Saturday, December 31, 2016

In My Mailbox: Christmas 2016

In My Mailbox: Christmas 2016

No, that's not my mailbox, but I wish it was! Seriously, that has to be a farm, cause that's a lot of rope. Wild horses couldn't...ok, they probably could tear me away...

Christmas was too warm and weird. I was beginning to think it was Festivus instead of Christmas Eve. But thankfully for me, books and time with Oshie were the silvering lining to our National Lampoon relatives.

Once again, I took part in TBTB Secret Santa and Geeky Santa Swap via I highly recommend both for great holiday fun.

From Instagram friend @angiepedersen @kcgeeks:

From Oshie and my in-laws, it was a very Beauty and the Beast Christmas:

And from other friends and relatives:

A heartfelt, jolly thank you to all! I can't wait to use, read, and eat (ok, I'll admit I already ate all the candy) everything! Have a joyous 2017!

Top Ten Books I Read In 2016

Top Ten Books I Read In 2016

Wow, I can't believe it's that time of year again! Where did it go? So many books, so little time to blog.

Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray - I feel like I'm annoying everyone with my rekindled Star Wars obsession. Oh well! Once a fangirl always a fangirl. Love Princess Leia. RIP Carrie Fisher.

Me Before You by JoJo Moyes - Heartbreakingly good. One of the most complex love stories I've ever read. The movie was just as wonderful.

Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn - Just when I thought Quinn's work couldn't get any wittier, it did! One of her best, IMO.

Marrying Winterborne by Lisa Kleypas - I'm still new to Kleypas' work (need to read Wallflowers), but I really enjoyed this one. Interesting plot.

You're Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day - My geek girl hero! Felicia inspired me to embrace my nerdy without shame.

In Quest of the Hero by Otto Rank, Alan Dundes, FitzRoy Richard Somerset - Speaking of nerdy, this book helped me understand heroes of mythical proportions. Tons of legends I'd never heard of before.

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - I loved the movie and the book, while different, did not disappoint. Highly recommend.

Life Below the Stairs by Alison Maloney - The perfect book to read after the conclusion of Downton Abbey! Fascinating facts that made the series real.

Chi's Sweet Home by Kanata Konami - Love the conclusion of this sweet series! Perfect for the cat lady in your life.

Outlander Kitchen by Theresa Carle-Sanders - Awesome time-traveling noms! Tons of baked goods I wanna try, after my New Year's diet that is :D

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017

Top Ten Books I'm Looking Forward To For The First Half Of 2017

The Girl with the Make-Believe Husband: A Bridgertons Prequel by Julia Quinn - Ah, can't wait for this series to continue! Historical romance set in the Colonies? Yes! I like that era, reminds me of my trip to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg.

Star Wars: Han Solo (Star Wars (Marvel))
 by Marjorie Liu, Mark Brooks - I know I could read the individual comics, but much like binge watching episodes on Netflix, it's more fun to read the graphic novel.

RoseBlood by A. G. Howard  - Special thank you to The Broke and The Bookish for listing this book! Ah, I love The Phantom of the Opera (probably going to see the musical again in the new year) and I wanna read this book!

The Duke (Victorian Rebels) by Kerrigan Byrn - Currently collecting all of this lady's work, so good. Great heroes and pacing, hot, hot, hot.

Devil in Spring: The Ravenels, Book 3
 by Lisa Kleypas - I'm still new to Kleypas' work, but I really enjoyed the last book in the Ravenels series, curious what will happen to the headstrong little sister.

Empire's End: Aftermath (Star Wars) (Star Wars: The Aftermath Trilogy) by Chuck Wendig - Woah, maybe this will tide me over until Star Wars Episode 8! I'm very interested if Leia will have a child-birth scene and if Wendig will show Han, Leia, and Ben Solo as a family unit.

Skip Beat! (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 12
 by Yoshiki Nakamura - Argh, I didn't enjoy the last few volumes of Skip Beat, but I'm so invested in the series at this point, that I really hope the plot picks up in this one.

