Friday, May 30, 2014

Armchair BEA Day 5: Middle Grade/Young Adult


Happy Friday! Today's topic of choice for Armchair BEA is Middle Grade/Young adult books. Here's the prompt from their website:

Our final genre of discussion is one that we know is a popular one these days: books for the younger crowd, from middle grade to young adult. If you do not normally talk about this genre on your site, maybe you want to feature books that you remember impacting you during this stage in your life. If this is where you tend to gravitate, maybe you want to list your favorites, make recommendations based on genres, or feature some titles that you are excited to read coming later this year.

I absolutely LOVE Young Adult fiction. I love it because young adults are at such an impressionable age--it's the perfect time to get them hooked on reading and become lifelong readers. Also, young adults are going through so many changes in their lives, and I feel like there are so many fantastic YA books out their that they can relate to that will help them to not feel so alone and that their feelings are "normal." 

Here are some of my all time favorite MG and YA books, both recent and not so recent!

1.  Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell  (my review)

2.The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (my review)

3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

4. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins

5. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

6. Matilda by Roald Dahl (more MG than YA)

7. Charlotte's Web by E.B.White (also more MG than YA)

And now, for some YA books I am looking to reading and are on my TBR list (again, some recent, some now so recent)!

1. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

3. Landline by Rainbow Rowell

4. I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

5. Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

6. The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer

7. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling (I NEED to read these soon!)

What are some of your favorite YA books? What are some you are looking forward to reading?

Happy Reading!

The One & Only



Title: The One & Only
Author: Emily Giffin
432 pages, published May 20, 2014
Genre: Women's Fiction
Source: Borrowed from Library

I have been impatiently waiting for this book to come out for weeks! Was thrilled to get my hands on it and start reading! I'm a big fan of all her books and was thrilled to discover that Giffin's latest novel revolved around one of my favorite things: football.

Shea Rigsby has lived in Walker, Texas her whole life--and shares the town's passion for college football. Her best friend Lucy is the daughter of legendary (and hunky) Walker Coach Clive Carr, Shea attended Walker University, and stayed at Walker in the sports information department after graduation. Then, Coach Carr's wife dies and Shea's comfortable world is shaken. She begins to question everything in her life and makes some big changes. Shea confronts her desires, her fears and her beliefs head on in this page turning novel.

This book got lots of mixed reviews--but I totally loved it.  I think the reason why I loved it was because I am as much of an obsessed football fan as Shea--and can related to working for multiple years after graduation at the same college you attended. I think those that aren't die hard football fans may have trouble relating to this book at the same level that I did.

 In addition, Giffin addresses some heavy topics such as abuse, rape, and unconventional relationships that may make some readers uncomfortable.  However, I think Giffin did an excellent job of addressing these, in particular the subject of unconventional relationships. It reminded me of Giffin's Something Borrowed in that sense--looking past outward judgments of the relationship and deeply understanding the characters and their feelings and unique perspectives. I won't go into more details here as I don't want to give too much away!

Giffin's characters are multi-dimensional, introspective, and interesting.  The plot is fast moving, keeps you guessing, and has far more depth than a traditional "chick lit" novel.  I had a hard time putting this book down! This novel is well written, and my favorite Emily Giffin novel thus far!

Overall rating for "The One & Only": A

Happy Reading!



Thursday, May 29, 2014

Armchair BEA: Beyond the Borders


Welcome to Thursday, fellow Armchair BEA friends! Today's topic is Beyond the Borders--here's the guidelines from Armchair BEA:

It’s time to step outside your comfort zone, outside your borders, or outside of your own country or culture. Tell us about the books that transported you to a different world, taught you about a different culture, and/or helped you step into the shoes of someone different from you. What impacted you the most about this book? What books would you recommend to others who are ready or not ready to step over the line? In essence, let’s start the conversation about diversity and keep it going! 

As I said in my Intro post, one of the things I love about reading is that I get to learn about other places, cultures, and "travel" just by reading! It's so important  to celebrate and embrace diversity in our culture, and reading is an excellent way to learn more about the world and become more open minded and tolerant. Here are a few books that I've enjoyed that have helped me expand my horizons:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3273.Moloka_i?ac=1Moloka'i by Alan Brennert: I've professed my love for this book in my review, but had to address it here as well. This book beautifully describes a time in Hawaiian history that few Americans realize--and gives you a deep appreciation of their culture  that existed long before they became a US state.  I HIGHLY recommend this book. This book gave me more respect for the Hawaiian people and encouraged me to learn more about Hawaii's history.





The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows:  My best friend gave me this book as a gift, and I absolutely loved it. To be honest, despite being interested in WWII historical fiction,  I wasn't familiar at all with Guernsey, a British Crown dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy, until reading this book. Set during the German occupation during WWII, this book eloquently captures a time in European history from a different perspective than most are used to.  The story is written in a series of letters, and is well worth the read.

