Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Reading plans for the rest of the year

If there were a way to read multiple books at once, I would be doing it. As there is clearly not, I have to pace myself, which we all know has never been my strong suit. Anyway, I've decided on a reading list through the end of 2016, that also includes some room to read books I grab on a whim at the library or that may show up in reading challenges. So, here we go.



To finish:
  • Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy (This one is obvious...I've been reading it since February.)
  • Eve of a Hundred Midnights, by Bill Lascher (WWII China/America nonfiction)
  • Symphony for the City of the Dead, by M.T. Anderson (WWII Russian nonfiction)
To read:
  • The Life Changing Magic of Tidying-Up, by Marie Kondo (Finally got my hands on it!)
  • Lilac Girls, by Martha Hall Kelly (new WWII novel...clearly I'm on a WWII kick)

  • The Mystery of Edwin Drood, by Charles Dickens
  • The Mysteries of Udolpho, by Ann Radcliffe (I have tried and failed to start this for years.)
  • The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter (a scifi series I've wanted to read)
  • The Book of Chameleons, by Jose Eduardo Agualusa (for a Goodreads group read) 

  • The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas
  • The rest of this month is open

December (my Christmas re-reads month)
  • A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
  • The Legend of Holly Claus, by Brittany Ryan
  • Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen
  • Redwall, by Brian Jacques (this will probably stretch into 2017 as I re-read the whole series)
  • The Hobbit & The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien


I am telling myself to stick to this list, even though there are books I have from the library right now that are not on it. Doesn't matter, I will read and review those as well. I look forward to December with all my re-reads though. I might even begin Redwall or LotR in November. The cold months are the best time to read those. What are you planning to read for the rest of the year??

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: All About Audio

Happy Tuesday! I missed a couple of these again, and today's topic is a little tough for me. Audiobooks are just not for me most of the time. I really do try, but I'm too easily distracted by literally everything, among other reasons I have mentioned before. However, this week's topic is a freebie, which means I don't have to list just books, but I can pick anything audio related. So, I'm going to list five audio related things that have to do with books and stories in general. I'm only doing five because I just don't have enough experience in this area.

1. The Redwall series, by Brian Jacques
     This is one of my favorite books series of all time anyway, and the audiobooks that were made were full cast dramas, narrated by Jacques himself. The world of Redwall Abbey, Mossflower, and all its creatures came to life in a big way through these, and I was sad that there weren't more of them done; only a handful of the books were ever performed.

2. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
     In all likelihood I have read the Narnia series more than any other books in my life. The radio dramas that were produced by the BBC only made the stories come even more to life for me. I listen to them every single winter; so perfect on a chilly and snowy evening with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

3. EOS 10, a sci-fi radio play
     This is a podcast I stumbled across on the Podcast app on my phone; EOS 10 is a space station. I would listen to it while cleaning, and it's a really fascinating and funny story. The voice actors are so great too. Worth checking out if you like audio dramas and sci-fi. I've only listened to the first season, so I need to play catch up here soon.

4. Welcome to Night Vale
     An audio drama that runs the gamut from fantasy to sci-fi to musical theatre to just plain weird, I fell in love with Welcome to Night Vale pretty quickly. I am way behind on episodes (also on the Podcast app) because it's tough to remember to listen, but I liken it to The Twilight Zone in some ways. I've also discovered new music through listening, so that's a bonus.

5. Zombies, Run!
     This is maybe a weird one to include, but it's a fitness app that actually does follow a story, and it kinda like virtual reality. It's actually super motivating because each episode/session leaves you hanging so that you want to go out running (or walking; you don't HAVE to run!) to hear more of the story. Plus you collect items and meet new people and your map expands as you learn more about the area your character explores. So totally cool, and a unique concept that I'm pretty thankful is a thing. Check it out!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

End of summer catch up reviews

Hi, my name is Elisabeth and I read too fast for my own good and then don't stop to think. I'm behind on book reviews, so in order to not have too many new posts suddenly, I'm going to write short reviews in this post, Twitter-style. For those of you who have followed my blog for a few years, I've done this before. Clearly, I have a problem.

Anyway, I have eight books to talk about, not counting the three cookbooks I've read cover-to-cover. I haven't tried any recipes from those yet, so I don't feel I can give an accurate review. (All links lead to Amazon. Not affiliate links.)


