March 2, 2015

What I'm Reading 3.2.15



The past two weeks I have had trouble reading.  My mind just wouldn't focus (yes, more than usual! lol)  That's why I did not update last week or even blog last week.  Just too much had gotten into my head and I think I needed to just veg out for a bit.

This week even I am saying (in my best Chandler Bing impersonation)- Could I BE reading any more books at the same time?

Answer is probably not.  My mind is completely unfocused. It's not the books as much as it is just me.  I know that sounds like a line, but it's been a rough couple of weeks physically and mentally.  I am just glad to be back reading at all.

Anyway, here's a look at what I read the past couple of weeks (mostly the last part of this week, TBH), along with some thoughts:


FINISHED READING:



The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle
*For Review from Harlequin*
This Week: 50-100%
Pages Read: 200
Thoughts: Review to come soon.



Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood
*Mandy sent me this book because I love the Miss Fisher's Mysteries TV show.  Mandy rocks*
Pages Read This Week: 138
Thoughts: Review to come soon.


ABANDONED/DNF:



Anni Moon and the Elemental Artifact by Melanie Abed
*For Review*
Thoughts: Cute book but I realized I was having to force myself to read it. I don't think middle grade fiction, no matter how HP-esque, will be something I can review.



The Oathbreaker's Shadow by Amy McCulloch
*For Review from Publisher and NetGalley*
Thoughts: I liked the overall concept but the story was not paced well and, well, it really felt all over the place.



CURRENTLY READING:

REVIEW BOOKS/ARCs:


The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan
*For Review from Publisher*
This Week: 22-37%
Pages Read This Week: 154
Thoughts: I wonder if she put this P.C. in a coma or not. She's kind of mental, but kind of regular messed up from a crazy life at the same time.



Lost & Found by Brooke Davis
*For Review from Hachette*
On pg. 56 of 272
Pages Read This Week: 30
Thoughts: Fun and quirky. 



Rodin's Lover by Heather Webb
*For Review from
This Week: 5-15%
Pages Read This Week: 32
Thoughts: Camille is kind of a b___. You can be serious about your work and still not put everyone else down so harshly, even if you think they are flaky. 



The Witch of Painted Sorrows by M.J. Rose
Goodreads Link
*For Review for France Book Tours*
On pg. 47 or 384
Pages Read: 47
Thoughts: Instantly liked it. I can't wait to find out what the deal is with the house.



Crane by Stacey Rourke
*For Review from Publisher & Net Galley*
This Week: 0-6%
Pages Read: 13
Thoughts: Love Rourke's talent for world-building.


NON-ARCs (For Fun):



Flukes (Flukes #1) by Nichole Chase
*For a Fun Read*
This Week: 22-39%
Pages Read This Week: 36
Thoughts: Now that I think about it this would make a good beach read. Ah well I will pretend I'm at the beach instead of in snow and ice again.



The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
*Library Loot*
On pg. 305 of 453
Pages Read This Week: 150
Thoughts: Have I told you enough how scary this story is?



Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
*Library Loot*  *For Travel the World in Books*
On pg. 240 of 307
Pages Read This Week: 78
Thoughts: God this is heavy stuff.  But Adichie writes beautifully.



Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton
*TBR Pile*
On pg. 74 of 442
Pages Read This Week: 30
Thoughts: Ancient Egypt truly captivates me.



The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Goodreads Link
*Needed a NF Fix*
*Thanks to Mia for giving me this!*
On pg. 11 of 592
Pages Read: 11
Thoughts: I needed a NF fix that wasn't about food, to be honest. It's pretty interesting, though I won't be able to read much at any one time. 



BOOK CLUB BOOKS/READALONGS:


The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
*For Travel the World in Books March Readalong*
On pg. 39 of 487
Pages Read This Week: 39
Thoughts: Instantly hooked!



1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die by Mimi Sheraton
Goodreads Link
*For Review* *For Travel the World in Books Foodie February*
On pg. 642 of 1,008
Pages Read This Week: 0
Thoughts: I was hoping to get a few more hundred pages under my belt before Foodie Feb. ended but I just needed a break from the book.


STATS:

Total Books Currently Reading: 12
Total Books Read in 2015: 12
Pages Read This Update: 958
Total Pages Read in 2015: 4785




REVIEW BOOKS UP NEXT:



 






~What are you reading right now?  
~What did you just finish?  
~What book are you looking forward to reading next?  
Share in the comments!!!