Born on a Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant by Daniel Tammet: Diversity doesn't just mean someone is from a different country from you--it can also include those with a unique perspective on life that is different than your own. This book is a first person account of a 27 year old high functioning British autistic savant with Asperger's Syndrome. Though his ability to empathize with others, think abstractly and deviate from routine is impaired, Tammet can easily complete complex math calculations in his head, and experiences numbers and words as shapes, colors and textures (hence the book's title.  This book helps readers understand where a person with this syndrome is coming from, and helps to develop greater acceptance of others like him.

What books help you go "Beyond the Borders"?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: A Wedding In Provence


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  The event spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week, I am excited for the release of:

A Wedding in Provence
by Ellen Sussman
Release Date: July 15, 2014 (pre-order on Amazon)
288 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction

From GoodReads:

What could be more idyllic than a wedding in Provence? That's what Olivia and Brody think when they invite their closest friends and family to spend their wedding weekend with them. But when Olivia's older daughter from her first marriage invites a man she met on the plane to join her, the delicate balance of the entire weekend is upset. Soon Olivia's best friend, the owner of the inn who is hosting the wedding, discovers that her husband has cheated on her. Then Brody's mother shows up without his father, who has gone into hiding. How can one choose love in the midst of chaos? Told from the point of view of Olivia and her two daughters, A Wedding in Provence is a moving novel about love, trust, secrets and family.

I love all things French, and I love weddings, so this sounds like a book that's right up my alley! There are two reasons why I chose a wedding themed book for this particular Waiting on Wednesday. First, today is my eight year anniversary with my wonderful husband! Second, this book comes out on July 15, 2014, which would've been my parent's 35th wedding anniversary (my dad passed away last year). Looking forward to this summer read.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

More Than Just Words: Audiobook Review: The Perks of Being A Wallflower



Title: The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Author: Stephen Chbosky
213 pages, published February 1999
Audiobook version: 6 hours, 21 minutes. Narrated by: Noah Galvin
Genre: Young Adult

I received this audiobook for free from Audiobooks.com and World Book Night as a thank you for being a Book Giver for World Book Night 2014. I was so honored to be a Book Giver, and receiving these audiobooks was icing on the cake! I listened to this audiobook as part of the Bout of Books challenge. I am posting this review today because the topic for ArmchairBEA today is "More Than Just Words." I feel this book was fantastic to listen to as an audiobook.

The book is written in a series of letters from Charlie, in his freshman year of high school. The book spans the entire school year. Charlie is quiet, introspective, and extremely intelligent, even if he is socially awkward. Then seniors Patrick and his stepsister Sam take Charlie under their wing and help him navigate the social world called high school.

This book is a fantastic coming of age story. I absolutely loved Charlie and rooted for him throughout the book. He is so thoughtful, smart, and introspective, and I really enjoyed seeing his character develop.  I really liked the letter format instead of chapters--it helped me understand how far along in the school year it was by knowing the date.

I'm really glad I chose to "read" this book in audiobook format--the narrator, Noah Galvin, did  a fantastic job with this book. His style, tone, and inflection while reading the book made me feel like it really was the voice of Charlie reading the letters--he conveyed the angst and stress of being 15 and all the challenges that come with it. I feel like I felt for the character more because of hearing the voice.

This audiobook is a fantastic example of the power of books in alternate formats.  I feel the narrator's reading of the book only enhanced my experience with this book.

Overall Rating for "The Perks of Being a Wallflower": A

Happy Reading!



Monday, May 26, 2014

Armchair BEA: My Introduction



Since I'm not able to go to New York this week to attend Book Expo America (BEA) I've signed up to participate in the next best thing-- Armchair BEA! It's a way to virtually "attend" the conference without leaving the comfort of home! Today's topic is an introduction of myself to other bloggers!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?
My name is Lori, and I'm from a small town in the beautiful state of Oregon! Ever since I can remember, I've loved reading and anything to do with books. I was fortunate to have parents who read to me, took me to the library, and encouraged reading and learning. When I was little, if I received a book as a gift, my mom said I would stop everything I was doing  and sit and read the book immediately (that hasn't changed lol)!   I've been married to my wonderful husband since 2006 and live with our four adorable kitties.  I have a Master's degree in Health Education and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and work in the field of higher education.  In addition to reading, I love dancing (I take ballet once a week), cooking, watching football,  drinking a good cup of coffee or glass of wine,  and relaxing at home with my husband and kitties.

My husband and I

I am new to the blogging world--only been blogging consistently since March 2014 but I am LOVING it so far.  I've always loved to write, and of course I love to read, and finally felt that now was the perfect time to start book blogging (with the encouragement of some great friends!).

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details -- Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. -- so we can connect more online. 

Palmer's Page Turner's is a blog with one goal in mind--to promote the love of reading through honest book reviews, reading challenges, and bookish things!

