Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, created due to a fondness for lists. Each week they post a new Top Ten topic. After that, it's bloggers UNITE! Participate with your own Top Ten post, have fun, and get to know your fellow bloggers.

Nothing like waiting until the last minute to get this done. I actually meant to wait a little bit since I just finished a post earlier today, but I didn't quite mean to wait this long. However...I managed to get myself sucked in to the wormhole that is the bookosphere. I currently have over 15 open tabs as a result...blog posts from new bloggers I want to read, book sites I have been browsing, linky menus for reading challenges and read-a-thons I am or have been a part of. Not enough hours in the day...seriously.

Today's Top Ten topic is a great one. The list is the Top Ten Books on my Fall TBR (to be read) List. Putting this list together has actually made me ridiculously excited. And...I just got a new charger for my Nook (my other one is lost somewhere in the recesses of our basement), so I can now bust out a whole BUNCH of books that I haven't had access to for over six months. It's like a whole new world has opened up again.

Now...a lot of readers who are making their Top Ten lists today have books that are being published in the next few months. They're the newest hot things or the most anticipated releases. While I may have a couple on my list that meet this description, my list is a little different because I have books on here that I honestly just haven't gotten to. I've been eyeballing them for a while, but I haven't made chasing them down a priority. With my new Nook charger and the fact that I have access to a functional library card, stand back...I can read just about anything I want. And when it comes to the reads I want the most...these stand above the rest.


1. Raven Girl by Audrey Niffenegger


I love Audrey Niffenegger. She's fabulous. The Time Traveler's Wife is one of my all-time favorite books. She released Raven Girl way back in 2013, but I am now facing a point where I realize that I need a little Audrey in my life again.


2. The Lauras by Sara Taylor


I read The Shore a few years back. While I wasn't super thrilled with the story (which felt a little disheveled to me), I really enjoyed Sara Taylor's writing and I felt that she was an incredibly talented author. So I am oh so ready to give her another shot. I have fairly high hopes for this one. 


3. Idaho by Emily Ruskovich


Okay. I'm not going to lie. My initial reasons for wanting to read this book had NOTHING to do with the plot. 1...I'm from Idaho, so the title alone hooked me. 2...such a pretty cover. But, since my initial gut reaction of "ooooh", I have read the synopsis and I've read the reviews of a couple of book bloggers I trust. And now I'm truly interested in reading this book...for what are maybe the more "proper" reasons.


4. The Girl in the Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz


I'll be honest. I was torn initially on this one. I loved the original books of Stieg Larsson's Millennium Series. They were awesome. He created some fantastic characters and gripping narratives. And then, unfortunately for millions of readers, he passed away. David Lagercrantz has since picked up the torch. I'm super excited to continue reading the stories, but I'm nervous. I really need the integrity of the original trilogy to be maintained. Please, please.


5. Slade House by David Mitchell


Full disclosure...I had not heard of this book at all about two weeks ago. But it's the group read for the R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII Challenge. So I popped over and read the synopsis. It sounds really good. Thus, I'm joining in on that part of the challenge and I'm now seriously looking forward to grabbing ahold of it as a read.


6. Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Caraval has been on my list for a while. Pretty, pretty cover. Great title that made me initially think of The Night Circus. Pretty fantastic sounding premise. I'm ready.


7. Little French Bistro by Nina George


I adored Nina George's The Little Paris Bookshop. It was so, so good. This one was a must add for my TBR. And now that I have escaped my reading slump, let's add this one in. I need some feel goods. I have a feeling they will be in here.


8. Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham


I am a HUGE Gilmore Girls fan. HUGE. I am also a big fan of Lauren Graham. I loved her in Gilmore Girls (obviously) as well as Parenthood. I think she's smart and quirky and funny. I still have not (sadly) read her novel...though it too is on my TBR. When it comes down to it though, I decided I really need to read her memoir first.