February 27, 2015

Chris Ledbetter's Cover Reveal and Giveaway!!!



Drawn
Release Date: 06/08/15
Evernight Teen
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer

Summary from Goodreads:

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.




About the Author:

Chris Ledbetter grew up in Durham, NC before moving to Charlottesville, VA in 11th grade. After high school, he attended Hampton University where he promptly "walked-on" to the best drum line in the CIAA. And, without any prior percussion experience. He carried the bass drum for four years, something his back is not very happy about now.

After a change of heart and major, he enrolled in Old Dominion University and earned his degree in Business Administration. He's worked in various managerial and marketing capacities throughout his life. While teaching high school for six years in Culpeper, VA, he taught business management, business law, marketing, and sports marketing, and also coached football.

He has walked the streets of Los Angeles and New York City, waded in the waters of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and climbed Diamond Head crater on Hawaii and rang in the New Year in Tokyo, Japan. But he dreams of one day visiting Greece and Italy.

He's a proud member of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators) and a strong supporter of the Need for Diverse Books. As a self-described, young reluctant reader, he writes young adult stories specifically to reach other reluctant readers. As a participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program, he was blessed to be mentored by Suzanne Morgan Williams, 2012 SCBWI member of the year.

He now lives in Wilmington, NC with his family, including three cats.

Author Links:
 photo iconwebsite-32x32_zps1f477f69.png  photo icongoodreads32_zps60f83491.png  photo icontwitter-32x32_zpsae13e2b2.png  photo iconfacebook-32x32_zps64a79d4a.png

GIVEAWAY:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover Reveal Organized by:

February 22, 2015

On How to #BlogHonest and #BuildCommunity

Yesterday on Twitter was a hard day.  No two ways about it.  There was a lot of:




and


and


and



and




But several bloggers and I discussed how we can take this plagiarism scandal and create a positive out of a negative.  I tweeted out that I personally feel that opening up and having a dialogue about ethics in blogging as well as admitting we are not superheroes that can take on any and everything is how we move beyond this.  We all face struggles, but it is how we deal with the struggle that defines us.  

I started blogging in January 2009 after having to quit my beloved job teaching and move back home to a) take care of my dying father,  b) deal with overwhelming health problems, and c) recover from an abusive relationship.  I began blogging as a way to fill up my time with something other than my problems.  Soon after my father passed away.  The blogging community who'd I'd been a part of for only a hot minute were there showing compassion and empathy.  I knew I'd met some wonderful people.  I tried working again, but my health problems did not allow me to last long.  (If you want, you can read about my struggles with my health here.)

Then I decided I would go to grad school and try to get a different degree other than in education because my health was not allowing me to teach any longer.  I had absolutely no time for blogging - so I stopped.  I couldn't hack both grad school and book blogging so I gave up blogging, which was extremely hard for me to do.  


ME: circa 2011-2012

Eventually I realized my health was not allowing me to go back to school full-time either and that's the only way I could afford to go, so I had to drop out. It broke my heart and I had more health problems from the stress.  Eventually I had to just come to terms with the fact I was disabled.  I had been in denial and sometimes I still want to deny it.  It is so not easy to admit you cannot handle the same things you once handled with ease.  It's embarrassing and frustrating and you feel like a failure.  On top of all this I had to deal with family dramas, a boyfriend getting a fatal illness (that he's still fighting), a friend in an abusive relationship, and more I am not even at liberty to talk about because they are not my things.

So I totally get feeling overwhelmed.  I completely understand how intense the urge is to deny that you cannot do it all.  And I do not know where this bullshit idea about women needing to be able to do all, be all, have all came from but it needs to die a fiery death.

It is okay, I repeat, IT IS OKAY TO STRUGGLE.  YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE.  I AM NOT A FAILURE.  WE ARE HUMAN.  And humans need to take breaks.  Humans need to step back and reassess. Humans are not robots.







I took a break when I had to.  And when I came back, no not everything was the same. ARCs had stopped coming because I wasn't reviewing.  Friends and readers had moved on because I wasn't around anymore.  But then once I got back into the swing of things last year, made my presence known again, let people realize I was sticking around, it's been even better than it was the first time around.  I have made new friends and met new bloggers who were not here before I took my break.  I'm reacquainting myself with the bloggers I once knew who are still around themselves (remember those wonderful, empathetic people? They still are.)  I'm working with publishers again.  

