Showing posts from May, 2014

Weekend reads and still blah...

I'm feeling a bit Eyeore-ish, so I'm sorry if I sound especially maudlin.  We've had some housing drama come up (as in, we're scrambling to find housing unexpectedly!) so I'm a total stress bucket, but am trying to be zen.  Still am not feeling many of my reads -- I put down a rather good book because a plot twist gave me the red rage, and I figured, why torture myself? -- and I guiltily suspect I'll spend most of the weekend streaming movies.

However, in a fit of optimism, I've signed up for Roof Beam Reader's Moby-Dick readalong, which runs June 1 – July 15. Moby-Dick is my wife's all-time favorite book ever, and she's been begging me to give it a try. I've put it on my Classics Club reading list and she's started reading it to me every night in hopes of making our little sea monster a fan.  (All it serves is to put me to sleep in a matter of minutes, so it'll be June 2015 before we finish at this rate!)

What are you reading this…

The Quick by Lauren Owen

Title:The Quick
Author: Lauren Owen

Genre: Fiction (Historical / Victoriana / 19th Century / London / Supernatural / Secret Society)
Publisher/Publication Date: Random House (6/17/2014)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Eh -- okay (with moments of like).
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: When her brother goes missing, a young Victorian woman leaves her family estate to find him, and is shocked by the world she discovers in seedy London and the truth about her brother.
Reading Challenges:E-book, Historical Fiction, NetGalley & Edelweiss

Do I like the cover?: I do but it only adds to my feeling of betrayal as it has really nothing to do with the book other than to convince you it's something it isn't!

I'm reminded of...: Elizabeth Bear, Karen Essex, Elizabeth Kostova

First line: There were owls in the nursery when James was a boy.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow.

Why did I get this book?: I love big chunksters set during the Victorian era.

Review: This is a cranky review of a b…


I must apologize for being so behind on announcing giveaway winners -- pregnancy brain! (Plus real life, stress, work, etc.)  Anyway, here are all the outstanding giveaway winners -- sorry, all, for the wait!

The winner of The Promise is ... Jenny Q of Let Them Read Books!

The winner of the Drop Caps 'T' edition of The Joy Luck Club is ... Meg of A Bookish Affair!

The winner of the Penguin Classic edition of The Joy Luck Club is ... Ti of Book Chatter!

The winner of Daughter of the Gods is ... Anita Y.!

The winner of The Shadow Queen is ... Meghan E.!

Congrats to all the winners! Folks have until end of day Wed to respond to my email; after that, I'll redraw winners. I have one open giveaway now and more coming this week.

Weekend reads and not reading much...

I probably can't keep blaming everything on being pregnant, but I've been in a real reading funk. I've got plenty of good books but little energy/motivation to read. There's some real life drama in my life that is stressing me out (not related to the baby -- he's fine, thankfully!) and I'm finding it hard to concentrate on much, sadly.

So sorry for not posting so much this month -- hopefully I can recover for June!

My weekend read is The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams. I might also start Jane Austen's Emma, which was my Classic Club Spin pick.

What are you reading this weekend?

I Am Livia by Phyllis T. Smith

Title:I Am Livia
Author: Phyllis T. Smith

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 1st Century BC / Ancient Rome / Historical Figure Fictionalized / Coming-of-Age)
Publisher/Publication Date: Lake Union Publishing (5/1/2014)
Source:TLC Book Tours

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: I did.
One-sentence summary: A young Roman woman finds passion with a power-hungry Roman politician, but must make more compromises than she ever imagines.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction

Do I like the cover?: I do.

I'm reminded of...: Sophie Perinot, Stephanie Thornton

First line: I wonder sometimes how I will be remembered.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy.

Why did I get this book?: I couldn't resist a novel about the infamous Livia!