As with Lauren Graham, I am a big fan of Eddie Izzard. He is brilliant and incredibly creative. I have been a fan of him since I first saw him on the short-lived series, The Riches. From there, I found myself unable to find enough of his stand-up. I have even seen him live...something I can only say for one other comedian. As long as it remains true to his style, I have no doubt that this will be a fantastic read.


10. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


This book is probably ALL OVER Top Ten lists this week. I know a lot of readers who are impatiently waiting for this one. I have read a nice pile of John Green novels, I follow him on Facebook, and I'm a subscriber to his YouTube channel with his brother, Hank. I am very excited for this one. It's a must have.


And...that's my Top Ten. I WILL be doing my best to read these before the year is out. It's a pile of what I think will be truly great reads and I cannot wait to get started.

R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril XII Sign Up



Okay...I'm a little late to the party on this one, but I had some things to complete before I could officially begin participating.

RIP XII (R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril) runs from September 1st to October 1st. It's hosted by Andi over at Estella's Revenge and Heather at My Capricious Life.

The purpose of the R.I.P. Challenge is to enjoy books that could be classified as: Mystery. Suspense. Thriller. Dark Fantasy. Gothic. Horror. Supernatural. The emphasis is never on the word "challenge", instead it is about coming together as a community and embracing the autumnal mood, whether the weather is cooperative where you live or not.

The way the challenge works is to take on individual "perils". You can choose as few or as many as you like. It's all about enjoying yourself.

I will be taking on a couple of the challenges:

  • Peril the First : Read four books, any length, that you feel fit (our very broad definitions) of R.I.P. literature. It could be Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Shirley Jackson or Tananarive Due...or anyone in between.

  • Peril of the Group Read : This year we will read and discuss Slade House by David Mitchell. The challenge hosts will post discussion questions on their respective blogs on October 1st and participants can answer them at their leisure and as they like. 


I have a plan for my first three reads... It's easy to line up a pile when they're part of a trilogy.


I'll be ordering Slade House in the next week or so and then I'll be adding that as well. Beyond that...well...we shall see.

This is my first time taking on the R.I.P. Challenge, so we'll see how I do. It's something new and there are really great people participating, so it should be fun. Besides...fall is my favorite season, so this is a great way to embrace it's beginning.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Currently: September 17, 2017


These weeks are going buy too quickly. We're inching closer and closer to winter. Gah. Summer went to dang fast. I demand a redo. Come on...just four more weeks. No? How about two? Please...I'm being reasonable. Ugh. Fine. I'll soldier along and try to get all of my outside work done before the inevitable snow arrives.

Weather: 

The chill has arrived. Our little glimpse of Indian Summer was apparently just a tease. We dropped 30 degrees like it was nothing. Today it's hovering between 50 and 60. The sun finally came out this afternoon and made it slightly better, but I'm wearing jeans and a hoodie. It's a sad state of affairs. I already miss shorts weather.

Watching:

I've always been a sucker for British comedies. It's my quirky sense of humor I guess. I loved The IT Crowd and am terribly sad that there weren't more seasons. This week, Netflix wisely recommended Black Books. It's been fantastically awkward and weird and lovely.

Reading:


I finished Tatiana De Rosnays' A Secret Kept earlier this week. It was a decent read, but just didn't have the power that her Sarah's Key carried. Still, it was a good book and I enjoyed reading it.


I'm now reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. It's my initial read for the RIP (R.eaders I.mbibing P.eril)Challenge XIII. I'll be posting an official sign up post for the reading event tomorrow.

Listening:

It was mostly a quiet week. I had Netflix running in the background while I did canning this week. No Pandora or Spotify, unfortunately.

Learning:


Well...out of necessity, my fence repair skills are improving. I woke this morning to a cow mooing outside my bedroom window. I got out of bed and looked outside to see...nothing. So I wandered into B's room. I looked out his window and found myself staring Southern Belle directly in the face. I bribed her back in the pasture with a bucket of corn and went back inside.