You can connect with through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google +, and Pinterest.  You can also find me on Good Reads!

Spread the love by naming your favorite blogs/bloggers (doesn’t necessarily have to be book blogs/bloggers). 

I have been fortunate to find a lot of excellent blogs to draw inspiration and encouragement from! Here are some of my favorites--be sure to check them out! Most are book blogs, but I included a couple non book related blogs too :)

Double Stacked Bookshelves
My Life in Books
Love at First Book
Brandie is a Book Junkie
River City Reading
The Small Things Blog (fashion, makeup, hair, etc)
Two Peas and Their Pod (food)

What genre do you read the most? I love to read because ___________________ . 

I generally read contemporary adult fiction, historical fiction, and YA fiction. I really love YA fiction because I feel it's such a critical age group--it's the perfect age to get "hooked" as a lifelong reader. There are so many fantastic YA books out there, both past and present.

I love to read for so many reasons!!  I love the ability to take a mental break from reality and dive into another world for awhile. I love the escape.  I love completely losing myself in a book and forgetting about everything except the characters and the story. I love relating to the characters and realizing I'm not alone in my experiences, thoughts, and  feelings.  I love watching the characters develop and change and grow. I love learning new things about places and times and events through reading. Reading is a way to travel without leaving home, as well as a way to be exposed to different perspectives and ideas. I don't think there's anything I DON'T love about reading!  There's no better way for me to relax than to curl up on the couch with a good book and a cup of tea or coffee!


What does your favorite/ideal reading space look like? (Pinterest encouraged!)


Reading by the pool in Maui!
December 2013
Clearly an ideal reading spot!
My favorite reading space at home is probably my couch or my bed, as they are both super comfy! Both involve warm blankets, a cup of coffee or tea nearby, and adorable little kitties to sit on my lap.  However, my ideal space involves these things:

*comfy chair/couch/seating
*cozy blanket (unless it's super warm)
*coffee/tea/Pepsi within reach
*a window view, preferably of the ocean or water/lake (or outside if the weather is nice!)
*be able to open that window to hear the ocean, birds, nature, etc. if not outside



I have created a Pinterest Board to show some photos of what my ideal space looks like!

Happy Reading and enjoy this week, fellow participants of Armchair BEA!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fangirl



Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
445 pages, published 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from Library

After reading Eleanor and Park, I knew I had to read the rest of Rainbow Rowell's books as soon as possible.  The next book I got my hands on was Fangirl!

Cath is a big fan of the fictional character Simon Snow--so much so that she obsessively writes fan fiction revolving around Simon and the other characters in the widely popular series.  The novel beings as Cath and her twin sister Wren are beginning college, and Cath is completely out of her comfort zone. Wren doesn't want to live with her (so they can meet new people) and Cath has to get used to life with a new roommate, a new school,  and a new schedule, all while trying to continue writing her fan fiction.  Can Cath make it through freshmen year without having Wren to lean on? Is she ready to start living her own life and writing her own stories that aren't fan fiction?

This book was another excellent YA novel from Rainbow Rowell. I completely related to Cath.  I remember being a terrified freshmen when I first started college.  Rowell perfectly captured the emotional roller coaster that is your first year at college, and the characters in the book a realistic and interesting.  I also liked how the book was divided into two parts--Fall Semester and Spring Semester--it highlighted Cath's character development, as the winter break was a bit of a turning point for her character.

The book revolves around Cath's love for fan fiction, and he book includes portions of both Cath's fan fiction and excerpts from the (fictional) book her fan fiction is based off of. I'll admit these portions distracted me a bit from the rest of the story, but not enough to make me not like the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the truthfulness and raw emotion in this book.   I think you'll easily relate to one or more of the characters in this book, and fall in love with them just like I did!

Overall rating for "Fangirl": A-

Happy Reading!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

Summer Library Reading Challenge



Thanks again to Mel at Double Stacked Bookshelves for telling me about another awesome challenge this summer! Similar to the Library Books Read-A-Thon, this challenge is the Summer Library Challenge, and it's hosted by The Book Monsters

The challenge  runs from June 1-July 31. TWO. WHOLE. MONTHS! :) There will be a week-long reading challenge June 16-22 (right after the Library Books Read-A-Thon! yay!) and Twitter chats! The goal of the two months is to visit the library, borrow materials from the library, and learn more about what your local library hast o offer.  I couldn't resist another reading challenge, especially yet another one that focuses on my favorite place--the library!

Who's excited for a fun summer of reading??

Happy Reading!

Library Books Read-A-Thon!

 photo LibraryReadathon2014_zps1ebc4cdf.jpg

Thanks to my friend and fellow book blogger Mel at Double Stacked Bookshelves, I just learned about yet another great reading challenge! I absolutely loved Bout of Books and am excited for another reading challenge!!

