Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, December 10, 2018

7 Days of Favorite Books... Day 6

This is an amazing story. So vivid, so beautifully written and one of my all time favorite reads! Read my review this week! Until then, just know I thought it was a "breathtaking, sweeping novel" and loved every minute I spent with these characters!

Sunday, December 9, 2018

The Sunday Salon (or Should I say The Snow Day Salon) and Surprise Boxes...

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! Or should I call it the Snow Day Salon, because here in South Carolina we got snow! Yes, moving from Connecticut did not help me avoid all that white stuff, but now that I'm retired, that white stuff looks awful pretty!

What doesn't look awful is South Carolina! We are still settling in in our new home. The people I've met are so friendly and I'm loving where we live!  I don't think we'll ever get through all these moving boxes though, but we've got dining room chairs now, so we can sit down and eat, and we've got most of our furniture in place so that we can relax. Of course I did manage to get some bookcases up and filled, and have more books I need to find places for. In the meantime, as the weather has cooled off and I feel more like lounging around the house than gardening in the cold and snow, I turn to reading and surprises (like snow in the South)...

Over the past few months, I decided that it might be fun to give BOTM a try. Yes, Book of The Month Club is still thriving and after a zillion questions to their customer service representative, I signed up to see how it went. Some of the questions I had were... Are your books "the same" as the books I would buy in the bookstore? Meaning are these edited in any way or abridged. The answer I received was no. I had always thought that they were indeed BOTM "versions", but was happy to find out differently. (Maybe I was thinking of the Readers Digest condensed versions) I was also told that the dust jackets were BOTM covers, thus a pretty little graphic indicating this was a Book of the Month selection. Okay, that bothered me a little because it kind of defaces the cover in my opinion. (stickers on books with "autographed by..." also are one of my pet peeves as well as "movie edition" jackets). So for 14.99, I signed up for BOTM, which entitled me to select from their 5 "books of the month" and/or some other customer favorites from past months. I also got credit for an additional selection for free.

In my first order of BOTM club selections, I received...

Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty (which was nominated for this years best fiction category for the Goodreads Choice Awards) and Every Breath by Nicholas Sparks. Both books I wanted to read. And a short time later, my books arrived in the mail. It was a treat to open up the BOTM and fish out the books. But these weren't "surprises", I had picked them out, although it felt like it was a "surprise" box. It was fun getting these books in the mail. It was more fun than ordering from Amazon, but I really don't know why. And I decided that I would check out the next months selections. If I don't care for any of the choices, I can simply pass on that month and wait to see what next month will bring. Some of these choices will be before they are in the stores, which I thought would be fun too. I did make a selection for next month, which is One Day in December by Josie Silvers, which seemed a cute romance. But as much as I love getting surprises in the mail, and how fun it seemed to get this BOTM club selection box, I should have checked the Big "A" for it
first. This book was published in October in paperback and the current price is $10.60. A substantial savings from my hardcover BOTM club edition, which I would cancel had it not been shipped a few days ago. Oh well, live and learn. I would feel better if I had paid that at an Indie bookstore.

So NOW let's talk about REAL surprise boxes... There is a trend these days for "boxes". Boxes that people fill up for you and send you. Surprise boxes also known as "Subscription Boxes".And don't we all love a surprise!? Sometimes that is... There are subscription boxes for almost anything you can think of... beauty, food, socks, dog toys, cookware, clothes, crafts, sewing. You name it, there is more than likely some kind of subscription box.

I have tried The Quarterly Book Box, now defunct, by Book Riot, which was filled with a few books and swag. At the time I opened that first box, Here's my review from 2014, I liked the two books I received and the mug, and on a whole I liked all the little things that came in the box, but I didn't feel like it was worth $50, which was the cost. And that's the problem with some of these subscription boxes... would you have better spent the money picking out books yourself? BOTM club seems to be the most reasonable of the subscription boxes I found recently. You basically get a book delivered to your house for about what it would cost at the bookstore on sale. And you can add another book from their choices for $9.99. And finally, if you don't see anything from their selections of the month, you can pass.

