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

Friday, January 31, 2014

What do you get when you put together "Graphic Novel" and "Food" ?… Relish by Lucy Knisley and A Review

Relish by Lucy Knisley is a memoir, a life in food, a graphic novel oozing with the delights of fresh garlic being sautéed on a stove, the wafting smell of buttery croissants, and the wonders of Huevos Rancheros for breakfast. Relish is a culinary experience, but it's also an artistic one, as Lucy puts her memories down in words and drawings. But that's what a graphic novel is and it works well for Relish.

"I was a child raised by foodies" is our first introduction to Lucy and to this graphic novel which traces Lucy's life from her early childhood to her graduating from art school all through her memories of food. The book is entertaining, funny, enjoyable, and a feast for the eyes. Lucy's drawings are good, the lettering of the text is nice (remember I really hate the computer generated text that most comic books use) and the stories told flow nicely from one part of her life to the next. We learn about her, her Chef Mother, Mexico, her parents divorce, raising chickens, Japan and hop on a culinary journey with a eurail pass. But wait, there's more… the recipes! Through out the book, are some of Lucy's tried and true recipes that are drawn AND written out…

It is so much fun to read about these recipes and then have Lucy include the recipe by drawing them out! I just loved it! And this idea of illustrating a "food" novel is certainly popular now, as Michael Pollan had his book, Food Rules, recently redone in an illustrated version. 

Why I read Relish? Because I like reading "food" books. I like reading about the inside scoop on the food industry, reading about chefs,  foods, and recipe books. And I like graphic novels, not your super hero kind generally speaking, but I do enjoy some of those, but graphic novels that are unique and this is definitely unique. "Classified" as a teen book, but I really feel this is more for adults, because it brings a kind of nostalgia about your own "culinary" coming of age. 

If you like "foodie" books, this one will make you smile. And I'm getting out some pancetta to make a Carbonara from one of these recipes that looks absolutely dee-lish! 

BTW, Lucy Knisley is an illustrator, comic artist and author. Relish is her second book, which was published last year. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

The Sunday Salon and how Tess Gerritsen Scares the Pants off Me… Her Medical Thrillers

Welcome to the Sunday Salon! What is the Sunday Salon? Imagine some university library's vast reading room. It's filled with people--students and faculty and strangers who've wandered in. They're seated at great oaken desks, books piled all around them, and they're all feverishly reading and jotting notes in their leather-bound journals as they go. Later they'll mill around the open dictionaries and compare their thoughts on the afternoon's literary intake....

That's what happens at the Sunday Salon, except it's all virtual. Every Sunday the bloggers participating in that week's Salon get together--at their separate desks, in their own particular time zones--and read. And blog about their reading. And comment on one another's blogs. Think of it as an informal, weekly, mini read-a-thon, an excuse to put aside one's earthly responsibilities and fall into a good book….

This Sunday I've got my mind beyond reading. Tomorrow I am going in for surgery on my right knee. It's been a long haul waiting for this to be done and this will only the first of two. As some of you already know, I was in a pretty bad car accident at work. Dealing with Workers Comp is complicated, and a government shutdown delayed approvals even more, but finally OR here I come. Yah! I'll also finally be learning to walk again! SO, I thought it would be only appropriate to share some great medical thrillers… And Tess Gerritsen is a favorite author of mine who can scare the pants off you! Her books are so well written and so plausible that they are frightening! In the mood for some guilty pleasure reading? Here are what I think are Tess Gerritsen's top 3 medical thrillers…

 The Surgeon… He slips into homes at night and walks silently into bedrooms where women lie sleeping, about to awaken to a living nightmare. The precision of his methods suggests that he is a deranged man of medicine, prompting the Boston newspapers to dub him “The Surgeon.” Led by Detectives Thomas Moore and Jane Rizzoli, the cops must consult the victim of a nearly identical crime: Two years ago, Dr. Catherine Cordell fought back and filled an attacker before he could complete his assault. Now this new killer is re-creating, with chilling accuracy, the details of Cordell’s ordeal. With every new murder he seems to be taunting her, cutting ever closer, from her hospital to her home. And neither Moore nor Rizzoli can protect Cordell from a ruthless hunter who somehow understands—and savors—the secret fears of every woman he kills.

Before the TV show, detective Jane Rizzoli and medical examiner Maura Isles, were just fictional characters on the page. I believe this is the first book with these two detectives and it is a fast paced page-turner.

Gravity… Dr. Emma Watson has been training for the adventure of a lifetime: to study living beings in space. But her mission aboard the International Space Station turns into a nightmare beyond imagining when a culture of single-celled organisms begins to regenerate out of control -- and infects the space station crew with agonizing and deadly results. Emma struggles to contain the outbreak while back on Earth her estranged husband, Jack McCallum, works frantically with NASA to bring her home. But there will be no rescue. The contagion now threatens Earth's population, and the astronauts are stranded in orbit, quarantined aboard the station -- where they are dying one by one…

This is an edge of your seat read! And I mean it! And the romance between Emma and her husband Jack is so touching. I remember listening to an interview with Tess Gerritsen about the writing of this book, and she actually met with NASA scientists to create an authentic terror. I loved this book! It's a stand alone read so no continuing series. BTW, Absolutely no connection to the movie that just came out, but gosh there are quite a few coincidences between the plot of these two and not to mention the same title! Here's a link about what Tess has to say about that!

Life Support… The quiet overnight shift at Springer Hospital ER suits Dr. Toby Harper just fine -- until she admits a man in critical condition from a possible viral infection of the brain. The delirious man barely responds to treatment -- and then disappears without a trace. Before Toby can find him, a second case occurs, revealing a terrifying fact: the virus can only be spread through direct tissue exchange. Following a trail of death that winds from a pregnant sixteen-year-old prostitute to her own home, Toby discovers the unthinkable: the epidemic didn't just happen -- someone let it loose…. 