A Conjuring of Light: A Novel (Shades of Magic)
 by V. E. Schwab - Fingers crossed for this one, too. Schwab is a great writer, don't get me wrong. But the last book in the series was very slow paced for me and Oshie. I want Kell and Lila in same scenes! They were hilarious together.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean (To All the Boys I've Loved Before) by Jenny Han - This series reminds me of my fav teen movies from the 90s. Wondering what sweet Lara Jean and her fun family will get into next.

In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle - A new story by Peter S. Beagle, author of my fav, The Last Unicorn? I gotta check this out. Rumor has it this features a unicorn as well.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review: Tune In (The Beatles: All These Years, #1)

Tune In (The Beatles: All These Years, #1)Tune In by Mark Lewisohn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, what do I get the Beatles fan who has everything? (i.e. my brother)

This massive book is a good start!

For the ultimate Beatles fanatic, this book covers the Fab four from before their childhoods to their cusp of fame in 1962.

Sections on their formative years include: Old Before Our Birth, Year 1, 1958: Thinking of Linking, Year 2, 1959: Three Cool Cats, Year 3, 1960: Competence, Confidence & Continuity, Year 4, 1961: The Rock Age, and Year 5, 1962: Always Be True.

Tune In also includes several great school shots and candid photos of the soon-to-be famous lads.

All and all, a great first volume about the band who changed the world of music forever.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

Frank Herbert - In a word: fantastic. Dune flows effortlessly from the page. Best story I should have read a dozen years ago. Reading Dune was also one of my bucket list "30 During 30" items. Glad it's finally achieved!

Alan Moore - He is legend among comic book readers. I finally, finally picked up his work to better understand the hype and criticism of "The Killing Joke" movie. Overall, I see why he has a hardcore fan following.

Thomas Hardy - Flawlessly created a great sense of community in "Far From The Madding Crowd." Although he isn't nice to his main heroine, the story is certainly dramatic and entertaining to read.

JoJo Moyes - She's a unique and heartbreakingly good writer. It's shame I didn't try her out sooner. I basically bumped "You Before Me" and "After You" higher on my TBR pile because of the movie. Glad I did.

Mariko Tamaki - Her graphic novel, This One Summer, really took me back to those carefree coming-of-age summers of my youth. Important issues mixed with movies, swimming, and friends.

Colleen Hoover - Wow. Through her stories this lady broke my heart, stomped on it, and then glued it back together, lol. One dramatic ride through romance!

Julie Klassen - Ah! Why didn't I read her work sooner? Perfect for Jane Austen fans who enjoy clean romance. I strong recommend The Secret of Pembrooke Park.

Dianne Duvall - I took a chance on one of her fantasy romance novels and was pleasantly surprised! I hope to read more of her work in the future.

Tessa Dare - I had, literally, owned one of her books for years. I enjoyed her romantic sense of humor and intriguing plots. I easily identified with her unique heroines.

Kerrigan Byrn - Wow, her plot was so hot. One of my new fav authors. Currently collecting the rest of her work.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Review: Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens DemocracyWeapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O'Neil

I am not a math person. Never have been, never will be. However, after learning about this book from the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards, I thought it'd be a good gift for my husband, who is a math nerd.

For me, the book is reminiscent of Freaknonomics. It covers thought-provoking, seemingly hidden, forces that rule our society. I really related to her example of a college student who struggled to get a minimum wage job to stay out of debt, because of interview personality questions that are looking for "one type" of worker. Clearly, regardless of dedication, need, or references. I faced a similar situation during the recession.

Glad someone is highlighting these important issues, for the economy, for math, for science, and for people's livelihoods.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Books I'm Thankful For

Books I'm Thankful For

Holy Bible - As a Christian, it goes without saying. It is a never-ending source of inspiration and hope for me. It's helped make me who I am today.

Wreck This Journal - Although it might seem like a silly idea to some, this book taught me to let go of some of my OCD with neatness and just have fun making a mess.

The Last Unicorn - The reason I became a fantasy geek as a child, and the reason I still am one today!

Watership Down - Reinforced my love of nature and animals. Helped me survive 9th grade lunch hour.

