Tuesday, December 29, 2015

In My Mailbox: Dec 2015

In My Mailbox: Dec 2015

Wishing everyone a happy holiday and safe New Year's Eve!

Unlike the beautiful mailbox scene above, we did not have snow. It was an unusually warm and rainy Christmas. No ugly sweaters, but we still had fun. Since the weather continues to be muggy, all the more reason to grab an iced coffee, some chocolate, and sit back with a good read.

Once again, I had tons of fun playing Secret Santa thanks to The Broke and The Bookish and IGGPPC  (which I learned about earlier in the year from The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy).

From my own Geeky Santa via IGGPPC, @sticks_string, I received:

So adorable and delicious ^_^! Christmas Eve was foggy, and I had just told my hubby that the weather reminded me of searching for the Master Sword on LoZ "A Link to the Past," when I opened my IGGPPC gift to find my very own treasure chest! With 2 Links, yes! I will literally treasure them forever. The little erasers and stickers make me so nostalgic and will be used in my scrapbooking. Love the mockingjay keychain! The Christmas tissue was very thoughtful. @sticks_string had no way of knowing, but we love those little chocolate coins. Oshie and I gave them out at our wedding years ago.

And, from my own Bookish Santa, @ReviewsInAPinch, I received:

Book nerd Heaven! Harry Potter coffee mug with candy and a set of Hunger Games bookmarks :D. The whole family adored the 2015 White House Christmas Ornament! It will be displayed on our tree for many, many Christmas seasons to come. We can't wait to try the Swedish Coconut Cookies (we love coconut).

I've heard great things about "An Ember In The Ashes," "Legend," and "Isla and the Happily Ever After" and I'm excited to read them in 2016! The Harry Potter planner/notebook was a surprise and will be helpful as I resolve to write and stretch more in the new year. The "Dinner with Mr. Darcy" cookbook was perfect for me. I immediately started bragging about it to all the foodies in my family!

For Christmas, I also was very fortunate to receive some great books from the relatives:

Not to be outdone, Oshie is resolving to focus more on mathematics in 2016:

I had an enjoyably geeky and bookish Christmas! Here's to fangirlin' and good reads in 2016! 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

2015 End-of-Year Book Survey

It's time again for the Perpetualpageturner.com's End of Year Book Survey!

Number Of Books You Read: 115
Number of Re-Reads: 7
Genre You Read The Most From: Graphic Novels/Manga, Non-fiction, YA

1. Best Book You Read In 2015?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

"How to be A Heroine" was a much different book than I expected. I learned a lot about the author's culture, but the book also had a lot of spoilers.

3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

I bought "Batman Earth One Vol. 1" as a gift and ended up reading it myself. I couldn't put it down. The next Batman movie should be based on this.

4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?

Equally, "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "Go Set A Watchman." I feel you need to read "Mockingbird" before you can truly understand and appreciate "Watchman."

5. Best series you started in 2015? Best Sequel of 2015? Best Series Ender of 2015?

"The Fellowship of the Ring" for best series started. Best Sequel was "Batman Earth One Vol. 2." And surprisingly, I didn't read any series ender in 2015!

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

Everyone on my Top Ten List but especially, Gene Stratton-Porter, who all-around wrote my type of book.

7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?

"Everything I Never Told You" by Celeste Ng

I'm not much for murder and family drama, but she's a good writer and told the story well.

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

Tie between "As You Wish," "The Nightingale," and "The Fellowship of The Ring."

9. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Probably, "Pride & Prejudice" in one form or another :).

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

I wanna travel back in time and laugh around the stream with the gang!

11. Most memorable character of 2015?

Kell from "A Darker Shade of Magic." The descriptions about his eyes and jacket! Traveling through different Londons! Being a prince but not being a prince!

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

"The Little Prince." Even though its been translated, it's still lovely.

13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2015?

"Ball: Complete Book of Home Preserving"

As I try to keep the memories and the ways of my grandparents alive, this book has been so helpful. I'll be flipping through it for years to come.

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

"The Fellowship of The Ring." I really should have jumped on the bandwagon pre-movie or just shortly after. I have all this fangirl excitement for it now.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

All the ones on my Top Ten. It's hard to pick just one. Probably, "every man’s watchman, is his conscience" from "Go Set A Watchman," too.