If you're curious as to what "Book Subscription Boxes" are out there, here are two great resources...

My Subscription Addiction, founded by Liz Cadman, who was searching for subscription boxes and reviews herself. When she came up short, she decided she'd create a place for just that, and My Subscription Addiction was born. Here is a list of Best Book Subscriptions of 2018 from that site.

Cratejoy, is another great "Box Subscription Warehouse", where search for the type of subscription box you are looking for and actually subscribe through the website. When I checked out the Book Subscriptions, there were over 150 of them! Here's the link to those listings! And included in some of those listings were boxes with used books, bringing the price of those subscription boxes quite a bit lower. I have no idea where they get their used books or what kind of condition they would be in, but it's an interesting choice. Used Books Monthly is one of those used book boxes and for $9.99 a month you get two books in a genre that you choose. The reviews have been good and I don't see any complaints about the condition of the books.

Would you try a Book Subscription Box? 
And if you have already, what did you like/dislike?

Weekly Recap...
I added to my 7 Days of Favorite Books this week with Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Eternal on The Water by Joseph Monninger.   Days 1, 2 & 3 included Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Dracula in Love by Karen Essex. Next week we'll wrap it up with the last two "Favorite" books. But remember these are NOT my ONLY favorite books! (Ain't that the truth!)

Friday began with First Lines Friday! Follow the link to see what great first lines we shared and what book it was! All I can say it was purrfect!

And one final thought for today... First Book of the Year! 
Every year I start off by reading a book. Of course the first book we read for the year would be the first book of the year, BUT I try and choose a really great book to start the reading year right. My 2018 choice was Still Me by Jojo Moyes, and what a great read that was (here's my review)! It actually won the Goodreads Readers Choice Award for best fiction book of the year.

You have 23 days to figure out your book if you'd like to join in on the fun! I'll remind you when we get to that last week in December, but I've chosen my book and you'll have to stop by Dec. 31st to find out what it is!

Do You Pick a Special Book for Your First Book of the Year?

Until next week... Happy reading, Suzanne

Saturday, December 8, 2018

7 Days of Favorite books... Day 5

All I can say is, READ this! Beautiful story, wonderfully written, it touched my heart and everyone 's heart that I've shared this with!

Friday, December 7, 2018

First Lines Friday...

"  I am a cat. As yet, I have no name. There's a famous cat in our country who once made this very statement.

    I have no clue how great that cat was, but at least when it comes to having a name I got there first. Whether I like my name is another matter, since it glaringly doesn't fit my gender, me being male and all. I was given it about five years ago--- around the time I came of age."
                       ... The Traveling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa

As I was walking through a bookstore, I came across this book on a table with many others, but I was initially attracted to it because of the cover and its size. It's one of those cute little gift size books, about the size of a 5 x 7 photograph. As I opened the book, I realized that it was indeed a tale as told through the cat's perspective and that it was an international best seller. As I opened that cover and read some of the story, I was enamored. I look forward to reading this soon!

7 Days of Favorite Books... Day 4

Cheryl Strayed definitely held my attention and had me turning those pages to keep reading. One of my favorite books, nonfiction, memoir and definitely better than the movie, which only touched on all the emotional, thought provoking writing.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

7 Days of Favorite Books... Day 3

When thinking about this book, I can still feel that tingle I got when I read it! I still love this book! I received a copy of it before publication, here's my review from 8 years ago...

Friday, November 2, 2018

7 Days of Favorite Books... Day 2...

This is one of my all time favorite books... AND, it was the first book I ever blogged about on Chick with Books! February 18th, 2009 was the start of Chick with Books, here's the first post...

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Favorite Books...

We all have favorite books. As book bloggers we have A LOT of favorite books. When you sit down and think about all the books you've read, what books pop up time and time again? On Facebook, my Aunt Sharon, nominated me to share a favorite book a day for seven days. No reviews, no reasons, just post the cover and that's it. So, I thought I would share those 7 days worth of books here. Now I have more than 7 favorite books, I probably could do a whole months worth of great books, but let's see about the first 7... My first book...

