Showing posts from 2012

What's in a Name Reading Challenge

Every year, some of my favorite bloggers are participating in the What's in a Name reading challenge ... and it totally intimidates me!  But I can't resist any longer!

The premise is to read six books, one of each fitting the criteria below:
A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the titleA book with something you'd find in your kitchen in the titleJack Wolf, The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody BonesA book with a party or celebration in the title Maryka Biaggio, Parlor Games (This might be a stretch!)Elizabeth Winder, Pain, Parties, Work: Sylvia Plath in New York, Summer 1953A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title Stephen Dobyns, The Burn PalaceA book with an emotion in the titleNicola Upson, Fear in the Sunlight  A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the titleD.L. Bogdan, The Forgotten QueenPatti Callahan Henry, And Then I Found YouLiza Perrat,Spirit of Lost Angels Kinda fun, right? I'm happy because I think a few books I've got in my TBR will fit. H…

Books Read in 2012


Ellis Avery, The Last Nude
Alex Gilvarry, From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant
Theodora Goss, The Thorn and the Blossom
Jane Harris, Gillespie and I
Rashad Harrison, Our Man in the Dark
Melissa Marr, Graveminder
Sandra Newman, The Western Lit Survival Kit: An Irreverent Guide to the Classics, from Homer to Faulkner
Dubravka Ugrešić, Thank You for Not Reading: Essays on Literary Trivia


Anne Clinard Barnhill, At the Mercy of the Queen
Nancy Bilyeau, The Crown
Christine Blevins, The Turning of Anne Merrick
Jennifer Haigh, Baker Towers
Jennifer Haigh, Faith
Sarah McCoy, The Baker’s Daughter
Donna Russo Morin, The King's Agent
Matthew Pearl, The Technologists
Mary Roberts Rinehart, When A Man Marries
Vatsyayana, Kama Sutra
S.J. Watson, Before I Go To Sleep
Lauren Willig, The Garden Intrigue


Eleanor Hallowell Abbott, Molly Make-Believe
Jetta Carleton, Clair de Lune
Jennifer Chiaverini, Sonoma Rose
Jennifer duBois, A Partial History of Lost Causes
Tan Twang Eng…

2012 Reading Challenges summary

My 2012 Reading Challenges goals were kind of a big bust!  Of seventeen challenges I committed to, I only succeed in five of them!  Eeek!  Of course, has that stopped me from considering a badrillion more in 2013? NOPE.

A-to-Z (26 books) : Only made it to 'O' and I have at least one letter with an outstanding review. Ooops!

Bloomsday Readathon : Fail!  (I got the book, but didn't open it.)

Books in Translation (3 books) : Fail! Only read 1.

Clarissa Group Read : Fail! (Didn't even get the book! :/)

Dewey Decimal Challenge (5 books) : Victory!  Read 12.

E-books (25 books) : Victory! Read 29.

Edgar Awards (3 books) : Super epic fail. ZERO.

Europa Editions (2 books) : Super epic fail. ZERO.

Fearless Poetry (1 book) : Super epic fail. Zero.

Forever Amber Readalong : Fail! Bought the book though!

Gothic Fiction in October : Super epic fail.

Historical Fiction (20 books) : Super epic VICTORY!  Read 63!  Beat out last year's best, too!

Immigrant Stories (3 books) : Victory! Read 15.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate!

This morning's greeting comes from Bucharest, Romania, where we've spent the last day and a half.  We're leaving this afternoon for our third train of this journey, from Romania through Bulgaria to Istanbul.

It's been a wonderful trip so far -- despite my cold, I'm having a great time.  Hope all of you are safe, happy, and doing well!  (And of course, reading something good! ;))

Mailbox Monday, Dec 24

I know I announced last week that there wouldn't be anymore Mailbox Mondays from me for 2012, but I lied! So many books arrived this week I couldn't wait until back from my trip to share. Happy Christmas to me, for serious!

Here is this week's Mailbox Monday (hosted in December at Suko's Notebook) -- what did you get?

For Review


Gifted to me from my boss!


Or, in this case, no winners.  I know I had two giveaways but unfortunately, I just couldn't get to closing them, contacting winners, waiting for winner contact info, and sending that along to the publishers in time before my trip.  I'm so sorry!

I promise many awesome giveaways in 2013!

Friday Reads and I ran out of time...

I really really really wanted to post my Top 10 of 2012 before leaving on holiday but sadly, I just didn't have enough time to make it happen.