This Library Books Read-A-Thon is hosted by Rachael at Rachael Turns Pages. According to her post, the goal is simple: read as many library books as you can that week. It's OK to read your own personal books too, but the main idea of the week is to promote how awesome libraries are!!

Of course, I absolutely LOVE my local library.  The library in my hometown is part of a network of libraries, and my library card allows me access to books at other libraries in that network.  I am so lucky to have access to this library system!

I'm looking forward to stocking up on library books for the week! As the week gets closer, I will post my reading selections and goals for the week!

There's still plenty of time to sign up, and the link is here!

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: The Matchmaker


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine.  The event spotlights upcoming releases we are eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm eagerly awaiting the release of:



The Matchmaker
By Elin Hilderbrand
Release Date: June 10, 2014 (pre-order on Amazon)
368 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction

From GoodReads:

Dabney Kimball Beech, the 48-year-old fifth generation Nantucketer, has had a lifelong gift of matchmaking (52 couples still together to her credit). But when Dabney discovers she is dying of pancreatic cancer, she sets out to find matches for a few people very close to home: her husband, celebrated economist John Boxmiller Beech; her lover journalist Clendenin Hughes; and her daughter, Agnes, who is engaged to be married to the wrong man.

As time slips away from Dabney, she is determined to find matches for those she loves most - but at what cost to her own relationships? THE MATCHMAKER is the heartbreaking new novel from Elin Hilderbrand about losing and finding love, even as you're running out of time.


I really enjoy Hilderbrand's books--they're perfect for a relaxing afternoon of reading! I love that they're set on Nantucket (because I love all things coastal!). I love her writing style and am excited to read her latest novel!

What book are you eagerly awaiting today?

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

My Bookish Bucket List!



Two great book blogs, Love at First Book and The Book Wheel created the idea of a "bookish bucket list"--book related things you want to do or accomplish before you die. I couldn't resist the idea of creating my own! Here's my list:  Items in pink have been completed since originally publishing this list!

1. Write a book: probably a novel.  I don't have an idea bursting out of me yet, but this is one of my life goals!!
2. Meet authors! As many as I have the opportunity to meet! I got to meet author Cathy Lamb at Powell's Books on 9/9/2014!!
3.  Have a Library in my home with a full, wall to wall bookshelves...and a library ladder! What book nerd DOESN'T want a library ladder?! My library will be full of comfy seating areas, blankets, and a great window view :)
4. Learn as much about blogging as I can. I'm still new to book blogging, and I must say I'm LOVING it so far.  But I know I still have a lot to learn! I'm lucky to have connected with some other great book bloggers
5. Visit Libraries/local bookstores in other cities.
6.  Read more classics. Any recommendations of your favorites?
7.  Write letters to authors whose books have inspired me. Hand written letters are so rare these days, and I think it would be really special to connect with authors in this way.
8. Make more book blogging friends.

9. Host a reading/blogging challenge  (like the daily ones for Bout of Books)
10. Make some book themed crafts--I want to be more crafty! Anyone have any good ideas??
11. Attend a book blogging conference/book related conference (in person, not just Armchair BEA)
12. Reach 250+ followers on my Facebook, twitter, instagram and bloglovin pages!
13.Go to a book signing I went to author Cathy Lamb's reading, talk and book signing for her book "What I Remember Most" at Powell's Books on 9/9/2014!
14. Have a review published by a website or national publication
15. Participate in as many reading events (Dewey's, Bout of Books, etc) as possible. Please let me know of other fun reading/blogging events! Hoping to also participate in the next Bloggiesta!
16.Have a spending spree in a bookstore. Go to a bookstore, buy anything and everything I want, and not care about the money.  Perhaps I need to buy a lottery ticket first.

17. Host a book swap party. Who's wants to come??

18. Read all the Harry Potter books.Completed 8/22/2014!!!  This was my Summer 2014 Reading project and I am proud to say I did it! I LOVED the series!!

19. Inspire others to read through organizations like World Book Night. I was honored to be a book giver this year and look forward to future years with this fantastic organization!

20. Read everything on my bookshelf.  A TBR list on Goodreads is OK but unread books on my shelf? These need to be read!

What are some goals on your "Bookish Bucket List"?

Happy Reading!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bout of Books 10: Wrap-up

Bout of Books
 
I've completed my first Bout of Books reading challenge! Now it's time to report on my reading success!!  I met almost all my Goals!
 
Goals:
 
1. Read every day of the readathon: DID IT! Wasn't too worried about this one :)
 
2. Finish 2-3 books: DID IT! I read 4 books:  Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, and listened to The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
 
3. Write reviews for all books I finish: WORKING ON IT! Posted my review of Sharp Objects today, posted Eleanor and Park last week, and working on my reviews of Wallflower and Thirteenth Tale--just finished them over the weekend so I haven't had time to write them yet!