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest = "This Book Just Ate My Dog!" by Richard Byrne (32 page Children's Book)
Longest = "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" by Patricia Schultz (992 Travel Guide)

17. Book That Shocked You The Most

"Go Set A Watchman." Deaths. Language. Complete Personality Changes in many characters.

18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)

Claire and Jamie! Outlander!

19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year

Marianne and Eleanor, sisters from Sense & Sensibility.

20. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

"The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy" by Julia Quinn, I just love all her work.

21. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

"Wreath" by Judy Christie 

This came highly recommended by my hubby's relatives. It was a great read!

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

Strider from LOTR. Again, Kell from "A Darker Shade of Magic."

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

I think "All The Bright Places" by Jennifer Niven is a debut? Please correct me if I'm wrong ;)

24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

Hands down, The Fellowship of the Ring. They'll never be another quite like Tolkien.

25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?

So many ties for this question! "Cat Vs. Human," "Worrier's Guide to Life," "Chi's Sweet Home," "Doctor Cat," "Shrub Monkeys," and "Ms. Marvel."

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

"The Nightingale," "Voyager," and "When Crickets Cry" by Charles Martin.

27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?

I feel like I'm the only one who's read "A Girl of the Limberlost" by Gene Stratton-Porter and "The Story Girl" by L.M. Montgomery, here lately. But they are both sweet books, that shouldn't be forgotten.

28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?

Again, it's gotta be "Go Set A Watchman." I felt like Atticus turned into a Nazi Darth Vader.

29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2015?

"Kings & Queens of Great Britain: A Very Peculiar History" by Antony Mason. Ever wanted to quickly read about every monarch in British history? It's the book for you!

30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?

I've enjoyed the Black Bird manga series, but I'm growing wearily of the back and forth between certain characters. I really want the series to progress and end well.

1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2015?

BrokenTeepee.com and LargeHeartedBoy.com, which have sent a lot of traffic my way.

2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2015?

Tie between "Go Set A Watchman" and "The Nightingale."

3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?

I put a lot of time and thought into my "Go Set A Watchman Eve" post. I also enjoyed writing the "Ten fictional families I'd like to celebrate Thanksgiving with" meme.

4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?

I love the Decatur Book Festival. If I could live at the Decatur Book Festival all-year-round, I would.

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2015?

I love playing Secret Santa for the Broke and the Bookish swap :)

6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?

I started a more personal, slice-of-life, bucketlist blog. So I've had to balance working on both. Also surgery and a death in the family zapped my reading and writing. When I'm stressed, I mainly turn to graphic novels and manga for escapism.

7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?

The people of the Interwebs really liked my "Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice" review.

8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?

With my random updates, I'm so happy to have any love on my posts. I want to thank all my dear readers and you awesome people who comment and follow me.

9. Best bookish discovery(book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I feel like every town needs a Little Free Library. When we move, I want to set up one.

10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?

Yes, I exceeded my goal of reading 100 books. For my other blog, I also succeeded in giving away 20 books through online swaps and community book exchanges.

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2015 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2016?
I've promised to read "The Two Towers." I also need to read the short "Heir to Edenbrooke."

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2016 (non-debut)?
"A Gathering of Shadows" by V.E. Schwab (What happens to Kell???)

3. 2016 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I haven't had time to keep up with 2016 Debuts. But please recommend some to me!

4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2016?
"Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1)" by Julia Quinn. I'm not sure if you'd call it a sequel or a prequel. Anyhow, excited!

5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2016?
I want to read more bucketlist books. "Dune." Finish the Anne of Green Gables series. Read Jane Austen's "Lady Susan, The Watsons, Sandition."

6. A 2016 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To
Please recommend me something you've liked, I've yet to read a 2016 ARC.http://www.perpetualpageturner.com/2015/12/6th-annual-end-of-year-survey-2015-edition.html

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Top Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree This Year

Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection by Kate Beaton - I've been waiting years for a new release! Gotta have it!

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (almost) by Felicia Day - Felicia Day is beyond cool. A fangirl's fangirl and very creative person.

Fat Cat Art: Famous Masterpieces Improved by a Ginger Cat with Attitude by Svetlana Petrova - I confess, I read some of this in the bookstore and it's hilarious. I want a copy all my own.

How to Be a Victorian A Dawn-to-Dusk Guide to Victorian Life by Ruth Goodman - I don't need more fuel for my history lovin' fire, but reading this couldn't hurt.