A modern day nightmare and another page turner. If you like medical thrillers or crime thrillers, Tess Gerritsen has a total of 16 books under her belt. Here's a little something about the author from her website…

Internationally bestselling author Tess Gerritsen took an unusual route to a writing career. A graduate of Stanford University, Tess went on to medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, where she was awarded her M.D. While on maternity leave from her work as a physician, she began to write fiction. In 1987, her first novel was published. Call After Midnight, a romantic thriller, was followed by eight more romantic suspense novels. She also wrote a screenplay, “Adrift”, which aired as a 1993 CBS Movie of the Week starring Kate Jackson. Tess’s first medical thriller, Harvest, was released in hardcover in 1996, and it marked her debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Now retired from medicine, she writes full time. She lives in Maine.

Do you like medical thrillers? Who are some of your favorite authors? It's been a long time since I've picked up one of these books, but even writing about them gives me the chills!

Weekly Update… 
*If you missed this week on Chick with Books, I did a lot of reading! First, for my Dive Into Poetry 2014 Challenge, I read Dog Stories by Mary Oliver. A sweet, simple, but poignant book of poetry about sharing a life with a dog. Most of these poems page homage to the dogs that have been in Mary Oliver's life, but they are really universal in their theme. I really enjoyed it and if you are a dog lover, you probably would too. Here is the link to MY REVIEW OF DOG STORIES.

*Last Sunday I talked about some books coming this summer that you should put on your list to remember, and The Girls of Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe was one of them -think girlfriends, think intense, think out of control. Well, I got a eBook Galley from the publishers, Knopf (a division of Random House) and just opened it to check out the writing, when I was drawn into the story hook, line and sinker. The writing is so good, and the story pulls you in. Now, it's not really a "happy" book, but it is an amazing read, one that I would definitely recommend- and especially for book clubs because there are so many things to discuss! To read more about it, here is the link to MY REVIEW OF THE GIRLS FROM CORONA DEL MAR.

*One of the books I was anticipating to come out was Dark Witch by Nora Roberts. It's almost everything I had hoped for in a Nora Roberts book! The setting is Ireland, there's a great romance and there is a ancestral curse. I reviewed Dark Witch saturday, Here's the link to my review.

So, how was your reading week? Any new books find there way into your home? Share your thoughts and your books right here! I'd love to hear about them! And in the meantime…

Happy Reading… Suzanne

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Reading in a Digital World

Do you read digitally? There are so many choices these days. The prices have definitely come down on devices, and most eBook prices have stabilized. There are also more choices on where you can purchase your ebook, which makes for some competitive pricing.

I read an interesting articles on about the popularity of devices for reading digitally. In the article, it says that more people own a Kindle than any other digital reader, including Apple's iPad. But with the popularity of tablets, eReader sales are predicted      to take a hit. Over the last 3 years, tablets have had a steady rise in sales, with 1/3 of all adults owning one.
" Despite flat sales growth for e-reader sales in the U.S. overall as more Americans opt for cheap, multipurpose devices like tablet computers instead."

What do you do your eReading on? I received a Nook HD plus for Christmas this year! I love it! It's the 9" screen and it is a tablet. I can surf, write, record, AND read! I can read my Nook books, my Kindle books, my library eBooks and PDF's. And I really like the larger size, which is still thin enough for me to take with me without being bulky. My Kindle is gathering dust. I was considering before my gift about a Samsung Galaxy Tab, but the Nook HD plus has me covered. Although the nook may not be as fast as a Samsung Galaxy Tab, for my purposes it's not a problem.

Reading in a digital world… is changing! What are you using?

*P.S. If you want to purchase a Nook HD plus 16 Gb eReader, do it now while you still can. I was told  from a Barnes & Noble staffer that they are discontinuing the 16 GB. There's still going to be the 32 GB though. New eReader coming to B&N? Hmmm.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dark Witch by Nora Roberts… A Review

It has been a while since I've read any Nora Roberts, but like an old friend you haven't seen in years, it feels just like yesterday that you were visiting. I was excited when I read about the new trilogy Nora Roberts had planned, the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, because it's setting was Ireland, and it had a bit of magic for fun. I have never been disappointed in any novel I've read by Nora Roberts, and Dark Witch was no exception! Filled with a beautiful ancient landscape, a curse, romance and compelling characters, Dark Witch had me totally absorbed and turning the pages late into the night.

Dark Witch opens in the year 1263, with Sorcha, the original Dark Witch, and her three children. We learn that another powerful witch, Cabhan, has lusted after Sorcha and her powers and will stop at nothing to have her and her powers. A powerful fight ensues and a curse follows all the descendants of these two through present time, which is where we land next - County Mayo, 2013. In present day we meet Iona Sheehan, who never quite fit in anywhere before, who decides to travel to her ancestors home in Ireland, to start her life fresh. With the stories from her Nana, County Mayo is no stranger to her. She sells almost all her belongings and makes the trip, to find her cousins, who welcome her with open arms. But there is a purpose for her being there, a purpose she doesn't quite understand until she gets there. Oh, Nana has shared the folklore and the stories, but it all becomes very real once she's decided that she will be staying in County Mayo- permanently. Without giving away any spoilers here, with Iona finding her way "home" to County Mayo, the curse is stirred and all hell breaks loose. But not before we have some romance, explore the ancient ruins of Ireland and mix a good potion or two.

Nora Roberts is a master with mixing all these elements together into a great story. The romance is almost perfect, the history of the area is wonderfully shared as the characters explore their world, and the magic seems real. My only nagging qualm is that I really didn't like our protagonist Iona. I thought she was a bit whimpy and not up to par with what I would have expected. But that put aside, I enjoyed the story, all the other characters, who we will no doubt see again in books 2 & 3, and I can't wait for the second book in the trilogy, Shadow Spell, to come out. But I'll have to wait because it won't be out until March. Ugh! I warn you though, Dark Witch ends at a place where you're looking for the rest of the story! I know that's the usual with these trilogies, but I thought there would be a bit more wrap up where it ended. I wanted to start reading book 2 immediately because of it!

Historical romance with the backdrop of Ireland is what Dark Witch is all about, and a great beginning to the Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe… A Review

Friendships between girls can be intense. And in the case of Mia and Lorrie Ann, there is no question that this is true. The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe, tells the story of Mia and Lor, as they grow from young girls to women, and the journey is filled with sun tans and lemon juice, giggling, and trips to the mall. But it's also filled with heartbreak and conflict, growing pains and despair.