4. Listen to an audiobook: DID IT! Listened all week to The Perks of Being a Wallflower! Listened in the car on the way to work, and in the evenings while making dinner, and while working around the house. Really enjoyed this audiobook--will post a review in the near future.

5. Track the number of pages I read: DID IT! I've never tracked how many pages I've read in a specific amount of time before, so it gave me a lot of insight for future goals. I read 847 pages this week...can definitely see  a goal of 1,000 pages in the future.

In addition, I also participated in two Twitter chats and had a great time, as well as some of the challenges!

Last night I also started reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell--but obviously didn't finish it. Added the 49 pages I read in it to my total page count though, since it was read on Sunday!

So here are the final stats!!
 
Total pages read this week: 847
Books completed this week: 4! Eleanor and Park, and Sharp Objects, and The Perks of Being A Wallflower (audiobook) and The Thirteenth Tale

I can't wait for Bout of Books 11, which is August 18-24!!

Happy Reading!

Mini Review Monday: Sharp Objects and Gone Girl

I finished Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects last week for Bout of Books. It was the third of Flynn's novels I'd read--I read them in the reverse order they were written--Gone Girl, Dark Places, and Sharp Objects.  Since I've already reviewed Dark Places but haven't reviewed Gone Girl, I thought her remaining two books would make a perfect Mini Review Monday.

Flynn's books are like a train wreck or a car accident. As much as you don't want to look, you can't tear your eyes away from them. Flynn's novels suck you in--each in a different, twisted way.

Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
272 pages, published September 2006
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Source: Borrowed from Library

Sharp Objects is Flynn's debut novel and tells the story of Camille, a reporter who was recently release from a brief stay at a psychiatric hospital because of episodes of cutting herself--she has scars from words "written" al lover her body. Sent out by her paper for a big assignment, Camille is forced to return to the hometown that haunts her past in order to cover the murder of two preteen girls. This book is an amazing debut novel. The writing is addictive, the content is disturbing, and it keeps you guessing right up until the end. I thought I had the ending all figured out, and then everything changed. Completely worth the read!
Overall rating: A



Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
422 pages, published January 2012
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Source: Borrowed from Library

Flynn's most recent novel begins on Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Amy suddenly disappears and Nick is a prime suspect.  The pressure from the police and Amy's overprotective parents cause Nick to be evasive and make bad decisions, but is he her killer? The first part of this book is Amy's diary--and later in the book you get a completely different perspective. Which perspective is the truth? This book is equally addicting as Sharp Objects, full of mind games, and has a crazy, messed up ending.  I had absolutely nothing figured out in this book because it was so  expertly written by Flynn. Another book not to miss!
Overall rating: A


General Thoughts:

Both these books are fantastic. I definitely preferred these two to her second book, Dark Places. But as I said in my review, the brutal violence in Dark Places just didn't work for me.  The psychological thrillers are more up my alley (maybe it's the Psychology major in me?).

It's a toss up for me which I liked better--Gone Girl or Sharp Objects. I liked Sharp Objects because of the clearly resolved ending, but I liked Gone Girl because the crazy, messed up ending went with the style of the rest of the book's mind games and deceit.  Bottom line: Flynn is a gifted writer, and her books are well worth your time to read!

Have you read all of Flynn's novels? What did you think?

Happy Reading!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bout of Books Day 6 Update

Bout of Books 

Happy Sunday Bout of Books friends! What a great week it has been!

On Saturday I had to work, as well as a few other commitments, so I didn't get as much reading done as I'd like. However, I still made some great progress!! I finished my audiobook (which was a goal for the week!). I absolutely LOVED  The Perks of Being A Wallflower!

So here's the stats for Saturday/Day 6:
Pages Read today:  62 in The Thirteenth Tale
Total pages read this week: 696
Time spent listening to audio book today: approximately 2 hours
Books completed this week: 3! Eleanor and Park, and Sharp Objects, and The Perks of Being A Wallflower (audiobook)

Happy Reading, friends! Enjoy this last day of Bout of Books!!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bout of Books Day 5 Update

Bout of Books
Another day, another Bout of Books update! I'm actually a bit sad the week is almost over! I didn't get as much reading done on Friday --I read during my lunch break of course, and listened to my audiobook to and from work in the car. But that's OK--Friday is always "Date Night" with my husband, and that weekly connection is very important to both of us.
Friday night's date was super fun--we went to the Oregon Symphony Association in Salem's concert featuring concert violinist Joshua Bell.  It was a treat to see a musician of that caliber in Salem, Oregon! The concert was absolutely fantastic!! My mom got us season tickets for my birthday last year and we have really enjoyed attending these great concerts!
So here's the stats for Friday/Day 5:
Pages Read today:  36 in The Thirteenth Tale
Total pages read this week: 634
Time spent listening to audio book today: 30 minutes
Books completed this week: 2! Eleanor and Park, and Sharp Objects

Happy Reading!!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bout of Books Day 4 Update!

