropping at times and how many references can the author cram in a passage. But overall it’s really fun and I’m looking forward to the movie directed by Spielberg in a few years.

Mist of Midnight by Sandra Byrd (Howard Books, 2015)

My blurb: Here’s a good gothic mystery where I refused to flip to the end to figure out everything. Do you know how hard that was for me? Which served me well because I honestly had no idea how everything was going to work itself out and was pleasantly pleased with how it all did. Byrd’s books are always enjoying to read and this one is no exception.

Recipe for Disaster by Stacey Ballis (Berkely, 2015)

My blurb: I love books about food. Seriously, there is nothing better than eating food and reading a story about food at the same time. And Stacey Ballis’ books always have so much of it in there PLUS a good story to boot. This one even throws in some HGTV home remodeling as well. I learned how to make good roasted chicken thanks to this book. And there are recipes. It’s a winner.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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I Should Listen to You More Often

I have a bad habit of being recommended things by friends and not immediately following up on them only to find out later, they were right. You see, it’s not that I don’t trust my friends. It’s more to do with TIME. There are so many things that I’m discovering on my own that when a friends lends you a book or movie, you’re like….oh thanks, I’ll get to this later. And sometimes later never happens. But then there are times when you just suck it up, make the time and you actually give in to the recommendation. That’s when you find out…HOLY CRAP. YOU WERE SO RIGHT ABOUT THIS. I SHOULD LISTEN TO YOU ALL THE TIME!

The thing with being public about your interests is that your friends who know you well have pretty much figured out what you like and what you don’t. I have gotten the reputation of liking a lot of geek things that most girls I hang around with refuse to touch or if they do, don’t understand it. That being said, a lot of my guy friends have constantly given me tips on things they liked that they think I would enjoy. This ranges from books to TV shows to tabletop games to video games to food and beer. Sometimes I don’t take the advice because I’m a bit wary of it. And then they prove me wrong.

I’ll give three examples of recommendations from friends.

Friend #1 recommended me to read the book Ready Player One insisting that I would enjoy it very much.

Well, have you seen my TBR pile? Plus I work in a library! There are so many books I’m trying to read already that to add another book that I wasn’t intentionally going to read and that I didn’t discover myself seems a bit daunting. I’m ashamed to say that I accepted the book, kept it for a few weeks (months?) and returned it without reading it. I just didn’t have the time or interest at the moment. I felt like a horrible friend but….so many books so little time? But then several months later, I heard news that Steven Spielberg would be directing the movie. And my “book club” decided to read it. So I finally gave in. And guess what? I loved it. One of the most fun books ever. Seriously it was so awesome I didn’t want to stop reading.

I should have listened to Friend #1. Their next recommendation I should take: to read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell.

Friend #2 told me I needed to watch Pacific Rim.

I was told that I would enjoy this movie a lot and it was not like Transformers meets Battleship at all which is what the trailers made it look to be. They had claimed it to be one of their favorite movies ever and I needed to go see it. I was like….um no? It looks stupid. Plus no one in the cast I’m a fan of and I’ve never seen any of the director’s other movies. *Yawn*. But then I kept getting ragged on so I finally gave in.

This is the post on Facebook I wrote the day after I saw it.

So to everyone who said to me “Deborah, why aren’t you seeing Pacific Rim? It has everything you like in a movie! And you just lost your awesome, geek and Asian cards with your lame excuses!”, I am officially eating a big fat crow right now. Pacific Rim was quite awesome.

Reasons why it was awesome

10) There was an Asian girl with blue hair! And the young version of herself looked like me growing up.
9) Lack of a romance was a major plus. And no forced kissing that comes out of nowhere. WOOT.
8) While the trailers didn’t do anything for me, I bought the storyline. And got quite invested in the actual story.
7) Humor from scientists. Very welcome. The scene where they shake hands (you know the one) brought well written comic relief.
6) Idris Elba is the mother effin man.
5) Awesome special effects and sound. Much better than Man of Steel.
4) Fight scenes were quite good. Again better than Man of Steel. Heck everything about this movie was better than Man of Steel.
3) There’s a dog!
2) Nothing to do with the movie, but the Alamo Drafthouse in Ashburn is effing awesome. BEST place to see a movie. Best popcorn ever. Unless I absolutely have to, I am never seeing going to another movie theater again.