Mia and Lorrie Ann live in the California town of Corona del Mar. They are lifelong friends, who are total opposites. Mia is the “bad girl”, living in a dysfunction family with a Mother that drinks heavily, and two brothers who she practically raises. She is “heartless” and yet honest. Lorrie Ann is beautiful and kind, almost angelic in her goodness, with a close knit family that seems plucked out of a fairytale to all who observe them. But when tragedy strikes Lorrie Ann her life seems to tumble out of control, with one thing leading to another, Mia trying all along to make it all better for Lor, until finally Mia questions whether she really ever knew the real Lorrie Ann, and was she all that Mia made her out to be.

What did I think? The writing is so compelling. Once I started reading the first pages, I could not put it down. The story is told in Mia’s voice, and it is so real. The intense feelings best friends have for one another, the loyalty, the disappointments, the small betrayals, and the unfaltering support after all is said and done, all translate on the pages beautifully. The story is filled with a whirlwind of emotions and thought provoking situations that make this an amazing feat of writing, and would make a wonderful book to discuss. I kept trying to imagine what I would do, what I could do in the situations the girls had to deal with. I felt such anguish at times because the story unknowingly wraps itself around you and makes you part of it.

Favorite Character? Mia was my favorite character, right from the start. And it seems to me, without letting out any spoilers here, that Mia was the better of the friends, almost always putting Lorrie Ann first in their lives, whereas Lorrie Ann lived off the kindness of others and Mia’s fierce loyalty. (When you read this book, and you should, let's talk about that aspect of friendships- the give and take, is it always equal?)

Love, loyalty, motherhood, is the right choice the same for everyone? Do we ignore the faults of our loved ones out of loyalty or because we want the world to be perfect outside of ourselves? Loss, tragedy, fear, how can we be true to ourselves when we  don’t agree with the decisions of the ones we love? And how do we reconcile that within ourselves? The Girls from Corona del Mar is beautiful, intense, and paints a portrait of two young girls learning to become the women they were meant to be, and be the friends they thought they should be.

Mark Your Calendars! The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe will be coming to a bookstore July 8th, 2014. Published by Knopf and Random House, I want to thank them for the opportunity to read the eGalley before publication!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dog Songs by Mary Oliver… A Review

Dog Stories by Mary Oliver is about sloppy kisses, belly rubs, our furry companions insistence that you play because, what else would you rather be doing? Dog Stories is a collection of poems celebrating our love of dogs and the love we, in return, receive. They are simple poems, yet poignant, that reflect upon what all of us lucky enough to share or have shared a life with a furry companion experience...
"Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as well as love the dog of our own life, and the dog down the street, and all the dogs not yet born. What would the world be like without music or rivers or the green and tender grass? What would this world be like without   dogs?"… Mary Oliver from Dog Stories
Mary Oliver, dog lover & poet, writes about the dogs that have come into and left her life, but they are universal in their sentiments. The happy moments, the sad moments of a dog passing, the exuberance, the wonderment of the world, a near perfect world when shared with a dog and when we experience their unconditional love. These are dog stories, but Mary Oliver's poems go beyond just our relationships with our dogs, the poems also seem to speak to our relationship with nature, and how we as humans can be touched and made to appreciate the nature that surrounds us.

I enjoy poetry, but I don't read a lot of poetry books. I thought I would change all that this year. As a dog lover I was motivated to open the pages of Dog Stories, and enjoyed what I found between the pages. Though Mary was speaking of her dogs, it brought back fond memories of time spent with my fur baby BJ, especially her poem entitled The Sweetness of Dogs, about sitting out in the moonlight…

                                              thinking how grateful I am for the moon's
                                              perfect beauty and also, oh! how rich
                                              it is to love the world. Percy, meanwhile,
                                              leans against me and gazes up into 
                                              my face. As though I were just as wonderful
                                              as the perfect moon.
                                                                                  …excerpt from The Sweetness of Dogs

A slim volume, with over 35 poems and an essay, should be savored and enjoyed. If you share a life with a dog, or have shared, it's a perfect volume to crack the spine every once in a while to remember or remind what life with a dog can be.

*P.S. This is my first book read for the Dive into Poetry Challenge!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Sunday Salon with Books Coming Your Way This Summer… Literally!

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week where we enjoy talking to other like minded readers about what books have come our way, or what's going on in the publishing world or whatever else we fancy. So grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and relax! Let's talk books!

This week we are back to the business of great books! The reading challenges have started, books have been opened, but now let's look to the future… What books are you going to be wanting to read this summer?! I've read about some great books coming our way starting in May, and want to share them today! I've included the blurbs from the publishers, to see what you think. Here's what caught my eye…

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufu Thorpe… A fiercely beautiful debut blazing with emotion: a major first novel about friendships made in youth and how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or sustain.

Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can't quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend's life. Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall apart further-and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both. A staggeringly arresting, honest novel of love, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship that moves us to ask ourselves just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends

I love stories that revolve around longtime friendships. This sounds like it will be a great story of female bonding. I like that the girls are friends despite their lives being totally opposite from one another, and I think that will make for some interesting developments in the plot.  I also think this is going to be a great book club selection once it gets out! I actually have a eGalley of this on my Nook and I am enjoying the writing so far. Published my Random House& Knopf, you'll have to wait until July 8th, 2014 to find this at your local bookstore, but make sure you write it down now to remember it!
A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman… In this bestselling and delightfully quirky debut novel from Sweden, a grumpy yet loveable man finds his solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell.” But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations. A feel-good story in the spirit of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, Fredrik Backman’s novel about the angry old man next door is a thoughtful and charming exploration of the profound impact one life has on countless others. 

I love quirky, and this sounds like a fun light read. Even though Fredrik Backman is from Sweden, this story sounds very British to me, with a good dose of wry humor. Published by Atria Books, this will arrive in bookstores July 15th, 2014
The Untold by Courtney Collins… With shades of Water for Elephants and True Grit, a stunning debut novel set in the Australian outback about a female horse thief, her bid for freedom, and the two men trying to capture her.

It is 1921. In a mountain-locked valley, Jessie is on the run.