Bout of Books


Is it really almost the end of the week? Bout of Books has been flying by and I've been having a fantastic time!

Last night (Thursday) I finished Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, the book I started Tuesday night.  I got a lot of reading time in today between lunch break, and my free evening (since the hubby had to work late).  All I can say is, what a crazy intense book!  I'm planning a review for both Sharp Objects and Gone Girl (read last December but haven't reviewed) to be posted next Monday. First I have to wrap my mind around another one of Flynn's addicting novels!

After finishing Sharp Objects (and giving my brain a bit to calm down) I continued reading a book I'd started last week before Bout of Books began--The Thirteenth Tale.  I'm about halfway through and really enjoying it so far.

So here's the stats for Thursday/Day 4:
Pages Read today: 110 pages in Sharp Objects, 20 in The Thirteenth Tale
Total pages read this week: 598
Time spent listening to audio book today: 30 minutes
Books completed this week: 2! Eleanor and Park, and Sharp Objects

Happy Reading!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Eleanor and Park



Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
325 pages, published February 2013
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Borrowed from Library

I read this book as part of Bout of Books 10 (It FINALLY was my turn on the library hold list!). The book world has been buzzing about this book and after reading countless excellent reviews, I knew I had to read it. I am sure glad I did!

Eleanor and Park is about two misfit 16 year olds who fall in love.  Set in 1986, the book takes place over the course of one school year.  Eleanor is the new girl in school--and a little different. She dresses differently, has fire red hair, and is a bit overweight. She has a tough family situation and gets made fun of excessively at school. Park is half Asian and has dealt with an embraced being different his whole life--and loves comic books and music. When Eleanor gets on the bus that first day and has nowhere to sit, Park offers up the seat next to him on the bus. During their daily bus rides, he gets to know her better and grows to love her. Eleanor finds herself loving Park in a way that she can hardly explain to herself.

I absolutely loved this book. Not since reading Moloka'i have I loved a book this much.  By it's description, it seems like just another YA romance novel, but it's so much more that that. It's about first love, surviving the teen years, growing up, and hope for the future. My heart broke for Eleanor. Not only did she have a horrible home life, but she was bullied at school too. Park was the only one who made her feel safe.  The book is narrated in third person but from alternate perspectives, rotating between Eleanor and Park. This format was very successful--reading male and female perspectives of the same events made me love the characters even more. All the 80's references were entertaining--I have fond memories of playing my Walkman until the batteries died,  and making mix tapes for my friends!

What I loved most about the book was the innocence of first love Rowell's writing conveys--the overwhelming joy you feel over little things like hand holding or a first kiss. This quote (from page 71) sums up everything I love about this book:

“Holding Eleanor's hand was like holding a butterfly. Or a heartbeat. Like holding something complete, and completely alive.”

 The only thing I wasn't crazy about? How it ended--but I'll let you read and decide that for yourself.  You absolutely must read this book--this is one not to miss!

Overall grade for "Eleanor and Park": A

Happy Reading!

Bout of Books Day 3 Update!

Bout of Books
 
Another day, another Bout of Books update!
 
I didn't get quite as much reading done Wednesday as I'd hoped, but I did listen a lot to my audio book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower! I participated in the Twitter chat last night, and multi tasked by listening to my audio book at the same time :)
 
I really enjoyed the Twitter chat--definitely participate in the last one on Saturday if you have the opportunity! They're so fun and a great way to connect with other book nerds and bloggers!
 
So here's the stats for Wednesday/ Day 3:
Pages Read today: 73 pages in Sharp Objects
Total pages read this week: 468
Time spent listening to audio book today: just under 2 hours of listening time
Books completed this week: 1--Eleanor and Park
 
 
 
Day 3 Challenge!
 
 
Today's challenge is Spell It Out and hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads.  The rules are to use the first letter in any book you've read to spell out a word--using your name, initials, birthday month, or zodiac sign.  These are all books that I've read (I used my first and middle name since my first name is short!):
 
Love Water Memory by Jennie Shortridge
Oxygen by Carol Cassella
Reflections and Dreams by Nora Roberts
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
 
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
Revenge Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
 
Happy Reading!!
 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bout of Books: Day 2 Update!

Bout of Books
 
Happy Wednesday, readers!! Once again, another productive day of reading!! I followed the same pattern as Day 1 (read at breakfast and lunch, and after dinner; listen to audio book on the way to and from work, and while making dinner).
 
The good news--I finished my first book of the week! Eleanor and Park! I started my second book of the week, Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn! This is my third Flynn read--I've read Gone Girl and Dark Places. I love her writing style and think the fast pace is perfect for a Bout of Books read!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
So here's the stats for Tuesday/Day 2:
Pages Read: 172 total. 102 in Eleanor and Park, and 70 in Sharp Objects
Time spent listening to audio book: 45 minutes (still listening to Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Books read so far: 1--Eleanor and Park
 
 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

B of B Day 2 Challenge: Books I'm Looking Forward To!