Star Wars: A New Hope Novelization - In elementary school, this inspired me to write. Although, it technically was fanfiction, eventually I was inspired to create my own work as well.

The Hunger Games - With the recession, my life was also in a bad place. I needed a novel like this to keep calm and carry on. Fight the good fight.

The Princess Diaries - I can't say it enough, how much this book helped me to laugh again after my dad passed away.

The Secret Garden - I wanna say this was my intro into loving classic literature. It paved the way for me to enjoy Jane Eyre and Austen later on.

I Am Pusheen the Cat - Its too-adorable-ness provides me with insta-happiness and relaxation during stressful days.

Harry Potter - For "non book nerds" its usually the one book or series they've read, helping them "get" what it's like to have fun in a fictional world and/or understand us super geeks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

For this Waiting on Wednesday, I picked A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab.

Release Date: February 21, 2017

Book Summary: "London's fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire—and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes and foes struggle alike. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees Schwab reach a thrilling culmination concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old enemies."

My Thoughts: Although I was frustrated with the slow pace of the second book in the series, I'm still extremely curious about Kell's character and how the issues in the "Shades of Magic" world will be resolved. It's a unique series that both Oshie and I have shared together and discussed in depth.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Review: Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to StreuselkuchenClassic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernüsse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you're interesting in German Baking, as far as I'm concerned, this book is a must! Every recipe sounds delicious.

My husband and I frequent a German bakery in one of our favorite vacation spots. The unique goodness led us to try our hand at German cooking. That said, there's been a lot of setbacks along the way (old, unclear books and recipes).

Classic German Baking is a clear and easy-to-use cookbook. Its contents are divided into: Cookies, Cakes, Yeasted Cakes, Tortes and Strudels, Savories, Breads and Rolls, Christmas Favorites, and Basics.

All ingredients listed are easily found at your local grocery. Names of recipes are in German and English. Measurements are given in cups and grams.

My only complaint: more pictures needed! I like for each recipe to have a photo, an image for me to double-check and go by. A lot of the images in this book are landscapes or a single ingredient used in the recipe.

Otherwise, a great addition to your cookbook collection and holiday recipes to share with guests.

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (32)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

Release Date: January 3, 2017

Book Summary: "Everyone's favorite scoundrel goes Solo! Han is given a top-secret undercover mission for the Rebellion: rescuing several informants and spies! His cover for the assignment? Only the biggest and most infamous starship race in the galaxy, the Dragon Void! A tournament he has dreamt of winning his entire life. With a chance of glory, can Han keep his mind on the mission? Or is failing Leia worse than losing? If that wasn't enough, there's also the small matter of finding a traitor within the Rebellion. As the Dragon Void heats up, can a certain Wookiee pal lend a hand in the mole hunt? Place your bets for the ultimate space race! Our money's on Han and the Millennium Falcon - after all, it's the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs!"

My Thoughts: I think it's safe to say I've been a Han Solo fangirl for a long time. In middle school, I remember carefree days reading the Young Han Solo trilogy at my grandparents' house. Since that's no longer canon, I'm really interested in seeing what Disney will do with the character's backstory.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ten Books I've Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately

Ten Books I've Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately

Shadow of the Wolf (Sherwood's Doom) by Tim Hall - Found while randomly browsing Barnes and Noble. I love Robin Hood lore and mash-ups. Can't believe I'd never heard of this one.

The Scribble Diary: My Brain Right Now by Lisa Currie - I had tons of fun completely Wreck This Journal for my bucket list blog. Right now I'm trying to find a next best thing.

Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle - I am a huge Last Unicorn fan, and was almost shocked to learn about this book (I thought Beagle was severely ailing). Anyways, certainly interested in his newest story.

Ahsoka by E.K. Johnston - Prior to watching Star Wars Rebels, I was not familiar with Ahsoka's character. She's not in the movies. However, now that I've caught up on the new Star Wars canon, I'm interested in her life and continuing story.