Born wild and brave, by twenty-six she has already lived life as a circus rider, horse and cattle rustler, and convict. But on this fateful night she is just a woman wanting to survive though there is barely any life left in her. Two men crash through the bushland, desperate to claim the reward on her head: one her lover, the other the law. But as it has always been for Jessie, it is death, not a man, who is her closest pursuer and companion. And while all odds are stacked against her, there is one who will never give up on her—her own child, who awaits her.

Another great sounding book! How could I resist wanting to read this when it mentions similarities with two of my favorite books - Water for Elephants and True Grit! I also liked the fact that it was a female protagonist that had experienced life in some unique ways for a woman (circus rider, cattle rustler) and I think that the Australian Outback will make for a wonderful setting. Published by Putnam Hardcover and coming to a bookstore near you May 29th, 2014.

The Bees by Laline Paull… The Handmaid's Tale meets The Hunger Games in this brilliantly imagined debut set in an ancient culture-where only the Queen may breed and any deformity means death-in which a devout young worker bee finds herself in possession of a deadly secret, and becomes a hunted criminal whose decisions will mean life and death for her entire hive

Born into the lowest class of her rigid, hierarchical society, Flora 717 is a sanitation worker, an Untouchable fit only to clean and remove the bodies of the dead from her orchard hive. As part of the collective, she is taught to Accept, Obey, Serve-work and sacrifice are the highest virtues, and worship of her beloved Queen the only religion. Her society is governed by the priestess class, questions are forbidden, and all thoughts belong to the Hive Mind.

But Flora is not like other bees-a difference that holds profound consequences. With circumstances threatening the hive's survival, her curiosity is regarded as a dangerous flaw but her courage and strength are an asset. She is allowed to feed the newborns in the royal nursery and then to become a forager, flying alone and free to collect pollen. She also finds her way into the Queen's inner sanctum, where she discovers mysteries about the hive that are both profound and ominous.

But when Flora breaks the most sacred law of all-daring to challenge the Queen's fertility-enemies abound, from the fearsome fertility police who enforce the strict social hierarchy; to the high priestesses jealously wedded to power. Her deepest instincts to serve and sacrifice are now overshadowed by an even deeper desire, a fierce maternal love that will bring her into conflict with her conscience, her heart, her society-and lead her to unthinkable deeds... The Bees is the story of a strong-willed heroine who, in the face of an increasingly desperate struggle for survival, changes her destiny and her world.

If you enjoy Dystopian fiction, this sounds like it's going to be right up your alley! When I read about this book from Ecco, I thought it sounded so unique. I'm interested in cracking the spine on this, and seeing how she pulls this off. If the author's writing is compelling, this should be good. Coming to your favorite bookstore May 6th, 2014.
Grab These eBook Bargains Now…  Looking for something to read now? How about a great bargain? I'm not sure how long these will last, but I've had my eye on all these books and now's the time to grab them. All are under $3.00, but before you purchase make sure you check that the price hasn't gone up first.

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield… ONE MOMENT IN TIME CAN HAUNT YOU FOREVER...Caught up in a moment of boyhood competition, William Bellman recklessly aims his slingshot at a rook resting on a branch, killing the bird instantly. It is a small but cruel act, and is soon forgotten. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to have put the whole incident behind him. It was as if he never killed the thing at all. But rooks don’t forget . . .Years later, when a stranger mysteriously enters William’s life, his fortunes begin to turn—and the terrible and unforeseen consequences of his past indiscretion take root. In a desperate bid to save the only precious thing he has left, he enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner. Together, they found a decidedly macabre business… And Bellman & Black is born. Diane Setterfield wrote The Thirteenth Tale, another great read!  Kindle Edition for Bellman & Black is $1.99!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion… THE ART OF LOVE IS NEVER A SCIENCE...MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers.

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you. Kindle Edition is $1.99, so is Nook Book!

This House is Haunted by John Boyne… 1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong. From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realises that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past. Kindle Edition Nook Book are both $2.99 right now.

Weekly Recap…

*Monday, I reviewed Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala, her true life & honest account of her survival during the 2004 Tsunami in Sri Lanka. What makes this even more compelling is her heartfelt story of surviving, but losing her entire family. Click on the title to read the review. 

*Wednesday, I reviewed Tenth of December by George Saunders. It's a collection of short stories filled with the ironies of everyday life, some of which are set in a futuristic world, but all have his well known wry sense of humor and satire. Not my usual kind of reading, but I did start to enjoy them. Read my review and my thoughts by clicking on the link above.

*Friday, I reviewed Saga Vol. 1, the Romeo & Juliet space opera by Image Comics. Yes, it's a graphic novel, and it won a ton of best of mentions at the end of 2013. And after reading the first volume, I know why. Great story! This is going to be a great series, so start now while there are only 3 volumes out. Read my review by clicking on the link.

*Saturday, I posted about the Release Party for Cloaked in Danger by Jeannie Ruesche… It's a party on Facebook that will have giveaways, prizes, and all sorts of fun things going on. Read all about it with the Release Party Link.

And in the "Book Blogging" world I came across an interesting opinion piece on BookRiot by Peter Damien on The Decline and Fall of the Book Reviewing Empire. It's an interesting piece on book reviewing and how the "professional" reviewer is falling by the wayside in lieu of book bloggers and friends exchanging recommendations via the internet. Let me know what you think?

Next week… a review for a book of poetry by Mary Oliver that any dog lover would like! And a review for Nora Roberts' newest historical romance, Dark Witch!

Thank you for stopping by! As always, I'd love you to share what you're reading and what books you found in your travels! So leave a comment and tell me what I need to read!

Happy reading… Suzanne

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cloaked in Danger Release Party!

It's a PARTY! It's for the release of Jeannie Ruesche's book Cloaked in Danger!

Here's all the info so YOU can join in on all the fun...

What: Jeannie Ruesch's Facebook Launch Party for Cloaked in Danger
When:  Monday, January 27.  3:00 - 7:00pm PST

About Cloaked in Danger...

Publication Date: January 27, 2014
Carina Press
Aria Whitney has little in common with the delicate ladies of London society. Her famous father made his fortune hunting archaeological treasures, and her rustic upbringing has left her ill prepared for a life of parties and frippery. But when Gideon Whitney goes missing in Egypt, Aria must embrace the unknown. Armed with only the short list of highborn men who’d backed her father’s venture, she poses as a woman looking for a husband. She doesn’t intend to find one.