And the top reason for why I liked this movie?

1) When Gipsy is falling from a fight in space, they pull out a sword!!!!!!!!! I literally turned to (Friend #2) with a huge grin of glee on my face. That was the turning point for me. (It’s because I like swords) The rest of the movie, I was on the edge of my seat.

Well done del Toro. Well done. I would like to see more of the story fleshed out. Prequels would be most appreciated.

I now reclaim back all my cards. And if you want to talk about it with me in person or online, I will gladly share in fanboy/fangirl appreciation.

Yep I should have listened to Friend #2. Their next recommendation for me: to read Slaughterhouse Five.

Now Friend #3, I’ve actually been pretty good about taking their recommendations. And I’ve actually talked about some of them on this blog like Lizzie Bennet Diaries or (500) Days of Summer. However the one recommendation I was slowest to take was to watch Doctor Who.

Why would I want to watch a silly show about a guy played by different actors that travels through time and space? It looks dumb. And cheesy. And confusing. There are too many episodes. I can’t get invested in this right now.

Hah. hahahahahaa. Yeah these were all my lame excuses. We all know how much I love the show now. Like freakishly addicted to the show and the universe and everything. I binged watched all the episodes that were on Netflix and Amazon Prime in a few months like WHOA.

Yep, I should have listened to Friend #3 right from the beginning. Their next recommendation: to watch What If.

The moral of this long story is that my friends obviously know my tastes. And I should listen to them more.

Feel smug my friends. Know that you were right.

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 9

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle (Jonathan Cape, 2009)

My blurb: This book is fantastic for so many reasons. 1) I’m half Burmese so WOOT. 2) It’s a graphic novel. 3) The author is French so it’s not from an American POV. 4) It’s like a travelogue and a memoir in one. 5) It’s a very enjoyable read. Once you get started you don’t want to stop. 5) Also parents, especially dads will like it. I borrowed Delisle’s other books about living in China and North Korea because this one was just so darn good.

Bon Appetempt by Amelia Morris (Grand Central Publishing, 2015)

My blurb: The reason why I put this book on hold at the library was because I was drawn to the cover. I mean look at that work of art. Plus there was the promise of recipes. I didn’t know who the author was but I like recipes when I read so this seem like a good gamble. AND IT WAS. Morris’ story about growing up and then going off to Hollywood was engaging and highly readable and the recipes make me want to cook. I even bought some brie to do the pasta recipe. Nom nom nom.

The Accidental Empress by Allison Pataki (Howard Books, 2015)

My blurb: I didn’t know anything about Elisabeth or Sissi, the Austrian empress before this book but after reading it, I’m now like MUST FIND OUT EVERYTHING. This is a wonderfully written historical fiction. It’s lush with detail and I really felt transported into the story. I’m really not sure why this book is published with a Christian publisher as there’s nothing that stands out as being really Christian (which is fine for me but I know problematic for others). Pataki’s last book (The Traitor’s Wife) was outstanding as well and I cannot wait for her next one.

Jay J. Armes, Investigator by Jay J. Armes, Frederick Nolan (Macmillan, 1976)

My Blurb: This book was initially going to be an inside joke read between me and a friend. It’s about a guy with hooks for hands! But then it turned out to be actually pretty good. It’s written in the 70s so it has that campy type of flair about it. And I feel like some things are possibly embellished. But it’s also a really fun story to read and Armes is still around doing his thing to this day. It really is like reading a book about James Bond but also how Armes refused to let his handicap overtake his life. Seriously, why was a movie never made about this guy? On a slightly sadder note, this was my first book of 2014 written by a POC author. I am NOT doing well diversely wise.

Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner (NAL, 2015)

My blurb: This book takes place during WWII England. I think that’s enough to say. No? You need more? Well, as Meissner is one of my favorite authors EVER, then you should know this is a very good book. That I couldn’t put down. And it reminded me of Atonement by Ian McEwan. Really, it’s such a lovely book. You should read it.

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty (W.W. Norton & Company, 2014)

My blurb: This goes outside my normal reading but I’m really glad that I did. Because now I know what goes on inside a crematory and it’s really quite fascinating. I didn’t know much about what happens after a body is sent to the funeral home and this book explains the entire process. Death is a subject that a lot of people don’t really like talking about or even thinking about what physically happens afterwards. Doughty’s adventures are quite humorous and very eye opening. Lots to think about.

The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel (Gallery Books, 2014)

My blurb: So the funny thing about this book is that it’s really not one of my favorite books from this author. I felt the main character to be a bit whiny and I really wish she would have just TOLD her feelings instead of hiding them or assuming that people would just understand them. But what made this book stand out is that the overall plot is something I’ve always imagined “what if” to myself and it filled out the technical holes I always wondered in that situation. If you got transported into another version of yourself, how would you know everything in that life and still be aware of your real life?

How Star Wars Conquered the Universe by Chris Taylor (Basic Books, 2014)

My blurb: The cover isn’t amazing but if you’re a huge Star Wars fan, then this book is going to be one of the most fun reads you’ll have this year. It gives a history of the franchise but not in a chronological order. Taylor focuses on different aspects of the movie making process as well as reactions and opinions. You can tell he’s a fan but he’s doesn’t shy on criticizing when it needs it. Almost every little thing I personally like that deals with the franchise (both good and bad) gets a shout out. To be honest, it makes me really want to go back and watch all the movies and TV shows and read some of the books to prepare for The Force Awakens in December. I highly recommend this one.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 8

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

So…I read a lot since the last time I did this…

Stephen Biesty’s Cross-Sections Castle by Stephen Biesty and Richard Platt (DK Pub, 1994)

My blurb: This has been one of my favorite books since I was a kid. It’ one of those books that explains every single feature of the castle. Kind of like a where’s waldo with historical facts. You can usually find someone pooping. There’s a spy to find in every page as well as a couple making out in weird places. Incredible detail to keep you occupied for hours.

Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt (Bethany House, 2015)

My blurb: In all honesty, I feel that Esther is an extremely played out story from the Bible. There’s only so many different ways you can tell this story without a been there, done that feeling. But I have always loved Angela Hunt’s books and I know she does her research very well. It’s a good and not safe adaptation (spoilers: they have sex! there are eunuchs!) that is both consistent with Scripture, historical fact, and breathes life into a very old familiar story.

Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy (Berkley, 2014)

My blurb: I haven’t been reading cozy mysteries in a long time but I picked this one up and it made me question why I stopped. SO MUCH FOOD in this one plus it’s set in the DC area so I knew exactly where everything was taking place. It’s a fun mystery and even though it’s right in the middle of the series, I didn’t feel lost at all. Did I mention food?

Absolutely truly by Heather Vogel Frederick (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2014)

My blurb: I felt absolutely cozy after reading this. I’m a big fan of the author’s previous book series (The Mother-Daughter Book Club) so I was delighted to find out she had a new one. It takes place in a small town, with a big family, and there are BOOKS and a mystery. The main character is a delightful young teen girl who I feel is a good role model for that age group. Very fun and I look forward to more books.

Unfriending My Ex by Kim Stolz (Scribner, 2014)

My blurb: I got this from the library on a whim and it turned out to be a really good read. Kim Stolz was on America’s Next Top Model and she wrote a pretty darn good book about social media usage. Despite the fact that she uses an iPhone and not an Android, I could very much relate to her stories about being glued to her phone, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Not that I feel any need to cut myself off cold turkey after reading this but it’s a very amusing, engaging and informative read. I laughed a lot.

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden (Bethany House, 2015)

My blurb: This book takes place in the Library of Congress and it’s about a female librarian. HELLO YOU HAD ME AT LIBRARY. There’s also a mystery and slight romance. It’s actually the best book I think the author has written.

Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography by Laura Ingalls Wilder and Pamela Smith Hill (editor)

My blurb: Well this book just destroyed my childhood. So it’s Wilder’s REAL autobiography as the Little House series was a) mainly written by her daughter Rose and b) heavily fictionalized plus the editor’s commentary on the sides chock full of facts and trivia. Like I said, my childhood is now ruined because I found out things like (SPOILERS) Jack, the brindle bulldog, never went to Plum Creek and onward with the family or the fact there was an extra family who lived with the Ingalls family during The Long Winter and she just chose not to add them in. It’s a great long read but be prepared to be like WTH.

I Never Knew That About New York by Christopher Winn (Plume, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been to NYC three times and after reading this book, I want to go again. TONS of interesting facts about all the places and buildings that I’m sure even locals don’t know. Also a great walking tour book.

We Can Work It Out by Elizabeth Eulberg (Point, 2015)

My blurb: It’s a YA book where all the characters love the Beatles? It’s the best book ever! So much Beatles in this book! But also a lot about friendship and dating and priorities. It’s actually a really good book for teen girls about how to put things in perspective during the high school years as well as even when you’re a 30-something adult. And did I mention Beatles?

Ms. Marvel Vol 1.: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson (Marvel, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been hearing lots of good things about this new comic series and I’m glad I finally decided to read the first one. It’s different as the main character is a teenage Pakistani American who is also Muslim. Quite different from your normal comic book heroine. But she now has the powers of Ms. Marvel and it’s a really good look at her trying to fit in, trying to get her parents to understand her, and trying to use her powers for good. Really good artwork too.

Unrequited by Lisa A. Phillips (Harper, 2015)

My blurb: Ah this book was the story of my life. It was actually quite sad, scary, and refreshing all at the same time to know that it wasn’t just me that went through a lot of this stuff. And the fact that society looks differently at when it happens to men vs women. Also, I felt this to be much more relatable than a lot of Christian advice given on the same subject. Highly recommended.

The Beatles Lyrics by Hunter Davies,editor  (Little, Brown & Company, 2014)

My blurb: This is all about the stories behind all the songs the Beatles wrote by their only official autobiographer. When you think about it, they were only in their 20s when they wrote all these songs. Lots of people try to over analyze them for hidden meanings but this book just tells the stories of what caused the inspirations for them. You can also see the handwritten lyrics for some of the songs, many of which the original copies will sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars or even more. The author and I seem to disagree on what makes a good song but oh well. Plus it ties in to my next Beatles album post which will be next week.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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Fandoms I just can’t get into: The Podcast version

I think I’m the last person in the world who knows what Serial is but hasn’t listened to it yet.

I don’t listen to podcasts.

I feel like everyone listens to podcasts. And everyone has their favorite podcasts. And everyone wants to find a new podcast.

Me? I just don’t have interest in listening to them. And it makes me feel like I’m doing something wrong for not listening to them.

I think the main reason why I don’t listen to podcasts is because I do not have anything to listen to them on. I don’t have an IPod or a portable music player (wait do those even exist anymore?). And anytime I get a phone, I seem to get one with the worst battery life ever so to listen to anything on it (downloaded or streaming) will drain the battery faster than it takes The Flash to travel across a room.

I’m also not sure exactly where people are listening to podcasts. Is it at home? Is it while they drive? Is it while they work out? Is it while they are just out and about? Do they listen to it on their computer or their phone?

I know I’m sounding completely ignorant right now.

When I work out, I listen to music because it’s there as a distraction to keep me going and my mind is a beat zoned out. I can handle the beat of the music and not necessarily the words. When I’m driving, it’s the same thing but I also enjoy listening to audiobooks because I get involved in the story. Weirdly enough I also enjoy multi voice dramatic audiobooks because it’s like a movie in my head with the different voices and the sound effects.

But I don’t like talk radio. It bores me to hear people just sit there and talk. I don’t mind READING what they say but when people have discussions, I feel the urge to tune them out. Because isn’t that what podcasts are? People just sitting there talking?

