Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Super Loooong Book Titles


Top Ten Tuesday: Super Loooong Book Titles

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man - This is in my TBR pile, so much so, that I believe I've accidentally bought multiple used copies at library book sales over the years. Maybe an alternative title should have been "Portrait of A Young Male Artist"? 

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Nowadays an editor might retitle this "Hi, God? Margaret, here.".

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things - I love the author's humor, but it's nice to have clarification that it's about horrible things for those who need to know beforehand.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - It's just a weird title altogether, I know it makes logically sense when you read the story, but it's a mouthful and even the abbreviation for it feels long.

Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There - No one ever adds the "and What Alice Found There" to the title. No one.

The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure - Most people simply know it as “The Princess Bride”. If I remember correctly, it’s actually a retelling/revisioning of another story.

What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist—the Facts of Daily Life in 19th-Century England - This has been in my TBR pile for longer than I want to admit. I guess adding Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to the title was a better selling point?

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened - A personal favorite of mine. Thankfully, the sequel "Solutions and Other Problems" is quicker to say and type.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Long, yes, but it's fun to say dramatically and kids still love it.

Alexander and the Wonderful, Marvelous, Excellent, Terrific Ninety Days: An Almost Completely Honest Account of What Happened to Our Family When Our Youngest ... Came to Live with Us for Three Months - Wow. I didn't know this book existed prior to this TTT. That has to be the longest title ever. I guess "My Son's Family Moves In" wouldn't do.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins


The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games, #0) by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 out of 5

Being from the foothills of Appalachia, having supported my family at a tender young (although I was in my twenties when The Hunger Games was first published), and coming off the recent recession, as a reader I quickly connected to the characters and the dystopian world of The Hunger Games series. When the final movie wrapped in theaters, I had no clue what fandom or series could replace its spot in my bookish heart.

When a new book was announced, I automatically, wrongly, assumed that the next installment would jump to the future and possibly feature President Snow's granddaughter, whom Katniss doomed to be in the next Hunger Games post-downfall-of-the-Capitol. I speculated that Katniss' children might somehow cross this Snow granddaughter's path. Perhaps they would have to work to right the wrong of their mother's decision; that no Hunger Game is a right way to govern. Anyways, yes, I was wrong, and I was surprised and apprehensive about reading a novel about a young President Snow.

Prior to giving the story a chance, my head canon more or less decided that President Snow had an upbringing similar to the Harry Potter character Draco Malfoy; possibly rich, spoiled, well-connected, and able to rely on his powerful daddy. Thankfully, I was wrong again, and President Snow's background is actually more complicated and interesting.

I NEVER ever thought I'd actually like President Snow or feel sympathy for his plight in his younger days. Collins succeed in making me care about this villain. She succeed in making the District 12 connections in the story feel natural, and in my opinion, not pure fan-service (although for a moment I was getting worried that Snow was going to Katniss' grandpappy...).

But that ending...like so many others have said before now: So.Super.Rushed.. Snow goes from being madly in love to suddenly-rethinking-everything-cause-he-doesn't-like-walking-in-the-woods-for-very-long. I could re-read it all day and still not decide if the girl got away. It's vagueness makes it interesting and memorable, although it's still a pity Snow's change-of-heart wasn't more well developed.

I have no doubt it'll eventually be an original mini-series on one of the streaming companies. In fact, I'll be disappointed if it isn't. But I still want my Hunger Games sequel featuring Snow's granddaughter and the Everdeen-Mellark children.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Changes In My Reading Life

Changes In My Reading Life

Oh boy, I feel like I'm not the reader I used to be AT ALL.

1.) Bookstores: Unfortunately, the bookstores in my life have changed. For three years I lived within walking distance of a Barnes & Noble. Sometimes I went there 2-3times a day. Since we lived in an apartment, I joked that Barnes & Noble was sorta like our yard. We would go there to get coffee, walk, and browse, and frequently buy. I blogged about this location on my IG tons.

Now I live about an hour's drive from a B & N in each direction. And sometimes their selection isn't as nice or current as my old B & N yard.