Adam Willoughby, Earl of Merewood, finds London’s strangest new debutante fascinating, but when he catches her investigating his family’s secrets, he threatens to ruin her reputation. He doesn’t intend to enjoy it so much.

When their lustful indiscretion is discovered, Adam finds that he regrets nothing. But now, as Aria’s father’s enemy draws near, Adam must convince his betrothed that she can trust him with her own secrets…before it’s too late.

About Jeannie Ruesch...
Jeannie Ruesch wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in marketing and design.

Her first novel, a fairy-tale like historical romance, was published in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. So after a dinner conversation with friends about the best way to hide a dead body, she knew she had to find a way to incorporate suspense into her writing. (The legal outlet for her fascination.) Today, she continues writing what she loves to read – stories of history, romance and suspense. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their son and an 80 pound lapdog lab named Cooper.

She is also the creator of the WIP Notebook, a writer’s tool to help stay organized while you write, which you can find at her website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Graphic Novel Saga Vol.1… A Review

Romeo and Juliet in a space odyssey vaguely familiar to any Star Wars fan, but with such wonderful characters and storyline that all similarities are long forgotten after a few pages. Written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by artist Fiona Staples, Saga is a Comic book/Graphic novel. Saga Vol. 1 (which is what I read and am reviewing) collects the first 6 issues of the comic book.

Saga opens with the galactic war raging between the plant Landfall, the technically advanced people that have wings enabling them to fly, and the orbiting moon Wreath, where the people can wield a pretty good sword and have magical powers to enhance their abilities. Alana, a soldier from Landfall, and Marko, a soldier from Wreath, fall in love ( a big problem for the powers that be) run away to the distant planet Cleave and have a baby (an even bigger problem). Not only are they trying to survive the devastation of the war that is raging on between their people and planets, but they are trying to survive the posse of soldiers from both planets who want them dead because of their forbidden love (and their desertion). This is what great stories are made of! Love, tenderness, revenge, adventure, fantastic worlds and believable characters; And that's what makes this a winning series. It has won an Eisner award for the series when it came out in 2012, and a Hugo award for Best Graphic Story when the first trade paperback came out.

I don't read a lot of Graphic novel series, I basically enjoy the stand alone Graphic novels like Blankets, and Mail Order Bride, but I had heard so many amazing things about this series, plus it was on so many "best of" lists, I had to check it out for myself. I was not disappointed! The artwork is great, but typical of your "superhero" kind of comic book. The text is not hand written like I like, except for when Hazel their baby narrates part of the story, which is great. But the story, that is what makes this worth reading.

Saga has 18 single comic book issues out now, and 2 Trade Paperbacks, which collects the first 12 comic books. Trade Paperback vol. 3, which will include issues #13 -18, is due out in March. So, there is plenty of time to catch up and enjoy the story from the beginning! This just may be the beginning of something wonderful...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Tenth of December by George Saunders… A Review

Satire is irony, it's sarcasm, it's George Saunders, who wrote Tenth of December. This book of short stories, Tenth of December, is filled with the ironies of everyday life, sometimes existing in a futuristic world, and a wry sense of humor. Not everything is humorous in Tenth of December, but George Saunders has an incredible gift of language that makes for some great reading even in the wake of some disturbing narrative.

The short story itself needs to be a taunt, never veering without purpose, kind of writing. A good short story needs to takes us from A to Z in a brief period of time without wasting words, and George Saunders is a master of that. These stories in his newest collection, pack an emotional punch, almost slapping, with their sometimes gritty, urban settings and stripped down humanity. But you can see the truth in what he writes and appreciate the honesty in the way he writes it.

In Tenth of December we meet Kyle, who's parents have created a kind of pacifist and who now must make a choice to abandon what they drilled into him to save the life of the little girl next door. Two Mothers who are similar, yet not; A shop owner who fantasizes about making that one decision that will make his life perfect; And a criminal who volunteers for pharmaceutical testing only to have it create a battle with his moral character, that "they" created in him. And even a maintenance kid in a Medieval Times job who aspires to move up the ladder to make life better for his family, but witnesses something that changes those plans. In all there are ten stories, all with their own special quality.

My Thoughts… Tenth of December is a great collection of stories. At first I was struggling with reading these stories. I wasn't "getting it" or why the author was lauded for being the reincarnation of Mark Twain. I watched George Saunders give a talk at Google about his writing. I liked him; I liked the passage he was reading from this book. Then I realized that my normal reading definitely wasn't satire, and I had to take a breather from the literary fiction I was reading to give Tenth of December a chance. And it worked. In each of these stories, George Saunders gets to the heart of his characters, no matter how flawed they are, to show us what makes us human. I laughed, I felt pain, I felt sadness.

Favorite stories? The Semplica Girl Diaries, My Chivalric Fiasco, and Tenth of December.

If short stories are something you've wanted to try and you enjoy good satire, Tenth of December by George Saunders is a great choice. I really enjoyed the time I spent in George's world. ..

About the Author…

"I was born in Amarillo, Texas, grew up in Chicago, and (barely) graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a degree in exploration geophysics.  There was an oil-boom on, which meant that even someone like me could get work in the oil-fields.  So after college I went to work in Sumatra, as a field geophysicist.  We worked four weeks on and two weeks off, in a jungle camp that was a forty-minute helicopter ride to the nearest town – so this is when my reading life really started.  The game became filling up an entire suitcase with books sufficient to get me through the next two weeks of camp life.  About a year and a half at this job, I got sick after going swimming in a river that was polluted with monkey shit (I remember looking up at about 200 of them, sitting on our oil pipeline crapping away, and thinking: “I wonder if swimming here is okay?”) and came home to try and be Kerouac II.  I worked as a doorman, a roofer, a convenience store clerk, and a slaughterhouse worker (a “knuckle-puller,” to be exact), and all of this contributed to my understanding of capitalism as a benign-looking thing that, as Terry Eagleton says, “plunders the sensuality of the body.

I’d always been interested in reading, ever since a nun I was secretly in love with turned me on to “Johnny Tremaine” in third grade.  But I’d never met a writer and so it took me awhile to realize that a person could actually write for a living."