I know I’m weird. Maybe you can help.

Tell me what podcasts you think I would like. Think of my interests and my personality and the style of how I like things. Also what exactly do you listen to them on? What’s the best device? How do you not have your phone’s battery drain?

Depending on how many/if I get any recommendations, I may do a follow-up posts to this with my reactions to what I listen to.

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol. 7

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. My spreadsheet is getting a workout!

I Work at a Public Library by Gina Sheridan (Adams Media Corporation, 2014)

My blurb: This book is HILARIOUS. Though you will probably appreciate it more if you work/worked in a public library (obvs). Which I do. If you do read it, please don’t be those people.

Checkmate by Steven James (Signet Select, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been reading this series from Steven James for about 6 years. It is one of the best thriller series I’ve ever read. It’s also one of the few series that my mom and I both read. This was the conclusion and it was very satisfying. Also gory. Which is fantastic. Also elements of faith. Also fantastic. Also set near DC, woo! Sad to see end but so worth it.

Goodnight Darth Vader by Jeffrey Brown (Chronicle Books, 2014)

My blurb: These are just the cutest books ever. Seriously if you’re a Star Wars fan and you don’t like these, then you are not one with the Force. While you can read this to your kids, adults will enjoy them even more. SO CUTE.

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick (Touchstone, 2014)

My blurb: As you already know, I’m a huge fan of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. One might think that this book was redundant, because The LBD is already a retelling of Pride and Prejudice so wouldn’t this book be more so? Nope. It gives more insight into the story, plus the writers had to make sure everything matched up with the videos. That meant if they mentioned a date they had to go back to the timeline they had  created already to make sure that all characters were actually available on that date. Talk about fact checking! It’s a wonderful addition to the series.

Yes Please by Amy Poeher (It Books, 2014)

My blurb: This book is awesome. First off, it’s a beautiful book. The pages are not your normal book pages, they’re more glossy and heavy. Second, if you’re a fan of Amy’s you’ll love this book. It’s hilarious just like her as well as insightful. It’s not all deep and heavy full of secrets like other celeb memoirs. It’s just Amy. If you’ve read her BFF Tina Fey’s book Bossypants, you’ll enjoy this one too.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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All the Christmas movies are already checked out

Christmas is next week and whether or not you celebrate it, it’s the time for all the holiday movies to show up. Sure there’s all those Hallmark holiday movies (that I refuse to watch) but I’m talking about the good stuff. Well at least the stuff that I like. Here are some of my favorites, you may agree to disagree.

While A Christmas Carol is just a darn good story no matter what, The Muppet Christmas Carol is hands down my favorite. The songs. The creepiness. The humor. Plus this is the movie that I was first introduced to Michael Caine and therefore the movie I always associate him with no matter what else he’s been in.

It’s a Wonderful Life is just a classic. My family watches it every year on Christmas Eve. To be honest, it’s really hard for me to watch sometimes because I hate how people treated George and I HATE Potter. But the ending makes me cry every time. Also the actor who played Harry was hot.

Home Alone is a modern classic that is still enjoyable. It’s just fun.

The Santa Clause is the same way. It’s one of the few Santa movies that I love to rewatch because it’s enjoyable every time.

nativity

There’s actually not too many movies based solely on the Nativity Story but I really do love this one though I feel like it didn’t get much fanfare. But then it’s a Bible movie and we all know how Christians and Hollywood feel about Bible movies…..
holiday

While it’s not perfect, The Holiday is still one of the most delightful chick flicks ever. Who would have ever thought Jack Black and Kate Winslet would pair up? Also Christmas in England seems delightful.

Hands down, Love Actually my favorite Christmas movie of all time. In fact this movie is one of my favorite of all time and is in my top ten list. I love this movie so much I watch it every year. So many reasons to love it. I just saw it in theaters at a quote along and that was just so much awesome.

BONUS: This is actually a TV movie but……A Very Brady Christmas is just darn good stuff. Enjoy!

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 6

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 211 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 3 weeks left to go!