To add to the book shopping woe, the Books-A-Million of mine and my husband's childhood and teen years suddenly turned into a 2nd & Charles. I'm not joking when I write it made us feel like a member of our family passed. The change was so sudden, we knew nothing about it, I think we still grieve for the good ole book shopping days; what we were used to. Now, I guess, I should be glad the location still has a life as a 2nd &  Charles. But even though I do shop there sometimes, it feels like a Frankenstein of store.

And my location indie books is a no go as well. Our favorite employee has moved. The owners are busy with another out-of-town location. And the last time I visited, the new employee was rude. She touched my things without asking and laughed about it. I haven't been back.

2.) The Library: The library of my young adult/college years isn't the same either. The last time I went there, I felt like I was going to be robbed at 9am on a weekday.

For the past year, they have been renovating the 1970s building. Maybe the feel and safety of the location will improve when they finish next year?

3.) New Kindle: Yeah, so all that's a bummer. But, on the bright side, my husband and I gifted each other a new Kindle last year. Most of the time, the Kindle editions of books we want to read are more affordable, which helps with homeownership expenses. Since we're not near a good bookstore, the ability to have a new release "day-of" is convenient. I do have Kindle Unlimited and it's introduced me to several helpful ebooks that I wouldn't have had access to otherwise. Plus, when one of us wants to stay up late reading, the backlight on the Kindle is more thoughtful than having an actual lamp on all night.

4.) Fiction Reading Burn Out: For 2018 and most of this year I've suffered a major fiction reading burn out. Several books I thought I would personally enjoy either disappointed me or contained triggers and/or tropes I'm not a fan of. I did enjoy some of what I read this year and I was able to savor those few.

5.) Audible Burn Out:  Ditto for Audible. I used to listen to a TON of audible books. But, my husband and I don't long-distance car travel for education/work/visit family anymore. I also used to listen a great deal while I cleaned house, but with Youtube Premium, I decided to take a break and listen to pop-culture videos and podcasts instead.

6.) Increase In My Own Creative Writing: I think with the increase of my own creative writing I've had less time to read, and also, perhaps I'm more critical of the stories I do read. Not, always, the writing or style itself. I see the characters' development or choices as more technical chunks of info, and I get more critical of what the author chooses to do. It's become harder to enjoy the story for the sake of being a reader.

7.) Non-Fiction Reading Fire Up: While I've stalled on fiction reading, my non-fiction reading has increased. I'm in full mom-to-be baby mode and trying to prepare myself the best way I know how. This personal trend will probably continue as I plan to read more parenting books in the near future. I need all the help I can get!

8.) Reading Challenges:  For the first time in nearly ten years, I'm not going to meet my yearly reading challenge. But I'm ok with that. Sometimes it felt great to do other things, put energy into other projects and hobbies, or just rest, instead of constant reading. I started an Etsy store and only read what I really liked.

9.) Clueless About New Books and Series: So, ditto for pretty much knowing none of the books nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards this year. In years past, I was able to suggest an additional book for several of the categories. But, at least, if I feel like it, I can read the best of 2019 in 2020, if I have time...

10.) Transitioning to Mommy Blog: In the next few months and years, I see myself sharing and reviewing more children's books. I've always had a heart for children's lit and I'm looking forward to discovering which titles are my child's favorites. I see myself buying more books for my child and less for myself (other than ebooks.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Top Ten: Favorite Bookmarks

 Favorite Bookmarks 

Ah, bookmarks. Those book page saving lil heroes that I can never get enough of. (I'm assuming this week's top ten meant bookmarks for books and not bookmarks on a computer browser or the more updated pins on Pinterest.)

Sticky page tabs have quickly become my favorite bookmarks, especially to mark my favorite scenes so I can quickly return to them.

Girl of All Work has the cutest classic character designs. I've been known to use Darcy to mark the hero scenes and Elizabeth to mark the heroine's.

The last bookmark I bought for myself after seeing a user post it on Tumblr: gotta have my sequel trilogy Rey and Kylo Ben fix.

3. Stick Marker

I've found these adorable little page markers make cute birthday gifts.

4.  99 Problems Beaded Bookmark

I got this one from B&N several, several years ago. It made me laugh. Although I do still have book problems, like looking at my TBR and thinking I have nothing to read.

5. I-Clips

I like i-clips, but I don't actually own all that many of them. I bought these back during the height of Downton Abbey.