*P.S. Want to read one of his stories? You can get a sampling of his writing at, where you can read 10 of his stories! Including The Semplica Girl Diaries and Tenth of December.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala… A Review

 "I thought nothing of it at first. The ocean looked a little closer to our hotel than usual…"

It was the morning after Christmas 2004, on the Southern coast of Sri Lanka, when life as Sonali Deraniyagala knew it would be over. Casually looking out her hotel window, she saw a wave, and water. The water washing up to the hotel closer that she'd ever seen… She began running for her life. She, along with her husband, and two children. It was a tsunami and it was devastating. In the spam of a mere 20 minutes she lost her parents, her husband, Steve and 2 young sons, Vikram, 8, and Malli, 5.

How do you survive when everyone around you does not? How does life go on? In Wave written by Sonali Deraniyagala, the author recounts in such brutal honesty, her journey from the morning that destroyed her world to where she lands almost 8 years later. The book is honest, heartbreaking, and thought provoking. It follows Sonali's utter despair, survivors guilt, and her tumble down into prescription drugs and alcohol to a slow healing. Reading the book seems to serve as a catharsis for Sonali, as she purges her emotions onto the pages. I could feel her pain as I read. But from the depths of her pain also comes, over time, a small inner happiness as her memories morph from the cruel reminder of her loved ones to a celebration of their lives. We are able to, at that point in the book, step away from the anguish and enjoy the happy memories that make up her life.

The Lowdown The beginning 100 pages or so were devastating to read. I wanted to put the book down because it was just so heartbreaking. I'm glad I continued because I enjoyed when Sonali was able to share her happy memories of her family. Her childhood home filled with family and laughter, her first kiss with Steve, her husband, the birth of her first child, and the children playfully teasing her in one way or another. The book flipped back and forth between the present and the past in a very natural way as memories were stirred. Her writing is lyrical, haunting, gripping.

Are we thankful for the life we are living and enjoy the people in it? If it is all gone tomorrow, what will we have? Regrets, happy memories, doubt? Wave is slim at 228 pages, but it will leave you in quiet awe.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

The Sunday Salon & My Reading Challenges 2014 Recap…

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that day of the week we can sit down, relax and talk books! So grab a cup of joe, find a comfy chair and let's talk… This week we wrap up our reading challenges discussion and I make one new Readers Resolution! (Plus, I did some reading)…

How many Reading Challenges can a girl handle?! Overambitious? overachiever? Voracious reader? How about just plain book lover! These reading challenges were just calling my name. As I read about them, I envisioned the books I wanted to read fitting in the categories, how fun it would be to "fill in the  books", check off the lists and just having fun discussing the books with the people participating. But as Ernest Hemingway said…

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

And so, if my goals are a bit over the top, it really is all about the reading. Whether I finish all the challenges is not as important as the fun I will have attempting to meet those challenges. I have posted all the challenges I have signed up for this week, but here is the recap of the complete list…

Southern Literature Reading Challenge 2014 is all about the South! I need to choose a Southern author and a book set mostly in the South. I've read some great books that could be filed under this category, including Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Help! There are 4 levels to the challenge, I'm going for level 2, Pull up a seat and stay a while! Which mean 2 books to read to meet the challenge. I'm thinking of Gone with the Wind as one of my choices, but I'll be hunting down some more choices. Any suggestions?!

2014 Book Bingo Reading Challenge is all about filling in your Bingo card with the types of books designated in each square. Now you only have to fill in one row in any direction to meet the challenge, but I'm going to try for an X, which means 17 books! These 17 books include 6 from my TBR pile, which would be great! I don't have to commit to any specific amount ahead of time, so I will work towards the first Bingo and go from there. First Bingo for my choice would be 1 new release, 3 books in a series, and 5 books from my TBR pile. The series I'm planning on reading is Wool, which I've had downloaded on my eReader for sometime. It was a stand alone indie kind of breakout book, and with the popularity of the first book the author continued and finished it. It's a 5 book series, a little over 5oo pages, and it dystopian at it's best. Mostly 5 star reviews for the series.

2014 Chunkster Challenge is all about FAT books! I love fat books, but sometimes it is hard to fit them in a busy schedule. No levels so, enjoy reading Chunkster's without worrying about how many you need to read! I've already read my first book for this challenge - Three Souls by Janie Chang! I'll be reviewing this amazing book in the next week or so. One of the books I will be reading for this challenge is The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and I can't wait! I started it, but had other obligations so I put it aside until I could totally absorb myself in it!

Graphic Novel Reading Challenge 2014 is all about Graphic novels and Manga! I love both, don't read enough, although more than most, and will enjoy exploring more, especially Manga. 3 levels to this one, and to dip your toe in is a 12 book obligation, but that really shouldn't be a problem. Graphic Novels and Manga are a nice diversion sometimes when life gets hectic, and I'm already making a list of what I'd like to read. I've read 1 for this challenge already too - Saga vol. 1. A great start to a new series that had been getting on all the "best of" lists the end of last year. I reviewed this Graphic Novel this past Saturday, check it out!

TBR Pile Reading Challenge 2014 is about dusting off those books on the shelf you meant to read, but haven't gotten around to reading. And boy do I have quite a few of those! 6 levels to this challenge, with my choice being level 1, A Firm Handshake, which means reading 1 - 10 of those dusty old books! I'm going to read 5 from my TBR pile for the Bingo challenge, so I'm all set for accomplishing this, and then there will be 5 less books on the shelf. Unless of course they are great reads, and then I tend to keep them on the shelf. ugh.

Dystopia Reading Challenge 2014 is all about post-apolyptic worlds or Dystopia! I love reading this genre. Favorite book? The Unit! But I have The Hunger Trilogy collecting dust on my Kindle, so this reading challenge will push me to read it. I wanted to read the books before I saw any of the movies, so I better get a move on because the movies are calling my name! Also to fall under this challenge would be the Wool series I plan on reading for the Bingo Challenge. Books can generally be used for multiple challenges, so either series would work for both challenges. There are 4 levels to this challenge, and I signed up for level 1, Recruit, which is reading 1 - 7 books. Easy.