Queen Emeraldas 1 by Leiji Matsumoto - Oh man, super anime/manga geek here. I was pleasantly surprised to find this in Barnes and Noble! I love the old school drawing style of Galaxy Express. Very curious to learn more about the Pirate Queen.

Unmentionable: The Victorian Lady's Guide to Sex, Marriage, and Manners by Therese Oneill - I saw this on a friend's Goodreads feed and was scandalized, and then kinda fascinated. How did ladies live back then??? They were made of strong stuff.

Outlander Kitchen: The Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders - OMG, whatever is in that basket, I wanna try it! I love trying new recipes for the holidays and being an Outlander fan, this is the ticket.

Color the Classics: The Snow Queen: A Frozen Fantasy Coloring Book by Jae-Eun Lee - Wow, looks like the perfect winter coloring book! Grab the snuggie and coffee and I'm all set. Let it go, let it snow!

Devil in Spring: The Ravenels, Book 3 by Lisa Kleypas - Ah, can't believe this doesn't come out until next year! Anyways, very much enjoyed Marrying Winterborne and looking forward to this one. Can I borrow that dress, btw?

Skip Beat! (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 12 by Yoshiki Nakamura - Another title that doesn't release until January...I'm hooked on this series, and even though the last few volumes weren't my favs, I'm hoping the plot will progress more in this one.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (31)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme that was created by Breaking the Spine to spotlight a blogger's eagerly anticipated new books.

Release Date: December 6, 2016

Book Summary: "The lifeblood of the Wiltshire village of Ivy Hill is its coaching inn, The Bell. But when the innkeeper dies suddenly, his genteel wife, Jane Bell, becomes the reluctant owner. Jane has no notion of how to run a business. However, with the town's livelihood at stake and a large loan due, she must find a way to bring new life to the inn.

Despite their strained relationship, Jane turns to her resentful mother-in-law, Thora, for help. Formerly mistress of The Bell, Thora is struggling to find her place in the world. As she and Jane work together, they form a measure of trust, and Thora's wounded heart begins to heal. When she encounters two men from her past, she sees them--and her future--in a different light.

With pressure mounting from the bank, Jane employs innovative methods to turn the inn around, and puzzles over the intentions of several men who seem to have a vested interest in the place. Will her efforts be enough to save The Bell? And will Thora embrace the possibility of a second chance at love?"

My Thoughts: Earlier this year, I throughly enjoyed Julie Klassen's "The Secret of Pembrooke Park". It's definitely one of the best Regency romance novels I've ever read. Part Northanger Abbey, part Jane Eyre, I highly recommend her work to readers who like a little mystery mixed with their historical romance.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Halloween Costumes For The Very Bookish

Halloween Costumes For The Very Bookish

In past, I've done characters I'd like to costume/cosplay. This year, I'm recommending some offbeat ones that non-bookish people may or may not "get".

Jane Austen - Oh, to own a Regency style dress, throw out Pride & Prejudice quotes, and offer people autographs with a quill!

Bambi - Doesn't everyone love Bambi?? I had a lot of fun reading and writing the review for the classic. Cool example found on Pinterest!

Boo Radley - Southern Literature's man of mystery. Also fairly easy to pull off, just add newspaper, scissors, and maybe some soap dolls.

Edgar Allan Poe's Raven - Be sure to rap at people's door and cry "Nevermore!"

Edgar Allan Poe's Purloined Letter - Not to be outdone by spooky birds, you could also be Poe's mysterious lost letter. Be sure to hide out in the open! I couldn't find an example...but this idea would work if you make it more "antique" looking...

Hogwart's Sorting Hat - Why be judged by the hat, when you can be the hat? Have fun labeling people into groups all night long. Thanks, cosplay dot com.

The Eye of Sauron - Nothing's more creepy than keeping an eye on all Middle-Earth, especially hobbits. Photo credit from Kerry My Heart blog.

Buttercup the Cat - Forget Katniss, Buttercup is the real survivor of The Hunger Games series!

The Twilight Apple - I guess one could argue that the whole series started with that fateful sure to add some glitter to dazzle everyone.