Bout of Books


Today's Bout of Books challenge is hosted by Shannon at River City Reading (definitely check out her blog, it's a great one!). My task is to make a list of books I'm looking forward to reading--they can be books that are coming out this year, books I already have on my shelves, basically anything I haven't read yet that I'm excited about! What a fun challenge!

 Here's my list (all books already available unless a release date is listed). Most are recent releases or soon to be released, but there are a couple that have been out for awhile that I haven't gotten to yet :)

1. The One & Only, by Emily Giffin (release date May 20, 2014)

2. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

4. Honolulu by Alan Brennert

5. The House We Grew Up in by Lisa Jewell (release date August 12, 2014)

6. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

7. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

8. Beautiful Day by Elin Hilderbrand

9. Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah

10. The Glass Kitchen by Linda Francis Lee (release date June 17, 2014)

Happy Reading!

Bout of Books: Day 1 Report!

Happy Tuesday, fellow Bout of Books participants! We've completed Day 1! I had a very productive day of reading!

I read during breakfast.

I listened to an audiobook on the way to work.

Took part in the Twitter chat! So fun!

I read during my lunch break.

I listened to the audiobook on my way home and while making dinner.

I read from about 7pm-10:30pm, with a few short breaks.

What was I reading? Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I am hooked. I'm loving this novel.  A review will be posted this week, because I can almost guarantee I will finish it during Day 2.

 


What book am I listening to? The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.  The fun thing with these two books is that they are set in similar time periods--late 80s for E & P and early 90s for Wallflower.




So here's the stats for Monday/Day 1:

Pages Read: 223
Time spent listening to audiobook: 51 minutes
Books read so far: 0

Happy Reading!!

Monday, May 12, 2014

The Corporeal Pull


Title: The Corporeal Pull
Author: Sara B Gauldin
288 pages, published November 2013
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Note: I was given a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Fantasy is not a genre I've really gotten into, but I love paranormal romance, so I was excited when the author gave me her book to review! I'm really glad she did--this was an exciting, page turning novel that really made me think--a lot deeper than your usual paranormal romance.

Terra is a spiritual guide of the Tweens (I came to think of her as a guardian angel), and her job is to guide entities to their mortal bodies on Earth and throughout their life as mortals to fulfill their divine purpose. Terra has been doing this successfully for centuries. Then she meets Liam, her newest charge--and everything changes. Her love for Liam forces her to reevaluate everything she knows about her world as she realizes Liam is her soul mate. She knows Liam's mortal existence will be one of pain and suffering--how can she knowingly send her soul mate into that world?  How will she protect him from the forces of evil?

This book is fast paced and draws you into the adventure from the beginning. It took me a couple chapters to get the feel for what was going on--you definitely have to "think outside the box" on this one--but once I did I couldn't put the book down.   All the characters are interesting and relatable.  I especially like Terra's kindhearted spirit. The plot is fast moving, interesting, creative, and well developed. I've never read anything quite like it--in a good way! 

Because there is so much action going on, the book was a bit challenging to follow in the last few chapters (which entities are in their mortal bodies and who is a spirit?) so I  had to read carefully to make sure I was catching everything that was going on!  I enjoyed the ending--and it left things wide open for a sequel (which is in the works)!

This book is perfect for those interested in topics such as spirituality, heaven, ghosts, and the battle between good and evil.  It will make you think about your views and beliefs from a different angle, all while rooting for Terra, Liam, and the other great characters. I look forward to the second book in the series to see what happens next!

Overall rating for The Corporeal Pull: B+

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Baby-Sitters Club!

My mom was cleaning out the closet in her spare bedroom and found the best thing ever: a box of my old books! And not just any books--part of my collection of The Baby-Sitters Club! I had quite the large collection, and I'm sure the rest of them are somewhere at Mom's house, along with my collection of Silver Blades books--I was a figure skater when I was younger and LOVED those books :) I thought these lovely books would be a great Throwback Thursday--I'm sure many of you loved these books too!

My collection of BSC books
 
The classic first four in the series--Kristy's Great Idea, Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls, The Truth About Stacey, and Mary Anne Saves The Day!
 
 
 
Though I rarely baby sat when I was younger, I loved this series.  My friends and I were always thinking of things to sell or little businesses when we were that age (lemonade, sunflower seeds, pet sitting, to name a few of our enterprises) so I could totally relate.  I sympathized with Mary Anne's sensitivity. I shared Kristy's love of organization and planning.  I wanted to dress as cool as Claudia and Stacey.  I loved Jessi because she was a ballet dancer like me ( Jessi and the Dance School Phantom  was one of my favorites).