Updraft by Fran Wilde - After hearing the author speak at the DBF2015, I've really wanted this new scfi.

The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson - Found this one while randomly browsing the bookstore. Looks like a female Robin Hood/Katniss character.

Doodling for Bookworms: 50 inspiring doodle prompts and creative exercises for literature buffs
by Gemma Correll
- Oh man, this sounds like it was made for me, lit meets art.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson - I was weary of reading her first book, but ended up loving it and her blog! Can't wait to read about her new adventures.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen - In the past, I've discovered some really great clean romance titles from the Goodreads Choice Awards. Highly recommended + romance + regency era = sounds like a must for me.

Confess by Colleen Hoover- Loving the whole romance genre, I gotta check out the top voted romance on Goodreads for 2015. The artsy setting sounds unique.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Review: Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis

Happy Cooking: Giada's Recipes and Tips for Making Every Meal Count...Without Stressing You OutHappy Cooking: Giada's Recipes and Tips for Making Every Meal Count...Without Stressing You Out by Giada De Laurentiis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not familiar with Giada's show, but I own and use a lot of cookbooks because I prepare nearly all my meals at home.

Happy Cooking is very well organized. Giada covers it all. From: #breakfast, snacks & small plates, salads & seasons, soups & stews, pastas & risottos, eating clean, weeknight warriors, vegetables & sides, weekends & holidays, and treats & sweets. I feel the book contains a nice variety, with a little something for everyone. Even picky eaters like me!

I love that each recipe has been photographed in full detail. It's so frustrating when cookbooks only showcase a choice few recipes, leaving users to guess what the finally product should look like. I feel like Giada cares that you know what you're making. She also has a lot of useful tips for foodie novices.

With the holidays coming up, Happy Cooking has some great recipes, such as: Old-Fashioned Buttercrunch, Espresso-Peanut Brownies, Mini Eggplant Parmesan, Buffalo Grilled Shrimp, and Veal Piccata, sure to thrill guests.

All and all, great cookbook that I'll be referencing for years to come.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

Top Ten Best Books I Read In 2015

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah- This book was an emotional, immersive journey unlike any I've read in a long time. It was equal parts suspenseful, romantic, and action-packed. The characters taught me so much about the WWII era and women's history. The story breaks your heart, but uplifts and inspires at the same time.

Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee- News of its release filled me with both excitement and dread. My reaction is still mixed. Yet, overall, it was nice to read the flashbacks containing more antics from Scout, Jem, and Dill. Those moments made the book worth it.

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen- Got my Austen readin' on again! Seriously, I flipflop between liking Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice the best. Sense and Sensibility feels like two stories for the price of one, that of Elinor and Marianne. It's easy to identify with both characters, having both a practical and romantic side.

As You Wish by Cary Elwes- I really enjoyed Cary Elwes' musings on one of the best cult films ever. It was fun to relive his memories of the behind-the-scenes adventures. If you adore the movie, you'll adore it even more having read this book. Cary is a hilarious and gracious host down memory lane.

The Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy by Julia Quinn- Although slightly more unconventional with its focus on high family dysfunction, the book was a page-turner for me. I honestly didn't see how this would have a happy ending. But that's the magic of a good author. Took me from "the black moment" to "oh, hey, it works!"

Wreath by Judy Christie- I have a soft spot for stories of survival, and "Wreath" is a very done and closely believable one with an inspirational message. The author instantly made me care for this runaway and root for her whole journey. After her struggles, it has a great, feel-good ending.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab- One of the most intriguing fantasy worlds I've seen lately. The main character, Kell, embodies cool, calm, and confident. He's rivaled only by the sassy female pirate, Lila. Magical sparks fly!

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien- This book has been on my bucket list for a while. But I kept putting it off, until my hubby insisted, after he re-read the series himself. Now I'm all about Aragorn/Strider's character. So awesome. I like the movies, but as they say, the book is better.

The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan- This was highly recommended to me by several professors. Over and over again I'd find references to it in textbooks and non-fiction titles. So I thought it was time to check it out for myself. It may seem simple today, but for the time it was written, it has amazing allegories. I was thinking it was written 1850-1880...wrong, 1678!