The Regal Rules for Girls by Jerramy Fine (Berkley Trade, 2012)

My blurb: Prince Harry is still up for grabs and this book showed me how to get him. No, but seriously as an Anglophile and very interested in the Royals, this book gave a great insight to what it’s like to learn to BE British. It’s sort of like an etiquette book but not as proper or formal. I highly doubt it will happen to be but still very fun to read.

Pioneer Girl by Bich Minh Nguyen (Viking Adult, 2014)

My blurb: It’s like the story of my life! Being the daughter of Asian immigrants and reading Little House on the Prairie! This story gives a “what if” to the story of Rose, Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter as well as the daughter of Vietnamese immigrants. It really was like reading a story about me.

The Walking Dead: Volume 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore (Image Comics, 2006)

My blurb: I’ve been watching the show for several years and finally decided to cave and read the comics since we have all of them at the library. I’ve been reading one a week. And they are quite different from the TV show. I keep expecting Daryl to show up even though I know he never will. Characters are totally different and there are some changes in the plot. But otherwise it’s still really good and I’m enjoying it.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen (Bethany House, 2014)

My blurb: I’m a huge Julie Klassen fan. (I was even published as a blurb in one of her books!) Her stories are set in the Austen time period. This is her best. It’s like Northanger Abbey, the gothic mystery romance. I honestly had no idea what was going to happen until the end. It’s rich and descriptive as well as a darn good story.

Lizzy & Jane by Katherine Reay (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: Food and Jane Austen references and a sister story? Yes please. LOTS of food. Two sisters who have grown apart reunite due to cancer. It’s not a retelling of Pride and Prejudice which I had been a little worried about but instead it just talks about Austen a lot. It is a cancer story, so there’s that in here but I thought it was portrayed very realistically. I really loved all the characters as they are flawed and not perfect and never become so. Also interracial marriages. FTW.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose You Own Autobiography by Neil Patrick Harris (Crown Archetype, 2014)

My blurb: I’ve been waiting for this one for a while. I mean it’s NPH and a Choose Your Own Adventure book. I however did the thing where I just read it straight through. I know. But you really can flip around and choose NPH’s destiny. It’s an extremely funny book as well as very enlightening as to what went into the real Doogie Howser/Barney Stinson’s life. I don’t normally read celeb memoirs but this one was extremely well done.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 5

To newcomers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 181 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 1.5 months left to go!

Wildlife by Fiona Wood (Poppy, 2014)

My blurb: It’s a story set in a wilderness high school experience in Australia. So it’s pretty much like a story about camp. And I love camp stories. I feel the US cover is a bit deceiving because it looks like it’s all about a girl and a guy but it’s really more about two girls and told from their points of view.

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (Bloomsbury, 2014)

My blurb: I love stories that take place in other countries because if I can’t go there yet, I love reading about it. At first I was super annoyed with the main character because she was complaining about how she was being sent away to Italy to study and all she wanted to do was stay at home. But her adventures in the country really made me want to go travel there myself one day. If you liked Roman Holiday, you’ll enjoy this.

A Cry From the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: I didn’t know what to expect when I read this because the cover seems very non descript and not at all like your typical Christian fiction cover. Well basically, it’s about historical Mormons that massacred innocent travelers and then in the modern day, a cancer recovery woman who tries to stop it from happening again. That on the cover my friends is a death mask.

The Well by Stephanie Landsem (Howard, 2013)

My blurb: I’ve always be fascinated by how many different interpretations there are of the woman at the well from the Bible. A lot of stories portray her in a horrible light because she had 5 husbands. But they never seem to consider the circumstances of why she did, they just automatically assume she’s a skank. This book however doesn’t immediately assume this. Also, the ending wasn’t what I was expecting. That’s all I will say.

Camp FoxTrot by Bill Amend (Andrews McNeel Publishing, 1998)

My blurb: FoxTrot to this day is my favorite comic of all time. I love the adventures the family has, the fact that they tied in pop/geek culture references all the time, and just how good the story is. I’ve read this collection many times but it always brings a chuckle and I love all the tiny details you don’t notice at first go round.