Dive into Poetry Reading Challenge 2014 is about reading poetry. I don't read enough of it, do you? I enjoy poetry, in fact my Secret Santa this year got me Billy Collins new book of poetry, Aimless Love, which was on my wish list! So, this is my way of motivating myself to sit back and enjoy reading some poetry. Plenty of wonderful poets out there to choose from too! I'll be starting with Billy Collins, but will add some Pablo Neruda and Mary Oliver. There are various creative ways to meet the challenge for this one, with reading 2 books of poetry as the basic way. I'll be reading 2 books and then maybe participate in some of the other cool ideas.

2014 Goodreads Reading Challenge is all about setting reading goals. How many books do you want to read in 2014? I never counted my books read, but thought after seeing what fun people were having in recording their first books read over the years, that it would be fun to write down what I read. Then I was reading about people who made a goal of how many books they were going to read in a year, and decided I would participate with my Goodreads friends. I made a goal of 50 books, which may be ambitious, but we'll see how close I come with my normal reading. Some readers had amazing goals of 100 and more! So, if you want to check it out, go to Goodreads. If you've never been to Goodreads, it's a great resource for readers, with lists, reviews, giveaways, a way for you to record the books you've read, want to read, etc. It's free to join too!

So there you have it... A somewhat insane list of reading challenges. Not to mention I will be reading books that will not fit into any of these challenges. And my local library has a Bingo Book reading challenge too. It will all be loads of fun, though, and I'm looking forward to doing a lot of reading this year! You can find out about any of these challenges by clicking on their title. It will bring you to my post describing the reading challenge with a link to the host site with more information.

Weekly Recap… This has been quite a reading week for me. I finished…

 *Three Souls by Janie Chang, Review was posted here, Saturday, Jan. 11th. I loved it by the way!

 *Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala, Review will be tomorrow, for Memoir Monday, so check back tomorrow! It's Sonali's story of how she survived the Tsunami in Sri Lanka in 2004. It's how she survived the actual Tsunami and survived loosing her whole family that fateful day. Wonderful honest writing.

 *Now in the process of finishing Tenth of December by George Saunders, which is a collection of stories. Tenth of December got so many raving endorsements, I decided I should read it. It has been a bit of an adjustment because I haven't read satire in a long time, and that's what George Saunders writes. Going from historical fiction to satire?! Well, finally I got in the groove and am enjoying his writing. Will review the book after I finish it completely. BTW, I took this book out of the library…. which brings me to another subject...

Readers New Years Resolutions… Besides all the reading challenges, which are fun to try and accomplish, I have another reading resolution for the new year… Enjoying my library more! My bookshelves are stuffed because I love books, but do I have to own every book I want to read?! No, so I am resolved to use the library more! My library has a great selection of new books (and old books), and if they don't have it, they can usually get it from another library for me. SO… I'm going to use that library card more, which actually benefits my library. It shows there is a reason to keep funding it! Along with checking out physical books from my library I also check out eBooks too!

This Weeks Wrap up… Are you participating in any reading challenges?! Which ones? What do you think about reading challenges? And suggestions? What are your favorite books that fit in any of these categories?! And do you use your library? How often to you go? Share it all here, I'd love to hear about what you think… And next week, we'll be back to our regular Sunday Salons, with blurbs about the great books coming out and you may have overlooked!

Happy reading… Suzanne

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Three Souls by Janie Chang… A Review

What an amazing book Three Souls by Janie Chang is! It's heartbreaking and joyful, and will wrap itself around you and capture your heart. It's the Lovely Bones meets Amy Tan. This book is filled with family and friendship, romance & betrayal. The setting is China 1930's, Pre-WWII, with the Nationalists fighting the Communists, and the fear of Japan invading; and a time when women were treasured for their dowries, and their ability to have sons.

The story centers around the spirit of Leiyin, stuck in-between life and the afterlife due to some unknown actions she must atone for. She needs to figure out what she did and how to correct the situation to move on, but how?! Along to help, but they have no choice either because they are stuck right along with her, are her three souls; her yin soul, her yang soul, and her hun soul. All three souls have their own distinct personalities, which we hear quite often as they chime in during the retelling of Leiyin's story. Her yin soul is her romantic side, her yang soul is her stern, practical & "scholarly" side, and her hun soul is her wise side, and they flood her with the memories of her life to help her figure out what she must atone for. We are whisked back in time to her carefree days as a student, as a number 2 daughter, as a very young, impressionable, and privileged girl surrounded by her large family and the first encounter with the man who will ultimately be the cause for much of the pain through out her short lived life...The story doesn't stop there though, because in order to atone for her actions, she's going to have to make some "afterlife" altering decisions too!

My Thoughts… I loved the main character, Leiyin. She was precocious, spontaneous, and full of life in a time where women were suppose to tow the lines of tradition. She was spunky in her past life, but I also liked Leiyin as she "matures" in the afterlife, which you see while she reflects on her past actions. I absolutely loved that the past and present were equal partners in the story, and Janie Chang did a beautiful job of seamlessly going back and forth between the two. I loved the idea of the three souls, and I enjoyed that they had their say in past events and interacted with Leiyin in some very interesting ways. (which I won't go into any detail about because I don't want to spoil it for you!). Actually I loved everything about this book...
"The moment the priest spoke the last prayer and sealed my coffin, I awoke and floated upward in a slow drift of incense smoke, until I could travel no farther. I settled in the rafters of the small temple, a sleepy wraith perched in the roof beams. I had knowledge, but no memory…"
Three Souls is historical fiction,  rich with the sights, sounds, and traditions of 1930's China. It's a coming of age novel. It's a romance. It's thought provoking. It's a novel that took hold of me and did not let me go until the last page and then I just lingered in the moment for days…

My recommendation… READ IT! You'll have to wait until Feb. 25th though, that's when William Morrow releases it. You can pre-order the paperback of Three Souls or The Kindle Edition with these links.

I won this book in a LibraryThing Early Reviewers giveaway! I want to thank William Morrow , a division of Harper Collins, for the opportunity to read this special book with an advance readers copy!

*P.S. This book fulfills a book for The Chunkster Challenge 2014 (it's 468 pages) and a Square (and book) for the 2014 Book Bingo Reading Challenge (one new book).