My world did not implode and it breaks my heart that women have been taught that our worlds will implode if we cannot hack everything.  We are taught that we must be everything to everyone - the doting wife, the stay-at-home mom, the breadwinner, the maid, the friendly neighbor, the perfect employee, the PTA president, the spin class master,  the butcher, the baker, the candlestick-maker.  If men were forced to be all these things, we would've learned about their implosion long ago. Let's be real.  We are strong but we are not invincible.  

Nor, are we infallible.  In our quests to be the best at every single one of these jobs, some people decide it will be okay to cut corners.  Just this once.  But then it worked so well last time that maybe it will be okay to do again.  And then well this is a busy week so I will do it just this once more.  And before you know it it has snowballed out of control and you can't even remember how you weren't doing it this way.  Errors in judgment turn into mistakes which turn into habits which turn into lifestyle choices.  Before you know it you are on a collision course with a little thing called consequences.  It's not okay to hurt others because you are stressed out.

What we have to do is keep the dialogue open.  Talk to each other.  Encourage each other.  Be a community - NOT competitors.  We have to forgive, even if we can never forget.  We have to share even when it is risky and complicated and messy.  We have to stop caring about appearances and start caring about our spirits, our core.  We have to take care of ourselves and our community or we will fall apart.  And, I for one, love this community and will be crushed if that happens.  Someone will have to come find all my pieces and sweep them up. 




Like Andi said yesterday, blogging is our happy place. 

So let's be there for each other.  No stealing, no lying for the sake of lying, no bullying, no threats, no trash talk.  Be the people we wish others would be.  Be a community.  That's the way we will move on and we will be all the stronger for it.  #truthtrain






Thank you to Andi, Michele J., Leah, Allison, April, Melissa J., Lisa, and everyone else I talked with yesterday for helping me flesh out my feelings on this.  

February 20, 2015

Blogger Shout-Outs #25 - Fairy Tale Twists, Marginalia, and Preventing Blogapocalypses


T.G.I.F. because it is Shout-Outs time!!! 

I read a lot a lot of blog posts this week.  And, boy, did you guys BRING IT. Clear your calendar for the day because you have lots of links to check out and love!

What shout-outs are you crushing on this week? Leave a comment and let me know!



BOSS BOOK REVIEWS I READ THIS WEEK:




1. Alex + Ada (Issues 1-12) by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn @ A Lovely Bookshelf

2. Superposition by David Walton, review @ Reading Lark

3. Children's Books about Famous Artists, Art, and Museums @ Fantastic Fun and Learning Blog

4. The People Inside by Ray Fawkes @ Puss Reboots - Tell me you're not intrigued here!

5. First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen @ Capricious Reader

6. Cut Me Free by J.R. Johansson @ It Starts at Midnight



7. Losing My Religion: A Compare and Contrast Review @ YA Romantics

8. Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile @ Anita Loves Books

9. The Martian by Andy Weir @ BookNAround

10. Glory O'Brien's History of the Future by A.S. King @ The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia





11. Like This, Read That: Jodi Picoult and Golden State by Stephanie Kegan @ Sarah's Book Shelves

12. The Swimmer: A Novel by Joakim Zander @ Rhapsody in Books

13. Finn Fancy Necromancy by Randy Henderson @ Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell

14. My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga @ Princess Bookie



15. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte @ Tell Me a Story

16. 5 Reasons I Adored The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez @ The Well-Read Redhead

17. Eye on the Struggle: A Biography of Ethel Payne by James McGrath Morris @ Sophisticated Dorkiness

18. Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats @ Savvy Verse and Wit



19. Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough @ Strange and Random Happenstance 

20. Dear Daughter by Elizabeth Little @ A Garden Carried in the Pocket.

21. The Indigenous People's History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz @ BOOKLUST

22. Somewhere Inside: One Sister's Captivity in North Korea and the Other's Fight to Bring Her Home by Laura Ling and Lisa Ling @ Book Addiction 



AWESOME DISCUSSION/NON-REVIEW POSTS:



1. E-Readers and Books...What Makes it to the Next Level @ Book Journey

2. On Why I Don't Support Book Buying Bans @ Books Without Any Pictures

3. Tell Me Something Tuesday: How Do You Keep Blogging Exciting? @ Rainy Day Ramblings



4. Interested in finding some good podcasts?  Bloggers were talking them UP this week. Check out recs this week from Heather @ Capricious Reader and Shannon @ River City Reading. Also check out Sarah's Book Shelves for Podcasts v. Audiobooks: The Zone Out Experiment and Sophisticated Dorkiness for Three Things: Podcasts in my Earbuds.