Cake Wrecks by Jen Yates (Andrews McNeel Publishing, 2009)

My blurb: If you’re familiar with the blog of the same name then you know what to expect. I’ve actually been waiting for 5 years to read this book! Long story short, it was everything I hoped for. There’s stuff in there that (as far as I know) wasn’t on the blog and it really makes you wonder what on earth these bakers and cake decorators were thinking. It’s always good for a laugh and then it makes you just want to eat cake.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?

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What Good Books Have You Been Reading Lately Vol 4

To new comers of this blog, this is a semi-regular feature on my blog. I have no set date on when these posts will go up. It all depends on how much I read and how good the books are that I read. Lately, I have been picking good books so it’s been good reading times for me. I’m now standing at 159 out of 225 books read for my 2014 goal with about 2.5 months left to go!

The Legend of Sheba: Rise of a Queen by Tosca Lee (Howard, 2014)

My blurb: As far as I can remember, the Queen of Sheba gets a blip of a mention in Sunday School but I don’t know that much about her other than she came to visit King Solomon and they had a lot of wise talks. This book takes her character and creates a whole story for her that is incredible. You can tell there was a lot of historical research that went into the book. Tired of safe fiction coming from the Christian fiction publishers? This one has lots of sex. Good stuff. Heh.

An Accidental Life by Pamela Binnings Ewen (B&H, 2013)

My blurb: This book is about woman lawyers and abortion. But lest you think it’s a preachy pro-life book, it actually isn’t. It’s more about the legal issues surrounding the pro-life/choice debate and makes for a very compelling read.

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas (Bethany House, 2014)

My blurb: To sum up this word in just a few words: West Virginia and food. Seriously there is a ton of food in this book. And the best part is that one of the characters has the gift of making more food come. But people think she’s a witch! Like I said…..West Virginia.

Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good by Jan Karon (Putnam Adult, 2014)

My blurb: I LOVED this book. I’ve read all the Mitford books and this one was just like going home again. You know how when some authors go back to their most popular books and they just cannot recreate the magic? Not this time. Everything and everyone was there. I also haven’t laughed so much while reading a story in a long time. This is wonderful comfort reading. I don’t know if there will be more books but even if there isn’t, this was a joy to read

Blur by Steven James (Skyscape, 2014)

My blurb: Confession: Even though I LOVE Steven James’s books, I nearly avoided this one because it wasn’t published by a mainstream publisher. (I’m snobby about that.) I’m glad that I went against my normal way of thinking because this was a really great read. It’s a YA suspense with some paranormal elements and it is GOOD. James writes the story from a first person teenage boy’s POV and I believed it.

The Miracle Thief by Iris Anthony (Sourcebooks Landmark, 2014)

My blurb: This book is an amazing historical fiction read set during France during the 900s which is a time period you don’t see a lot of these days in books. Stuff about miracles and witches and nuns and royalty. All good stuff. Also even though I know what the word means, this was the first time I’ve actually seen the word “palfrey” used in a book and multiples times at that.

Sing for Me by Karen Halvorsen Schreck (Howard, 2014)

My blurb: Interracial relationships! Jazz music! Immigrants! The 1930s during the Depression! This book was fantastic. There is a serious lack of interracial couples in Christian fiction so I’m really glad that this book happened. Lots of soul in this one.

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron (Thomas Nelson, 2014)

My blurb: Not your typical WWII Christian fiction book. It doesn’t romanticize the time period at all. But if you have a love of music and European history, you will definitely enjoy this book. Out of the box.


Overwhelmed: Winning the War Against Worry by Perry Noble (Tyndale, 2014)

My blurb: We all know I worry a lot. And how I’m really trying not to. I’ve watched sermons from Noble’s teachings online and I’ve read excerpts from this book in an online devotional and really liked his style of teaching. I basically devoured this book in a day. There’s a lot of what goes through my mind in this book and he really touches at the heart of the manner. I don’t read a ton of non fiction normally but this is one that I needed and definitely recommend.

That’s what I’ve been reading. What good books have YOU been reading lately?