Dune's Giant Sandworm Shai Hulud - Thank you, for actually having this costume! Be sure to have sugar and spice and everything nice for your fellow party go-ers.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Characters I'd Name A Child After

Characters I'd Name A Child After

Aww, zee babies! So precious! I feel like this is the perfect book blog topic for me. Not cause I'm a mom, but because I'm a true name enthusiast. For years, I've used baby name websites to name characters (for creative writing and video games (Sims)) and even helped moms-to-be brainstorm ideas on forums.

Here some characters names I love and would actually use!


Strider (Lord of the Rings) - So, long story short, my first "we-had-a-baby" dream after Oshie and I married was about a son with an unusual "S" name. Therefore, I've been obsessed with "S" names. After reading The Fellowship of the Ring, I feel in love with the heroic Aragorn's nickname.

Atreyu (The Neverending Story) - I had such a crush on him as a little girl. Oshie has already told me no for this one, lol. If I had my way, I'd probably use it as a middle name...for example, Paul Atreyu. Wait, that might be too much like Paul Atreides from Dune. Hmm.

Atticus (To Kill A Mockingbird) - All-in-all, I think it's cool the name has recently become more popular. I've loved it and wanted to use it since I was a tween. I'm kinda on the fence now with the controversy over "Go Set A Watchman".

St. John (Jane Eyre) - Although he isn't the romantic hero of the book, I was intrigued by the unusual "S" name. Pronounced Sinjun, it's rarely seen in this day and age. However, unfortunately, it would probably be mispronounced all the time.

Oak (Far From The Maddening Crowd) - Having recently seen and read "Far From The Madding Crowd" it's hard not to love Gabriel Oak's character. He's so steadfast, easy-going, and devoted. I know several Gabriels, and although the name is angelic, as a nature-lover, I really like Oak!

Prince (The Little Prince, various fairy tales) - Ok, so this mostly started as a joke between me and Oshie that our son would be a "little prince". However, it's went so far and become such a apart of our conversations that it's kind of grown on Oshie. Still, I'm thinking that people would assume the name was after the musician.

Beowulf (Epic Poem) - Another, mostly joke between me and Oshie. It was an important read during our high school years. There's Wolfgang, so why not Beowulf? With our "word name" last name, it'd make for a baby name of epic styling. Our son would certainly stand out from the crowd.


Anne (Anne of Green Gables) - It has to be Anne with an E! If I have a daughter, I hope she has a great wit and imagination like Anne. My late grandmother also loved the series, so for me, it'd be a way to remember her as well.

Elizabeth (Pride & Prejudice) - Although it's a classic name used by Queens and Princesses, I'd be sure to let everyone know the character behind the namesake. Equal parts bold and loyal, Elizabeth is an forgettable character. Here's to hoping I don't turn into Mrs. Bennet.

Estella (Great Expectations) - After watching several film and tv versions of the books and loving the manga, Oshie and I have been impressed by the name. It's both graceful and not commonly used. I hear the character grows and changes, all depending on which ending of the book you read. Apparently, Dickens created two endings!

Alice (Alice In Wonderland, Alice via Twilight) - Never been a fan of the Disney cartoon, but I love the books and the manga it's inspired. In my family, I feel like I'm the over-planner for people's birthdays, weddings, showers, etc., so I kinda identify with Alice Cullen. And, Oshie and I have fun memories of seeing the movies together.

Rey/Rei (Star Wars: TFA, Sailor Moon, Evangelion, Mars) - Even my family has suggested we name a girl after the cool Star Wars character. Prior to The Force Awakens movie, books, comics, etc., Oshie and I liked the Japanese name spelled "Rei" after several manga characters. Cute, quick to spell.

Arrietty (The Borrowers) - Oshie was the one who originally suggested this name. It's unique and adorable, while having an elemental feel. She'd probably get nicknamed Arie or Etty, which also stand out from the crowd.

Dorothy (The Wizard of Oz) - Odds are, we'd probably have a dark-haired little girl just like the main character. As a baby, my first music box played "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," so it has a special place in my heart. Love the nickname Dot and Dottie, too!


Related Posts with Thumbnails