Friday, January 10, 2014

Dystopian Reading Challenge 2014

Love Dystopian books? Then this is just the right thing for you! If you're as big of a fan as I am of post-apocalyptic dystopia books (and even if your are not) you are welcome to join the challenge!

We will try to read 24 Dystopian books in 2014 as the challenge goal, which means 2 per month, if you would like to read them monthly. You can of course make your own schedule and read less or more than that. 2 per month is plenty because it still gives you time to explore and love books from other genres.

At the end of the year there will also be a giveaway with great prizes!

* The challenge will run from January 1, 2014 to December 31, 2014. Each month will have its own link form so you will be able to share your book reviews. You do not have to review the books you read to participate, but only those who read/reviewed at least one dystopian book will be able to participate in the giveaway (you can track your reading without the reviews with Goodreads, Shelfari etc.).
* Books that count in this challenge must include any form of post-apocalyptic theme (book sites like Goodreads are good sources of genre information). The books must be full-length.
* All formats allowed.
* Rereads allowed (but not the same book five times in a year!).
* It does not matter whether it's a series or a stand-alone book.
* If you are participating, grab the challenge button from below and post it on you blog. You can also make a post with the header (the code is also below). Please include the link back to this post so others will be able to participate as well.
* If you will participate, put the sign-up link to your blog post (about the challenge) or blog (for the button) directly into the linky below. Sign-ups will be open until December 15, 2014.
* You do not have to list your books in advance, go and do as you please. Read as many as you want and whenever you want, as long as you have fun!
* Info about the giveaway will be available in December 2014.
* Do not cheat with books of other themes/genres/topics because I do check!

Level 1: Recruit (1 to 6 books)
Level 2: Rebel (7 to 12 books)
Level 3: Revolutionist (13 to 18 books)
Level 4: Leader (19+ books)

Each time you reach a new level, you will receive a badge.

This reading challenge is hosted by Ula on her blog, Blog of Erised. For more information and to sign-up, go to Blog of Erised.

My hundredth reading challenge of the year. I LOVE Dystopia! Books such as The Hunger Games, The Delirium series, The Giver, and one of my all time favorite books, The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist are all Dystopian reads. Though I don't consider myself a "Recruit", I am going to sign up for Level 1. I do a lot of reading during the year and should have no problem reading 6 Dystopian novels, but I also do a lot of reading of other genres and don't want to infringe on their reading space.

What do you think? Up for a little Dystopian? I'll be posting my books here, so book mark this post if you'd like to see what books I'm reading for the challenge. Thanks Ula for hosting The Dystopian Reading Challenge for another year!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge 2014

Dive Into Poetry: A Reading Challenge 2014

                                                  "She walks in beauty, like the night
                                                            Of cloudless climes and starry skies"
                                                                                                  ~ by George Gordon Byron

Ever read any poetry? I enjoy poetry, but it just seems that there's never enough time to read "just poetry". But it really isn't just poetry… it's love, it's lust, it's friendship, it's nature; Poetry is from the heart and mind, and can be about all sorts of things. I just received Aimless Love by poet Billy Collins from my Secret Santa this year, so I am motivated to join in on the fun in this reading challenge, Dive Into Poetry: A Reading Challenge 2014 hosted by Serena at Savvy Verse & Wit. I'll be "Dipping Your Toes" with at least 2 books of poetry on my plate. Here are the "rules"…

1. Create a post on your blog stating your intention to read poetry in 2014 and sign up in Mr. Linky. If you don’t have a blog, simply leave a comment about reading poetry in 2014.

2. Choose one of the following options to complete the challenge:

*Dip Your Toes and read up to 2 books of poetry throughout 2014 and leave the full link to each review (if you have them) in Mr. Linky. 
*Wade in and read 4-6 books of poetry throughout 2014 and leave the full links for reviews in Mr. Linky. 
*Dive in and read 7 or more books of poetry throughout 2014 and leave the full links for reviews in Mr. Linky.

3. Complete your goals between Jan. 1, 2014, and Dec. 31, 2014.

Sound like fun? You can read all about it & find the sign up link at Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2014. Thanks Serena for hosting this reading Challenge! I'll be posting my poetry books that I read during the year right here, so bookmark this post!
Books I've Read for Dive Into Poetry Challenge…

1. Dog Stories by Mary Oliver

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

The 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by Bookish

We all have those books. We buy them, win them, they're gifted to us.. Then we put them up on a bookshelf and there they stay, collecting dust, waiting for the time when we'll finally decide to pick them up..

Join us on a quest to dust off your TBR Pile and read all the books you've been telling yourself you'll read next time you'll get a chance.. This is your chance! And we've got PRIZES!!! :D

Challenge Guidelines:

This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2014 - Dec 31, 2014.

Anyone can enter! You don't have to be a blogger, as long as you review the book you've read! (On your blog, Amazon, Random Buzzers or Goodreads/Shelfari!)

Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Short stories and novellas are OK, too! Only books released in 2013 and earlier! NO  2014 ARCs and 2014 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!

You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.

When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2013 TBRPILE Reading Challenge. (If you don't have a blog, post about it on Facebook or Tweet!)

You can move up levels, but no moving down.

Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2014, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
On the 20th of each month we will post a wrap-up post, here, on BOOKISH. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. The giveaway will be open until the next wrap up post goes up! (i.e. the entire month)

If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)

December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a GRAND PRIZE giveaway.

You don't have to follow Bookish Blog to join the challenge, but you do have to follow us to be entered in giveaways!

(how many books you're planning to read for this challenge in 2014)

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - First Kiss
31-40 - Sweet Summer Fling
41-50 - Could this be love?
50+ - Married With Children
The ladies at Bookish are right, we all have those books we bought with good intentions, someone was nice enough to give us and even some great books we won, but alas, we didn't have the time to crack the spines right then, so we gently placed them on the shelf… where they are still found TODAY! So, I know I have a pile to work through, and enough of my blogging friends are joining this to make me want to join in on the fun too, so I'm in! (BTW, there are almost 300 people participating this year!)

*My goal… 1-10 (A Firm Handshake)

*First book lined up.. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout. It's only the first one, but it is a start!

You can learn more details and sign up for this challenge at: 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge @ Bookish
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