Review: I've never considered Livia, wife of Emperor Augustus, to be a very sympathetic figure.  Popular culture tends to paint her as a cold, scheming woman but in Smith's hands, Livia is far more sympathetic, likable, and warm.  As an enormous fan of Stephanie Dray&…

Classics Club Spin

I am woefully, woefully behind on my Classics Club reading challenge, having only read one item so far (and I still haven't reviewed it.)  So, in an attempt to get going, I'm participating in the Classics Spin.

In short, I pick out 20 books from my list, and on Monday, May 12, a number will be chosen by those at the Classics Club.  I'll have to read whichever book that is on my list by July 7!

I will admit that I picked what felt like 'easy' reads given that nearly half my June is going to be eaten up by a massive work conference.  I always read very little in June no matter what, and I don't want to hobble myself with a brick-of-a-read (like Moby Dick) that I'll never finish.  But I did list reads I'm dreading as well as ones I'm very keen on, and I will read which ever one gets picked!
Jane Austen, Emma [No. 1 was rolled, so I'll be reading this one!]William Blake, Songs of Innocence and of ExperienceEmily Brontë, Wuthering HeightsElizabeth Bar…

The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland

Title:The Shadow Queen
Author: Sandra Gulland

Genre: Fiction (Historical / 17th Century / France / Royalty / Mistresses / Historical Figures Fictionalized / Theater / Occult)
Publisher/Publication Date: Doubleday (4/8/2014)
Source:France Book Tours

Rating: Liked a great deal.
Did I finish?: Raced through this one.
One-sentence summary: A scrappy young woman, raised in the theater, becomes confidante and attendant to a demanding, charming noblewoman, propelling her onto the stage of court life, royal assignations, and occult occurances.
Reading Challenges:Historical Fiction, What's in a Name

Do I like the cover?:J'adore, as the French would say. It features the Shadow Queen herself, Athénaïs de Montespan.

I'm reminded of...: Lynn Cullen, Marina Fiorato, Susan Holloway Scott

First line: Winter was coming -- I could smell it.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid?: Borrow or buy!

Why did I get this book?: I'm a massive huge gigantic Gulland fangirl.

Review: Gulland won my undying readerly love with …

1,000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names by Mario Giordano

Title:1,000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names
Author: Mario Giordano; Isabel Fargo Cole, Translator; Ray Fenwick, Illustrator

Genre: Non-Fiction (Novelty / Writing Prompts / Creativity / Emotions)
Publisher/Publication Date: Penguin Books (4/29/2014)
Source: The publisher.

Rating: Liked.

Do I like the cover?: I do -- love the detailed illustration.

Review: This intriguing little book -- less than 300 pages -- contains precisely what the title says: one thousand fleeting moments for which there is no single word to describe them. Whimsical, occasionally edge, melancholy and exultant in equal part, this is a lovely sort of coffee table book that invites one to thumb through and share.

Hand lettered and illustrated by Ray Fenwick, each feeling is articulated in a different font, punctuated with images and graphic elements.  (You can click on the pictures for a more hi-res view.)

The feelings range from embarrassing to ethereal.  Some favorites of mine:

188: The panic that you might not m…


Thank you, everyone, for the kind words and congratulations yesterday!  I'm really still quite stunned! 

The winner of The Frangipani Hotel is ... Ryan!

The winner of The Winter Siege is ... Susan M.!

Congrats to the winners!  Be sure to check out my current giveaways -- more coming this week!

Weekend reads and I'm expecting!

I'm not very good at being coy or clever, so hopefully the photo makes it clear: I'm pregnant!  I'm super excited/nervous/excited and still, even at 12 weeks, filled with disbelief!  (I've also been in agony keeping this a secret!)

My weekend read is The Quick by Lauren Owen which so far is pretty good. I've been avoiding baby books like crazy, although perhaps I'll pay for this hubris later. But I'm married to a professional nanny who is a bit of a know-it-all, so I feel like I'm in good hands.  (Again, I may pay for this later!)

What are you reading this weekend?  Got a favorite pregnancy or parenting book you think I should pick up?