As it is, I'm writing this between frantic packing for my trip!

We're off to Turkey on a once-in-a-lifetime journey and I'm deeply, desperately, dangerously excited!  Needless to say, I likely won't be around until I'm back -- so apologies for abandoning all of you! I'll have my Top 10 post ready to go live when I'm back in 2013. 

I hope all of you have a safe and happy New Year's -- thank you for another fantastic year of book blogging.  So grateful for all of you!

The Raven's Heart by Jesse Blackadder

Title:The Raven's Heart
Author: Jesse Blackadder

Genre: Fiction (Scotland / 16th Century / Royals / Historical Figures Fictionalized / Mary Queen of Scots / Royal Intrigue / LGBT)
Publisher/Publication Date: Bywater Books (9/11/2011)
Source:Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

Rating: Looooooooooooved -- top ten of 2012 love.
Did I finish?: Couldn't put it down!
One-sentence summary: In 16th century Scotland, a woman finds freedom and danger in the guise of a boy, and proves her loyalty to Mary, Queen of Scots in an attempt to win back her family's legacy.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do -- not traditional given it is a royal court-set hist fic, and I'm grateful for that!

I'm reminded of...: Mary Sharratt, Judith Tarr, Sarah Waters

First line: Scotland, 1519, twenty-six years before I was born.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy, especially if you like good meaty historicals with a fascinating protagonist and wonderful sense of time/place.


Historical Holiday Blog Hop winners!

The Historical Holiday Blog Hop & Giveaway closed yesterday and I'm thrilled to announce the winners!

The winner of Fires of London is ... Atlantis FlyGirl!

The winner of Oleanna is ... Deborah Swift!

The winner of Book Pack 1: Only in America is ... Heather of The Maiden's Court!

The winner of Book Pack 2: European Education is ... Fluffy!

The winner of Book Pack 3: Unlikely Ladies is ... Kimberlee of Girl Lost in a Book!

Congrats to the winners! Thank you all for participating and enormous thanks to Amy of Passages to the Past for organizing this!

An Extraordinary Theory of Objects by Stephanie LaCava

Title:An Extraordinary Theory of Objects: A Memoir of an Outsider in Paris
Author: Stephanie LaCava

Genre: Non-Fiction (Memoir / 1990s / Adolescence / France / American Ex-Pat / Coming-of-Age)
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper (12/4/2012)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked a great deal!
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: An American ex-pat shares her experience living in a Parisian suburb in the '90s and the crippling loneliness and depression that dogged her.
Reading Challenges:Dewey Decimal, Immigrant Stories

Do I like the cover?: I do -- I find it very charming and in person, the matte background and the slightly glossy illustrations are catchy.

First line: I was always strange.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy if you like found objects, awkward memoirs, and Parisian escapes.

Why did I get this book?: Paris. I'm a sucker for all things Parisian.

Review: I didn't know what to expect with this book. While the blurb tells me something ('A haunting and moving colle…

2013 War Through the Generations

The American Revolution-era is a favorite of mine, so I'm really excited to participate in the War Through the Generations reading challenge.

I'm aiming for: Dip: Read 1-3 books in any genre with the American Revolution as a primary or secondary theme.


Elaine Cougler, The Loyalist’s Wife

2013 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

The Historical Fiction Reading Challenge is the only challenge I ever really succeed at, and so, obviously, I had to sign up for 2013! I'm aiming for Ancient History - 25+ novels. (In 2012, I read almost 60 historical novels!)


Susan Wittig Albert, A Wilder Rose
Mary Balogh, The Arrangement
Maya Banks, Highlander Most Wanted
Anna Belfrage, Like Chaff in the Wind
Anna Belfrage, A Rip in the Veil
Melanie Benjamin, The Aviator's Wife
Maryka Biaggio, Parlor Games
Nancy Bilyeau, The Chalice
D.L. Bogdan, The Forgotten Queen
Kit Brennan, Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards
Sandra Byrd, Roses Have Thorns
Nike Campbell-Fatoki, Thread of Gold Beads
Carol K. Carr, India Black and the Shadows of Anarchy
Carol K. Carr, India Black and the Rajah's Ruby
Stephanie Carroll, A White Room
Ellen Mansoor Collier, Bathing Beauties, Booze and Bullets
Ellen Mansoor Collier, Flappers, Flasks and Foul Play
Tara Conklin, The House Girl 
Amanda Coplin, The Orchardist
Jo-Ann Costa,

Mailbox Monday, Dec 17

Here is this week's Mailbox Monday (hosted in December at Suko's Notebook) -- last trickle of arrivals for 2012 -- and this will be my last MM for 2012 as well!  As always, the eye candy is ridiculously lovely!  What did you get this week?