5. Bookish Bliss: Marginalia @ Belle Wong.

6. Carolina totally gets my need for music playing while I read! Sunday Salon: Reading with Music @ A Girl that likes Books

7. Should We Give Authors Second Chances When We Didn't Like the First Book We Read? @ The Perpetual Page-Turner

How to Cause Your Own Personal BLOGapocalypse


9. My Longest Love Affair @ Kittling: Books

10. Children's Books are Universal @ Books Anonymous




UPCOMING/CURRENT EVENTS:



1. Check out Mysterious Bibliophile for A Fortnight of Hitchcock Event, going on now.



2. There's an Outlander Readalong going on @ The Reader's Antidote that I totally missed, but it's going on all month long.

Image result for pet sematary book

3. Feel like a spooky read?  Join in the Pet Semetary Readalong on Instagram and Twitter using #gangstercats hashtag.




4. A month-long reading challenge in March from Amy @ Passages to the Past and Jess @ Curiouser and Curiouser



5. DWJ March is back @ We Be Reading.




WIN! CURRENT GIVEAWAYS:



1. Celebrating Chinese New Year with Kids + Giveaway @ My Friend Amy

2. Rhiannon is giving away 2 copies of Holly LaCraw's The Half Brother @ Ivory Owl Reviews

3. Review and Giveaway for Walking on Trampolines by Frances Whiting @ Books in the Burbs

4. Interview and Giveaway for Dearest(Woodcutter #3) by Althea Kontis @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf, as part of a tour

5. Review and Giveaway for The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne M. Valente @ The Book Monsters

6. Blogiversary Giveaway @ eclecticales.com

7. Cover Reveal and Giveaway for Wicked Ride by Rebecca Zanetti @ Bibliophilia, Please as part of a book tour

8. Review and Giveaway of Kimberly Belle's The Last Breath @ Mom's Small Victories (I'm reading this now and it's good!)

9. ARC Giveaway @ Austenesque Reviews

10. Paperback copy of Seduction's Kiss by Alyssa Rose Ivy @ Some Like it Paranormal

11. Where We Belong by Eve Connell @ Socrates' Book Reviews

12. Review and Giveaway of A Small Indiscretion by Jan Ellison @ The Book Binder's Daughter 

13. Hausfrau by Jill Alexander Essbaum @ The Relentless Reader




SHOUT-OUTS TO MY COMMENTERS! YOU ROCK!


Andi
Anita LeBeau
Belle Wong
Bermudaonion (Kathy)
BreeTheThingsWeRead
Catherine
Cecelia
Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
debnance
Deborah
Faith Hope Cherrytree
Fay C
Fictional 100/Lucy
Freda Mansguiltless reading
Heather @ Based on a True Story
Heidi
Irene McKenna
jen mullen
Jenna
Jennifer Hartling
Jessica (Books: a true story)
Kaitlin Snider
Katherine P.
Lakin Higgins
Litha
Melissa (My World in Words and Pages)
Michelle @ That's What She Read
Rachel @ Dashing Good Books
Rihannon Johnson
Ryan
Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves)
Serena @ Savvy Verse & Wit
Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight
Shannon @ River City Reading
Sheila DeChantel
Shelleyrae
Sue Jackson
teddyree
Trisha Dandurand



2015 COMMENTER LEADERBOARD

The top six (6) winners at the end of the year will receive bookish swag!
The top winner will receive a paperback book from Indiebound or The Book Depository!

1. Freda Mans
2. Bermudaonion (Kathy)
3. Belle Wong 
4. Irene McKenna
5. Tasha B.
6. Sarah (Sarah's Book Shelves)



YOU! Could be on this list and win for 2015!
Leave comments, win prizes as thanks!