Who were some of your favorite BSC characters and/or BSC books? Or, if you weren't into BSC, what were some of your other favorites? Nancy Drew? Boxcar Children?

Happy Reading!
 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Bout of Books 10: Goals

Bout of Books


I'm participating in this year's Bout of Books for the first time, and I am super excited! Love to have another excuse to spend extra time reading :) This year is Bout of Books 10, and it begins next Monday, May 12! Consider signing up if you'd like to join me!

Time Devoted to Reading

I work full time and read on nearly every lunch break (my favorite time of day!). For this readathon I intend to read not only at lunch but for a few hours each evening (my evenings are wide open next week!). Currently I will end up spending some time reading in the evenings at some point during the week but for the readathon I intend to make a conscious effort to read each night of the challenge. On Saturday the 17th I have some obligations to my full time job but will be reading every chance I get otherwise!

My Goals

1. Read every day of the readathon
2. Finish 2-3 books
3. Write reviews of all books I finish
4. Listen to one audiobook
5. Track number of pages I've read.

(Since I haven't done Bout of Books before, or tracked my number of pages read in a week, I have literally no idea how many pages to set for a goal. So, I'm going to track it this year, and then use that for a baseline toward future goals.)

Books to Read

These two for sure:

1. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (about halfway through at the beginning of the readathon)
2. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
4. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky  (audiobook selection)

Any recommendations for other books to read during the readathon?? :)

Happy Reading!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mini Review Monday

Happy Monday, friends! I wanted to share some short reviews of some books I've read in the last few months that I've really enjoyed!

Title: My Name is Memory 
Author: Ann Brashares
336 pages, published June 2011
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction
Source: Purchased for myself

This was my first time reading Ann Brashares (I reviewed her latest book here) and I loved every moment of this book. Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl, who he calls Sophia, over and over again in each of his lifetimes throughout history--and each time she slips out of reach.  Daniel has "the memory"--ability to recall past lives and recognize souls from lifetime to lifetime. Will this be the lifetime he finally gets to spend with her? This novel is beautifully written, the story is creative and unique, and you'll fall in love with the characters. One not to miss!
Overall rating: A

Title: Beautiful Ruins
Author: Jess Walters
337 pages, published June 2012
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Purchased for myself

In 1962  on the sunny coast of Italy, a young innkeeper looks across the water and sees a gorgeous woman approaching him on a boat. He spends a lifetime loving her despite  moving on with his life. The book cascades through Italy, to the Edinburgh Film Festival to the back lots of contemporary Hollywood. The book had charming characters but I was expecting more of it to be set in Italy--I think I would've liked it more if I would've had different expectations. The book was entertaining and kept me interested and tied everything together nicely at the end.
Overall rating: B 


Title: The Promise of Stardust
Author: Priscille Sibley
432 pages, published February 2013
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Purchased for myself

When a tragic accident leaves Elle brain dead with little hope for recovery, her husband Matt is devastated. Before removing her from life support, doctors discover that she is pregnant--making a clear cut decision an extremely difficult one. Matt knows Elle would want him to see if the baby would make it---but Elle's parents disagree--leading to a legal battle. This book is full of rich emotion, powerful characters, and a thought provoking plot.  It's an eloquent page turner that's completely worth the read--but have tissues handy!
Overall rating: A



Happy Reading!

Friday, May 2, 2014

For All Their Lives

Title: For All Their Lives
Author: Fern Michaels
480 pages, published July 1992
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Source: Borrowed from my Mom

Though I've heard of Fern Michaels, I've never read any of her books until my mom shared this one with me.  I started reading it at the end of the readathon last weekend, when I was looking for a lighter, easier read after spending some time reading Winter's Tale.

The book is set during the Vietnam War, and follows two main characters--Captain Mac Carlin and half French, half American Army nurse Casey Adams. They meet  in San Francisco before being sent to Vietnam, and fall in love. Both are sent off to war and continue their romance.  Then, Casey is badly injured during the Tet Offensive, and is believed to be dead.  The story then follows both their struggles to move on from the war--each leading separate lives but never stop thinking about each other.  Will their paths cross again?

What  I liked  most about this book was the historical fiction aspect.  I've read a lot of historical fiction set in WW2, but not in Vietnam.  That's why my mom recommended it to me--because she grew up in the Vietnam War era and appreciated this book as well.

The book started out strong--fast paced story, interesting and well developed characters,  and great writing--but slowly lost momentum  as I read on.  I felt like the characters were going in completely different directions and that there was no coherent direction the plot was going. The ending was  not what I expected either. It wasn't quite the romance novel it appeared to be.

If you're looking for a good historical perspective on the Vietnam war, you will enjoy this book. If you're looking for a novel with a focus on romance, you won't find it in this book!

Overall rating for "For All Their Lives": B-