For Review


My thanks to my awesome friend Tracy for gifting this one to me!


Aaaaaah, my last weekend before I leave! I'm wicked frazzled ... but thrilled to share giveaway winners.  Hope all of you are having peaceful weekends!

The winner of The Prescribed Burn is ... Judy B.!

The winners of Vine: An Urban Legend are ... Leocadia, Laurie C @ Bay State Reader's Advisory, and Anita Y.!

Congrats to the winners! I've got a few remaining giveaways open before I 'close' for the holidays -- my historical fiction holiday blog hop giveaway closes on Monday, so enter if you haven't!

Rosedale the Vampyre by Lev Raphael

Title:Rosedale the Vampyre
Author: Lev Raphael

Genre: Fiction (Historical / New York City / Gilded Age / 20th Century / Vampires / Widower / Sex)
Publisher/Publication Date: Amazon Digital (6/2012)
Source:Pump Up Your Book!

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did, very quickly!
One-sentence summary: A Jewish widower in Gilded Age New York loses himself in sex, and then blood, when a chance meeting changes him to a Vampyre.
Reading Challenges:E-books, Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: No -- it looks like an ad for a CW tv show.

First line: As usual since his wife Florence had died, and their newborn son along with her, Rosedale passed most of the day in a state of agitation.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Buy if you like quicky paranormal fiction with a sense of mood.

Why did I get this book?: While not a huuuuge vampire fan, I am a Gilded Age fangirl, so I had to see if it would work.

Review: Interestingly enough, I think this book is a kind of supernatural sequel (or perhaps, an alternative-univer…

Holiday Gift Guest Post

All quiet here (behind on reviews, what else is new?!) but I did manage to wrangle together a holiday gift recommendation for Jen at Books, Personally.  Check out her post and see what I (and other awesome bloggers) recommend! 

What is one book you'd recommend gifting this year?

Iconic Spirits by Mark Spivak

Title:Iconic Spirits
Author: Mark Spivak

Genre: Non-Fiction (Popular Culture / History / Alcohol / Food & Wine)
Publisher/Publication Date: Lyons Press (2012)
Source:Pump Up Your Book!

Rating: Liked.
Did I finish?: I did!
One-sentence summary: A look at twelve popular liquors and the history of their most popular brands.
Reading Challenges:Dewey Decimal,

Do I like the cover?: I've got no strong feelings -- it's fine for what it is, it resembles what it is.

I'm reminded of...: Jeffrey Steingarten

First line: What's a lifelong, committed wine geek doing writing a book about spirits?

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy, especially if you've got a foodie or nascent booze hound in your life.

Why did I get this book?: I love drinking. Wait, I mean that in a less horrifying way!

Review: I love cocktails. I don't watch Mad Men but I'm grateful for the resurgence in cocktail culture. Spivak's book is perfectly timed for those who are obsessed with martinis and tho…

Historical Holiday Blog Hop & Giveaway

If you check out my blog with any regularity, you'll see that historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. I love me some armchair time travel. One of my all-time favorite blogs in the history of ever, Passages to the Past, is hosting the Historical Holiday Blog Hop, from December 10 through 17, and I'm delighted to participate.

This is my third year as a book blogger and my most fun so far. I'm grateful to all of you who read and visit and comment and I hope to express that gratitude via some (I think) awesome giveaways.

There are five giveaways below -- two for individual books, three for book packs. All five giveaways are open to US and international readers. So go nuts!

Fires of London
I was smitten by Fires of London from the first page and I think more people need to read this seedy, sexy, sad novel of WWII. The giveaway is for an e-book, purchased by me and gifted to you!

Earlier this year I read and adoredOleanna, a novel set in early 20th century…

Mailbox Monday, Dec 10

I am in complete denial about the date and all that it means: holidays, merry-making, traveling, shopping. Can I have a few more weeks, please??

Here is this week's Mailbox Monday (hosted in December at Suko's Notebook) -- what did you get this week?

For Review


Gifted to me by the incomparable Amy of Passages to the Past (thanks, hon!)