Sunday, September 30, 2018

Sunday Dinner... or The Sunday Salon and 3 "Dinner" Books to wet your appetite.

Welcome to The Sunday Salon and Chick with Books! It's been beautiful weather here in South Carolina. The evenings are starting to be a little cooler and we've been able to enjoy dinner outside after a long day of doing "stuff". "Stuff" still includes unpacking moving boxes, but it also includes finishing up planting a butterfly and bird garden that I started a few months ago when we first landed here. Slowly I'm getting back to having some time to read, which got put on the back burner during all this moving chaos. My Mom came for a visit a few weeks ago and we lounged around a few days reading the books we picked up while on a shopping trip. Mom's book was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, which she really enjoyed, and mine was The Stand by Stephen King, which at over 1000 pages I have not finished, but am enjoying quite a bit. This is the expanded edition, or what you may call the "unedited" version, where King expands some of the storylines he "abbreviated" in the original book because the publishers thought it was too long...

A few weeks ago I also read about The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle, which made me think of another book I read called Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent, which made me hungry for more "Dinner books", and so for this weeks Sunday Salon I thought I would share some "Dinner" with you...

First course... 
The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle... "When Sabrina arrives at her thirtieth birthday dinner she finds at the table not just her best friend, but also three significant people from her past, and well, Audrey Hepburn. As the appetizers are served, wine poured, and dinner table conversation begins, it becomes clear that there’s a reason these six people have been gathered together..At one point or another, we’ve all been asked to name five people, living or dead, with whom we’d like to have dinner. Why do we choose the people we do? And what if that dinner was to actually happen? These are the questions Rebecca Serle contends with in her utterly captivating novel, THE DINNER LIST."

What a fun premise for a book! Protagonist Sabrina has 5 people at her dinner, who would your 5 people be? This is one my nightstand waiting for a spare moment to dive in for dinner. (I might have to put Stephen K. down to read this now!) I gave you a teaser friday with the first lines, but from what I've read about The Dinner List, this is worth a full reading! Rave reviews!

Second course...
Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent... "When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward’s daughter--who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York--Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light-as-air apricot soufflĂ© will end up changing her life."

I happen to pick this up at the library as I was looking through the new book shelves one day. This was a while back because it is now in paperback and I read the hardcover. I have to tell you I was absolutely charmed by this book and loved it! The friendship and love that grow between Edward and Isabel is wonderful, the dinners Edward cooks are amazing to read about, and the story is just perfect. I read this in a few sittings because I wanted to savor it. It's a mere 240 pages, but I would definitely tell you to pick up a copy if you love "foodie" books and romances. This is not fiction though, it's 100% the real deal!

Final course...
Dinner with Georgia O'Keeffe by Robyn Lea... "chronicles the artist’s lifestyle and work through food. That it coincides with the “Georgia O’Keeffe: Living Modern” exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum is happenstance. While the show links Ms. O’Keeffe’s strong fashion sense to her art, the book goes further, adding the aesthetic of her homes and dinner table to the equation. Early on, the artist was a devotee of health foods. At a time, about 60 years ago, when the trend was hardly on the radar, she insisted on whole grains, some of which she ground herself; yogurt, which she could make; and organic ingredients. “She is quite a cook,” her husband, the photographer Alfred Stieglitz, once wrote."

Who would not want to have dinner with Georgia O'Keeffe?! An amazing bold artist who made a statement with every painting she did, who had an incredible sense of fashion and who we now learn was ahead of her time in the kitchen. The book contains 50 of her favorite recipes, with notes and quotes. Love the idea of her handwritten notes about the recipes are included. And from what I can tell, the photography is beautiful. This is on my wish list!

Do You Like to Read "Foodie" books... 
Books that have stories that include recipes or talk about food?

That about does it for this week...

Happy reading... Suzanne
my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)