Anya's Ghost, by Vera Brosgol
     This fell off the shelf at work while I was putting other graphic novels away, so I thought I'd give it a go. Perfect for Halloween, even though I read it in early summer, it's a creepy tale of a girl who learns all too quickly that ghosts may appear friendly but generally have their own agenda. It was a really quick read and I enjoyed all the Russian references too.

The Coincidence of Coconut Cake, by Amy E. Reichert
     I don't normally go for modern romances, but when it's set in Milwaukee and revolves around food, it's hard not to take that chance. A super quick and absolutely adorable read about a chef and the restaurant critic who causes her to lose her restaurant (sounds bad, but trust me!); anyone who likes Milwaukee and food and the romance that can result from serious misconceptions would love this story! It's not the best written book, but the descriptions of Milwaukee and the food we love so much here in Wisconsin totally make it worth it. And like I said, it's adorable.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling
     Hah, so I'm not actually linking to the Amazon page for this book because it's not even worth it. No, it wasn't because it's in script form; that didn't bother me in the least. It's not worth it because, quite simply, it's crap. It's utterly deplorable, and J.K. Rowling must be stopped. She's writing her own fanfiction, and quite frankly I feel like she's turning into George Lucas...which is never a good thing. Leave your own work alone, the original is JUST FINE. *hides in a corner with original unedited Star Wars* Wait, what was I talking about? Oh right. Don't bother with Cursed Child. Just. Don't.

Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body, by Kate Hudson
     This was a totally fun book to read, and while there were some weird Buddhist things I had to wade through, the gist of it was that there's no one way to love the skin you're in. And it's the only one you're getting, so you'd do well to take care of it and not hate it because it's easier to love and care for others if you love and care for yourself. She's got all kinds of great tips on exercising and eating and being mindful. Really nice.

Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge, by Paul Krueger
     Another one that I found by accident (released in June) and really loved, this is a crazy romp through Chicago where alcohol is magical and bartenders are on the front lines to protect humanity from disgusting creatures called tremens. Taking the classic cocktails to a new level, Bailey Chen learns that each basic liquor has it's own magical effect, and that she's a natural at bartending. The fictional lore about each drink (think old fashioned, gin and tonic, margarita, long island iced tea) is super cool too. Be careful though, you might get thirsty!

Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, by Lindsay Ribar
     This is a brand new YA novel (I know, it's weird!) that had an intriguing premise...there's a boy named Aspen who has the magical ability to reach inside people and steal...whatever he wants. Pain, memories, loves, likes, etc. His grandmother and aunt can do the same. One summer he is called to the ancestral home in the small town of Three Peaks where he has to be a part of the ritual. This ritual keeps the cliff above the town from falling on everyone. Little does Aspen know what lies ahead of him as he keeps stealing from his friends and expecting no consequences. It was a fascinating tale with a couple idiotic characters, but maybe I only thought they were idiotic because I'm not a teenager anymore. Still worth reading, and the system of magic was one I hadn't seen before, so that was cool.

The Leaving, by Tara Altebrando
     Also a brand new YA novel, The Leaving is about a group of teens who have been returned to their town after having been kidnapped eleven years previously. None of the five who came back can remember anything, not even about the sixth child who didn't return. The story is told from the perspective of a few of the returned kids, and also the younger sister of the boy who didn't come back. There's some fancy typography in this novel that definitely kept me engrossed. But the ending left a lot to be desired...there were a couple plotlines that were promising and led nowhere, and I was hoping for a more supernatural ending, but that's not really what happened. But well written, for the story that we are given.

Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, by Agnes Martin-Lugand
     I just read this today; it took a couple hours. Honestly, by the title and the fact that it was translated from French...I was mildly disappointed. Also, character development was rather odd. It's about a woman named Diane who loses her husband and young daughter in a car accident and then a year later jets off to Ireland to try to recover. There's some romance, but it didn't build up accurately in my opinion. The descriptions are what I really loved, especially of Paris and then Ireland's rocky coast. Kind of a cute story, and there's a sequel out now (soon?) which I'll probably read as well.


There you have it, I am now caught up. I have approximately 43782 books from the library to read yet, and I'm still slogging my way through Anna Karenina. I had no idea that would take me so long!!