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery- Beyond sweet. It's a lovely, hopeful little story with universal themes. It effortlessly asks big questions in a child-like innocent way. Another bucket list book I wish I'd read sooner.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

Top Ten New-To-Me Favorite Authors I Read For The First Time In 2015

V.E. Schwab "Darker Shade of Magic"- The main character belongs in the cool wizard club with Howl, Valek, Schmendrick, and Sparrowhawk. Looking forward to the sequel.

Gene Stratton-Porter "A Girl of the Limberlost"- For anyone who enjoys the beauty of nature, this forgotten classic is a must.

Charles Martin "When Crickets Cry"- Southern writing that pulls at the heart strings. This author really captures life in Georgia.

Jennifer E. Smith "The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight"- YA chick-lit with substance! Following this author now.

Judy Christie "Wreath"- A roller coaster of heartbreak and inspiration, Wreath is a tale of survival. Great for those who enjoyed "If You Find Me."

Robin McKinley "Beauty"- I wish I'd read this as a kid. Truly a beautiful retelling of a classic tale.

E. Lockhart "We Were Liars"- I enjoyed this great summer escape with a twist. I'd love to read another book by this author.

Stephanie Perkins "Anna and the French Kiss"- International fun with a darling main character. Her work is an exciting trip.

Celeste Ng "Everything I Never Told You"- I liked reading an Asian author's perspective on dramatic family life. She's one to watch.

Gemma Correll "The Worrier's Guide to Life"- Hilariously true and cute, this author really captures what us ladies are concerned about.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Review: The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book by Daria Song

The Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring BookThe Time Chamber: A Magical Story and Coloring Book by Daria Song
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Time Chamber is a truly magical story and coloring book for people who love fantasy. The intricate designs spark the imagination while telling the adorable journey of a small fairy.

This is my first adult coloring book, and I feel it certainly sets the bar high. You feel like the colorist of a beautiful graphic novel. It will take me months to finish it!

It's a great gift for people who collect fairy or owl items, or fantasy stories in general. I could see families working on the story, a page at a time, for hours of fun and togetherness. Color now, and use as a bed-time story later.

I was given a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ten fictional families I'd like to celebrate Thanksgiving with

Ten fictional families I'd like to celebrate Thanksgiving with

The Darcy Family - Who needs the chaos of the Bennet household, when you can relax in the finery of the Darcy family estate? If the weather is nice, we could all enjoy a nice walk or fishing. Maybe play a duet with Georgiana on piano.

The March Family - It'd be lovely to bask in the fruits of Marmee's holiday planning, enjoy Jo's latest dinner theatre production, go ice skating, and maybe run over and taunt Teddy for a while.

Anne Shirley and The Cuthberts - Anne Shirley and the Cuthberts would be the perfect hosts. A beautiful farm to tour with Matthew, proper food and decorations by Marilla, and never-ending entertainment from Anne. Just watch what she gives you to drink!

The Ingalls Family - For an old fashioned, handmade, and hard won Christmas, I'd visit the Ingalls family. The gifts would be simple, but the home would be full of Christmas spirit, Pa's fiddle, and Ma's good cookin'.

The Cullens - If Alice had anything to do with it, the Thanksgiving decorations would be fabulous. Could you imagine dining with their expensive, ancient fine china? I think I'd sit out the after-dinner family football, baseball, or hunting trip.

The Weasley Family - Regardless of the magic, the Weasley family sticks together. Although they don't have much, they have plenty of love, kindness, and friendship to go around.

Jase Garrett's Family (My Life Next Door) - The boy next door sure has a great, hard working All-American family. They seems like the sweet kind of folks who'd welcome you to their table anytime.

The Mortmain Family (I Capture The Castle) - Being eccentric, I'm sure I'd have an easy time settling in with the Mortmain family. Explore the castle, stay out of Mr. Mortmain's way as he pretends to work, and have a grand dinner with the Cottons.

The Finch Family (To Kill A Mockingbird) - Pouring syrup all over our food would make for a sweet literary feast. Afterwards we could whine that Atticus won't play football with the Methodists and enjoy tall-tales with Dill.

Elrond, The Lord of Rivendell (Lord of the Rings) - For awkward fantasy fun, it'd be great to gather around the table as Elrond's daughter, Arwen, brings Aragorn over to meet the family for the first time. "Dad meet my boyfriend, he's kinda human, and I know we're elves, but that's cool, right?"


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