Not five minutes later, I heard Gunner growling upstairs. Tada...cow in the front yard. Same cow. Ugh. I got her back in once again and went to find the spot where she piled through the fence. She had gone under the barbed wire and pushed through the tensile net. I don't know what motivated her...she's huge...but her escape was marked by hair lodged into the barbs for a good three foot stretch.

I did a quick fix with the existing wires while holding B. It was decidedly awkward. Then I headed in to shower and get ready for the day. Hmm...nope. Cow. I called her around the garden and coaxed her in yet again while making sure the horse didn't take advantage and let himself out. That done, I went into the garage for some pliers and wire. I tightened up the fence in four spots (admittedly it's nothing perfect thanks to my wimpy hands, but it should do the trick) and wound twine through the spot to act as a visual deterrent. Thus far, no cow in the yard again. Thank goodness.

Making:

The canning continues. I processed so many beets this week that my kitchen looked like a grisly crime scene. In the end, I yielded 17 pint jars of sliced beets along with 4 half-pint jars and 34 cubes of puree. The truly sad part...that was only half the beets. Gary has been feeding them to the pigs for the last couple of weeks.

Root vegetables are up next. I now have a laundry basket full of turnips sitting on the front step ready for processing. Yesterday, I pulled the Brussels sprouts that were ready and got them processed and bagged for freezing. I also cut up the watermelon and pureed some cubes.

I'm behind of where I wanted to be this week, but at least there was progress. I have absolutely got to get through the turnips and rutabagas this week. I also need to pull the onions and potatoes and start them curing. The good news is that we aren't forecasted for a freeze yet, so I still have some time to keep this endeavor moving forward.

Thinking/Feeling:

Old. Seriously. I turn 39 today. Gah. I never had issues with my birthday until I turned 36. Something about being closer to 40 than 30 has made me just feel...ugh. I had honestly come to terms with 38, but now I have to reconcile myself to a new number. The saving grace is that I have a good handful of friends turning 40 this year, so they're helping me to feel better about it. After all, they all look pretty wonderful and are still having fun at 40.

Wanting/Needing:

We started cleaning the garage this week and Gary has begun constructing shelves along the back wall. It will be so nice to start organizing things. The plan is to get everything that's in boxes gone through and sorted (keep, toss, sell) and put those items we're keeping into organized totes that will go on those new shelves. Once the garage is sorted, we'll attack the basement. We have a couple of metal shelving units that will go down there so that I can organize things that will stay inside (like fabric). It will be so incredibly fantastic to be able to access things again. With any luck, we're also hoping to create a small informal sitting area downstairs. Things to look forward to for sure.

Loving:

I like weird things. Seriously. But when I like something, I really like it. For example, when I buy clothing, I buy multiples of the same item if I really like it. My jeans are all the same. My shorts...same. The shirts I bought last week? Different colors of the same brand and style.


Well...apparently it's no different with my cosmetics. A few years back, I picked up some Burt's Bees lip balm. Nothing special, just something for my poor chapped lips. But...they come in different flavors. So...obviously I now have a small collection. Out of the thirteen shown in the picture above, I own nine of them. In addition, I have Pumpkin Spice and their newest, Cucumber Mint (it's delightful). I also have their Flavor Crystal Lip Balm in Sweet Orange and Tropical Pineapple (spoiler alert, I'm not a fan). Seriously...what kind of person needs that much lip balm??? But hey, I like variety I suppose.

Planning:

We're moving forward on the flooring plans. The new downstairs carpet gets installed in ten days. We ordered our tile on Friday. I should have a call tomorrow to schedule when they will come out to measure for the upstairs hardwood estimate. I'm ridiculously excited about floors. Adulthood is weird.


And now, if you'll excuse me, my child has decided that my shoulder and elbow are chew toys and Gary has walked through the door with a cake. I'm going to go enjoy Sunday evening with my family.