6.  Movie Bookmarks

I was very happy to receive these as a Christmas gift one year. Super excited about a new Hunger Games novel, too.

7. Movie ticket stubs

And speaking of movies, I've actually used movie ticket stubs to make my place quite often. Only nowadays most theaters don't have nice thick cardstock stubs anymore. But I can see their reasoning that most people don't reuse or recycle them.

8. Emoji Sticky Notes

I have used emoji sticky notes before, but they're a little on the large side. They're good for a typical bookmark to move from page to page while reading. Not so good for annotating.

9. Postcard

From time to time, I'll get a postcard that I really like and somehow it just ends up being a bookmark.

10. A receipt

And, when in desperation, there have been times in the past that I used a store receipt as bookmark. Notsomuch now, because I try to file them away for taxes asap.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Bookish Halloween Costumes 2019

Bookish Halloween Costumes 2019

I love costumes, mostly I guess, because I love the theater and the amazing storytelling behind productions from Shakespeare to new classics (Cats, Hamilton).

So, bookish halloween costumes? Even better!

Here's some I like and would try in the future (it's cold and rainy and I'm so pregnant '^-^).

A Book Fairy - The wheels in my head are turning. You could hand out a piece of candy attached to a bookmark.

Katniss Everdeen - I have the jacket as a raincoat! But I never officially cosplayed as Katniss. Woot for the Hunger Games new book though.

Anne of Green Gables - Easier, maybe, if you have red hair? But wigs or colorful Halloween dye are a thing, too.

Molly Weasley - Mom goals, anyone??

Ms. Marvel - Arguably a very easy and comfortable comic book costume compared to Batgirl or Wonder Woman or Captain Marvel.

Elizabeth Bennet - Classic Lizzie for a day look, maybe, and Zombie hunter for the evening?

Vin from Mistborn - So well done! I'd like to have a mist cloak in my future.

Pete the Cat - Kudos to a character I first learned about from the Decatur Book Festival. I would actually love to do a Pete the Cat family theme.

Book - If all else fails, just be the book you're reading or writing!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Review: The Other Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #3) by Julia Quinn

The Other Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys, #3)The Other Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My book year is not complete without a read from the incredibly witty Julia Quinn.

I felt like I had to wait forever for this one, while also waiting for more news on the Bridgerton Netflix series, that I've longed for years.

The Other Miss Bridgerton had its moments. Star-gazing. A surprise dinner-guest twist. It's an adventurous novel, in which the heroine is kidnapped by pirates. And, in which, the captain hero is undercover for the government, and also secretly a friend of her family. More kidnapping.

I've been bored by the "kidnapped-by-pirates" trope before. Mainly because it usually means spending a lot of time on a ship, doing nothing. But, as always, Quinn made it fresh, with enough tension and distractions to keep me from feeling trapped as a reader. Although, I did eventually speed-read through some of the back-and-forth sibling-like bickering between the heroine and hero. It was nearly akin to slow-burn.

Overall, "Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1)" has been my favorite. But, again, this one had some very darling moments.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Review: The Headmistress of Rosemere (Whispers on the Moors, #2) by Sarah E. Ladd

The Headmistress of Rosemere (Whispers on the Moors, #2)  by Sarah E. Ladd

My Rating: 4 out 5
A little bit Jane Eyre, a little bit gambling debts, horses, and two suitors at dinner.

Patience Creighton is the "unofficial" headmistress of Rosemere. Her father, the former headmaster, has died. Her brother has not been heard from in months. Her grieving mother is stricken with melancholy.

One night, their wayward landlord, William Sterling, suddenly appears beaten and in need of aid. As Patience tends to him, the attraction is clear. Except he kept muttering the name "Isabelle."

When a fire threatens Rosemere, Patience comes to trust William. Could he be the romantic hero she dreamed of as a girl? The dream suitor she envisioned when she refused an offer of marriage from her childhood friend?

William knows he should be thinking of his gambling debts and finding a buyer for his foal. However, his thoughts are increasingly on the headmistress of Rosemere. But how could he ever hope to love, again? What can he offer her? When he finds his late mother's jewelry in the headmaster's office, a mystery from his past resurfaces.

Very enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down.

The ending was a little rushed for me. I needed a chapter in which Patience takes in or thinks over the mystery of William's past. She did a lot of thinking about every other situation.


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