What about you? What does your "Currently" look like?

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Book Blogger Hop: Still a Sucker for a Cover



How's everyone's weekend thus far? Today was a busy day around here, despite the only semi-cooperational weather. It's cooled down substantially in the last week and it's been a bit cloudy and rainy. Since it's inevitable that frost will be coming, I need to step up my garden game. I pulled all of the turnips and the ready-to-go Brussels sprouts along with some neverending tomatoes and zucchini. The pigs were pretty happy with the scraps that haul allotted them. They were also ecstatic when I brought out the rinds from the watermelon I sliced up. Tomorrow I hope to process all of the turnips and pull the rutabagas.

After that fun, I stuck a chicken in the Crockpot and added some pesto, lemon pepper, and bruschetta I'd made a couple of days ago. Made for a nice and easy dinner when paired with a little vegetable medley from the garden. Now it's just time for some relaxation...well...after a quick blog post.

It's Saturday, so that means Book Blogger Hop. It's operated by Billy at Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week (on Friday), a new book related question is posed to participating bloggers.

This Week's Question: 


Have you ever bought a more expensive edition of a book, when a cheaper edition was available, just because you preferred the cover of a more expensive one?

The short answer to this is yes. I am a sucker for a pretty cover. Here and there I have been known to purchase a hardcover just because I don't like the cover art on the paperback.

However, my guiltiest pleasure when it comes to buying based on a cover is my obsession with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. I love all things Alice. As such, I have several copies of the book. The exact same book. With different covers. I even own the BabyLit version. Yes...I am passing on my issues.


I know it's a little ridiculous, but it's fun and I love them. Despite the number of copies already in my possession, there are still a few I am eyeballing...


This pretty pink cover is a part of the Barnes and Noble Leatherbound Classics. Now...normally I'm not a huge fan of pink, but it's just so pretty on a book. And it's part of a collection. The only fear with this one is that once I had this one, well...I'd want other titles in the same collection. 


Speaking of finding the need to own an entire collection...have you seen the Penguin Classics hardcovers? Oh...my...goodness. They're fabulous. Look at those adorable flamingos!!


And finally...the piece de resistance...the 150th Anniversary Deluxe Annotated Edition. Rarely have I been known to drool over a book, but oh my this one. I will admit, the cover is lovely, but it's the annotations that have me completely over the top about this one.

One of these days, I'll have all of my books unboxed and back on shelves where they belong. And at that point, let's be honest, there will likely be one shelf full of nothing but Alice.

What about you? What cover(s) have had your eye?

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: No Peeking. Just Jump Right In


Indian Summer is upon us. It's nice and hot with a good dose of humidity. I'm currently melting out on the porch while the baby naps downstairs. It's a day where you just want to lay in a cool pool of water and do absolutely nothing. Ha...real life gets in the way of that too often, doesn't it? I'll get myself part way there though. I've filled the kiddie pool and I'll be doing a little splashing with B when he wakes up. Maybe we can even talk Daddy into going fishing when he gets home. Cooling down on the lake would be nice. Plus...we need to take advantage of these days before they're gone. Minnesota winter is coming.

It's Wednesday, so that means it's time for a top 5... Ready to find some good reads? I've got a stellar bunch for you today.

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly book meme created by Lainey of GingerReadsLainey and hosted via Goodreads group by Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes. Each week brings a new twist on a literary topic and a whole host of book bloggers and booktubers take to the internet with their representations of what that means.


This Week's Topic:

Books to Read Without the Synopsis.
We all know that some synopsis writers spoil events that happen halfway through the book or have heard reviewers day "its best to go into this one blind." Discuss those books.





A big part of these books is just being inspired by the titles and the covers. Just go with your gut. The Little Paris Bookshop is one that just needs to be eased into. The synopsis tells you too much and takes away a bit of the magic of the narrative. All you need to know is prepare for all the feels. It is Paris, after all.







With A Man Called Ove, I feel like the synopsis sets the reader up for a predisposed idea of the main character. It's better to get to know Ove chapter by chapter rather than let the book jacket plant seeds in your mind. It keeps Ove more real and I think you can understand him as more of a real person that way than just a 2-dimensional character.




As with Ove, it's best to learn Alice as you go. Finding Alice is intricate and cryptic. Reading it without reading the synopsis makes it more captivating and curious. Just like Alice should be...curiouser and curiouser. It's just better to take this journey a step at a time.



Some books lend themselves to be understood as retellings. The Weight of Feathers is one of those and I think the preconceived notions inherent with that can lead to some expectations that can make a narrative turn flat. It's best to go into this one blind and learn the characters from the ground up.



Honestly, there was no point to even attempting to create a synopsis for this book. It's too much of an enigma. But...no sense screwing with the fabulousness of the mysterious narrative that is The Library at Mount Char. Skip the lackluster synopsis. There's just no adequate way to describe this one. All reviews and descriptions fail to express the awesomeness of this book. Just dive in. And hold on. Because this one is a ride.


Just writing this post has given me all the feels. I have a lot of excitement for these 5 books. They're all worth a read. In my case, they're definitely all worth a reread. So don't hesitate, don't investigate, just crack a spine and jump right in.

Which books would you recommend reading without the synopsis?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Used to Love (and Maybe Need to Read Again)


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, created due to a fondness for lists. Each week they post a new Top Ten topic. After that, it's bloggers UNITE! Participate with your own Top Ten post, have fun, and get to know your fellow bloggers.


Today's topic is a throwback freebie...

Ten Books I Loved During the First Year I Started My Blog, Favorite Books Published 5 or 10 or 15 years ago, Ten Older Books I Forgot How Much I Loved, etc. etc. Tweak however you want!


I'm not going to lie...I'm mildly brain-dead today. Thus, this is bound to be a bit of a rambling post (sorry). Yesterday I spent the majority of my time processing beets. It was like a crime scene in my kitchen. I wound up with 17 pint jars of sliced beets, 3 half-pint jars of pureed beets, and 28 cubes of puree. And that was only half of the beets we grew. Gary had actually given half of the crop to the pigs. Thank goodness. 

After those many hours of fun, I then tried to sleep. It was a mild failure. I was up at 1, 5, and 7 with the baby. And in between that, the dogs decided they needed to go outside at 3. It was like a series of crummy power naps. I could easily lay down and pass out right now.

The plan for today was to work on the farm website and the blog. This is me starting that...at 3pm. Ugh. After getting my housework done and attempting to get the baby to nap (that failed), I had to check on Pippa and her new piglets, give everyone some water since we're apparently getting an Indian Summer with bonus humidity, and then locate the cows since Legacy decided to run around bellowing like she had lost her calf (she hadn't). It's a freaking zoo around here on a daily basis.

So (finally)...here's my plan for today's freebie post...

Ten Books I Used to Love (and Maybe Need to Read Again)

There have been several books that have captured my attention over the years. I've found love for many different kinds of books and many different authors. My tastes have changed and wavered depending on where I've been emotionally. These are the ten that I remember feeling most powerfully about...the ten that most likely deserve a reread. The ten that, should I find myself in a reading slump, could likely reinspire me to love reading again. But...I found that I couldn't narrow it down to 10. So...we're doing Top Twelve today. Ready?

1. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst


Alexander is one of the first books I remember loving. I think I read it somewhere around first grade and I was enamored. I'm pretty sure I read this one from cover to cover more times that I could count. Now that I have a son of my own, this is one of the books that I'm looking forward to sharing with him.


2. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White


Charlotte's Web was one of the first chapter books I ever read. This one takes me back to second grade. I'm sure there are many who have similar memories of reading this book, but it has stuck with me through many years. There's just something so sweet and innocent about it. And silly as it sounds, this book now seems like it somewhat reflects the life I'm currently living.


3. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll


I have always had a love for Alice. This is the only book in this list that is out of order. See...I loved Alice based upon early exposure to the movie versions. But the concept of Alice is one that has stuck with me. I read the book later in life when I was feeling a bit lost, much like Alice herself. It pulled me up and made me feel comfortable with the chaos and the change...made it seem okay to be looking for my way. 


4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle


A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first books I clung to. I mean clung to. I read it multiple times during my preteen years. I loved the imaginative writing, the fantastical beings. When I started this list, it's the book that first came to mind. And if any book on this list deserves a reread...this is the one.


5. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte


I know many look at this book and think, what? I get that Jane Eyre seems dry and boring for some, but for me...it's inspiring. I love Jane's strength...her perseverance. Jane is one of my favorite characters of all time. And regardless of the fact that this book was written oh so many years ago, it's still so incredibly relevant. I have reread this one a few times over the years, but it still deserves so many more.


6. A Time to Kill by John Grisham


Most readers of Grisham tout the mastery of The Firm, but for me A Time to Kill was his best. I had read mysteries and thrillers before, but this one just spoke to me somehow. It resulted in a complete shift in my reading habits and I found myself reading all of his books as they came out, obsessed with hoping that he would give me something more.


7. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


Oh my. All the feels. I loved this book. LOVED it. I talked it up to anyone who would listen. In a time when I wasn't reading much, The Time Traveler's Wife brought me back. It made me want to sit down and read everything, to find all the other books out there that could fill my heart and hold me captive as well as it did. This one will always be a love.


8. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


Wow. Seriously. Wow. The Night Circus flung me back to fantasy. It was beautiful, magical, and just wonderful. It was one of those books I never wanted to end. And now, I find myself forgetting it. I still love it, but I no longer know it. That's definitely a sign that a reread needs to occur.


9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


Thirteen Reasons Why. Before the controversial Netflix series, there was the book. It was amazing and heartbreaking. It was real. I know there are many who despise this book and feel that it glamorizes teen suicide, maybe even inspires those who are troubled to seek out such a terrible and tragic end. But...I feel the opposite. Even after watching the Netflix version, I still feel very strongly that it is something that teens need. It's real life and it isn't sugar-coated. It doesn't provide a picture that everything is always going to work out right. It is full of pain and struggle and yet it is beautiful. Hannah was beautiful. Reading this made me understand her and feel so much hurt at her decision. In my mind, those who read it while so struggling could be better able to comprehend the after effects of such an action..to see the whole picture...a reality that maybe would pull them back from doing something that would hurt so many and resolve so little.


10.  Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

 

Amy & Roger was another book I just couldn't shut up about. I loved Matson's use of playlists. I loaded them into my Spotify and felt like the music truly did work to connect to the story. I loved her characters, loved the ease of their interaction and how it felt as if you were right there in the car. It wasn't anything prophetic or life changing...it just made me feel good.


11. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins


The Library at Mount Char just came out of nowhere for me. I was enthralled, I was confused, I was mystified, and I was consumed. The world Hawkins created was amazing and his characters were just so larger than life. This book blew me away. I very much craved more when it ended. I would love a sequel...though the author hints at no intention to do so. There is so much wrapped up in this story, so much intricacy and fantastical imagination. It just left me awestruck.


12. The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George


To read The Little Paris Bookshop is to feel like you're living the book. It's just so beautifully written. That book you want to snuggle, to hold tight and squeeze? This is it. It left me content and swooning. Sometimes you just need a book that loves you back. It's a book that makes you love books.


Looking back at the books I've loved through the different parts of my life, there were many that were there just when I needed them...that kept me moving and loving to read. Some that inspired me and kept me...well...for lack of a better term, sane. The magic and promise of a good book. Isn't that what makes us all such devoted readers?

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